Ah, the age of information. People today eat up information like candy but are starving for knowledge. I’ve put together a list of the best free international travel guides out there so you don’t have to look through a lot of sites to find good information. Online travel guides are different from their physical counterparts in that you can get exactly what you need, when you need it. In a book, you have to find information you need before and during your trip.
I’ve used an online guide book a few times and just printed or wrote down the most important information for the next few days. Here is my list of the best free travel guides for other countries:
Travelfish.org. Travelfish is the best single source for people going to Southeast Asia. Travelfish is full of easy-to-find information about the whole region, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Singapore. It has everything a traveler could want. The forum is really well done, and you can expect those who answer your questions to be at a high level. Most of the information is free, and you can buy e-guides for about $5 for each country (a true bargain).
Thorn Tree Forum on Lonely Planet. It’s a lot like the forum on Travelfish, but it covers the whole world. I’m sure that most guide books are out of date by the time they come out, so I think it’s important to get advice from someone who is already there. Visa rules change, roads get shut down, and violence happens, so don’t be caught off guard. Forums also have information that you won’t find in a guidebook, like the need for bribes, the history of violence, and so on. In the real world, these are important things to think about, but most publications (and governments) tend to gloss over them.
Planet Lonely. LP has a great idea for a “pay as you go” program where you can choose parts of a guide book and only pay for those parts. But they haven’t put it into action yet. Keep an eye on their website to find out when it will be out.
Bootsnall.com This site has a lot of international travel guides, and you could spend your whole life looking through their network. A really good network for travelers, with travel blogs written by individuals for a more personal touch.
These three sites are by far the best places online to find free international travel guides, and you should use them both before and during your trip to learn more about your destination.
Caribbean Travel Guides – Are They Worth It?
Jane Morris is not only a crazy shopper, but she also loves to travel. This is just one article she wrote about her many trips to the Caribbean.
Imagine all the stories and movies you’ve seen about pirates in the Caribbean, Spanish galleons full of gold, pretty girls everywhere, beautiful white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, clear blue seas, and reefs that have ripped the bottoms out of many fine sailing ships and are now beautiful diving territory.
Well, this is what makes a dream vacation beautiful, mysterious, and appealing to many people. In fact, there is so much to do that you will miss a lot if you don’t plan your vacation carefully.
That’s why it’s so important to know everything there is to know about your dream vacation spot. A Caribbean travel guide will tell you everything you need to know.
But are guides to the Caribbean really a godsend? Or are they just buying things that have been made for business?
Well, they probably are a little bit of both. After all, the people who make Caribbean travel guides do need a way to make money so they can keep making them. But a lot of research went into making these guides, so don’t think of them as useless sales and marketing materials.
What is better, more useful, and more fun than a Caribbean travel guide?
Even though the Internet may have more up-to-date information, you can’t take it with you everywhere. And believe it or not, it’s much more fun to pull a Caribbean travel guide out of your carry-on bag, open a few pages, and then put it back when you’re done. It’s a lot better than having to wait in the airport, where you might get bored and wonder if your flight will be late.
Still, you shouldn’t be a slave to travel guides. This is a mistake that many travelers make. Some people act like they are the Bibles, but they are not. You should know that published materials, like travel guides, are out of date as soon as they are printed. By the time they are printed, new information would have come out and it would be too late to add it.
So how are you supposed to use travel guides to the Caribbean? How would you know which facts to trust and which ones are no longer true? There is no exact answer to that, though. Use your Caribbean travel guide as little as possible to get the most out of it.
So, once you’ve mastered the basics, go out and explore the towns and cities on your own. After all, that’s what traveling is all about: new experiences and adventures. Even if all the other signs look strange, the ones about museums and other interesting places are great.
Always try to find a “City” tour in places where these kinds of things are available. When I went to Cuba for the first time over 15 years ago, I did exactly that. After a two-hour tour on a bus, I was familiar with all the sights. I then took a lovely tour on foot, holding on to my trusty travel guide to make sure I didn’t miss any of the beautiful but run-down city’s delights.
But when it comes to hotels and restaurants, everyone has their own budget and taste. Remember that deals get more expensive as they become more popular, so it’s possible that the hot new deal in your Caribbean travel guide isn’t much of a deal anymore now that it’s more expensive. And sometimes the places are full of foreigners and travelers like you, so you can’t always count on your Caribbean travel guide to point you in the right direction.
Then, if you look around on your own, you’ll find good rooms at prices you can afford. They might be in out-of-the-way places that the people who write Caribbean travel guides don’t know about. Don’t forget that you’re much more likely to get what you want out of your trip now that you’re there.
So, to wrap it up, don’t be a sad person who writes to say “it wasn’t like what you said in the book.”
Here’s a tip: open your eyes, and if you’re on a Spanish island, make sure you can speak some of the local language. The locals will treat you so much better in the less-visited places if you can speak some of their language. Also, take your time to explore on your own.