You have decided to take a long vacation or may be a brief weekend trip? Awesome! The next step of the journey is well, as all of us know- planning! And planning can be a daunting task. Which place to visit, where to stay, where to eat, what to eat, how to prepare- the questions are all galore. At such times, most of us would run to buy the latest edition of popular travel guides and magazines. Yes, it is essential to research and get some idea about where you are headed off to, but how much can you rely on your travel guides and magazines to understand your journey’s worth? Sure, they can help plan the pretty obvious- hit the hotel, relax at a spa and tips on wandering around a city tour. But the question remains- “Do these guides and magazines really help travellers?”
I think- No. And here are my top 5 reasons for ditching that written word NOW!
1. Their view, not yours: More often than not, these travel guides are personal accounts of the traveller’s journeys. What looks beautiful to the author’s eyes might not interest you. The writer’s guide may be a result of love for luxury, while you prefer the rugged life of a hippie on the road.
2. After all they don’t know it all: I am sure you must have read it in one of the popular travel guides- “A trip to Bali is incomplete without a visit to the Balinese temples, so head off to…” Honestly, this just puts me off. I recently came back from a trip to Bali and trust me; you can just do nothing and sit on the green paddy fields of the countryside Bali, and have the most wonderful time of your life.
3. The search for a tasty meal: Look at the restaurants section of your travel guide. There will be umpteen number cafes and eateries mentioned with fancy names and picturesque images of the place facing the mountains or of a setting by the riverside. Ironically, on most of my travels, I figured the best eating places are on the home-stays or at the snack bar which do not find a mention in ‘all about travel guides.’ Besides not only the food is cheaper, but delicious too!
4. Mingling with the locals: The travel guides and magazines are all about set itineraries and planned stays. When you ditch your travel book recommendations and set off on the road to find for yourself about what your destination holds, you are carefree as a bird. That is the time you really get an opportunity to spot the local nuances and interact with the localities to understand their life, their culture, challenges and joys. You are done with ‘visiting a place’ and are now in a spot to actually ‘explore your dream destination.’
5. Knowing the Unknown: It’s only when you stop looking at those fancy looking map routes, you’ll hit upon a sweet spot. You’ll start venturing out yourself and perhaps be the first human to visit a cascading turquoise waterfall, stumble upon a lesser known mountain or a secretly hidden lake amidst snow laden valleys.
So what are you waiting for? Ditch the travel guide now and experience the world first-hand! It’s totally worth it.