Travel guidebooks can prove very useful to those who travel to distant, faraway lands, as they use the information to locate local attractions, recreation facilities, and even use the phrases at the back of the book to help them communicate more effectively during their travels. However, many travel guidebooks also offer misleading, outdated information. How can you verify what’s in a travel guidebook?
Contact Businesses to Verify that They Still Exist
It is not unheard of for holidaymakers to arrive at their destination only to discover that the restaurant they had pegged for their silver wedding anniversary dinner went out of business several months ago. This can be a crushing discovery if you have set your heart on visiting certain restaurants or travel destinations, only to find out that they are no longer in business.
To avoid disappointment, contact businesses prior to your arrival to verify that they still exist. E-mail, call or visit their listed company Web site to check and see if the details in the travel guidebook are still current and up to date.
Ask Friends or Family for Advice
If your sister has just returned from her once-in-a-lifetime trip to Brisbane, Australia, and you plan to follow in her footsteps, go to her for advice, rather than relying solely on a travel guidebook on Australia for advice on what to see and do once you arrive.
Remember that not all travel writers who write travel guidebooks have actually been to the destination that they have written about. Instead, some rely on “desk updates” by reading up on the destination, asking someone who has been there or scouring the Internet for information, which means some of the information in the travel guidebook is likely to be outdated at best, or completely inaccurate, at worst.
Ask Locals for Insider Tips
The real “experts” are not always the travel writers who have compiled travel guidebooks, but the locals. Take along your travel guidebook and ask locals for insider tips. Is it really true that the 4-Star restaurant you plan to visit in Downtown Rio De Janeiro offers the best steak around? Where would they recommend for some good, authentic local cuisine? Hotel staff, shopkeepers and other locals are in a good position to advise you and lead you in the right direction.
Travel guidebooks certainly provide a wealth of information for holidaymakers. However, it is important to take what you read with a pinch of salt. Not everything you read will be up to date or accurate. Verify information by contacting businesses to find out if they still exist, ask family or friends who have been to the location you plan on visiting for advice, and do not forget to ask locals for insider tips that you will not always find in travel guidebooks.