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RS Italy Guidebook 2017 vs. RS Italy Guidebook 2018

Taking the RS MyWay Italy tour in a few months so hotels and transportation are set. Was thinking about buying the RS Italy 2017 guidebook vs. the newer 2018 to save a few bucks. I figured since we're on the tour already, the tour manager can update us if needed on any issues for 2018. Is it better to go with the latest, greatest edition or is the 2017 book good enough for our purposes (best sites to see, general descriptions, tips and tricks, etc)? Thoughts?

Posted by
6758 posts

Are the changes between the editions focused on things you really care about? If they are marginal/ minor changes, then I would say what's the point of paying more for something of zero value to you? I don't use guidebooks for pricing or opening times info (or any type of info that needs to be current), so I personally can get by with a library version of any guidebook most of the time (even more than a year old).

Posted by
16869 posts

No, I don't recommend that "budget" move. Things change and a few dollars is worthwhile to get the latest edition. Also, as a tour member, you get a $100 per household credit to spend in the Ricks Steves Travel Store, primarily to get your books. Or maybe there's a discount at Amazon; whatever. Your tour manager will refer to page numbers in the current book and will be more focused on knowing whether anything has changed since that publication, which everyone would need to know, not since a previous edition.

Posted by
21260 posts

Come on -- you are spending several thousand dollars for this trip and you are fessing about saving 5 buck? Talk about a false savings. Skip an afternoon gelato or espresso so you can afford the most recent guidebook.

Posted by
35 posts

Really? $100 bucks? Don't know how I missed that one. How do I get that started? Just put our deposit down but didn't see anything about a store credit in the pdf info files they sent with it.

Update: Never mind. Just found this. Guess I have to wait a few days...

About 35 days after you've booked your tour, we'll email you a Rick Steves Travel Store promo code with a store credit to cover the purchase of your Tour Kit. Any remaining balance of your store credit can be used toward additional items during the same shopping session.

Posted by
2525 posts

Current factual information is valuable to me when spending lottsa money and time on a great trip.

Posted by
9835 posts

FWIW I always buy the latest books. We spent an enormous amount of money to go on an 8 week Grand Tour (self-guided) last fall. I spent $150 on books to ensure I had the latest info.

If you know what you need to know (hours of operation for a museum) you can easily look it up online. But if you do not know a location, how do you know what you might be missing? Walking directions get revised, new sites get added, tired ones may be removed. Restaurant lists surely change, also R.S. has the best "Connections" sections in his book.

Posted by
2490 posts

One more astonishing post about saving $10-15 on a trip that cost thousands by carrying a guide book with old information. Moreover, this is an unguided tour. Why even think about an outdated guide book?

Posted by
35 posts

Hi Alan,
I'm so glad I could astonish you with my "silly" question. I think the Grumps Tour has some available spaces left for you... Thanks to everyone else (not you either, Frank) who actually tried to be helpful and not condescending.

Posted by
3469 posts

Things change so quickly now, I would just go ahead and get the new book. Sure, Rome and the colosseum is still where it always was, but the rules for how and when you get to enter have changed. The new guide book has all the latest on important things like that.

Posted by
6758 posts

I think it's a legitimate question to ask whether there's really a difference between two editions of a guidebook (one year apart no less) to make it worthwhile to buy only the latest. In my experience, they usually have 95%+ content overlap, unless it's a "major" update. Similar to college books with their annual new editions with marginal added value (but higher price tags). To say that a one year old guidebook is "outdated" is basically saying that that the travel books at the local library are worthless because they happen to be a few years old. Quite a hyperbole. Italy (especially the south) is not as dynamic as say, Berlin, where there is truly lots of change and new development over relatively short time periods. The sites and their descriptions aren't going to change a whole lot from year to year (and like I said, I don't count on guidebooks for info that needs to be current - I just look it up online). There is no guidebook that's totally accurate, even the "latest".

Posted by
2320 posts

I use out of date guide books all the time for general information and itinerary planning. I'm not going to rely on the specifics in any book for costs, opening times, etc. since even the latest edition can be out of date by the time it's published.

Posted by
153 posts

We have the 2017 book for our May trip. We use it only for basic information, so we bought it on Amazon for a reduced price. I'll spend the money I saved to help pay for the extra fee of buying euros before we leave home😀

Posted by
1615 posts

At first I was going to say, go ahead and use the older edition because you can look up the updates or check on the internet yourself, but Laurel's point about your tour manager referencing specific pages made me stop. The nature of this trip means your tour manager is going to be using this to help your figure out your daily itinerary as opposed to the standard tour where you're following a guide. If you're not on the same page (literally) it's going to take away from your tour time. On our standard tour last summer people had different versions and on the few occasions where we referenced something in the book,, they were fumbling.

Posted by
35 posts

Hi Agnes, This is what I mean. I work in graphics and update material all the time and sometimes that entails just changing "2017" to "2018" and not much more so I wanted to know if people felt it mattered or not to get the latest greatest.

Posted by
35 posts

Hi Patty, That is good information! I didn't think about the pages matching the tour manager's book on the tour. That alone is worth the extra $ I think.

Posted by
2490 posts

Would RS and staff spend 4 months a year in Europe updating the books if it was just changing 2017 to 2018? Having traveled many times in Europe both independently and in RS tours and having wasted real money on non RS guidebooks I can tell you the updated version is worth it. You'll see restaurants, sights, maps changing from edition to edition. Am I a grump? No, but when I see folks posting about a purchase like this given the entirety of a European vacation, well,.. I guess I just don't get it.

Posted by
4637 posts

You don't need to buy the book (unless something changed). I went for three R.S. tours and got package from R.S. - money belt, R.S. guidebook of the tour destination and some other informative stuff.

Posted by
1182 posts

Actually this has changed. RS tour members used to receive a guide book, money belt, earplugs and a few other items. Now they give you a code that gives you $100 credit on their online store.

As mentioned above being able to reference the same page quickly makes the new edition worthwhile.

Posted by
35 posts

I love all your the helpful information from 98% of you. I probably will spring for the 2018 book, not because of Mr. Know-it-all Snarky who seems to think that belittling people is a preferred form of communication, but because of the page matching issue with the tour managers. I've been in that situation before where my material did not match the others and it's annoying and mildly frustrating because you're trying to listen to them while also trying to find their references. So for that alone, I think it's worth it. Thanks to you all...well almost all of you. ;)