Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rick Steves in your Backpack? What Travel Books do You Travel With?

Last month on my travels in France I noticed something interesting. Rick Steves' books were everywhere. I spotted him in the arms of tourists on the trains, on tables in cafes, sticking out of bags in the airport...it was like a game of Where's Steve?

Now Rick Steves is a favorite of mine and I regularly check his travel videos out from the library before a trip. However his books tend to be on the big and bulky side and unless I'm making photocopies of a chapter or certain pages, I've never brought one of his books along on a trip. Apparently I am in the minority. He seems to be a travel security blanket for many. That got me to thinking...if you travel with travel books, which ones are good enough to pack with you in this age of carry-on and weight restricted travel?

I prefer travel books with features such as pull out street or region maps, laminated front and back covers, transit maps (Metro, Tube), color photos and a small size.  Fodor's travel books tend to be a good choice. I usually choose the region or city books such as Paris over France as the books are smaller, lighter and more relevant to my trip. Fodor's also has excellent mobile apps for larger cities such as London and Paris. Lonely Planet books are a good blend of information, practical tips, off the beaten track locations and compact size but usually lack good pictures and maps. My favorite travel books are the Eyewitness Travel Guides by DK. I love the mix of color photos and maps with tips on museums, food, currency, shopping, language and more. They also offer great mobile apps for your phone or iTouch.

Next time you travel, check out what your fellow wanderers are reading on the plane or train. I'm sure you'll spot lots of Rick Steves but hopefully a few other guides as well. Have any favorite travel books to share, leave a comment below.  I'd also like to know if you use your E-reader to take your travel books along with you. Rick Steve's on your Kindle or Nook?

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