Subject: Travel Guides and Books
We've only been to Europe twice and have had good luck with the Rick Steves' guides. We find what we're looking for and the hotels have been as described. I also like to pick up the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guide to where we are going and very carefully rip out the appropriate chapters to take with us. We have the LP guide to Walking in Britain. We had the LP Condensed Guides for London and Paris, but didn't like them as well as their regular guides.

I like guides that include bookstores in the area (Rick's are sadly lacking in that category) and day hikes we might want to check out. Researching before our trip includes area hiking guides and, for England, I have a couple 'independent' guides, London for the Independent Traveler, Ruth Humleker, and Britain on Your Own, Dorothy Maroncelli (has the best 'packing' chapter I've ever read). The Cadogen Guide to London/Paris worked very well for us, but I didn't like the Scotland guide as well. I've been enjoying going through Margo Classe's Hello Britain and Ireland!

The Eyewitness Guides are wonderful, but heavy. I have some older editions from Half Price Books for research as I wouldn't want to lug them along.

Frommers and Fodors are just OK for us, but others have great success with them.

I second the recommendation to check your local library. Like anything else, the best travel guides for you are those that include your areas of interest. It takes time to review so many choices and narrow them down to the ones that work best for you. I like to test drive at the library first to determine which ones are worth spending those hard earned dollars on for a permanent home in our library. The time and effort are more than worthwhile to add to the enjoyment of your trip. I think it is RSs that says something like a $30 investment for a $3000 trip is money well spent.

As for travel books, they're in a separate section in our bookstores, too. It may be the travel literature section. I always take a peek as I enjoy reading books about walking adventures. I also like Susan Allen Toth's books on England. Without Reservations, Alice Steinbach, was very nice. There's always a fistful on Tuscany.

Cheers, happy traveling and happy reading to all, Peggy