If you are planning to participate in study abroad, intern abroad, or volunteer work abroad program and are wondering what country is best to visits, Travel Guides can be a very useful resource for such information. Not only you can find valuable information about any specific country, but you can also read editor’s picks, best places to visit, the most unique tourist destinations.
One of the most important reasons to why every student should read travel guides before departure is because it helps to get organized and plan your program abroad. Planning is one of the key things to do in order to have the best experience abroad. Planning helps you manage time efficiently, stay organized and on top of things, as well as it helps you spend your money wisely.
Of course your program provider can be a valuable source to such information, but travel guides offer you more of a “tourist” outlook that will make your study abroad program more fun and exciting. It will only add to the information provided about your placement and educate you more about your program destination.
Internet is fantastic! You can find any information about any country or place in the world. Not only you can find descriptions about destination countries but you can read forums and travelers discussions to see what people are saying about their travel experience. A lot of times travelers who have been to a certain country can provide all of the pros and cons about visiting China or Italy for instance. Reading such posts, or blogs, you can get valuable insights about destination of your volunteer work abroad program. You have to keep in mind that people are different and one traveler can have a very different feedback about his trip then the other. For example, if one traveler took time to plan and prepare for the trip, his trip will most likely provide more positive feedback than the trip of a less organized traveler.
Of course, relying just on the internet and other sources will not be an option when you will be in country and won’t know what to do. Having a travel guide handy may be very useful. Thus it is now up to you which travel guide to choose to make your program abroad more memorable.
How to choose a travel guide?
To be honest, each travel guide offers a lot of similar descriptions but each one of them is different in its own ways. For example, Lonely Planet can focus on tourist attractions, and Trip Adviser will focus on discounted travel and hotels, or vice versa. Each traveler-writer has a different perception of the place he is visiting, thus he will write from a different perspective. And so it is very difficult to say which travel guide is best. Consider reading our tips below:
#1. Figure out how you can use a travel guide.
Do you want it to be in a printable version or as a soft copy that you can save on your computer? Do you have an iPhone? Do you want to upload a travel guide app on your phone? Do you want to be small so that you can carry it in your pocket? What is the most useful form to you? Knowing the answers to such questions can help you when choosing the right one.
#2. Check out your local bookstore.
Just a quick trip to your local Barnes & Noble or Borders can solve the problem for you. If you want to save a buck on your travel guide then you should visit such sites as Amazon or even eBay. You can find used travel guides under $10 online.
#3. Narrow down your search.
Don’t waste any time looking at all of the travel guides that you find, especially big ones that have everything about everything. If you are going to China, disregard travel guides that have information about New Zealand or Canada. This is extra cost to you, and weight to your backpack. If you are visiting just Beijing, then you should get Beijing travel guide. It will be smaller, cheaper, and more useful!
#4. Look for specifics!
Don’t buy travel guides with lots of unnecessary information that you will never use. Look for ones that have straight to the point information. Street maps, local tour guides, transportation info, what to do in case of emergency, etc.
#5. Don’t overwhelm yourself!
Of course planning is important but over whelming yourself with plans and expectations can also hurt your experience abroad big time. Imagine everything doesn’t go according to your plan (and it will!), what do you do then? Well, just relax and go with the flow. The less you stress the more fun you have. So be cool about everything and enjoy your stay!
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