Free International Travel Guides – The Best For Where You’re Going

Ah, the age of information… nowadays folks are binging on information, yet starving for knowledge. Rather than wade through countless websites in search of solid advice, I’ve done the leg work for you by compiling the best free international travel guides out there today. The format of online guides differ from their tangible counterparts; where a book must include information you need before and during your trip, online travel guides provide the ability to get exactly what you need, when you need it.

Several times I have used an online guide book, and merely printed (or jotted down in my notebook) the most important info for the next few days. Here’s my list of the best free international travel guides:

Travelfish.org. There is no single source for travelers to Southeast Asia better than Travelfish. Loaded with easy to navigate information on the entire region, including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Singapore, Travelfish covers all the travelers’ needs. The forum is really well done, and you can expect a high level experience from those who respond to your questions. Most of the information is free, and they do offer e-guides for each country at roughly $5 (a true bargain).

Lonley Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum. Very much like the forum on Travelfish, but with global coverage. I’m a firm believer that guide books are generally outdated by the time they hit the press, and it’s important to get from the road advice from someone who is there. Visa requirements change, roads are closed, violence happens…don’t get caught unprepared. Forums also provides advice you’ll never find in a guidebook, either: the need for bribes, history of violence, etc. These are important considerations in the real world that most publications (and governments) tend to gloss over.

Lonley Planet. Though they haven’t implemented it, LP has come up with the brilliant notion of offering a “pay as you go” program where you can choose portions of a guide book and pay for that part only. Keep an eye out on their website for the release date.

Bootsnall.com There are many international travel guides available on this site, and one could spend a lifetime searching through their network. A really good network for travelers, with independent travel blogs for a more personal approach.

These three are far and away the best online source for free international travel guides, and I suggest you research your destination with these both prior to and during your trip.

Ireland Travel Guides

1. Eyewitness Guide Book to Ireland

Nobody should go to Ireland without a copy of the Eyewitness Guide Book to Ireland. After comparing numerous Ireland travel guides, this one quickly rose to the top of our favorites. It’s easy to read, it’s bursting at the seams with information you actually want to know, and it contains more photos than any other Ireland travel guide we’ve seen. Readers will learn about everything from the history of Ireland to the inside scoop on of all the popular tourist attractions. The only disadvantage we found is the steep price tag (we paid around $40 for it).

2. Rick Steves Ireland 2007

Many travelers choose Rick Steve’s Ireland travel guide as their “bible” during their stay on the Emerald Isle. What makes this book so satisfying is its heartfelt, conversational writing style. It’s written from the eyes of a fellow traveler who understands what it’s like to travel with both high expectations and a low budget. It’s also a relatively small book, which means it can be easily carried during your trip. The cons? Not many. However, some may consider the almost complete lack of pictures a disadvantage.

3. Dublin Secrets

We realize that we’re “tooting our own horn” here, but failing to recommend Dublin Secrets in this article would be like cheating you. Written by a student who lived and studied among the locals for four months, this charming little book reveals secrets about traveling Ireland that you won’t find anywhere else. Dublin Secrets contains an abundance of insider tips, helpful advice, and fun suggestions for the traveler who wants to save money, travel comfortably, and experience the REAL Ireland. Get a copy of Dublin Secrets, but remember that it should not be used as the sole resource for your trip. It’s not designed to be an exhaustive guide, but rather an insider “conversation” from one friend to another filling you in on everything the regular travel guides missed. One cool feature of this book is that it is available online for instant download as an eBook. It also includes free access to the unedited diary the author kept during his Ireland travels, as well as the author’s mobile phone number in case you have any additional questions.

Here’s what local Irishwoman Sheila R. said of Dublin Secrets: “Very informative and chatty and witty…well worth having…a must for every traveler to Ireland.”

You can learn more about Dublin Secrets here

And that’s it for our article, “Ireland Travel Guides: 3 Travel Guides Every Visitor To Ireland Should Own.” We’ve personally found each of these travel guides to be worth many times the investment during our time in Ireland. Pick up a copy of each and dive in. You’ll be glad you did.

Using Travel Guides to Your Benefit

When it comes to travelling; basically there are two kinds of people. The first kind plans their entire vacation right from the time they leave their house to the time they return whereas the others just go to the place, book themselves into a hotel and then decide what to do.

But, if you’re planning on visiting a new city there are plenty of travel guides that would be able to help you plan your vacation; however, there are plenty of people waiting to mint cash from you and therefore make sure that you only buy official travel guides as they’d have everything you need to know.

Use the travel guide to plan

One of the best ways of using the travel guide is by flipping through the pages of the brochure, check out the places you would love to visit and write them down on a separate piece of paper or on your phone.

Once that’s done you could then begin your journey by visiting the places in order based on their proximity to each other. As far as possible hire a professional travel guide so that they would help you reach all those places in the least amount of time – else you’d be travelling in circles.

Also, while you’re travelling from a place to the next, you could use your smartphone or laptop to check out what you could do in the area, usually you’d find a lot of interesting articles on each place you visit.

Find out about dangers using the guide

There are also times when you need to be careful about visiting a few places and your travel guide would point those out as well. You may find a mountain range really beautiful and plan a hiking trip, but the time of the year that you’re visiting could be avalanche season – so, make sure that you read the guide thoroughly before you plan.

Use them to learn about the place

Your travel guide is probably a comprehensive book and it would contain a lot of information on each and every place mentioned. Using the book you would be able to check out the history of the place as well as it’s cultures and traditions.

If you’re lucky, a bit of the ancient culture could still be alive in some parts of the city and if you’re interested you could ask your travel guide to take you to that part of town.

A travel guide isn’t a book, it’s basically just a kind of glossary that gives you information that you would find when you scratch the surface. If you’re looking forward to having a true adventure, you would need to conduct your very own research on the particular heritage site, garden or just about any place you visit within a city.

They prevent you from being cheated

When you use a travel guide, it would also include the fares that you would need to pay your tour guide as well as taxi driver to drive you from one place to the next. Usually when you’re travelling to foreign countries, you would notice that the locals try to loot you as they consider tourists to be rich.

Hence, just by following the tour guide and using government services as outlined in the guide, you would be able to enjoy your visit, whilst at the same time save cash.