Wednesday, 22 January 2014

BOOKS: Guidebooks To Get You Around America


With a new year ahead we all love to start thinking about travel plans, I know I do and America is often high on many people's to visit list. Having a great, readable and informative tourist guide can be a key essential to your luggage and can be a godsend in really helping you find things to do on your travels. I travelled to the USA with four guides all with a different overlook - from US wide down to regions, state to city all of which we've used in some manner in the two years of being here. I thought it was high time I came to sharing which brands of guidebooks I swear by.

Rough Guides - [Chicago]

Rough Guides can do no wrong in my eyes and you can tell I love them by how well thumbed and read ours are. We used one for Edinburgh trip so when I knew we'd settled on Chicago for our honeymoon I didn't think twice about picking up the same brand for our trip. Rough Guides are great in providing enough variety in mainstream and out of the way places to visit, the have clear maps and excellent go to information. They provide the indepth really geeky history and information that I love to know about including fiction and films to see about the places your heading whatever your budget. Moreover their restaurant and hotel/hostels guides are super.

Moon Handbooks - [Michigan]

I stumbled across Moon while browsing the great London travel bookshop that is Stanfords. They were one of the few guidebooks out there that actually had a guide for Michigan - because Moon tend to do their publications by state [at least US wise]. I guess you could say I like my guidebooks to be geeky, crammed full of history, geography and information and with Moon you'll be more than sorted. Each area of a state is divided with great attention given to each, highlights, maps and which places to hit all clearly denoted.

Michelin - [USA East]

I guess you might call the Michelin guides more user and family friendly with all their colour photographs and a mix of attractions for adults and children alike. While this guide might not go into as much detail as the two publications I've already mentioned they do cover a lot of things to see and do. This guide covers Chicago eastwards all the way south to New Orleans and offers a decent overview of some of the more popular cities, attractions and places to visit. The maps possibly aren't the best - they kind of just show the interstates whereas Moon and Rough Guides encourage you to get onto the beaten track which is what I prefer.

Road Trip USA [another moon publication]

This book has to be my favourite of them all. If you're like me you want to get off the interstate and see real America then you can't go wrong with this HUGE book. Even if you're not planning to road trip you'll find this book a great resource. It'll show you the quirky museums out here in America, mom and pop diners alongside their suggestions of 11 road trips using just the two lane highways. If you want to get away from the tourist traps, you don't fancy being where everyone goes then this guide is the book for you! They also have a great website that goes with the book too.

What great publications for your travels have you come across? Do you stick with the same publication or have a mix of them all?


  1. Most of my research is through the Internet. If you haven't done it yet, I suggest you take US-12/Michigan Avenue from Detroit to Chicago. There is my start. Woodward Avenue would be a similar type trip through history. There was a guy who was doing the old highways who used one of my pictures.

  2. I stick to Lonely Planet or Rough Guide when I'm planning for a trip. I like the sound of Road Trip USA it's nice to get off the beaten track once in a while when travelling or visiting places :-)