In the age of the Internet, it seems that guide books may be going the way of the Dodo. As a book lover, I believe I have lasted a little longer than others, not quite ready to retire the bookshelf just yet. Lounging in bed or curled up in a comfy chair while learning about what a destination has on offer, the logistics, and practicalities via good old fashioned pages is still a lovely indulgence for me. I've used the big guys like Frommer's and Lonely Planet, and the cool kids like Cadogan, Rough Guides, & Touring Club of Italy.
When I look for a guide now, I'm not interested in hotel or restaurant listings, as the Internet has become superior in that arena. Another element that doesn't matter much to me anymore in a book are maps. They're nice for an overview, but rarely is there enough space for them to be useful while actually traveling - especially if you don't take the guide along with you. That honor now falls to smart phones, or even traditional large street maps that fold up nice and small.
In anticipation of my upcoming trip to Italy, I needed some help regarding Sicily. There is so much to see and do, that my planned two weeks is hardly enough to scratch the surface. While I'm sure I will return, I decided I needed some time cozied up with a guide to make my selections. Using Trip Advisor, I can find out plenty about the many churches, museums, and parks generously spread all over the island. But how to choose one town over another? A cliff over the beach or homes spilling down a hill high above the interior?
So I selected the 500+ page 8th edition Blue Guide: Sicily, partly because I've never used a Blue Guide and it seemed similar to Cadogan and Unofficial guide books, including history alongside travel facts. While I haven't yet made it cover to cover, as I tend to hop around a book anyway, I feel like this book has been a good choice for me.
Here's what I like so far:
Here's what I don't care for or would like done differently:
As you can see, I had to really dig deep to find negatives so far, which makes for a great guide in my world. If my opinion changes after a few weeks poring over the guide, I'll be sure to update this post. Feel free to share your favorite go-to publisher for helping plan your trips - and do you still use guide books at all?