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Sticking with Ricks guidebooks

I just wanted to say a few things about my latest trip to Paris. On this trip I used a new Lonely Planet guide book, and a torn to shreds older Rick Steves guide. The Lonely Planet guide was fine and had some useful information to it but I found myself continually going back to Rick's guide. I prefer his very personal writing style and his personality certainly comes through which I like. I found Ricks book MUCH easier to follow and figure things out with. Also he includes a map of Piere Lachaise which was wonderful. Forgive me Rick, I'll never stray again.
I also did a day trip to the Loire Valley where I took a guided tour. I have mixed feelings about this experience. We did 4 chateaus in a day and it was far too rushed. We would pull up yo a magnificent chateau and the driver would say, be back in an hour. It reminded me of the scene from National Lampoons European Vacation where Chevy Chase says "ok kids, you've got 5 minutes". On the one hand I saw the area but wasn't really satisfying.

Posted by
3580 posts

I read other guidebooks, but usually leave them at home and travel with Rick's books. I want to know which bus or train to take and how much it will cost and how to pay. Some (other) books have beautiful pictures and weigh a ton, or have hundreds of places to stay or eat and almost nothing about how to get around. In these days of the internet, travel is made easier. Airports all have websites which give detailed info about travel to/from the airport. There are sites for local metros and bus lines. Almost every hotel has its own website. In addition to my RS book, I check details using the internet. There is probably an "app" for almost everything travel-related, but I haven't become practiced with this technology. I need to, since I'm beginning to feel left out. That new IPad I bought needs to be broken in!

Posted by
112 posts

Yes the other guide book had NO information which Metro stop to take to get to a certain location, either that or I was looking in the wrong place. Rick's books are far easier to use. I don't have an ipad yet, but it's in my future.

Posted by
118 posts

ricks books seem more tailored to doing the work for you. its so incredibly easy to read and follow them and go where he tells you to go and not explore on your own. the bonus of the small pictures so you know exactly what you are looking for/at are SO helpful. other books give you the basic information and allow you to figure the rest out on your own. some people think that ricks books make it too easy. ive noticed a lot of seaosoned travelers seem to resent us newbie travelers for having it so easy. i personally LOVE this. my first big trip was last year. i was solo. i dont own a smart phone or a laptop. so i was doing this solo and without any real ability to check the internet regularly along the way. ricks books made it so i never needed to because i had EVERYTHING i needed to wake up and get going. i dont bring the actual books with me though. i take the sections that are of relevance to me and i type them out in a word document and bring it with me that way. this serves two purposes: 1. typing it out makes a bulk of it stick in my memory so i dont have to pull out paper everywhere i go and appear to be a tourist 2. i dont have to carry several books with me. i still read other books. the brooklyn public library allows you to have up to ten holds at a time and im always maxed out. but i do tend to buy ricks books and keep them forever and just use the library books as something to read on the train on my way to and from work pre-trip.

Posted by
59 posts

Not sure I agree you need to travel with a guidebook. I do my research in advance for free on the internet and lay out general plans (2 or 3 attractions per day) and then use the internet daily (we travel with 3 devices) to do detailed planning 24 to 48 hours before. If something is rare and packed we will purchase advance tickets (like the Vatican or coliseum) but otherwise I find having flexible plans works best. Also its always a balance between quantity and time. you can't see many things i you want to explore them in great depth. I find that medium level visits are fine then go back again some other time to areas you want to see more of. Otherwise you need a month which is quite expensive.

Posted by
177 posts

I love Rick Steves' guides for the heartfelt information they convey. What does frustrate me sometimes is that what is covered is very well covered but many interesting areas are ignored. I am sure that they are short staffed and can only cover so much but it is mandatory for me to carry another guidebook as a supplement when I travel.

Posted by
6205 posts

We traveled to Italy last year and France this year. Our definite preference in Italy was the Eyewitness travel book for Venice & Veneto region but had the RS book for reference, also. For France, I liked the RS pocket guide for Paris better than the Eyewitness book. We leave both in the room during the day - just carry a small map.

Posted by
16 posts

We just spent 10 days in Paris and used RS guidebook the whole time- we had read it over before we left home and this trip was so much better than previous trips where we had done No homework- my husband and i had a blast- Rick makes it so easy- its still work in my opinion- finding the sights, metro, bus and food- but thats part of the fun--the bits of history Rick has in his guidebook is Just Enough to get you through without being overwhelming- ive read parts of it after returning home and gotten alot out of the info again after seeing the sight or museum that i missed while there- I Love being on the receiving end of all the hard work the folks at Europe thru the Backdoor do for us!!!! Thanks Rick & CO