Hey /trv/, after years of staunchly traveling without any guides, I decided to procure a lonely planet for my upcoming trip to Istanbul to see if it makes me see more than what I would normally and whether it will reduce the quantity of brute research I need to do myself.
My question is, seeing as this year I will be visiting Istanbul and only Istanbul, which guide should I buy? The country guide (Turkey) or the city-specific guide (Istanbul)?
Would the city guide be a more complete version of the country guide or would it essentially be the Istanbul chapter taken out and sold separately? The price difference really isn't that great so I'm thinking of buying the country guide for the Istanbul trip as I may visit other regions in Turkey in the future, however the country guide is significantly larger and I wonder if it has less detail than the Istanbul one.
City specific guide I guess, but guides are pretty overrated IMO
Use the internet, it's free and you hear actual experiences. Ask people here, I think there's already a Turkey thread. Message people on Couchsurfing and ask them.
I agree, I normally travel that way, but it's seriously research itensive to check every little thing for these kinds of trips, and I likely won't have internet access so I'd likely have to store tons of (incomplete) information on my phone/iPad before leaving which is really inconvenient.
Generally, city guides have more detailed information than what you would find in a country guide. More maps, more information on what's there (to do, where to sleep/eat), and more background information. If you're going to be in Instanbul and only Instanbul, there is no need to buy the country guide. I usually get the city guide of the city I'm most interested in when I travel so I can pull it out and read while on public transit or while eating, etc.
>Message people on Couchsurfing and ask them.
This, had good results with this myself.
Personally, I still stick to guides rather than internet for various reasons. One of them being that I have an easier time remembering something from a book. I tend to read in advance - mostly transport, food, prices, accomodations and some must-see or do things - make a rough plan, look up some details online, and let things take their course while doing relatively little research during the trip, also because I tend to travel without device that has mobile internet, I don't have one.
I use a guide as a good starting point and the little pocket sized eyewitness travel guides are handy for this. Having a chat with the hotel concierge, bar staff, pianist etc about their city is often just as good for recommendations and can lead you to some hidden gems though.
Less about what to see or do and more about the extended traveler learning to live in the culture... I like them even for short trips just to get some sense of how to live in and enjoy a place.
I see a company named "Moon" is doing something similar, but I have not read ne of theirs...
Ordering the Lonely Planet guide after I plan a trip, and reading through it on the plane/train ride there, has become a fairly typical part of my travel routine.
Tbh I usually don't use the guides that much once I get to my destination, but I find they're good for getting background info and some starting ideas of things to do.
Plus I like to collect them along with maps and tickets as sort of souvenirs of where I've been, and when I'm bored I'll pick some up and start planning re-trips to my favorite places.
The city specific guide to Istanbul is more up to date (it was published last month), and I think is a bit more detailed than the c equivalent section in the country book. I found it mildly useful when I was there, but only mildly so.
True about being up to date, but the new edition of the country version of the guide will come out April 1.
Do you find it's significantly more in depth?
This will be my first time travelling with a guide so I'm not sure what use it will be or how much I will actually be referring to it
I found their e-books disappointing, they've trimmed a lot of content out of the print book for some reason. It doesn't make much sense since they're not limited in size. The only reason I can think is that they expect it to be pirated and don't want to give everything away but since the print ones get pirated anyway, I don't see the benefit.