Best travel guides for International Travelers

Best travel guides for International Travelers

Love globetrotting, but do not know how and where to start?

Then this article is just for you. If you are looking to increase your know-how on international travel – destinations to consider, places to visit, tips and tricks on budgeting, solo travel and so on, then look no further than the lists below.

We list the best destination selection guides, training guides and specific destination based series to consider while planning your next international travel. We will also look at some of the factors to consider while picking out the most suitable guide for your needs.

Most of these books are available both in paperback and Kindle as indicated in the list. This article effectively supplements our earlier article on best camping guides for beginners.

Best generic destination guide list

Some of the best books that can help you in selecting places to visit are listed below:
PictureProductKindle Ed.Features 
Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing PlacesYes- This National Geographic published compilation of destinations gives a pictorial account of unique manmade and natural destinations around the world.
- In 320 pages, this book contains 250 exquisite color photographs, making it a perfect read for armchair and serious traveler.
- The current edition was published in Oct, 2015.
Lonely Planet's Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See... RankedNo- This popular destination guide from the world’s leader in international travel has a list of 500 best places to visit, ranked according to their popularity.
- In 320 odd pages, the book ranks some widely visited and some obscure hidden gems of places to visit.
- The current edition was published in Oct, 2015.
Fifty Places to Hike Before You Die: Outdoor Experts Share the World's Greatest DestinationsYes- This latest publication from the bestselling Fifty places series is authored by Chris Santella and lists out the top places for hiking enthusiasts.
- In 220 odd pages, the book lists fifty hiking destinations in as many chapters.
- The current edition was published in Oct, 2010.
100 Countries, 5,000 IdeasNo- Another gem from the National Geographic travel book collection, this book lists as many as 5000 destinations to visit in 100 countries around the globe.
- In 400 pages, the book is divided into two sections that cover suggestions on places to visit, how to get there, and what to do.
- The current edition was published in Feb, 2011.
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden WondersYes- This travel reference bestseller is authored by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton.
- In 480 pages, the book contains an illustrious view of best offbeat destinations in the world.
- The current edition was published in Sept, 2016.

Best learning guide list

Some of the best books that can help you in increasing your know-how of international travel are listed below:
PictureProductKindle Ed.Features 
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, SmarterYes- This internationally popular frugal travel guide is authored by Matt Kepnes, who is popularly known as Nomadic Matt.
- In 330 odd pages, this Number 1 bestseller covers all aspects of how to travel around the world on a budget.
- The current edition was published in Jan, 2015.
The Rough Guide to First-Time Around The WorldYes- This book is a perfect pre-trip guide for travelers planning their first trip around the world.
- In 300 pages, this book covers everything from budgeting, packing and avoiding scams to staying healthy and working abroad
- The current edition was published in Feb, 2016.
The Solo Traveler's Handbook 2nd EditionYes- This unique handbook is a part of the Traveler's Handbooks series is authored by Janice Leith Waugh and a must buy for solo travelers
- In short 130 odd pages, this guide covers all aspects of how and why of solo travel including budgeting, safety, health etc.
- The current edition was published in Oct, 2012.
The Total Outdoorsman ManualNo- If you are considering exploring the wilderness, then this book is a must buy for you. Authored by T. Edward Nickens, this books covers all aspects of outdoor exploration and survival.
- In 320 pages, this book covers tips and tricks to master the outdoors and hunt, fish, and camp like an expert.
- The current 10th Edition was published in Oct, 2013.
Trekkerman: Walking the World's Best TrailsYes- A popular reference for trekking on best trails around the world, authored by Ric Samulski.
- In 360 pages, this book presents an entertaining account and guide to the best trails in the world including PCT, Appalachian and England coast-to-coast.
- The current edition was published in Dec, 2012.
Diary of a Traveling Black Woman: A Guide to International TravelYes- This unique, short and sweet book is authored by Nadine C. Duncan and is a great tool for international travel.
- In short 110 odd pages, the book follows a conversational style to help both newbies and experienced travelers to plan their international travel in a better way.
- The current edition was published in March, 2015.

Best destination based series list

Some of the best books that can help you in increasing your know-how of a particular destination are listed below:
PictureProductKindle Ed.Features 
Lonely Planet Travel GuidesYes- This worldwide bestseller in travel guides has an up-to-date collection of information for almost all travel destinations in all the six continents around the world.
- The Travel guides present accurate information on places to visit, things to keep in mind and references to local resources.
- Most travel guides are updated annually/bi-annually.

National Geographic Traveler Guides

National Geographic Traveler GuidesYes for most editions- The National Geographic guides are more popular for illustration rich, abridged, multi-destination content.
- There are specific editions for best destinations, maps and national parks etc.
- Most travel guides are updated annually/bi-annually.
Frommer’s Travel GuidesYes for most editions- One of the oldest travel guide publishers, most of the popular guides have been re-written in recent years.
- The Travel guides have a unique focus on travel around Europe and North America, with a major focus on older travelers.
- Most guides are edited annually/bi-annually.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides

DK Eyewitness Travel GuidesYes for some- Unique, illustration rich travel guides, with a primary focus on destinations in Europe and Asia.
- The publisher also has a set of top 10 travel activity guides which are quite popular.
- Most travel guides are updated annually, making it one of the most updated publication series.

Let’s Go Student Travel Guides

Let’s Go Student Travel GuidesYes for some- These student-focused travel guides are written for students by Harvard students and published by Harvard Student Agencies
- The primary focus of these guides is on budget travel for young travelers.
- Most travel guides are updated bi-annually.
Rick Steves’ Travel GuidesYes for some- A Europe focused bestselling travel guide series which comes in many formats- books, videos and audio CDs.
- These unique travel books are a perfect buy for those looking to travel to European destinations.
- Most travel guides are updated annually, making it one of the most updated publication series.

How to pick the best international travel guide?

Picking the best outdoor guide for international travelers is not a difficult task, as it is similar to picking up any other hobby book. But you can keep the following factors in mind while considering the best choice for you or anybody else you are buying it for:

  • Type of Content
  • Level and format of book
  • Publication year of the edition
  • Popularity, reviews and ratings

Type of Content

Depending upon your experience level and primary focus area, you can consider specific guide books. Books such as Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See… Ranked and 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas help in selecting the best travel destinations and identifying places to visit. Similarly, learning guides such as The Total Outdoorsman Manual and The Solo Traveler’s Handbook 2nd Edition help in preparing you for international travel. Once you have zeroed in the destination, you can pick specific travel guides from any of the series mentioned above.

Level and format of the book

The level and format of the book are also important factors. Since this article is primarily focused on books on international travel, most of the books here are suitable primarily for experienced outdoorsmen. However, some books such as The Rough Guide to First-Time around the World may be useful for beginners as well. In addition, some books focus on the complete process- right from planning to budgeting and managing the international travel experience, while some short books just focus on providing the best tips and tricks for international travel. Depending on what you are looking for, you can decide to pick the right book or a combination of books.

Publication year of the edition

In the case of travel guides, the publication year of the book is generally more important than the publisher. Books which are 6 or more years old are generally not very suitable considering the changes in international travel that have happened over the years. In addition, the references to restaurants, shops etc. in such books may no longer be accurate. This is more important for travel guides such as Frommer’s Travel Guides though some of their books are pretty much standard in the field, even though they have been published as early as 2010.

Popularity, reviews and ratings

The popularity of the author, publisher, and book is often a great indicator of how the book would turn out to be. Most of the books listed above have been written by authors and edited by publishers with considerable experience in their fields. But as one size does not fit all, you should look at the reviews, especially by other experts and authors in the field. A simple search can often reveal a lot about the popularity of the book. You can also utilize the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon website to get a preview of the book.

Which are the best international travel guides and what our picks are?

In our list, we have listed more than 15 high-quality international travel guides spanning across three broad categories – generic destination guides, learning guides and specific destination guides. The pick for best international travel guides depends on a lot of the requirements of the reader. Hence we would not be picking up a specific guide which can be considered as Editor’s choice, this time around.

If you are an armchair traveler and looking for a book covering the best destinations around the world, then you can consider Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel or National Geographic’s 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas. You will find these books an excellent read.

If you are looking for guides that can help you get started on international travel then consider The Rough Guide to First-Time around the World guide book. Another book worth picking is How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter . This international bestseller is an excellent reference guide for traveling on a budget.

Finally, if you have identified the destination and looking for specific travel guide then pick one of the books from the Lonely Planet Travel Guides or Frommer’s Travel Guides series. You will find these guides accurate, to-the-point and suitable for almost all types of international travelers. For destination books with more recent guidance, filler with illustrations, you can opt for the books from DK Eyewitness Travel Guides series.

International travel websites and blogs

In addition to the travel guides, there are quite a few international travel websites and blogs that provide excellent information, tips, and tricks for international travel. Some of the popular blogs that we like are listed below:

  • Amateur Traveler: Award winning international travel site by Chris Christensen with more than 500 destination-themed podcasts which have been downloaded more than 7 million times.
  • Nomadic Matt Travel Site: A website that supplements NY Times award winning author Matt Kepnes’ book on frugal travel. Filled with latest tips and tricks to travel around the world on a budget
  • Two Monkeys Travel Group: A valuable resource for international travel stories, first-hand accounts and advice with suggestions for travel across four continents – Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
  • Y-Travel Blog: A top rated blog with lot of advice for international family travel around the world.
  • Mapping Megan Travel Blog: An excellent, award winning travel blog for beginners, filled with lot of high quality information and advice for traveling around the best destinations in the world.
  • The Blonde Abroad Solo Travel Blog: A perfect resource for solo travelers with first-hand account and, advice for solo traveling across the globe.
  • Global Munchkins Family Vacation Guide: An inspirational blog filled with lot of beginner information on international travel with young kids and big families.

Final thoughts on best travel guides for international travelers

In this post, we looked at some of the best guide books and series available in the market for recreational international travel. We looked at both the learning and the destination based travel guides. Most of these books are available both in paperback and Kindle editions as indicated in the list. You should definitely check some of them out while planning your next international trip. These books also make an excellent gift. In addition, we also listed out some of the popular websites and blogs on international travel. Do let us know how you found this article and if you would want us to consider anything else. Happy Globetrotting!

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