One thing I always do before I start working on any trip is to do research…and lots of it! I generally have a country or two in mind before I start my research and the first thing I do is head to the local library (I always go to the largest area branch as they have the best selection of travel/destination books). I check out several books (sometimes up to 10) of varying types for each country. For example, you may find a book that focuses on adventure travel, while one focuses on historical or architecture. You will learn after doing this for awhile, that you develop your favorite authors or publishes of books (ie: Fodor’s, Rick Steve’s, Frommer’s, etc.) I always want to have a clear vision of what the country has to offer before I make my decision. I’ve also learned that I’m a “visual” learner and prefer doing my research via books versus on the internet…perhaps you fit this type of learner too?
I check out as many books as I feel necessary to help me finalize my decision. My decision is based on my personal interests in the country, my budget, the trip length I have allocated for this vacation and the time of year that I’ve selected for traveling.
Once I get home, I review all the books and narrow it down to just a couple of books that I feel will best offer what I’m looking for in my vacation. I have found over the years that some books are more concise and others more wordy – pick the books that best fit your learning style. I then spend a fair amount of time researching in these books before I ultimately decide on my destination.
Once I’ve made the final decision on the destination I want as well as which book best fits my needs – I head out to my local bookstore or visit Amazon.com and purchase the latest edition of that book. I always bring this book along on my trip and so I want the most up to date edition. This is a great way to save money by not investing in books you may not need upfront!
You will notice that your local library will have many travel books, but many will be out of date. I’ve seen books that are 10-15 years old. Just keep in mind that if you’re visiting Israel or Italy – a 10 year old book is not an issue because the places you want to visit are generally hundreds or even thousands of years old.
I hope you find this helpful!