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Best of Italy - Disassembling guide book

My husband and I will be starting our Best of Italy tour in just two weeks, so we're now working on what and how to pack. The RS Italy guide book is rather large, and we'd like to take it apart before leaving home, but I realize that once we take it apart, we'll still be taking most of it with us, and I want to make sure that the portions we take are easy to pack, easily accessible, and not falling apart so that we've lost half of the Rome pages before we even get there! (I know myself.) Any suggestions from those of you with experience on RS tours?

Posted by
1535 posts

Take your guidebook to a FedEx Office/Kinkos or other office supply type store. Ask them to slice off the binding. Remove the pages you don't want to take (introduction pages, cities you're not visiting, index) and assemble into bite size pieces (or one big book if you're taking a lot out). Have Kinkos hole-punch the books for a comb or spiral binding (will depend on how big the packets are) and they'll put them together for you. I've done this for three RS tours, works great.

Posted by
643 posts

I rip apart my guide book and then reassemble it back into many slim, individual papers according to each destination on my trip. This way, instead of lugging around a thick guidebook every day, I carry around only the info I need for each city/town.

Posted by
2452 posts

I'm of the carry and rip school. I bring the book (yes, big and weighty) as I like to read it on the plane and in the hotels. But, while touring I break the binding, rip out the pages I'm using that day and use a paper clip. By the end of the day these pages look pretty sad and usually get tossed unless there is one essential to my wife's scrapbook.

Posted by
2887 posts

Binder clips. You can get a tub of 40 for like $6. I rip the books apart into manageable sections. Sometimes one section for one day. Sometimes one section for a whole city. Usually toss each section once it's been used, freeing space in the suitcase as we go.

Posted by
3466 posts

We carefully cut out and staple sections for related areas together so we have only the part we need for a particular day(s). The rest are kept together with a binder clip until needed. After returning we slip the stapled sections back into the covers and hold the whole thing together with binder clips. That way we still have the whole book.

Posted by
3747 posts

I just prepared my RS Spain book last week. Bend the book sharply backwards at the first and last page of a section you want. Then take a knife to run vertically down the bend. ( I don't cut into the outside paper with the book title because I return the sections after the trip. ). Then I pull any pages from that town I don't need. I.e. hotel pages. I staple three staples along the left side to turn the pages into a mini-book. If it's thicker, such as Rome, even after removing unneeded pages, I use a small binder clip. I place all of these booklets into a zipper folder, along with a few pages of interesting info from websites or previous travelers for each locale.

When we're heading to a town, we review the booklet and are ready to go when we arrive.

Posted by
54 posts

For our Scandinavia trip, I cut the big book into smaller books by country using an exacto knife to cut through the binding from the inside. Then I took clear Scotch packing tape and put a strip over the remaining binding for each section. I just shoved the relevant mini-book in the front pocket of my cross-body bag each day and this worked well for us.

It's true that we were carrying pages for the parts of each country we weren't visiting, but I didn't want to have too many booklets to keep track of or stray single pages getting separated and lost. Of the five mini-books, Norway's the thickest one and it's less than a quarter-inch. Estonia is the thinnest, and there's just enough of the original binding left for the tape to hold it together.

Posted by
5195 posts

I will just add that besides maps (I still like a larger paper copy), I have went to just downloading the guide from Kindle onto my smart phone. Simple, Easy, fits into my pocket. If I plan on having data coverage in the country, then even the map goes away and I bookmark points on Google maps or other offline maps. Nice thing with Kindle is that I then can access the guide on my account from any number of devices, Laptop, Notebook, e-reader, etc.

Posted by
3458 posts

I do like Paul and just get the Kindle version. I then use the Kindle reader app on my cell phone or iPad making sure the book is copied in before I head away for my trip. Zero extra weight. I have the entire book in case of unexpected changes to my itinerary.

Posted by
119 posts

I have had Kinkos spiral bind sections of my guidebooks but have also used the stapling method. If taking apart the book to make small sections for different cities, I have stapled the appropriate pages together (as long as they are not to thick to staple) and then use colored duck tape or packing tape over each staple separately to keep from getting my fingers scratched or snagging on clothes.

Posted by
8 posts

I just rip out the pages I want and paper clip together by location. Toss as I go. Keep it simple I say.

Posted by
1054 posts

On my last trip in Italy I ripped out the needed sections and brought them along as individual units. However, I forgot to bring the language cheat-sheet from the back of the book ... and I could have used it every day!
So I recommend looking at the various non-locale sections to check on what you might need.

Posted by
505 posts

We just purchase the Kindle version and then we have access to it on our phones, tablet, etc, wherever we go!

Posted by
245 posts

We just did a disassembly on the RS Scandinavia book and ended up with multiple sections that were very dog-earred and crumpled because the paper is so very thin and lightweight, as Alan alludes to. Unlike him, we want to keep used guidebooks with our notes in them for future reference. So the next time, I will use either the existing front & back cover or some thicker material as substitute covers to protect the pages that we carry around each day.

Posted by
3747 posts

Bobbing4data, the RS store sells folded covers to hold the sections of the tour books. I don't use one, personally, but I've seen them at the store and on the RS website store.

Posted by
9621 posts

The dollar store sells a pack of binder clips for $1.

They can be used for lots of things---to hold pages together, as a cover for a razor, to keep hotel drapes closed so light doesn't get in, to reseal bags of anything you might get along the way--snacks, coffee, etc.

Posted by
214 posts

I tried a guidebook on my Kindle, but the maps were too small to read, and I wasn't able to expand them--that was a couple of years ago and maybe that can be done now. So I returned the Kindle version and, like others, removed pages and used binder clips to hold sections together. Much less expensive than having them bound, and then easy to return them to the rest of the book after the trip.

Posted by
11613 posts

Since you already have the book, I would photocopy the maps (perhaps enlarge them) and then buy the e-version for your phone or tablet.

Posted by
214 posts

Photocopying the maps is a great idea--wish I'd thought of it then! As it happened, I didn't have a copy of the book but was hoping to just rely on the Kindle version, and having bought that, I wouldn't have wanted to purchase the paper copy as well, but I could have gotten one from the library! I'll have to try that next time!

Posted by
28 posts

Thank you to all of you for sharing your tips for disassembling the guide book. I've just finished taking it apart - I still have more than half the book, since Best of Italy covers so many cities! I ended up stapling each section of the book, then I pulled out the roll of clear contact paper that I still have leftover from my kids' school years, when we had to cover each and every book at the beginning of the year. It made a great cover for the staple ends. We have the Rick Steves folder, so I'll keep the section we're using in that, and I purchased a couple of small clear binder cases on clearance to keep the rest of the sections from getting dogeared before we need them.

Thanks again!

Posted by
1211 posts

I used the RS folder things for my disassembled guidebooks. They didn't work. The contents kept popping out and the rains of Ireland soaked the covers and wrecked them (the covers, not the pages, which hold up pretty well to rain). By halfway through the trip they were discarded in irritation.

I had much better success with carefully splitting the book. The spine glue was still holding the various sections in place but I reinforced it with a few staples. Then I ran packing tape down the spine covering the staples, and also along the centre page spread. They held up wonderfully!

I have also had sections spiral bound and it was wonderful but the free method of staples and tape held up just as well (better, in fact). If you spiral bind, make sure they use the wire binding and not the flat plastic type.

Posted by
361 posts

I cut up the Scotland guidebook for the first time to use on my recent tour and used the RS plastic folders. The spine kept coming off, which was annoying. I guess it was worth it to cut it up and bring only the pages that I needed, although I didn't refer to it as often as I thought I would. I think this was because I was on a RS tour and didn't need to figure out a lot of things to do on my own. I love Rick's guidebooks, though, and will continue to get them as needed for my travels. Next time, I'll use the staple or binder methods.

Posted by
6507 posts

Like a poster above, I have taken guide books to FedExKinkos for years. They remove the binder/back of the book, I choose the sections I want, and they rebind itwith wither spiral(beat) or flat bi ding. It is inexpensive and the newly formatted book holds up well as I travel.

Posted by
208 posts

If you have access to a decent-sized public library's electronic collection, see if you can "check out" the electronic version of the RS book (even an older edition - when you are on tour, you primarily need the historical info. You also need maps, but read on re e-maps.) just prior to departure. Most of the (California) libraries I access offer RS books via Overdrive and if you're lucky, you can get the book (for free) for three weeks. It's also a way to see if you might prefer to purchase e-editions in the future. A major issue with the e-editions is that the maps cannot be enlarged on an e-device (so you can't pinch and zoom a map). If you need the maps, bring the hard copies, as the e-edition maps are next to useless because of their small size. You will also need to test an e-copy on the device you're planning to read it on. The Italy book was fine on our iPad and Kindle Fire but unusable on my old Galaxy S3 because it took forever to load and navigate on the latter.

And for some inexplicable reason, Ravenna has been left out of the 2017 book (both the hard copy and the e-copy). If Ravenna is on your itinerary, copy the pages from the 2016 book.

Posted by
744 posts

I used the RS folders for our VFR tour in May. They were fine for the smaller Venice and Florence sections, but the Rome section was a little too thick and the plastic spine would slip off. I got the folder things because they were cheap, $1 each, I think, and seemed a little spiffier. But, honestly, stapling the pages together would work perfectly well for the purpose. Just take your time getting the pages out of the book in the first place. Make sure you bend the book spine firmly to expose the sections you want to remove, then cut deeply with a sharp utility knife or Xacto.

EDIT: Sorry, just saw that the post was from awhile back and the OP took their book apart last month. Never mind.