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Guide book hints

Just received my Best of Europe Guidebook for my 21 days in Europe trip. There is no way I can carry that heavy book with me everyday. Plan on separating and pulling out the parts I need for each part of the trip. Looking for what works to keep the pages organized so I don't end up with papers everywhere. Please share what worked for you.

Posted by
19215 posts

I use a low-tech approach. I staple book sections together, separating sightseeing and restaurant info for large cities into separate bundles. Some photocopying is required, and this process always takes a lot longer than I expect. Not something to tackle the day of departure.

Since staples tend to work their way through the thin guidebook pages, I've found it very helpful to cut a small rectangle out of a manilla envelope, wrap it around the top left corner of the packet and staple through it. Yes, there are times I wish I had a heavy-duty stapler. I do at least have a good-quality standard stapler.

For a fancier approach, check out the services offered by places like Kinko's.

Posted by
6082 posts

I cut out the sections I need, staple each section independently, and then use a binder clip to hold the bunch together. That wad goes in a plastic baggie to keep it all together, and each section is discarded when I'm done with it. Not neat and pretty but it works.

Posted by
247 posts

Go to a office supply store an buy a pack of plastic binder covers with slip on plastic binder. We used to use them as report covers many years ago. Cut them to the size of tour book. The pages can’t be very thick and they will pop apart if you aren’t careful, but it protects the booklet. I put all the booklets in a zip lock bag and just took out the one needed. For your trip you can change covers as needed as there is only a limited number of covers in the package. My stappler wasn’t strong enough. Have a great adventure.

Posted by
4021 posts

I tend to do a lot of research for my trips and end up utilizing multiple guide books. For the most part I end up copying pages from library guidebooks or the guidebooks I own For museums and other sites, I take the floor plan, etc. and make a separate little packet. Also, like acraven, I like the restaurants separate (by city). I don't copy/bring pages I know I won't use. I fold the copies in half and put in individual. I ziplock bags for each city/location. I toss the packets as I travel. Actually I usually leave them with the inn keeper how now has packets of info to give guests and the walk out the door for the day.

Posted by
1029 posts

I also use the RS page binders linked above. They work very well and they are reusable and pretty sturdy.

Posted by
6355 posts

I used a single hole punch to make a hole and then used a loose leaf ring through the hole to keep them together. It worked much better than staples and, unlike the RS (or other brand) binders, you can flip through and put any page on top when you need it handy.

Posted by
8456 posts

That IS a thick guide book. For my 21BOE, I packed the whole thing and discarded sections as I went. I carried it in my bus bag on travel days but left it in the room on days we were in a city or pulled out what I needed for that city. I never toted it around with me when I was touring.

Now I do overkill by purchasing (or getting free if I'm signed up for a trip) the paper one for planning and then downloading the e-book to take with me on my iPad Mini. I do NOT like the e-books for planning - I need paper for that.

If you just take sections, be sure to take the Index so you can find things!

Posted by
256 posts

For my most recent trips, my organizational method has been very effective, and only three steps!

  1. Carefully research and purchase the best reviewed guidebooks.
  2. Accidentally leave them at home.
  3. No disorganized papers! (groan)

Assuming you'll be much more responsible than I have been lately, my two favorite organizational methods are either a mini-binder or one of those folders that has elastic bands to keep everything sealed up. I like to travel with two folders and have one for tickets, maps, etc., and the other for any paper memorabilia and souvenirs I accumulate. The mini-binder is probably overkill for a non-work trip.

Posted by
3789 posts

Living in Canada, it isn't cost effective to order RS binder covers, but I made them as described by racquet588. I only took one, so other chapters were stapled down the spine and all saved in a ziplock bag. I added details from other guides on Post It notes to the relevant pages. I rarely include the restaurant or hotel sections. Chapter tossed as finished. I agree paper is thin and staples wear through quickly. I'll have to try the reinforced method if it won't make it too thick for the spine 'binder'.

Posted by
1980 posts

I broke the spine at the front and back of each section I wanted. Then used an exacto knife to score the pages from the book. The glue came out intact with the pages.

I did as racquet588 described, using clear plastic report binders trimmed to size to protect the pages. I'm bringing just one (trimmed to fit) slip on page binder to hold together the section I'm carrying that day.

Posted by
8456 posts

Amy!! Oh yes...have used that method as well!!

Posted by
54 posts

This a common discussion - here's one from 2016

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tours/slicing-up-guidebook

I also am a cut-up guidebook traveler. I discard the sections on hotels, shopping and whatever I don't need. The basic info (history, country overview, etc.) I take to an office supply store to have coil bound . I staple the smaller sections then reinforce with clear packing tape (or regular Scotch tape) and then use the RS binder cover.

The majority of the RS guidebooks are updated yearly, so I don't get too attached. A gel highlighter doesn't bleed thru. I also bring a 4-color ink pen. I like to highlight in different colors for easier searches. My husband.....does absolutely nothing. I don't even think he reads our guidebooks since he has me.

Video of Rick Steves cutting up a guidebook:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-NdOMLmaFM

Posted by
6763 posts

Go to a Fed Ex store print shop. Ask them to remove the pages you want keep and then have them bind them together. I have done this for many years. I also get Kindle versions of extra Gide books to read in my hotels.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you everyone. I now have plenty of ideas to try.
gtjackets8083 my husband is exactly the same. I want him to share the work load this time but haven't had any success so far.

Posted by
655 posts

Get the kindle version of the guidebook and read it on your ipad.

Posted by
376 posts

I cut out the pages for different regions and go to Staples and have them spiral bound. I usually end up with about 6 little books. I get a clear front and back sheet. I like to put the metro map on the back page so I can easily look at it for the location I'm in or in your case, maybe the page with the local language - ya know, the hello, thank you, where is the bathroom language page. Then I only have to carry one light small spiral book in my day bag:)

Posted by
14415 posts

I use a box cutter and the adhesive on the pages usually is enough to keep each section together. For those that don't and for short sections I just use large or small paper clips, maybe a binder clip or two.

Posted by
4 posts

I'm a planner. So I make a personal guide book for each of my trips using several different sources. I either print it out before my trip or just store it as a google document on my tablet. For me planning the trip is almost as much fun as the travel.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have gone on 17 RS tours over the last 19 years and admit that I have always taken along the entire RS guide book for each tour. I pack light enough after all these trips that the weight of one of his guide books does not make a difference to me.

Posted by
97 posts

I'm also a book breaker and a minimalist. Like CWsocial I break the spine so the glue keeps a section intact then pull out the irrelevant pages. I staple near the edge as well. (Pessimist?) Then I use clear packing tape for the first and last pages of each section to create a cover, and slip all sections into a ziplock bag. On the tour I rip out relevant city maps to mark as we take our introductory walk. My husband is the designated landmark hawk, I take notes on the map. I'm determined not to get lost again like we did in Lucca, missing the bus meeting time by 20 minutes.

Posted by
61 posts

I took a Rick Steves book and another guide book with me to Ireland. The truth is that I had read them and researched so much ahead of time, I never referred to them once. Any spur of the moment questions were answered with internet on my iPad or phone.