Shortly before the start of the vacations, I would like to ask the following question: how do you actually prepare for a vacation trip?? What is the best way to do that or do you have to prepare at all? Isn't it enough just to go on vacation/drive/fly?
Of course, vacation is already great, but maybe you want to learn something about the country and the people, instead of just lying on the sun lounger. Exactly, and no matter if it is a short trip or a longer round trip, a vacation destination is at first an unknown spot and therefore it makes sense to inform yourself a bit in advance: what language do you speak, what are the culinary specialties or what cultural highlights does the destination offer or what is the place particularly known for. Informing myself in advance about the vacation region also means travel anticipation for me. I then dive into the country a bit beforehand and look forward to experiencing it in real life soon.
Beside travel guides in book form I read different blogs and also sometimes an inspiring newspaper report. For orientation in the travel region google maps helps me and maybe also a city map. Every tourist region now has an app that you can download to your cell phone to get the latest tips while you're on the road (if the network is good), and to find out about opening hours or admission costs for individual sites.
How do you do it – on vacation or before?
In the last years I was on some short trips: holland, sardinia and sicily and for each destination I was kindly provided with the corresponding travel guide by michael Müller verlag. Here I already have the next ones on the bedside table: for the cote d'azur and brittany. Then for the short trip to rome and ischia. Yes, there is some catching up to do, isn't there?
The blue books in DIN A5 format are familiar because they have been on the market for as long as anyone can remember. Recently, there are also city guides for some cities with the title city adventure. This series to worldwide metropolises, has even received the ITB bookaward in the category: best new travel book series. In short, travel guides are still up-to-date and are obviously bought and read with pleasure.
But traveling has changed a lot, internet is almost everywhere and also travel bloggers offer extensive tips for the giant preparation. Sometimes you just want a pocket diary-sized travel guide instead of a two-hundred-page book that even discusses the political context of your vacation destination. So I ask myself – how should I do it and which sources of information are the better ones?. Which guidebooks are the best.
Anticipation by means of a travel guide?
I want to prepare a little bit for the destination (because of the anticipation). So what now: buy a thick book, which is completely outdated at the end, when I go and then I do not like the tips of the author perhaps at all, because too high-priced or too culture-heavy or simply boring? So only a picture book? I think about. Have I ever visited a hotel or restaurant from a travel guide?? Honestly? No! It is either not my taste or not my price range. Quite differently however with the blogger tipps or a magazine contribution (the Süddeutsche has a beautiful travel part likewise the magazine GEO season). I get a lot of information there and really try it out on the spot.
Travel guides are for the anticipation
For the anticipation and travel preparation I like to use a guidebook. In black and white it is described in detail where to go, how long the stores are open in this country, where to buy tickets and when the famous "aussichtsstum" was built. It should be a detailed guidebook, preferably with lots of pictures and maps. Often the travel guides stay at home, because sometimes the book is only there to prepare and to get in the mood for the destination. If you're traveling with only carry-on luggage, one book is too many (because, traveling light). In the meantime, I'm thinking about borrowing the guidebook only in the library and bring it back after a few weeks – topic resource conservation. Because on the spot I rarely look in the guidebook, because then I like to let myself drift sometimes. On the other hand – I also like to take notes and then it has to be my own copy.
I have often found that the opening hours listed in the guidebook are not valid because there is a strike or construction work going on… There are so many reasons. Of course, the book was written at least a year in advance and in palermo the opening hours are decided on short notice and also the spaniards let the position of the sun decide whether it is open or not. In short, on the road I rely more on the information on the spot or the internet.
Apps for vacation
Although very tech-savvy and blogger, I do not use the many tourism apps that exist so at all. For every museum, every exhibition, yes, even for the wertheim village outlet, there is now an app. Visit scotland, visit paris… They all have an app now too, which firstly jerks or doesn't work on my phone version. Admittedly, I am old school and prefer to look directly on the website or in the brochure of the local tourist information. The only exception: metro-plan, because there is an app resp. Google maps in the respective city really a great help.
How are you? Write me an email, because I'm really interested in how other travelers prepare themselves. Because, traveling with light luggage requires good pre-planning.