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Published on May 19th, 2010 | by Ronan


Broken Spine #26 – Travel Guides

It’s that time of year again. The birds are singing, the sunbeds are filling up, the clouds are starting to clear, the ash is clogging up… wait, strike that last part. It’s summer, and the time for everyone’s annual trip away from it all. So whether you’re going to the Ring of Kerry or to the Pacific Ring of Fire, there seems to be a travel guide for everywhere.

Rough Guide to DublinLonely Planet IrelandAALet's Go

For the past few days, I’ve been getting feedback from people on twitter about the best and worst travel guides they’ve used, but there has been no consensus. But I did get some nice tips.

Eyewitness IrelandTravel guides are very useful. How else are you to know which museums are worthwhile and which aren’t? Now some would argue that every museum is worth seeing, but if you only have a day or two in a particular place, you’ll want to go to the best, right? Thus, travel guides can tell you what you need to see.

Twitter recommends: Eyewitness Guides, Museyon, TimeOut Guides, AA Guides, Rough Guides, Eyewitness is very city-centric, but also quite useful.  Museyon had great variety and gave a different approach than the normal. TimeOut were “really excellent”. The AA Travel guides have extremely useful pull-out maps, and are very detailed. One reader told me how Rough Guides were far better than Eyewitness. I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective.

Also suggested was general travel writing, which is also very useful as it gives a more hands-on account of things as well as providing fantastic anecdotes, Bill Bryson’s books especially.

However, some of my twitter followers pointed out that in the age of the smartphone, there’s nothing better than the internet. FourSquare will tell you what’s cool, as well as the fact you can get instant directions and suggestions on your phone. In Your Pocket guides are free and you can download ones for most places, including Dublin.

I recommend: Eyewitness Guides, NFT Guides. I’ve used both of these in the past and found them very useful. The Eyewitness ones have great maps, illustrations and area breakdowns for the cities and countries. Most useful, however, is their floorplans of the major museums – very helpful for somewhere like the Sistine Chapel. The Not For Tourist (NFT) guides are fantastic, but there’s not one for every city. They have maps for everything, and best of all are written by locals. So it’s easy to find great bars and restaurants.

Have you used travel guides? If so, which ones are the best?

Thanks to: Sinead Keogh, Darragh Doyle, Sean Earley, Richard Cantwell, Will Knott, Anne-Marie S, Brogen Hayes, Confetti Mag, James Hendicott, and DrinkAware.ie  for contributing via twitter.

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About the Author

Music blogger turned book/TV blogger. Avid follower of the Irish soccer team.

2 Responses to Broken Spine #26 – Travel Guides

  1. Christine Davis says:

    Hi, I use lonely planet, but the one i love the best is Berlitz pocket guide, you can carry it in your pocket hence pocket guide,The cover turnes in to the map of what ever country your going too it also has some usefull expressions, & Where to go, where to eat,& travel tips.The only down thing is there is not one for every country you want go to.price £4.99.

  2. Efa says:

    I like the lonely planet ones too! It never left my side during my summer in new york. It was great for subway maps, places to go, attractions local cities etc.

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