Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an epic vacation, your travel journey begins with a single step. It all starts with choosing the perfect place.
While you might already have your dream location in mind, printed or online travel guides can help you plan the perfect trip. From walking tours to eateries and historical sites to fun activities, guidebooks can give you the keys to an unforgettable experience.
Check out these five best travel guidebooks to help you get the most out of your travel itinerary.
According to the great 20th-century travel writer Eugene Fordor, “You don’t need to be rich to travel well.”
True to their name, Fodor’s guidebooks reveal the best ways to experience travel.
As one of the oldest and most trusted names in travel guides, Fodor’s has helped generations of travelers since its first travel guide appeared in 1936.
Today, Fodor’s travel writers have covered over 7,500 locations worldwide. Fodor aims to make trip planning faster and easier and help travelers avoid common pitfalls.
For travelers interested in Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Middle East, you can choose from Fodor’s Signature Guides, In Focus, Inside, or 25 Best.
If printed books aren’t your cup of tea, check out Fodors.com for info on destination guides, browse general vacation ideas, or scroll through travel forums.
Because Fodor’s Italy is full of beautiful scenery, museums, and delicious food, it should come as no surprise that it’s the company’s best-selling guidebook.
Pros: Fodor is great for hitting European city highlights.
Cons: Guides may not offer as much personal local experience or in-depth ideas if you’re planning to stay longer than a week.
Since it launched in 1957, Frommer’s travel guides have hit the top of the most trusted travel guides list.
Frommer’s Easy Guides and Day By Day series are now available. These smaller books with easy-to-read print are great for taking on a trip without worrying about lugging around heavy guidebooks.
It’s an easy way to customize your vacation, browse city layouts, view transportation options, or view travel writers’ suggestions for the best hotels and dining.
Frommer’s is written for people in the United States, so it helps you save time by telling you what to skip and which sights are most important.
Pros: Excellent coverage, especially in Western Europe, for conventional and luxury travel.
Cons: It can lack practical details about wait times at popular spots like the Vatican Museum.
3. Bradt Guides
While you might not have heard about Bradt Guides, they are a great introduction to the less traveled roads. According to the company, more than two-thirds of their information is not covered by other publishers.
If you love exploring off the beaten path, Bradt guidebooks give you the tools to get there.
For instance, Bradts’ guides and website cover Inca trails and rockier, post-conflict areas such as Kosovo, the Baltic States, and Rwanda. If you’re interested in wildlife, general travel content, or UK destinations, Bradt has you covered. Follow the link to learn more.
Pros: You’ll get cultural highlights from lesser-known countries or regions like Macedonia.
Cons: Asia’s coverage is scanty about culture, people, and local issues.
4. Lonely Planet
This guidebook is like a siren’s call to adventurous travelers.
With Pocket Guides, Make My Day guides, and Discover Guides, Lonely Planet’s books and website offer a fantastic variety of options for the independent traveler.
It’s the kind of guide for experienced travelers, backpackers, budget-stretchers, cross-continental explorers, or people who like to play it by ear.
You may find yourself planning your next trip to Sri Lanka or Antarctica. Click on this link to read more on this topic.
Pros: A great place for travel inspiration, budget options, and non-tourist centers.
Cons: Lonely Planet guides can go a bit light on the details if you’re a beginner traveler or prefer a structured trip.
5. Atlas Obscura
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders is great for people who love to travel. It tells you where to go and what to see around the world.
Unlike other travel guides on this list, Atlas Obscura is a single book that opens a curiosity cabinet of catacombs, statues, artifacts, oddities, secrets, and ruins around the world.
It introduces you to places that are not (and sometimes should not) be considered tourist sites.
You can visit places like the Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan or the Widow Jane Cement Mine in New York with Atlas Obscura. You can also visit the Museum of Bad Art in Massachusetts or the Widow Jane Mine in New York. Read this review of Atlas Obscura at The New York Times.
Photo by [alleksana]