There’s nothing wrong with getting information on your holiday destination from the internet, if you don’t mind the grey printouts that suck the joy out of the sunniest of plans. It really seems quite easy; just type ‘things to do in Thailand’ for example and you will be presented with lots of suggestions for activities […]
There’s nothing wrong with getting information on your holiday destination from the internet, if you don’t mind the grey printouts that suck the joy out of the sunniest of plans. It really seems quite easy; just type ‘things to do in Thailand’ for example and you will be presented with lots of suggestions for activities that may or may not be of interest to you. To hone your search to your particular areas of interest, you really need to know something about your intended destination, and to know something about your intended destination you need to do the research. You see the problem.
On the other hand, there is the Travel Guide; the colourful, beautifully illustrated and researched books that provide the reader with a virtual tour of the beauty spots and historical gems the world has to offer. There are of course digital guides available, but leafing through the pages of a book turns choosing a holiday into a pleasure rather than a chore. Borrow a handful from the library make yourself a cup of tea and pull a chair up to the radiator. Then flick through the pages and decide between a visit to the Greek temples at Selinunte in Sicily or a visit to the jazz and class Festival de Música da Costa do Estoril in Portugal in July. Or maybe you’re more of an adventure holiday person and fancy surfing on the beaches around Tofino on Canada’s Vancouver Island or skiing on the Bavarian Alps in Germany. Once you have made your decision the travel guide will advise you on the type and price of accommodation, entertainment and food in the area.
Be careful about the type of guide you borrow. There are many to choose from and they are written with different traveller in mind. The young and trendy might prefer Time Out whereas the cultural tourist would probably prefer a Cadogan or Blue Guide. Frommer’s are probably best for the older person on a budget. Some people prefer a visual tour, and for those I would recommend the DK Eyewitness guides, but it is hard to beat Lonely Planet for quality and quantity of information. Whatever you choose, when you arrive at your destination, you can whip a guide out of your pocket when you have a spare couple of hours in Venice or Istanbul, and be equipped with all the information you need to get the best cup of coffee locally or buy yourself that rug you always fancied hanging on the living room wall. You will laugh at that printout you see clutched in the sweaty palm of your fellow travellers in the safe knowledge that not everything gleaned from Google is better.
By Lesley Kavanagh, Donabate Library