But the guidebook said it would be packed!
When it comes to finding accommodation on the road, there was a time when travellers put their faith in guide books. Even the most recent editions would be up to two years old, but since everyone used the same three or four titles, they acted as self-fulfilling prophecies. A good place got busier, and provided they kept the level of service, only got better. Of course, this often came at a cost to other, equally-good if not better establishments. Rumours swirled of hotels courting guidebook writers, much as they do newspaper and magazine travel writers. We relied on guidebooks for their objective reviews, and trusted they were in fact so.
When I first set out on my journey, I found my accommodation through word-of-mouth, and a range of online tools, like Hostelworld and Tripadvisor, that have become essential to modern travel. Of course, these services have now found their own unique challenges, as competitors look to game the results and gain the upper hand. But getting up-to-the-minute user-reviews has definitely levelled the playing field, allowed more businesses to thrive, and, for better or worse, driven nails into the coffin of Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Rough Guide and the rest.
The future of guidebooks is in the inspiration, not the the information.
Please come in. Mahalo for removing your shoes.
After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.