What is a travel guide?
A travel guide is a sort of a bible of information about a certain place, mostly tailored to fit the needs of a tourist. A travel guide book is the best source of information about a certain location’s cultural and historical information. It can be termed as the tourist’s best friend.
When you are new to a certain place, and specifically visiting that place for tourism, you might not know a lot of good spots and ability to ask various people about it. Plus the information you are able to get from those people is going to vary from person to person, and could be a lot more time consuming.
A travel guide book not only provides you just with directions, but also gives you a complete description of the area, so much so that a well written guide can actually make you feel that you have already visited the place after just reading about it.
A typical well written travel guide shows you the geographical location of the place with respect to the adjoining areas, the myths that have been around about a certain place, hotels and motels available at the locality, their charges during on and off season, availability of banks and gas stations, internet and certain other facilities, the severity of weather, the travelling time to and from famous landmarks that you must visit, modes of travelling to and from your destination and the places that you must visit in order of their priority. It also provides you the insight as to how you should behave with the natives, and what they expect of you and what should you expect of them.
I had been living at my place for more than 11 years and even then a travel guide told me so much about the place where I lived, something I would not have found out otherwise. I used the travel guide by Isobel Shaw, and it was remarkable and very detailed.
Most travel guides are available in e-book format these days, but I personally prefer hard copies, which are available at an economical price from major bookshops and libraries, so that you are able to carry them around in your backpack while hitch-hiking and are able to consult it for directions whenever you need. Travel guide books are usually available in many languages, and the best part is, that a certain travel guide would usually consist of two sections, one in a globally accepted language and the other section in the native language of the place you want to visit, which gives you an extra credit in conversing with the native people.
Some travel agencies also hire tourists to help them compile information for a travelling guide as another side business. This has a twofold benefit, firstly, it booms their business, as many people come to know of the existence of the places they could spend their leisure time, and in turn they have to contact the subject travel agency to set up their trips which brings not only publicity and further potential clients, but also, the published travel guides become another source of income for them.