Making up traveling guides requires a tremendous amount of research and they are a real boon for an inexperienced traveler, but they can sometimes lead you astray, when sticking to their recommendations too religiously. They are not bibles that they are made out to be and are often outdated before they are published. Traveling guides are only helpful to get a basic grasp of a certain place and after that to discover towns and cities on your own.
When it comes to hotels and restaurants, chose the one to your own taste and budget. The places, named in the guides are usually crowded, stuffed with foreigners (travelers) and the prices rise with popularity. Stroll about the place on your own and you are sure to find rooms for reasonable prices; restaurants with tables and a local atmosphere. Do not adhere stubbornly to the guide and do not blame anyone if everything turns out to be different from what you expected. Open your eyes and explore for yourselves!
Things change quickly and a hotel that offered a beautifully furnished, spacious double for twenty dollars a night yesterday may charge much more for a smaller room today; a wonderful restaurant not far from the station, where food was so tasty and at a moderate price two days before, on the next occasion may serve something quite uneatable. Thus, take traveling guides' recommendations with a pinch of salt.
A diversity of traveling guides may bring a half-baked traveler to a nonplus. In order not to get lost in the bulk of available printed materials and to clear up a "which guide is the best?" question, look through the following list of editions.
Lonely Planet publishers edit good guides to China, India and Asia, which are especially helpful for those, traveling on a shoestring. Lonely Planet guides cover the general history and give good details about places to visit. There are plenty of simple maps to give you an idea of where you are and, certainly, they always dig up cheap cafes with the best banana milk shakes. Some of the guides are a few years old, hence, use the prices as an approximate reference point only, as a lot can change overnight, which has been already pointed out,. Some Lonely Planet recommendations might even have shut down.
Let's Go guides were founded by a group of Harvard students about forty years ago and, though they are made up both for Europe and the USA, the Let's Go: USA guides are much better as Harvard students can tell us more about their hometown in North America than about any other place in the world. The Let's Go guides attract young people, looking for ins and outs of nightlife, as well as what to see during the day.
The Rough Guide to West Africa is recommended instead of the Lonely Planet edition. Perhaps, maps are not so good, but a music section and other cultural passages are worth reading
Footprint Handbooks have printed guides to over hundred and twenty countries, comprising guides to India, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East, South and Central America and the Caribbean and introduced city guides to London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Rio de Janeiro -- with many more travel guides in development. They were the authors of The South American Handbook, the daddy in this series.
For those, who prefer a long-term travel to spice up a boring life or broaden an outlook and understanding, there are world travel guides, which cover an issue of stress due to different cultures and languages, as well as financial, safety, and health worries along with the general traveling information.