Guide to the best travel books

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Hedonist’s guide
They publish city-guides to European capitals, divided up into different parts of the city and featuring hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and attractions for each, as well as all the basic local information that you need to know. Every chapter is preceded by a map of the area that pin-points everywhere they mention, which makes finding your way around a breeze and minimises time spent travelling. As the name would suggest, their coverage of night-spots is particularly good, and they have found the hottest places in town, many of which are frequented only by the locals. They cost £12 each (£3 for PDF) or £11.99 for an App with all the guides (www.hg2.com).

Le Cool
You’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d just stumbled across a really keen traveller’s Tumblr, but this is actually a fantastic travel website that has spawned books, beginning with “Changed My Life – A Weird and Wonderful Guide to Barcelona” (probably the coolest travel guidebook ever written). This won’t map out a relaxing week with your parents but what it lacks in information on the major tourist traps, it more than makes up for with insider advice about which clubs, restaurants and bars are worth visiting. The only U.K stockist is Stanford’s (www.travel.stanfords.co.uk) and the books cost from £15.99- £19.99. Even if you don’t buy them, visit www.lecool.com as it is filled with fab advice on all the destinations that they offer, along with lots of content that hasn’t been included in the books.

Let’s Go
Written by a group of American students, they publish books on everywhere, as well as offering a totally free fortnightly email with travel ideas and some sound (if a little patronising) advice. The guides are very pedestrian and only mention the typical tourists’ haunts for most of the world, but are a worthwhile read for any students headed for the U.S.A, with or without their parents. Prices vary a lot amongst their books but tend to be at the lower end of the scale. Sign up for the free fortnightly email newsletter on their homepage (http://www.letsgo.com/).

Luxe
Best known for their compact guides to Far-Eastern and Australian cities, Luxe now publish guides to every major destination world-wide. Despite the publisher’s name, these pocket-sized books cater to every budget, and since they have been compiled by a panel of locals, the recommendations are easy to trust. One particular advantage of the Luxe guides is their inclusion of half-day shopping itineraries, which helps keen shoppers to find all of the bargains and exotic treasures that the city has to offer and permits the less-than-keen to locate fantastic souvenirs in the shortest time possible. They cost just £4.99 from The Travel Bookshop (www.thetravelbookshop.com).

Photo credit: Caitlin Hamilton

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