I don’t like guidebooks. I don’t want to go to the same place that every other tourist is going to see, the sights don’t interest me after a point. The world is a beautiful and fascinating place just about everywhere. I’ll have just as much fun – if not more – exploring a random alley over going to see a sight.
If you want to have a better adventure you need to tear up your guidebook. Most of the good stuff about traveling isn’t in that book. For that you have to look elsewhere.
Sure, guidebooks are useful sometimes. They tell you where to catch a bus, and maybe a list of a few useful basic words. They also tell you where all the other tourists are. When the guidebook has no information about my intended destination I know I’m probably about to experience something good.
When I arrive at a destination in Asia with an abundance of places that serve pizza, banana pancakes, and other western comfort foods I’ve probably screwed up big time. When every shop sells the same knockoff cheap clothes, watches, luggage, dvds and sunglasses I’m definitely in the wrong place.
I love it when I see tourists walking around with their faces stuck in a guidebook. As a tourist they already stand out. With the guidebook they are even bigger suckers. Suckers with a bright sign asking for scammers, beggars and taxi drivers. While the marked tourist gets harassed I sneak past unnoticed.
Tear up your guidebook
If you really need the comfort of bringing a guidebook to hold your hand that is fine. But I still think you should tear up your guidebook. Or at least cut it up into sections. That way you can carry just the pages you need, and you don’t look like such a big sucker out on the streets. It’s lighter too.