Why Travel Guides are Still Important

A warm salty breeze and the roar of crashing waves. Crisp air and chilling wind with a mountaintop view. The bustling murmur of the crowd and the glow of city lights. No matter the destination, one must never pass up the opportunity to adventure.

If you’re anything like me, then you LOVE to travel! And between trips, you probably spend countless hours dreaming about your next journey and where it will take you.
Unfortunately for most, myself included, the opportunity to travel doesn’t come around all that often. But this shouldn’t stop you from planning. More likely than not, you’ll conduct most of your research/planning online. (One does not simply plan a trip without consulting Pinterest). However, I truly believe there is one essential resource that cannot be found online: travel guides. Now I know what you’re thinking. Why waste money on a book when I can find all that information online? Well for starters, travel guides provide you with all kinds of information in one convenient package. Within this one book you get an assortment of maps, travel tips, lists of attractions (both popular and less well-known), restaurant guides, cultural insights, and more.

Aside from the information they provide, these guides can have a strong impact on your complete travel experience from start to finish. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re planning your dream vacation to New York City. With a travel guide, your journey starts before you leave. You go to your favorite bookstore, and find the section with travel guides. As you approach, the vast array of books draw you in. You sift through the guides until you find the ones titled “New York City”. Then, you browse through the different guides until you find the one that feels just right. As you leave the bookstore with your newly purchased travel guide, you now have a physical symbol, a foreshadowing of your future adventures. As you plan your trip, you consult your guide, along with some online resources. As you pack your bags, you place your travel guide in the top of your suitcase. Once you arrive, you consult your travel guide again as you review your itinerary for the next day. You repeat this process each day of your trip. Day by day, you see the different sites, restaurants, etc. transform from pictures and descriptions in your travel guide to the real world right in front of your own eyes. When you return home, the travel guide becomes a memento, a physical reminder of your trip and all the places you visited. In a way, it served as a personalized tour guide that was by your side the entire way. It completed your journey with you from start to finish. And now, it can always serve as a visible reminder of your experience.

I’ve done this for all of my major trips. Anytime I prepare to venture, I pick up a travel guide for that particular destination. For me, travel guides have made a lasting impact on all of my travels. Today, I have a collection (an entire shelf full) of travel guides from all different places, and I am preparing to add a new one to my collection. I hope that travel guides can have the same impact for you, improving all of your travel experiences and providing you with lasting memories in a way that nothing else can.


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Kristen Twardowski

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