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Guide Book advice

This may be silly, but I have 2019 Rick Steves Italy Guide book for my ill-fated 2020 "trip of a lifetime" that I meticulously planned using RIck's book and video. I am now going to go the small tour route and am going on the RS Best of Italy Tour in September. Does anyone know if there are major changes from the 2019 Italy book that would cause me to need to buy another book...especially since I am going to be on a guided tour?

Thanks...Emily

Posted by
5262 posts

Some information has changed since 2019 so a new guidebook would be a good idea.

Having said this, I believe you get a guidebook when you sign up for a RS tour.

Happy planning!

Edited to add…
Ha! I was too slow typing (on my cell phone since my computer is not working properly) Horsewoofie beat me to it!

Posted by
66 posts

Rick’s guide books and very good, but not the only game in town. I always plan our trips using Eyewitness and Frommer’s (and Blue Guide when appropriate) in addition to the RS guide. Gives you a different perspective and often provides insight on places RS guides don’t cover.

Posted by
960 posts

Rick's guide books are limited to what Rick likes or thinks is important. He does, sometimes, have OK advice on accessing a particular major venue or a self-guided map. However, his info is sometimes out-dated as entrances change, access routes are unavailable, etc.

As noted above, I also use a number of guide books and on-line info. Especially if going off to someplace on your own not included on the tour, check that Rick's (or any guide book's) info is current. As well as the official websites for venues, there are a number of travel blogs and vlogs these days which often have access info better than RS's.

Posted by
498 posts

I’ll give the same advice I gave back when I was a bookseller. Go to your public library and check out several different publishers books on Italy. Look them over, compare formats and style and see which one seems best for your approach to travel. Then buy from your friendly book store the most current one. But do realize that information will be one year old, at least. It pays to double check listed entry times and costs online to be sure.

Posted by
2238 posts

I would strongly suggest that you double-check online and websites for any specific site or restaurant you plan to visit on your own. We use the RS guidebooks for planning, but as tourist sites continue to modify their policies, it’s a changing game. When you’re on a RS tour, you still have free time to plan what you want to see and up-to-date info is crucial.

Posted by
2716 posts

2019 was pre-pandemic. The new book is 2022. Yes, the main sites are still the same but many businesses and other things have changed. We’ve been on many RS tours. Some guides refer to the book a lot, some hardly at all. But best to have it and have the latest edition. Considering what you are spending on this trip a new book is budget dust. Get the new book and enjoy your trip!

Posted by
14293 posts

Vote #2 for Patty's information. This also includes checking any sites you want to visit on your own for open/close times/days. If you are going to do extra things (thinking something like the Borghese Gallery in Rome) forum folks can guide you on ticketing if you can't figure it out from the museum/venue website.

Best of Italy is a terrific trip. I'm sure you will enjoy it! Are you going to arrive a few days early? Stay a few days late, lol??

editing to add: In case you are interested, here is my Trip Report for this tour from 2022.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/best-of-italy-sept-30-october-16-2022

Posted by
15729 posts

I don't see why you can't use a five year old guidebook. Afterall, nothing major happened since then that might have an effect on travel. (Saracasm.)

Get the new guidebook. I thought you get one when you book the tour?

Posted by
4605 posts

To paraphrase Rick, it's silly to plan to spend thousands of dollars on a trip and not $30 for a guidebook.

I also second the reminder that while he's currently the Big Kahuna of travel, Fodors and Frommers have been at it longer and do a fine job. Again it's a small investment with big returns.

Posted by
534 posts

In your RS trip portal, it will tell you when you can order your free copy of the current guidebook for the trip. We're just back from our 3rd RS tour. I don't rely on any guide book to be the be all, end all, because info changes rapidly. Obviously, there's a great amount of helpful info that won't change, but I always check websites for current info for specific sites, (if we're on our own) and don't rely on a guidebook to alway be correct. And yes, being on an organized tour, you will certainly have a lot of info from your guide, but having the guidebook sort of adds a little extra info while on the ground that maybe you hadn't thought about, but now on the tour, you think you'd like a little more info.

I also always do what Lyndash suggests. I check out travel books at the library from different author's to get ideas before my trip.