Non Rick Steves Guidebook Assessment: 2010
There are a lot of guidebooks other than Rick's. What are some of your experiences using different guidebooks, positive and negative?
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I usually take two, one Rick Steves and either an Eyewitness Guide or a Fodor's. For example, I really am interested in costumes, and there was a museum in Sevilla ("Costumbres Populares"which was not featured in the Rick Steves guide, but which was in the Fodor's. A super museum! The Rick Steves Guides aim to tell you "everything you need, but not wasting your time with things you don't need", which is great most of the time. But if you have a special interest which most people wouldn't be interested, it's good to have a more detailed guide along also. But I use the Rick Steves guide most of the time.
Apache Jct.., AZ USA Sat 12/11/2010
I've used Frommer's, and looked through others, but I think Rick's guidebooks have a distinct advantage: they're not abstract. I always feel like an experienced traveler is talking to me.
Largo, FL USA Tue 11/23/2010
Rick Steves' books
Rick Steve's books are what inspired me to travel independently. I saw the first edition of "22 days in France" on the shelf of a bookstore. I started flipping through it. In 10 minutes, I felt I had the "compass" I had been looking for. That was over 20 years ago and I am now "well" travelled. But Rick's books are still very useful for experienced travellers and an absolute must for those going anywhere for the first time.
Porter Ranch, CA USA Sat 11/06/2010
We use Rick's guides exclusively because we identify with his travel style and philosophy. Moreover, his guides are accurate. We've consulted other guides in the past:Fodors, Frommers and discovered errors; restaurants out of business, wrong operating hours, addresses and phone numbers. With only a few days to travel we can't be bothered with mistakes.
Fallbrook, CA USA Fri 11/05/2010
I have read all the popular guidebooks, but settled on Rick Steves, as his differs in one critical area. He offers opinions on things - and frequently explains his opinion, so I can compare my feelings. Other guidebooks provide factual info, but leave the reader with nothing else. I am a big R.S. fan! Jane
Victoria, bc USA Tue 09/28/2010
I am a great Blue Guides fan - they are updating them again (finally), and if you're the kind of person that needs to know how that particular chair arrived in that particular room and who sat in it, the Blue Guides are for you! The old ones are just fine, as the history hasn't changed!
Seattle, WA USA Sun 09/19/2010
Non RS Guidebooks
Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, Blue Guides Cadogan guides all great (in addition to RS guides!) - each has a slightly different perspective.
aberdeen, UK Mon 09/06/2010
Love Rick's books
As was commended earlier I might read Fodors before I travel but I would never travel without Rick's books. I recently returned from Amsterdam and Germany and had friends going over after our return...they said the same thing about Rick's book THE GREATEST! ps I am in travel and find them a great resource as well.
Paramus, NJ USA Wed 09/01/2010
London and Paris
Pauline Frommer's Spend Less See More guidebooks. We have used the ones to London and Paris. Both were very good if you want a little more in depth information. These are very different from the other Frommer guides. She's listed as the editor and has someone who lives in the cities write them, but we've had excellent experiences following their advice.
Ypsilanti, MI USA Sat 08/14/2010
Let's Go Europe 2010
I was recently checking out a copy of Let's Go Europe 2010 edition for my upcoming trip, and out of curiosity, I decided to check their section on Russia (I'm originally from Moscow). In case anyone ever decides to use it, be forewarned that all of their Russian translations are very poor (numerous misspellings in Russian and a couple of wrong translations). I can't speak for the accuracy of their other translations, but based on their grasp of Russian, I'd be on the lookout.
Seattle, WA USA Mon 08/09/2010
I consult with Fodor's before leaving home and travel with Rick's guides. Fodor's has very useful hotel and restaurant tips to supplement Rick's that have been winners. I used to live outside the U.S. and a friend was a Fodor's writer who updated her work annually very carefully, unlike Frommer's, which was WAY out of date despite the year on the cover. Most Eyewitness Guides are eye candy but not very useful and quite HEAVY.
Cedar Point, NC USA Thu 07/08/2010
Switzerland Without a Car
Don't waste your time/money on "Switzerland Withour a car" by Michael Palin. Boring and dull. RS's the best, thank God I had his book with me too.
Port Aransas, TX USA Sat 06/12/2010
Paris Walks book
This book gives extremely detailed walks in various neighborhoods of Paris. If this is your thing, then this is the book for you, giving considerably more depth than Rick's walks which we also used.
Arrington, TN USA Fri 06/04/2010
During my recent stay in Seville Spain my wife and I went to the Thermal Baths at AIRE DE SEVILLE with a 30 minutes relaxation massage. The baths were great ( 21 euro each ) but the 30 minutes massage was a waste ( 30 euros each )
Castro Valley, CA USA Sat 04/10/2010
The one I regret wasting my money on
"Britain by BritRail 2009" by L Ferguson-Kosinski, is the only guidebook I have ever seriously regretted spending my money on. What a waste!!
Now there's an "updated" edition, with the "2009" replaced by "2010/11" and as far as I can tell it's still not worth the money. This book was first published THIRTY YEARS ago, and has barely been updated in any meaningful sense as far as I can tell.
I learned more about UK travel by rail from Rick's books and from a couple of Frommer's books, than from this one. As a contrast to the stale reek of the BritRail books, for example, Rick and the Frommer's folks mention the existence and availability of (heavens!) mobile phones. The BritRail guide, in its section on British Telephones, still does not. Follow its suggestions and you'll be stalking down streets looking for pay phones clutching an overpriced phone card or a lot of coins. Good luck with that.
Read it in a bookstore, check it out of your library, or buy a used copy of an earlier edition for a buck, and then check online for updated/current train schedules when planning your trip, and don't waste your money by paying full price for this dinosaur. Not only is the "travel tips" content not very current, it takes a strange approach to day trips. York is not an easy day trip from London unless your goal is to spend about five hours total on a train, but the book lists it with a completely straight face as such. It also fails to mention several vibrant and interesting British cities served by rail.
It's basically a tool to sell BritRail passes. Consumer beware. Just saying.
Denver, CO USA Fri 04/02/2010
Make YOUR OWN personalized guidebook for less than the cost of one from the store
What I have done I hope Rick would approve of. It won't sell many books, but it does carry on the missions of both traveling on a budget, and packing light. I borrowed several different guidebooks; Ricks', Fodors, DK Eyewitness, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Frommers, etc. from the Library and photocopied pages of information, phrase and word translations, and maps, that will be pertinent to the trip that we are taking and places that we will be visiting. I then cut out the information from the photocopied pages, and using a glue stick, pasted them into a notebook in a nice small size with a comfortable black cover and a couple of pocket pages inside of it with plenty of pages. I left room on some pages to write information in pen, and left some blank pages in each section for writing information on as well. At the front of the book I left several pages where I wrote in our itinerary and the details of our hotel and transportation info, pasted the language pages in the back and maps were full sheets folded in half, with half the page pasted and the other available to fold out. I organized the information by the order of our itinerary. This way when we are there, it doesn't look to others like we are consulting a guide book, while we actually are, and it should make a great souvenir from our trip as well.
New Orleans, LA USA Fri 03/26/2010
Rough and Blue Guides
I discovered the Rough Guides last year in Crete, excellent for coverage of archaeological sites.
I would also look at the Blue Guides; they cover most European countries. Their Egypt Guide is superb with excellent information on sites large and small and with maps, plans etc. The Egypt Guide is out of print but you can pick up copies in secondhand shops and through Abe Books online.
Sidney, BC Canada Wed 01/20/2010