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Guidebook shortcomings


Hobo Travel Tips
By Andy the HoboTraveler.Com

ISSUE:  053
DATE:  December 25, 2001
TIP:  Guidebook shortcomings
LOCATION:  Iquitos, Peru

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~ TODAY’S TRAVEL TIPS

GUIDEBOOK SHORTCOMINGS

I like guidebooks, and use one all the time.
For the money it is the cheapest way to
save time and money when traveling.
It is trendy or fashionable to comment
or complain about guidebooks

EXAMPLES:
I only use the maps.
All the information is old.
I do not need a guidebook.
It takes away the fun of travel

Whatever your thoughts, they are correct
for you, and a person should use a guidebook any way
they wish. A guidebook saves me time
and money by helping to find a cheap hotel
quickly and then being able to take a Taxi directly to
the Hotel and not worry about being robbed.

Most of the complaints I hear from other travelers
seem to be from unrealistic expectations. A guidebook
is not meant to be perfect, it is meant to guide.
You still have to make your own decisions.
Plus it is NOT wise to quote the guidebook as a
reference. It is NOT an encyclopedia of information
and although normally well researched. It is only
a guide written by normal travelers.

I have found these common shortcomings with
guidebooks and recommend you try to take into
considerations some of these shortcomings and
be prepared to deal with them.

THE INFORMATION IS NOT CURRENT
The solution is to ask questions and recommendations of
other travelers two or three cities before you arrive.
Use the book as guide, and not the answer to all questions.

BORDERS CITIES NOT INCLUDED
The border cities are not included in all guidebooks.
This can be a major problem if for some reason you are
permitted to cross the border immediately and have
to stay the night. A lot of gossip exist describing dangers and
hassles of border cities and unfortunately they are for the
most part true.

NO CONTINUITY FROM COUNTRY TO COUNTRY
If you buy a guidebook for a whole continent and your are traveling
from country to country there can be some dramatic problem
when trying to plan your trip. How to travel between cities in
different countries may not agree. One countries information
on the trip may include the information and not the other,
or in both and they do not agree. Arranging
a bus, train, or boat can frustrating. I found
traveling on the Amazon from Manaus to Iquitos a year
ago very difficult, because boat information was spread
all over my book an there was no continuity.

UNEXPLORED AREAS
For the most part guidebooks just ignore them until they
become popular. Probably some of the most beautiful places
I have spent time are in places not in the guidebook.
It would be nice if the guidebooks gave some list of place
to consider, even though they are lacking in good information.

PREJUDICE
Some of the writers are prejudice.
Against race
Against dirt
Against cultures
Against big business
Against rich people.
Recommend only the party places.
Treat poor as second class citizens.
I find a lot of places that the guidebook discourages
traveler from visiting are very nice, and there is
prejudice. One example was Colon Panama.
I found it to be extremely interesting and what my guidebook
said was atrocious.

INFORMATION NOT FOR BUDGET TRAVELERS
This is the best way to get me frustrated.
In countries like Argentina I think they decided
that you have to pay a lot, and the writer wanted to live
good, so they decided you must pay a lot. The writer sometimes
does not even look for the cheap hotels. This is against the
code of a hobo budget traveler. There is always a cheap hotel
and a way to travel cheap. In the expensive countries is
where the guidebook is needed the most.

KICKBACKS FROM HOTELS OR TOUR COMPANIES
I am sure this happens for travel writers of the
major guidebooks. They get some money, better room,
or a free tour to be nice, and helpful.

NO RESEARCH / RE-WRITE THE OLD INFORMATION
There are so many types of guidebooks on the market
now, and so many choices. It appears that
lots of guidebooks are just quoting from each other, or
relying on the old information already collected.

NO EXTRA OR NEW HOTEL OR TRANSPORTATION IN
COUNTRY GUIDEBOOK.
I have been traveling around Ecuador. I could have purchase
a complete book on just Ecuador. It would seem that if you
paid the money to get the book written for just Ecuador
that you could find more Hotels and Transportation tips. I instead
just find more FYI stuff.
“For Your Information”
This is all fun information, but really does not guide me anywhere.
They are packing the books with fun facts, and trivia, and
commentary.

VISA INFORMATION ONLY FOR WESTERN WORLD
If you are from an undeveloped country that does not speak
English you may feel like the whole world is against you.
That you are left out, with no way to get good information
on visa or entry requirements for your country.

POLITICAL COMMENTARY
This is dangerous in a guidebook, because so many
travelers believe anything they read.
I have been personally attacked on opinions that
travelers have read, and repeated. This causes a sort
of mass hysteria or gossip. Of course it is impossible
to keep all political commentaries out of a guidebook
and I think they should be included. But in the context
as an opinion and commentary, and not as facts.
If you read down below you will see that I have included
for a long time a caution when reading my newsletter
and that these are just opinions.

GUIDEBOOKS LINKS
Here are some links to guidebooks, please take a look
and add any good guidebooks, information or comments that you believe
would help the other hobo travelers.

http://www.hobotraveler.com/guidebooks.php
IF YOU HAVE TROUBLE OPENING LINK
CUT AND PASTE LINK TO BROWSER

Thanx

Andy
Hobotraveler.com was here.    X

Hobo’s mark your locations so we remember.
Have fun! Life is Good!

As always, these are suggestions. Please realize I am
giving guidance, and there are always other opinions.
“One mans paradise, is another mans hell”
This way we do not all go to the same place.

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Article written by Andy the Hobotraveler.com
On year 4 of Hobo trip around the world.
Budget Travel, Jobs, and Adventure, etc
Subscribe to Free Newsletter at:
http://www.hobotraveler.com/
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