Setting foot in a foreign country is always an exciting but somewhat daunting experience. This is especially true if you’re traveling alone. Fortunately, travel guides are readily available to first-time travelers nowadays. They also come in various types and are available across platforms.
But how do you determine which travel guide to follow? More importantly, how do you determine which travel guide will suit you best? Fret no more because I put together this article to help you find the best Italian travel guide.
There are various types of travel guides catered towards different types of travelers. For those who prefer to have something to read during commutes, there are various printed guides, ranging from pamphlets to booklets. For those who like to go digital, there are also online travel guides.
If you like a little more flexibility, you might even want to try out apps that combine the information in travel guides with the customizability of mobile apps.
If you prefer to use printed travel guides, it is best to check out bookstores and travel agencies. Bookstores would often have an entire section devoted to travel-related materials, so you should have ample resources at your disposal.
If you don’t want to spend on travel guides, however, then travel agencies, airports, and train stations are your go-to places. Pamphlets and brochures are often offered in these places for free. The only downside is that such brochures often only feature hotspots and are in no way comprehensive.
For the tech-savvy, you might like digital travel guides better. In certain instances, you would have to pay for travel guides, as in cases of e-books and customized guides. But if you want to save money, don’t worry because there are a lot of websites which you can check out.
Travel guides are certainly handy for first-time travelers, but note that they are only “guides”. You should use them to get a general idea of the place you’re visiting, but you shouldn’t let them limit your options. As much as possible, you should still try to do some exploring on your own.
Personally, I only use travel guides to get some general pointers. I use them to find out which places are must-sees, when the best time to visit is, and which particular sites are best avoided. I rarely use travel guides to look for restaurants and book accommodations, especially when I want to save money.
For dining and accommodation options, it is best to read online reviews or to ask locals. Italy is a place brimming with cafes and restaurants, so you wouldn’t have to worry about going hungry. Don’t be afraid to try out quaint restaurants and small eateries!
Of course, there are numerous iconic sights and restaurants in Italy. If you’re only staying in the country for a short time and want to experience the full Italian experience, then a travel guide is a good place to start. But if you have the time to explore, don’t be afraid to go beyond what your travel guide says.
There really is no one answer to that question. The best travel guide would vary depending on your plans, your budget, and your travel experience. Constant travelers might need minimal guidance when it comes to traveling. New travelers, meanwhile, might need more comprehensive guides.
For newbies who are anxious to know about Italy before setting out for a trip, then Frommer’s is the best guide book for you. Their travel guides are comprehensive and provide ample background information about places. They also have a "day-to-day" series, perfect for extended visits.
For tips and reviews written by locals, Fodor’s is your best bet. The website is not as comprehensive as the printed version, but there are a number of downloadable guides which you can get for free. You can also check out the forum if you want to get first-hand information from fellow travelers.
You might find that paid travel guides often have added features, but it doesn’t mean that you always have to splurge. On the contrary, there are a number of free travel guide websites that work just as well. Just make sure that they cater to your travel style.
Travel guides are certainly handy and convenient. And for famous tourist hotspots like Italy and other European countries, they are undoubtedly helpful. Another great thing about travel guides is that you can get them in both printed and digital versions!
Do you have a trusted travel guide which has seen you through Italy or other parts of the world? Still not sure which travel guide to use for your next trip? Drop us a line in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!