For the first time in awhile I went on a long vacation to a developing country – Thailand. I was so looking forward to two weeks somewhere very unlike America.
Loads of new things were just waiting to be discovered. I could break out my rusty bargaining skills and pore over maps of unfamiliar landscapes -get lost in a completely new culture. So ready!
It was an amazing break and I loved every minute – even the not so great ones. But, here are the things I need to remember every time I travel to a new country.
- Guidebooks just ain’t what they used to be
I don’t know if I’ve become more jaded over time or if my previous bible for travel, Lonely Planet, has really gone downhill. Every year, the guidebooks for each country just get bigger and bigger – they may be getting paid by the word now. To me, most if what’s in guidebooks is essentially useless. Every place, no matter how random or “off-the-beaten-path” is now worthy of a chapter. Unless you’re living somewhere for years and need to know the minutia of every city, guesthouse and site, guidebooks are only useful for plotting a general course and maybe a place to stay – and even that is usually a crapshoot. On this trip, a friend got advice from a local of where to stay. The guidebook listed it as barely worth noting – it turned out to be a piece of paradise – that leads me to my point number 2.
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