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Travel Books beyond Europe

I love the Rick Steves guidebooks. They are my top travel companion and have given us amazing trips and memories throughout Europe. I gift them. I share them. I read them even when I don't have a trip planned because they are just perfect.

Unfortunately, anytime we travel to a non-European destination I am at a loss for where to go for the best information. I usually read articles online but I feel like I continue to stumble upon generic content.

If you're traveling in the US or anywhere else, where do you go for the best back-door/off-the-beaten-path tips?! Fodor's? Lonely Planet? Something else?

Any chance Rick Steves can create a series of books for the rest of the world too? (:

Thanks in advance! (Currently planning a trip to Hawaii)

Posted by
1745 posts

Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Bradt--mostly it depends on the place and when the book was updated.

Posted by
533 posts

Louise, you're not the only person who feels this way. One of the things I love about RS guidebooks is he lets you know when the next edition will be available and so does Lonely Planet. Furthermore, you can buy Lonely Planet books on this website under the Eastern Europe category. When I travel beyond Europe, Lonely Planet is what I buy and sometimes I also order a Rough Guides but I wait until the last minute before doing so in case a new edition comes out. Unfortunately, Rough Guides, Fodor's, Frommers, and Bradt's do not let you know when the next book will come out.

Posted by
1837 posts

For backdoor/off the beaten path suggestions we've had good luck with the "Backroads" series of guides from DK publishing. We like the DK country guides in general, but we've found that the Backroads series is especially good for independent driving adventures.
Check on Amazon for (slightly) older editions covering whatever country you're interested in - can usually find used copies for just a few dollars.

Posted by
2455 posts

Louise, I too am a fan of Lonely Planet, DK & Rough Guide. This forum has also been my go to resource for Europe & elsewhere. The “Beyond Europe” category on RS Destination Q & A may be helpful.

Have you chosen an Island to visit in HA? We had to cancel last year at this time due to the lockdown. Enjoy your planning!

Posted by
754 posts

Definitely the blue books for all of Hawaii.

Robert Young Pelton's - the Worlds Most Dangerous Places. (Yes, I have been to a few. No, I didn't intend to, and I hope never to again.)

Posted by
533 posts

That sounds like an interesting story KGC, what were the names of the places?

Posted by
754 posts

I did three all expense paid tours of SE Asia, mostly Iraq and Afghanistan, with a few side trips to places like Kuwait (not too bad), and Qatar (interesting). I can't recommend being a tourist in that part of the world.

Posted by
3586 posts

First I head to my local library (or pre-order them on line for delivery to local library) and check out a variety of publisher's offerings for my country of choice (even if a year or two out of date). Some won't suit my purpose, one or two will. I then buy one of the current year's edition.

Posted by
4459 posts

In general, I like Lonely Planet. Lots of info in a small space, relatively comprehensive, uncluttered with glossy pictures and rhapsodic text. I agree with the suggestion to check out a variety of guidebooks if your library has them, see which seem most useful and portable (DKs are beautiful but heavy), then buy the latest edition of whichever works best for you.

The Michelin Green Guides are very good for sightseeing but their hotel and restaurant listings seem to be pretty high-end and sparse (also true of DK).

Some books are useful for inspiration and choosing where you want to go and what you want to see, including those coffee-table photo books if you like them. Fewer books are useful for detailed planning and taking with you. That's where I think RS and Lonely Planet shine.

Posted by
690 posts

Agree with you regarding the RS guidebooks! When I'm planning a trip outside of his coverage area I'll go to the library and thumb through the books they have on the area. Then I'll purchase the one that seems the best for my needs for that particular location. Most recently it was the Lonely Planet's Peru.

Posted by
2721 posts

We went to Hawaii for the first time in 2018. Someone on the forum recommended the series The Ultimate ——-Guidebook by Andrew Doughty. They are individually titled by the name of each island and then the word Revealed. They are wonderful for various islands, I highly recommend.