Very enjoyable postings here! Lots of creativity.
Here is what works for me. I rip up my guide books ( I agree, it is painful…but kind of athletic, too). I don't want to have my iPhone or iPad out as I am riding a metro or bus. If I am walking to locations…..same thing. You are really putting a target on your back.
I dissect my guide book depending on locations. I staple them together with a post-it tag identifying the location. Usually they are color coded. If I am exploring a big city with many sites, I take the sections of the guidebook that I will visiting that day (or might visit). Everything else stays in the hotel room. Same thing with small towns or brief tour stops. Since my RS hotel reservations are already booked….no need to tote around the sections about where to sleep. Since my books are ripped up and tagged…..no need to carry the index or table of contents……and the great photos in them (although I do make note of cool images that I want to shoot myself). Likewise any section that is not relevant gets left at home. My daily backpack becomes lighter and my luggage, too.
Sometimes when I sit at a restaurant, park bench, bar, medieval wall, church/basilica (getting some divine directions), whatever…..I drag out my "pages du jour" and do some planning. Again, not quite as conspicuous as having an electronic device.
One of my big issues with my plan is when the chapters/sections overlap…..as in the last page of the one site/museum/city is on the back of the first page of the next site/museum/city (which is not on "today's" itinerary)……do you take both sections…..or copy the overlaps…..or just decide that particular painting/statue/city was not that cool anyway :-)
This works for me. Do what works best for you. FWIW……my RS guidebook is already "filleted" and tagged for my upcoming trip.