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Old 01-07-07, 03:45 PM   #1
Machka 
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Has anyone here used Rough Guides?

http://www.roughguides.com/

"Rough Guides publish guides to hundreds of worldwide destinations, as well as benchmark books on subjects as diverse as Climate Change and Ethical Living to iPods and Opera. Browse them online and check them out!"


I saw it referred to in one of my Outpost magazines ( http://www.outpostmagazine.com/ ) and thought it looked interesting and informative. Just wondered if anyone here has used one.
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Old 01-07-07, 04:40 PM   #2
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i haven't used their guides,but i just recieved their map of the yucatan-pricey at $8,but extremly detailed an informative
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Old 01-07-07, 05:35 PM   #3
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I used Rough Guides for my Italy trip last May, the guide to Tuscany and the guide to Florence & Siena. Very informative, gave lots of good historical background and cultural information. I also looked at the Lonely Planet and Rick Steves guides, but only the Rough Guide made it into my panniers. I intend to pick up the appropriate Rough Guides for Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica for my May '08 trip.

Go to Amazon.com and read the customer reviews for all the different guide books for an area that you plan on visiting, then use the star ratings and what they actually say in the reviews to help you pick a guide. Different people have different tastes and requirements when they choose a guide book, so one person's "won't buy anyting else" could well be another person's "wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole".
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Old 01-07-07, 05:40 PM   #4
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I've used several travel-related Rough Guides and have generally been pleased. They're well researched and written. They state opinions about things, and I've found that I usually agree with theirs. One aspect I don't like, however, is their use of letter codes ("A", "B", "C", "D", etc.) with an associated key to indicate lodging price ranges, instead of simply giving the actual dollar amounts like other guidebooks. Lonely Planet guidebooks for countries or regions tend to contain information for some more obscure places which Rough Guides omit. Rough guidebooks for cities tend to be excellent, however.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:11 AM   #5
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Rough Guides has my vote. They are not exclusively for the well-heeled traveller, and are not so full of glossy pics that they become too heavy to bring along the tour. But I usually photocopy only the relevant bits to take along.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:39 AM   #6
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I used the Rough Guide when I cycled India. It worked well.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:40 AM   #7
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I prefer Rough Guides to Lonely Planet. Similar approach / mentality, but with a better presentation.
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Old 01-08-07, 01:14 PM   #8
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I've always used the Lonely Planet books while backpacking and they have served me well. I was in the local Barnes and Noble this past weekend and noticed that MTV has come out with a series of travel guides. I might use them to find the places and hostels to avoid.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:35 PM   #9
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Lonely Planet is an Australian creation, so it might be odd that I am bagging it, but...

The original cycling guides for Australia and I think NZ were written by a cycling journalist who was a very strong rider. I met him when he covered Tasmania. An experienced cycle-touring friend and I looked at the result when Lonely Planet's Australian guide came out, and frankly, the distance estimations and times were very ambitious for anyone but the guy's riding ability, judging by what we saw for Tasmania. Others have confirmed what we thought. That seemed to be the major weakness, and I am not sure if the same didn't apply to the NZ guide as well.

I also gain the impression that fancier is not necessarily better in terms of information, and that Lonely Planet may well be outgrowing itself. Hence the rise of Rough Guide as an alternative.

Having said that, I have never used any of these guides (although I do listen carefully to media profiles of founders of things like Lonely Planet and where they are now), and instead rely on information on the ground as I go, or what I can get from the internet.

Eric's observation about MTV gives me an uneasy feeling as well. Not so much for the information contained in the guides, but the pressure that results from increased numbers of tourists going to more isolated destinations because they are linked to trendy TV audiences.

A TV program I saw at the weekend was the epitome of Western crassness in tourism that included serious invasion of privacy in a remote North African village. Of course, the presenter thought it all hale and hearty with his conflicted information, so young travellers in particular are likely to think it's OK to do what he did.

That's the human aspect. I've seen the result of the environmental aspect on my home patch, too, where the influx of trendy walkers has resulted in severe pressures on tracks and surrounding wilderness areas.
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Old 01-11-07, 04:38 AM   #10
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I have looked at them in bookstores but have opted for the 'Let's Go' series and found them to be fairly accurate and with good listings of the less expensive options.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:07 AM   #11
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The South American Handbook is far-and-away the best guidebook for that region. It is printed on bible paper and has many of the in between towns that others ignore.

We've used the Footprint Handbooks in Southeast Asia (they have titles for Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand). While the layout is a bit chaotic the information is second to none. They have city maps for smaller towns and give some road conditions.

We sat at a guest house a few weeks ago and compared (with fellow travelers) the Lonely Planet, Footprint, and Rough Guide to Thailand. While they were all fine for backpackers, the Rough Guide offered fewer guest house options and fewer towns & villages than either LP or Footprint. Of course, Lonely Planet has such reach that any guest house, restaurant, sites, or route they describe is inundated with travelers.

Some things for cycle travelers to think about in a guidebook:
1. Maps of smaller towns.
2. Road conditions between the towns.
3. Miles/kilometers between towns.
4. A range of accommodations (not just backpacker hostels or five star hotels)
5. Markets/Restaurants listed on maps.
6 Weight of the book (right now we have books for Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in our packs)
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