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Slicing up Guidebook

Did anyone do this? Did it work better than hauling whole book around? How did you get discounts, at the places RS states will give one, if you show book? Thanks.

~Donya

Posted by
2220 posts

I do rip pages out of mine to keep my packing as light as possible. I can't weigh in on the discounts - I've never taken advantage of any.

Posted by
1068 posts

I do slice it up and have gotten discounts (a few.) I just say "You give discounts for RS?" and get them....to date, no one has asked to see the book. But it might not always work.....so far, knock on wood!

Posted by
2095 posts

Yes, I do split them up, too, taking only the relevant parts with me. Some of his books are fairly weighty and I don't always need the entire book with me. For the Villages South England tour I'll be going on soon, I tore out and stapled together only the parts of RS England book that I will be needing to reference. Like some of the other posters, no one has actually asked me to produce the entire book and if they did, I'd probably just show them the pages I've brought with me and hope that would be enough proof.

Posted by
810 posts

How did you get discounts, at the places RS states will give one, if you show book?

I brought the book cover.

Posted by
127 posts

I do this. Rick Steves guidebooks are not the Bible (except maybe to his groupies). On my Best of Southern Italy tour, for example, the tour was maybe a sixth of the entire Italy guide- and most of that was Rome. Why haul around all that "wisdom" about Florence, Venice, and Tuscany when you are not going there?

BTW, I split the sliced pages up to fit my itinerary. So, on any given day I only had the relevant pages. I kept them together by cutting down "report cover pages" from the office supply store.

Posted by
5926 posts

Here's what I do - every time:
1. When I have my itinerary finalized and nailed down, I note the sections I want to keep and those I don't want to carry around.
2. Go to Kinkos or similar copy shop. Have them slice off the binding, then hand the book (now loose) back to you.
3. Pull out the pages you don't need on your trip. Hand the remaining pages (with cover and index pages) back to the attendant.
4. Have them do a spiral/coil/comb binding on it. They hand it back to you BETTER than the original!
How is it better? With a spiral binding, the book now LAYS FLAT and can be folded back on itself, too. It's also a fraction of the original's weight and bulk. Yeah, it costs a few dollars - not a big deal. I usually also have the electronic version of travel books on my iPad, but for the really critical one, I want a paper backup, too.
On previous trips, I would be in a cafe or museum with my neat little spiral-bound Rick book, and someone else with a standard Rick book would come up to me and ask where I got mine...

Posted by
6147 posts

Whether or not I haul the whole book, I will "slice" up the guide so while out on a town I only have the applicable section. It just fits easily in my pocket, (If I have not purchased one of the pocket guides)

I will admit though, as I have better and better data coverage, print guidebooks are falling by the wayside, better access to restaurants, online guides and poscast tours, and in the rare event I need a hotel, immediate booking.

Posted by
672 posts

I take my book to FedEx and have them cut the spine off. Then, I take the pages home and remove the ones not relevant to my upcoming trip and take those pages back to FedEx to be spiral bound with the smallest spiral that will still allow me to open the book flat. I go one step farther and toss pages as I leave each city, keeping a few pages for my journal. By the time I leave for home, there's no book left - a little more room for a souvenir or two.

Posted by
2591 posts

We take the book to Europe, then tear out the portions we need every day, use a paper clip or such, or just ask the hotel clerk to staple it. I like to be able to fold it to fit in my pocket.

Posted by
779 posts

Yes, I cut it up and reinforce with clear packing tape. This year I will keep the cover portion intact for possible discounts.

It is way lighter to not haul the book around

Posted by
11294 posts

I once did have to show my RS book to get an RS discount, at a hotel in Seville. I like the idea of bringing the book cover.

I also cut up my guidebooks. My next trip is to Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool. So, I had to buy Great Britain guidebooks, which tend to be large since it's a large area, and only need the information in a two chapters in each book. There's no way I'm lugging those big books just for two chapters each.

I don't have a tablet, and I find it hard to read guidebooks on my phone, so I still use paper ones. But, as you can see, there are many different ways to do this.

Posted by
27 posts

To people who think that slicing up a book is terrible, you need to stop thinking of these as "books," and start thinking of them as "guides." They are more like maps. You don't keep old, outdated maps and expect to use them forever, do you? Phone books are another example. They are a reference in book form, but not a real book. You get rid of them when replaced by a new one.

Real books are useful forever.

You may want to keep the guidebook as a souvenir. In that case, buy one to keep, and one to cut up and take with you.

Posted by
5219 posts

Wow, David and Nancy, what a great idea! I love the idea of a spiral bound guidebook. Thanks!

Posted by
536 posts

It's more difficult to divide a city guidebook. The Paris guidebook is pretty large but I'm sure I would discover I needed a topic I left behind. Sometimes spontaneity takes you to unexpected locations!

Posted by
16883 posts

Since the cover has maps right inside, I often keep those together. A small binder clip holds firmly.

Posted by
3689 posts

Our last trip was to two different countries, and only a small part of one of them. By taking out the sections we needed, we saved just over a pound and a half of weight!! We stapled related sections areas together so we had only the part we needed for a particular day(s). Kept the rest together with a binder clip. Upon returning we slipped the stapled sections back into the covers. We hold them together with binder clips and still have the whole books.

Posted by
646 posts

I use a box knife and hold the pieces together with mini binder clips. I freely combine pieces from more than one guide plus stuff printed off the net. I throw the pages away as we go. During the day, I take only the pages we need for that day.

Posted by
223 posts

I do hate to destroy a book! But the point that these are "guides" rather than books to keep is a good one. I'm trying to decide whether to take out the relevant sections for Village Italy or just bring the whole book, and keep going back and forth on what I want to do. Definitely spending more mental energy than this is probably worth!

Posted by
8356 posts

I do exactly what David does at FedEx Office, formerly Kinkos. It lightens your load and is easy to use when done this way. It is especially helpful for regions that don't have their own small guidebook available.. I buy the large country book such as France or Italy and bind the pages from the region I will be visiting, such as the Piemonte or Dolomites, for example..

Posted by
1114 posts

I used to prepare for each trip by laboriously cutting out many relevant sections of the Guidebooks and re-binding the individual sections with duct tape. (I don't need the weight of Rome and Naples if I'm just going to Tuscany and Umbria.) However, I now just cut out relevant sections, carefully staple the very edge of each section, to hold it together, and take the separate sections with me in a big ziplock bag. I can do this because I now take along a couple of the WONDERFUL "Guidebook Page Binders" from the RS Travel Store. While on the road, each evening I pop the next day's pages into a page binder, and usually toss the used sections. The binders can be found on the Travel Store link under "Handy Extras." Scroll all the way to the end of "Handy Extras." For $2.99 each, these are great, even if they don't lie flat. (I even use them for non-RS travel book sections - which is why I carry two!). One note: If there are only a few pages in a binder, they tend to slip out. I need to put at least 10 pages in a binder for them to stay in snugly. Also: the binder cover also looks like a Rick Steves Guidebook cover, so when asking for a RS discount, etc., in a restaurant, I've never had a question about "showing the complete book" when the pages are in one of these binders.

Posted by
4783 posts

I carefully pull the pages from the binding that are relevant to each location and add these to the pages from other websites, a summary page & train station-to-hotel Google map, etc. that I want.

When we're on the train to the next location, I pull out the town's pages. We scan through them and decide what we would like to do first at that location.

I keep the RS book pages and return them back to the book when I'm back home. I keep a few of the web pages & also our ticket stubs to remind me of places or favorite restaurants we visited. Those go into a plastic folder for each trip that contains those along with maps & my Excel itinerary details.

Posted by
223 posts

Well, inspired by all, I went ahead and dismembered the book. Amazing difference in what I need for my trip when compared to the whole thing. I stapled chapters together, and when I return, I can put them back in the rest of the book and use a rubber band to hold it together. But it did feel odd to do that to a book!!

Posted by
531 posts

And if you have no need for the pages after you leave a city, throw them away and lighten the load.

Posted by
379 posts

I experimented with an eletronic version of the guide but found that much to hard to work with when out and about.

I slice the book up and take on the parts dealing with where I am going as well as the general information parts about the country I am visiting. When I am done with a city, I either toss the pages or sometimes I leave then in a drawer in the hopes another traveler may find them useful.

If you want to do it on the cheap, go to a used book store and buy a last year's guide. You may not feel quite as bad slicing it up, and you get to keep the newer guide they send you.

Posted by
400 posts

its too bad the books don't come in PDF. I'd be inclined to print out what I needed, and take these with me, keeping the book intact. I do not like cutting mine up. The electronic versions are ok for some things, but they are such a pain for going back and forth, like referencing a map.

Posted by
2353 posts

This topic is discussed often which is good because it gives people opportunities to think about it. Destroying a book is an anathema. To slice up a book is akin to book burning.

I never could bring myself to cut one up! So grateful for the digital versions!

Posted by
367 posts

I also take out only the pages need, staple them together and toss as I go .

Posted by
11744 posts

Please....if you do decide to slice up your guidebook, do it quickly so the book doesn't suffer. You don't want to get in dutch with the ASPCRSG.

Posted by
630 posts

its too bad the books don't come in PDF.

Warren, if you have a smart phone, you could always take a picture of the pages you need.

Posted by
630 posts

I cut mine up with a box cutter, add a few blank note pages to the back, and then staple each section by area.

For example, my little booklets are now "Sorrento and Capri," Amalfi Coast and Paestum," "Rome," "Naples," "Pompeii and Nearby." And don't forget to cut out the "Index." :)

Now I only have to carry the little section (and the index pages) with me when I'm in that particular area.

I highlight and make notes as I go along my day - where I ate, the date we were in an area, hotel comments, etc. My little booklets then become my "diary" when I'm home as a memory keepsake. It has lots of scribbles, comments, highlights, etc - but I remember and cherish every little scribble from our travels.

Posted by
630 posts

Today's version of book burning....

I never understood this - it's a book. No blood or screams came out of the book when I cut mine up, and I'm not cutting up the Bible. Plus the author, Rick Steves, gives us his approval - in fact, he suggests we cut it up.

Posted by
630 posts

Plus I mark up my book so much that no one would even want it when I was done with it. And I can't keep everything that I bring into this house, or I would end up on one of those hoarder shows on TV. :D

Posted by
1896 posts

When I first read this tip, I thought it was a great idea. But when the ugly specter of bookicide actually loomed before me, I have to confess I froze. I laughed at myself, bit the bullet and took it to Kinkos. Halfway across the world, I opened my new book only to discover that I had packed all the leftovers, neatly bound and ready to go. The book containing all our destinations was neatly laid out on the dining room table waiting for us when we got home. Karma? I have done it a few times since but excercise a bit more caution packing.

Posted by
5219 posts

Denny, that's funny! My DH did that last year with his ATM card...

Posted by
630 posts

Jane: Your husband cut up his ATM card? ;-)

He probably cut up the new ATM card that was replacing the old ATM card.

Been there - done that. :D

Posted by
361 posts

Rick's latest blog includes tearing apart his guidebook for Europe into sections. Check it out. Good question about the RS discounts.
Sherry

Posted by
5219 posts

No! He didn't cut it up; he laid it out so he wouldn't forget it, then walked off and left it. We didn't miss it until we were in Palermo, and my card wouldn't work. He kept insisting "It's here somewhere. I know I packed it. I laid it out so I wouldn't forget it!"

We finally had to call our bank (love my small town bank!) to fix the problem with my card. When we got home three weeks later, there was DH's debit card, sitting there waiting for him to pick it up and put it in his money belt.

Posted by
14 posts

For years we have cut up our guidebooks if it meant not carrying with us a significant part that wasn't needed. We use an X-acto type knife to slice down the spine of the book. Always take the cover both to protect the first pages and to show anyplace that offers a discount for having the RS guidebook. During the trip the remnants are held together with a couple large rubber bands. Back home we either tape the mess back together or use rubber bands. If we return to a country a few years later, we typically purchase a new version then anyway and start over cutting it up.

Posted by
926 posts

Well y'all talked me into it, I broke down and took apart my Spain book for my 2017 Barcelona and Madrid 8 day tour. Just got from my local FedEx to spiral bound my pages. Pretty awesome and it only cost me $4.33! Get set, ready go!

Kim

Posted by
630 posts

Well y'all talked me into it, I broke down and took apart my Spain
book for my 2017 Barcelona and Madrid 8 day tour. Just got from my
local FedEx to spiral bound my pages. Pretty awesome and it only cost
me $4.33! Get set, ready go! Kim

Woohoo! Good to know that it only cost $4.33. I was wondering how much it cost.

Posted by
4805 posts

Today's version of book burning....

This is a ridiculous comparison. Book burning was meant to censor the written word. Cutting up a travel book doesn't destroy a single word. Taking a book half way around the world and giving the sections you have finished with to other travelers is the exact opposite of censorship. I've been spreading (literally) the word according to Rick for years.

Posted by
5219 posts

Thanks, Kim, for the information. I, too, wondered if it was worth the cost.

Laura, we haven't passed out portions of books, but we have been known to leave guidebooks behind. Many of Rick's recommended hotels and hostels have used copies of guidebooks (not just his) available for the use of travelers. Occasionally, we have added our copies to the trove. It lightens out load, while giving someone else a chance to use the book.

Posted by
630 posts

You also I suspect don't have an author in your family (academic
author or not) to condone book destruction. ;-)

The author in this situation (Rick Steves) recommends slicing up the guidebook. So if the author wants us to do it - I'm all for it.

Actually, he encourages slicing up the guidebook. :)

Posted by
5219 posts

Kim showed me her sliced up, thinned down, spiral bound guidebook at our Tulsa Area Travel Group meeting today, and she's right; it is pretty awesome. Very impressive. The spiral binding looks great, and will hold up.

It occurs to me that with our coming $100 credit, we can buy two guidebooks. We can thin one down to take on the trip, and leave the other one home for future reference. I like it!

James E, I do think my DH actually has a band saw...

Posted by
3248 posts

Here is a 1+ year old thread on some different methods of dismantling a guidebook... link here

Posted by
1459 posts

Can someone who was done the FedEx/Kinkos cut and spiral bind comment on how much of the print on the bound edge is lost?

Thanks.

Posted by
5219 posts

Rocket, Kim showed me hers yesterday, and the pages were very readable. She did say that she cut them herself, to save as much white space as possible, then took the pages, including covers, maps, and index, to FedEx for binding. The spiral was sturdy, very thin, and plastic coated - looked like plasticized wire. Not at all obtrusive.

Posted by
4872 posts

Rocket,

I took my RS book to Office Depot & they loaned me a sharp utility knife which I
used to cut all the way to the book bind. I then asked them to use the smallest spiral binding & none of the print was cut off.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
725 posts

I can do this because I now take along a couple of the WONDERFUL "Guidebook Page Binders" from the RS Travel Store. While on the road, each evening I pop the next day's pages into a page binder, and usually toss the used sections. The binders can be found on the Travel Store link under "Handy Extras." Scroll all the way to the end of "Handy Extras." For $2.99 each, these are great, even if they don't lie flat.

I do this also.....

Posted by
2591 posts

The books are meant to be sliced up and any reference to book burning is very misplaced. Leaving these behind is a nice gesture but when I find a RS book in a hotel or B&B it's usually a few years to many years old and at that point good for a doorstop. The beauty of the RS books are that they are up to date. A years old RS book is pretty useless. They are printed on lightweight paper, meant to be used-that means torn out and taken with you, whether you do that here or when you are in Europe. We will often take a few pages home and use them as part of a scrapbook, but otherwise the book has served it's purpose. All this from someone with many hundreds of books, real books, that I often donate to the public library, but would never consider destroying.

Posted by
1459 posts

I'm not about to argue against cutting up the guide books, I'm actually considering it for the next time it makes sense.

I will say that I find my old books to be a wealth of information and hardly useless for planning trips. The things that I enjoy seeing and doing are often a hundred or more years old. I'm pretty sure they are in older versions of the book and will be in the 2017 version. The highlights of what to do with 1 or more days is still relevant. The local transportation section and connections sections continue to be useful. Obviously information such as hours and prices will be dated.

Also I find them useful when friends ask about a place that I've been to that they are thinking of visiting. I just give them the old copy. I do advise them to check for more current info. I also advise them to cut out the sections they need as I will just get a new one when I need it.

But that's just me I'm old school.

Posted by
5219 posts

We still refer to our old guidebooks. In fact, I'm now rereading Italy 2014 and Florence and Tuscany 2009 in preparation for out 2017 Village Italy tour. Come December, when the new Italy book is out, I'll get one. I know the prices and some of the recommendations will be different, but at least I'm getting oriented now.

Posted by
5219 posts

My DH and I were discussing this topic last night; I had told him about the great spiral binding Kim had shown me at our last Travel Group meeting. He expressed some discomfort with cutting up or otherwise destroying or mutilating books. My observation was, since these books are updated regularly - many of them annually - to think of them as periodicals, not books. Most of us, my DH included, have no problem pulling sections out of magazines for future reference.

But so far, we've always either kept our old guidebooks, or donated them. We're planning to give a couple to a local "Little Free Library" for other people to enjoy.

Posted by
2 posts

Yes, I absolutely slice up my guidebooks! Not just Rick's, but when I went to Japan I sliced up 2 guidebooks and bound them together, and they were thinner and lighter bound together than each book was individually!

I use an xacto knife to slice the spine away, pull out only the pages I need for the places I'm going, put them back together and bind them back together with a thin layer of gorilla glue on the spine, followed by a layer of duct tape once it dries.

This is one of the best, best, best travel tips I've ever gotten, and I'll do it for the rest of my life.

Posted by
2 posts

Long ago when lots of the books I used to plan trips came from the library, I would make a copy of the pages I needed on my printer/copy machine. Kept them in an envelope stapled together by destination and when finished with them, left them in the trash. It kept lightening the load and no books were destroyed.

Posted by
362 posts

Absolutely, slice and dice guidebooks! It's part of packing light. Our most recent Italy trip was 10 weeks so we had 3 RS newest books - Italy, Venice and Tuscany - to select from and slice. I use a box cutter then staple the pages for sections I'm taking. Only have to carry a tiny bit each day. Being an obsessive planner, I have the date written on each of the sliced/stapled sections that match the date on the itinerary I typed before we left; keeps us on track of where we're supposed to be when. Then if I have to reschedule I just write the new date on the sliced section; very easy to keep track of what activities we completed and what still needs to be done.. In Dropbox I keep tons of other materials gathered from other sources, especially places not in Rick's books. I don't worry about the discounts. They're negligible when you consider the overall cost of getting from the US to anywhere else.

Posted by
2184 posts

I just returned from the RS Best of Italy in 17 Days tour and I actually ripped pages from my bulky Italy guidebook! I was nervous about it because I have never done that to a book before! It worked well and I was able to find the info I needed for specific towns or neighborhoods in the bigger cities. I left the remains of the guidebook in my hotel room in Rome. I plan to buy myself a replacement for my bookshelf as a reference.
Thank you, Rick, for this great idea, it is quite freeing!

Judy B

Posted by
335 posts

I've been doing the Kinko's/spiral bind thing for years now - learned it here on this blog! I'm older and prefer paper - those little phone screens are impossible for me to read. And if you focus in on a section of print/map, then you lose the perspective of the whole thing.

Note to RS - since so many of us use this handy trick, please ask your printer to leave more margin on the page area closer to the spine. That way, we won't be losing info that gets cut off by the spiral binding. Thanks!

Posted by
35 posts

I am a long time "guidebook ripper" too & it definitely lightens the load. Each set of destination info goes into pocket divider along with associated hotel & transport confirmations, any prepaid tickets, etc & these go into a single flexible plastic 1" notebook. It keeps all my trip info in one place when planning & packing & empties out as we go along.

Posted by
1 posts

I take my guidebooks to the local print shop and have the spine cut off as many have done. I also have them 3 hole punched. I picked up a small 3 hole binder at a local office supply store and put the book in that. When I get ready to travel I remove the pages I will need and put them in another binder to take. When planning a day's activities, I removed the few pages I will need for the day and put them in a plastic sleeve. Much easier than lugging a whole binder with you..........and waterproof!

Posted by
9 posts

Yes - and it works great. No need to carry a heavy book around.

Posted by
32 posts

I cut up my Italy book because I was staying in and mostly only doing Rome and a short hop to Florence (wasn't sure if I'd hop a day somewhere else, so didn't want to just get a Rome book). I used Rick's handy cover, took a paring knife (ok, I carry one anyway) and each evening cut up my pages for the next day.

That said, it takes some organization to keep track of pages - sometimes one day's outing was on the page before (reverse side) of something I was doing another time). Also, I cut out and kept in my carry folder things from the back like language aids - it helps to also consider whether you will want the where to eat pages...

I liked the process, but would not do it again unless the book was really large mostly because as time wore on it became harder to find some pages... still, worth considering.

Posted by
23 posts

I had collected 18 guidebooks over the last couple years in anticipation of my one month Sept trip to the UK and Benelux. I ruthlessly tore all of them to pieces and seperated applicable sections into piles by country. Then I put all of London in a pile, Amsterdam, etc. and even the smaller towns, the Battle of the Bulge area, castles, cathedrals etc.- dozens of places I went or things I saw. Since I had my 15 hotel reservations made and I never found the restaurant sections helpful since I eat wherever I am when I'm hungry, I got rid of those sections and all the places I couldn't get to or was not interested in. Then I cut the margins down and in the end, I had about 6 pounds of paper including my google maps, which I ended up not using since I had a GPS in both of my cars. I learn from experience each time I go. I make a list of all the things I did not need when I unpack back home. I also throw out the paper when I leave a place - except for the pages I need for my email blog to home every few days. I don't buy much on the trips except postcards, which don't weigh as much as the travel books. This works for me. I would rather have my highlighted paper pages than an IPAD but perhaps I will change my mind in the future - like I learned to like the GPS.instead of printed out google maps and directions.
Janice