As a constant traveller, everything isn’t in my head, nor do I love looking up the internet for travel information tips. I’m very much an old school type when it comes to research and reading about destinations. I LOVE reading travel guide books. I own an extensive collection of these books (currently I’m storing it in Hong Kong). Inside these books are my own notes. The books I use most often are the Lonely Planet books, though I admit in my early days I always used Berlitz Guides (smaller and fit in the pocket easier, but slightly too concentrative on hotels and higher end options than my backpacking heart allows).
So to save money, I buy cheap, fake, out of date and second hand books. I also sometimes photocopy and print out the information.
Where do you get fake, cheap, out of date or second hand Lonely Planet books??
Two places – China and Thailand. My favourite easy spot to pick them up is of course backpacker hub Khaosan Road in Bangkok. The border bookshops at Shenzhen’s Lo Wu crossing into Hong Kong are also a great place to find them. Selected markets in other parts of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia also have a lot of them.
I forgot to pick up an Iran one for my current journey, and this has been tough to find on the road. So we managed to get the online PDF version (e-mailed from a mate) for a change and will pay a photocopy shop to print it for us! (Only the pages we need)
So all in all two good places to get cheaper, out of date and fake Lonely Planets:
1. Khason Road, Bangkok, Thailand
2. Lo Wu, Shenzhen, China
Here are my list of tips on saving money on travel guide books:
1. Buy cheap travel guide books in places like Khaosan Road
2. Buy fake travel guide books in places like Khaosan Road
3. Buy out of date travel guide books in places like Khaosan Road (don’t forget that even the latest editions are out of date as soon as they are published, so quite often it makes no difference other than places are closed and prices change)
4. Borrow travel guide books from your travel buddies
5. Download the PDFs to save money (I hate doing this by the way – I need an actual book in my hand and I can’t be done without a physical copy!)
6. Photocopy someone elses travel guide books (only the pages you need of course)
7. Make sure you check what books are permitted in each country. An Israel or Palestine book will be banned in Iran/Saudi Arabia etc. Travellers have also had the China book confiscated at border crossings and it’s not a good idea to take anything about Nagorno Karabakh into Azerbaijan with you. In fact, you may even be denied access to a country, so do take note!!
Pick them up cheap, use your bargaining skills and get backpacking!