Top 5 Best Travel Guidebooks to Buy in 2020

By Alice Ross | ACCESSORIES

May 07
best travel guidebooks 2020

The best travel guidebooks are those that offer accurate and detailed information to help you plan a successful trip. With the popularity of e-books, which allow you to read books directly on-screen, reading travel guidebooks has become even more common today. Handily, many travel guide series are now available in this convenient format.

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At some stage of your trip planning, it's useful to buy travel guides to learn about your destination and find recommendations on what to do, where to stay, etc. in the places you're going to visit. These guidebooks can now be downloaded directly onto your electronic devices or bought as hard copies. 

While you can now easily find articles and blog posts about specific destinations or activities online, I still encourage people to pick up the best travel guidebooks, as they often compile the most useful information all under one cover. By doing this, you are more likely to make the most of your trip.

From Print Book to E-Book

I have just started using e-book versions of travel guides - not only because they are lighter and cheaper, but also because they can be easily updated to include the most recent information. It’s very clear why more and more people are opting for a digital version of travel books.

Another reason I love e-books is that if you're about to go to another place and need to get a guidebook for something you had not thought of before your trip, you can easily download one within a few seconds. Moreover, you can choose to get it instantly in any language you desire.

reading the best travel guidebooks as ebooks

In addition, with e-books, you no longer need to purchase the whole book if you're going to visit only one city or a specific part of the country. Many imprints now give you the option to select only the chapters or sections you need. 

On top of that, Kindle and other e-book reading devices also allow you to download newspapers and magazines. For all these reasons, an e-reader is a perfect travel companion and an accessory I now pack with me everywhere I go.

There’s no doubt that finding your accommodation, activities, and destinations is easier when using the best travel guidebooks. These guides are filled with the best and most relevant details for your trip, and usually offer top tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your stay. While some people prefer to travel completely spontaneously, for many, traveling with at least a general outline of a plan is more comfortable.

These travel guidebooks can be a smart investment for business travelers who don't have a lot of time on their hands to research the best sights and activities, as they condense most of the essential information. Some other important features also include maps, places to eat, budget expectations, and tips and warnings.

Tips for Buying the Best Travel Guidebooks for Your Trip

If you’re planning a trip to a place you’re not very familiar with, getting a travel guide is a smart way to learn some reliable facts. But how can you find the right travel guidebook for you? Here are some useful tips to help you choose.

woman with books

Specials Discounts and Other Ways to Save Money

You can save money by getting a guidebook that offers coupons and discounts. By simply doing this, you can even lengthen the duration of your trip. Hunt for special discounted tours, meals, accommodations, etc.

Some companies even match coupons from rival companies. So even though you don't have a coupon for a specific location, it still pays to ask a provider if they will match the price offered by a competitor.

Colorful and Detailed Illustrations

reading books

If you read a guidebook and it makes you feel like you’re already at your destination, that’s when you know you've found the right guidebook for you!

You may want to look for a travel guidebook that contains pictures that showcase your destination, as well as other relevant, informative illustrations. Why is this important? Well, while it is not necessary, wouldn't it be nice to get a visual expectation of what you are going to see when you finally arrive at your destination? On top of that, having a guidebook with many pictures in it is more attractive and will make you want to read more of it.

A Reliable Publisher

best travel guidebooks library

Anyone can write a travel guide, but *ahem*, do you really need everyone's tips and advice?

Each person has a different style of traveling, so you can expect their content to differ greatly. It is important to seek out the up-to-the-minute, most accurate information from actual travel gurus. You’ll then have an idea of the best travel guidebooks by checking out the reviews on travel forums and blog discussion boards.

Straight To the Point

Look for a travel guidebook that will not waste your time. After all, the entire point of using a travel guide is to make planning easier and less stressful for you. So, make sure that the guidebooks you choose are filled with the right information.

travel books

Pick travel guides that contain complete and updated phone numbers, addresses, and operating hours. Furthermore, choose a guidebook that tells you how long you should spend in each place. It is also very important to know the age-appropriateness of the locale. To help you budget, it can be useful to get an idea of expenses such as accommodation costs and rental prices. And most of all, the best travel guidebooks should outline when is the best time to go to a certain destination and why.

Top Travel Guidebook Series

As I mentioned earlier, finding travel guidebooks should not be difficult, but finding the right one for you can take some trial and error. So, to help you, we listed five of the best travel guidebooks available today.

DK Travel

From Majorca to Sicily via Cyprus or the Algarve, the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides are going to take you on a dream journey around the world with their gorgeous images. In fact, their glossy illustrations might even convince you that you are already there.

best travel guidebooks dk eyewitness travel

Published by Dorling Kindersley, which is headquartered in London, these picture-loaded, splendidly colored books offer information that will make you excited to go to your destination, whether it is a trip to Europe or Asia. Their strong visual focus draws you in and makes you look forward to the adventures that await.

The DK Travel Guides’ Eyewitness series give you a better visual tour of your destinations than any other travel guidebooks. They contain wonderful images that bring the words to life. These include cutaway illustrations showing the interiors of historical places and museums, and bird’s-eye view images of landmarks and villas.

With their ever-growing list of destinations on all seven continents, the Eye-witness Travel Guides cover well-traveled cities, islands, and all the essential information to make your trip easier.

This is a great choice for people who like to create a set itinerary before setting off on their trip. Again, this guidebook series has more visual charm than any other, with detailed maps, stunning pictures, and 3D graphics to help you fully appreciate the main landmarks of your destination.

Fodor's Travel Guides

A long-standing reference in travel publishing, Fodor's has been creating reliable European guidebooks for American travelers since the mid-1930s. By contrast with the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, Fodor's coverage is more comprehensive than inspiring.

However, this well-known, top-tier international travel guide series has recently undergone a makeover. It has transformed from the formerly basic travel books called Fodor's Gold Guides and adopted an updated magazine style appearance to become Fodor’s new full-color travel guides – an amazing change!

best travel guidebooks fodor's

Frequently updated with fresh releases, Fodor’s Guides continue to grow in the hundreds of volumes. They cover at least 7500 destinations worldwide.

Researched and written by locals in the featured destination, these very informative guidebooks are loved for their painstaking coverage and precise detail.

Complete with ratings, they provide you with the insight and tools to learn which wonders, hotels, restaurants, and attractions will transform your trip to a new destination into an adventure of a lifetime.

Of the 300 destinations presently covered by a rising number of guides, the mainstay series of Fodor's travel books are advertised as their Full-Color Guides.

Lonely Planet

Name a country and I assure you that there is a Lonely Planet guide for it! Moreover, the brand also publishes regional guides, city guides, and picture guides to make you feel inspired and enthusiastic about your next trip abroad. 

lonely planets

The global standard for an amazing guidebook, the Lonely Planet imprint covers most countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, as well as the Americas. This series offers wide-ranging, informative facts, suggestions for low- and mid-range budget accommodation, and useful on-the-ground travel tips.

These guidebooks are full of information that you can start reading long before your trip starts. You will find chapters about your destination's culture, history, and a lot of extremely useful travel tips.

Lonely Planet guidebooks are so precise that they even share the exact timetables for public transportation! They also have a location for where to take the bus. There is no doubt that this is one of the best travel guidebooks out there.

Rick Steves

While Rick Steves guidebooks are not as popular as some of the other options listed here, this doesn’t mean that they're not as reliable. His books offer some easy-to-follow information that is ideal for new travelers.

Rick Steves makes sure that his series is written in a style that even less experienced travelers can easily follow. These guidebooks are designed to help travelers have a smooth experience and broaden their cultural experiences.

rick steves

Rick Steves has research partners who help him update his guidebooks with new and optimized information. He focuses on sharing information about the places people should go when visiting a certain destination and disregards what he thinks is just not worth it. With this in mind, it is perfect for travelers who have limited travel time.

With a nearly cult-like following for his travel brand, Rick Steves has guided, educated, and cultivated travelers through every side of Europe. His tips and on-point suggestions give both newbie and experienced travelers an extensive introduction to European history and culture, while letting them experience the best of Europe personally.

In Rick Steves' European guides, you will find his personal travel recommendations to be trustworthy, genuine, sincere, and always reliable. His recommendations on where to go, what to do, what to avoid, and what to see are kept reliably up to date.

Rick Steves' guides are famous for encouraging travelers to eat and stay in small local businesses, a lot of which he has been personally patronizing for many years.

Rough Guides

Are you a budget traveler who would rather spend a night in a dorm than in a hotel? Have a traditional meal at a hole-in-the-wall stall rather than in a high-rated restaurant? Do you like the idea of exploring on your own rather than being in a group of tourists or taking a tour? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then the Rough Guides guidebooks are for you.

best travel guidebooks rough guides

These guidebooks are perfect for backpackers who want to explore off the beaten path and avoid crowded destinations. Conversely, they are probably not ideal for those who are planning to stay in the city. The Rough Guides include extensive language guides and a higher level of detail than any other guide you will find on the market.

This British series is researched and written by Europeans who are very familiar with the contemporary scene of each country. While accommodation listings can be rather scarce and bland, the information about attractions tends tends to be particularly in-depth.

These guidebooks might not have all the eye-catching photos of other series, but they do provide their readers with detailed, well-researched, and well-written information on off-the-beaten-path locations and local favorites that you would not read about in your typical guidebook. It's a very solid choice for backpackers and adventurous explorers.

Summary

So, that’s our list of five of the best travel guidebooks you will find on the market in 2020. You have to keep in mind that the best guidebooks should provide you with genuine, excellent information regarding your destination or the trip itself.

All the guides listed in this article are trustworthy and have helped a lot of travelers over the years. Luckily, you can now carry them, together with all your other favorite books, without adding extra weight to your luggage by buying them in e-book format.

Hopefully, this article has helped you decide on the right guidebook for your trip. If you have any questions or suggestions to help improve this article, let us know in a comment below!

Rating: 5 (2 votes)

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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