Do I Need a Guidebook for Mexico?: Remember back in the day when the first thing you did planning a trip was to buy a Fodor’s or Baedeker’s? Later it was Lonely Planet, Let’s Go, Moon Handbooks and countless other guidebooks on the market. Browsing at the bookstore was fun and choices were sometimes difficult. For some, a guidebook was the beginning of a big adventure, planning months, sometimes years into the future.
Then the internet hit and who needed a guidebook when everything was right there at your fingertips?
Well, you do, especially if you don’t have an available keyboard or your phone isn’t picking up a WiFi signal. That can happen in jungles, mountains, broad plains and anywhere else you might find yourself traveling in or out of Puerto Vallarta. How many times have you been able to find a connection but you don’t have the password? You’re charting out the day and can’t find a signal so you’re lost.
Guidebooks are valuable for a lot of reasons. Some of the information contained within those knowledgeable pages: restaurants and bars; places to stay and whether they have pillows, bedbugs swimming pools and windows; transportation; spas; gyms; beaches; nude beaches; cultural, historical and educational information. Find out the best place to take your kids; how gay friendly a city is or isn’t; what’s the best and safest route; how to tip, or not tip; prices; hikes; where to rent a bike, a car, a boat, a kite, a babysitter.
Some locations around the world, including Puerto Vallarta, have guides for specific focuses; sexual orientation, dietary restrictions, surfing, fishing, bird-watching. A guidebook might have a section on phrases in the language of the country you’re traveling. If not, buy a small phrase book with a pronunciation guide. It will be of great assistance when you’re shopping. Take for instance the similarity of two Spanish words that can easily be confused; jabon is soap; jamon is ham.
Arthur Frommer was an soldier from the United States stationed in Europe in the 1950’s; he later wrote a book that started an extensive series; Europe on $5 a Day. Travel was no longer only for the wealthy. Eugene Fodor was an immigrant from Hungary who used his knowledge to introduce US citizens to continental Europe. Both wise travelers shared their experiences with the encouragement for the curious to see the world and meet the people in it. Travel opens people’s minds, breaks down mental barriers and removes preconceived notions.
We love guidebooks that we can pass back and forth among our friends, dog-eared, highlighted, post-it tabs galore and notations in the margins for what was best, what was best to avoid.
Que es cómo es.
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