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bringing the whole tour book vs pages for towns actually on the itinerary

Just received our final paperwork for the BOE in 21 days tour. It recommends bringing the whole tour book along as our guide will be referring to it along the way.
Is this truly necessary? It seems to run counter to the "pack light" mantra. My plan was to cut out the pages for the places we'll actually be visiting rather than lug along that whole book (did that for our Paris and HOF tour 2 years ago and did just fine). After all, why would the shop sell the page binders if we weren't meant to cut the pages from the book?

Posted by
3762 posts

I did that once, thinking I was being oh so smart. And can't tell you how many times I wanted to refer to another section that I had left at home. Now I bring the whole book, but remove a particular section each day to bring with me for that day. But the rest of the book is back at the hotel so I can refer to it as needed ( evenings, or on the bus/train).

Posted by
11465 posts

Make sure if you pull out sections, you also pull out the table of contents, lol!!

I can't remember if that BOE book has hotels. If it does, definitely pull out those sections and leave them at home.

It has been a long time since I did this tour (2014) but I think I did not take the book and regretted it. I think I was trying to get by with things on Kindle and that was terrible. I don't mind e-guidebooks now on my iPad Mini but the Kindle was awful.

This is still the top of my list for favorite tours! Wow, what a terrific time! Do plan to do some kind of journal - even just short notes to yourself every day. You will see SO much you will forget some by the end!


Posted by
1428 posts

Why take the book at all? Buy the ebook version and it will take up zero space!

Posted by
15358 posts

You won't need to carry the book around. You can leave it on the bus and just pull out the pages you need for free time as you get to each place. If you cut out pages beforehand, it will be a mess to keep the 1000 pages in any order or find stuff when it's in dozens of pieces.

I've used 2-3 RS guides in ebook format. It's pretty easy on my home computer, but not very easy on my basic B&W Kindle. If you are only using it as a back-up, it could be a good idea and worth the $30 investment. You can keep it on your smartphone if you aren't taking an e-reader. Then, yes, cut up the book and take only what you need.

Posted by
537 posts

Agree. Why take a physical copy when you can get digital versions?

That's how I travel and I'll never go back to heavy books.

Posted by
42 posts

I'm with CJean. I took a 14 day BOE a few years ago and ripped out pages for places visited. Was I sorry!! There is lots of information you want to have, even though its not specifically in the pages for a particular place. I've never seen anyone on 13 tours use the ebook version of a guidebook, and it seems very awkward to me, although I read (novels) from a Kindle all the time. I've never tried the guidebooks that way.

Posted by
1241 posts

So, no consensus here. Equally compelling reasons.

That Best of Europe book is a monster (thick and heavy) but I’ll be taking hard copy next year only because I enjoy physical books more than ebooks. I will probably rip the book apart and bind the necessary parts. It’s easy. And you can always include the peripheral and support material you wish.

Another issue has been pointed out in a similar thread: your guide will be referring to page numbers in the book and there are no direct analogs in the digital versions.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks for all the thoughts.

Best of Europe is not available in iBooks. My daughter was able to download in her Kindle app, so we're going with a hybrid method. I will be the keeper of the little binders; she will be the keeper of the book.

I will talk to our tour guide and ask that in addition to telling us what page to look at, that the section is mentioned (this particular book doesn't show page numbers in the app).

I just really don't want to lug that monster of a book around for three weeks, especially since it will spend most of its time in a suitcase. I won't cart it around in my back pack all day!

Posted by
2788 posts

I have taken 16 RS tours, soon to be 17, and on each one of them I have taken the entire RS guide book that covers the area of the tour. After all of those trips to Europe I have learned how to pack very light and taking the entire book is not a problem in my one 21/22" RS roller bag.

Posted by
5528 posts

We took the BOE in 2011, and again in 2018. The books were very different - and definitely did not improve. The older book had thinner paper, black and white photos, and covered more places. The 2018 book was heavy, with heavy paper and color photos, and left out a number of places we were interested in. We left that one in a hotel at the end of our trip. We have, however, kept the old one. Yes, the prices are outdated, but there's so much more information!

And yes, we did register our observations on the guidebook page of this Forum.

Posted by
1940 posts

For me, it's the index that I tend to forget to take with me if I've only chopped out certain sections, i.e., this year we're going to Budapest but not the rest of Hungary, so I'm only taking the first half of the book plus the survival phrases and the index.

Posted by
7 posts

I took the 21 BOE tour last summer. Before we left we ripped the book apart and then went to an office store and had the individual sections spiral bound (cost less than $20). After each country we just left the spiral section behind in the hotel lobby and our bags got lighter.

This trip is amazing and very active. Having the relevant parts of the book with us on the tour bus was invaluable even though I read the entire book multiple times before leaving for the trip.

Posted by
101 posts

I'm just buying the Kindle versions of the guidebooks and loading them on my phone for our upcoming tour.