Karen Brown's Online Travel Guides - US and International
I was given a free copy of Karen Brown's Portugal: Charming Inns & Itineraries at a Portuguese dinner. While mentioning it in my post, I linked to the site and the guides are on line.
If you click on a section of a map, a list of Inns for that location appears. Many of these have restaurants or are bed and breafasts. There is also a picture of the rooms and the inn. Finally got to see picture of some of the B&B's in the SF area where I live.
There is also an Itinerary section and a lot of related links.
About 90% of the guide is on line. There is even a little reader's forum on each guide.
While not comprehensive, there seems to be some good reccomendations and information.
Her guidebooks are fine, and quite helpful....just don't use her Travel Service!! Very expensive for what you get in that we did just about all the pre-trip work! And when we arrived in Provence, the rental car agency had no record of our reservation! Maybe it was just the particular agent we had, but I would never use the "Service" again!
The Grubs owned & operated a b & b for many years & we can unqualifiedly endorse Karen Brown's guides. We were listed in her local guide & have used her other guides for lodging selections while traveling. She anonymously visits every place before listing (used to be she & only she did so, but now her universe has expanded so much that she uses trusted & of-common-mind compatriots to do the visits as well.) Her reviews are succinct, candid & reliable.
I, on the other hand, was given free copies of Frommer's, Fodor's, Eyewitness, Lonely Planet, and Rough Guides. No, really I was - I work in tourism.
All fine, professionally researched publications and very useful for travelers everywhere. Lots of tips, general and practical destination info, etc. Some have lots of pictures (Eyewitness), some don't (Rough). Some are better on history and culture, some are more practically oriented. Nearly all discuss local food, and recommend specific restaurants! Wow.
Best of all, they all have web sites too...
Sorry, I couldn't resist...
re: Sir Gawain
So, which do you like best and for what reason?
There are periodically requests on the board about where to stay when visiting SF.
In terms of international travel, which do you like best?
Sometimes when I'm looking up restaurant info on the web, I come across rough guides which are more likely to have info about restaurants not covered.
While I hear good things about the Lonely Planet guides, their website doesn't seem very good. It isn't very intuitive and doesn't give much information. Link below.
Maybe it's not fair, but when judging a travel guide I like to look up San Francisco first. If they do a good job of covering an area I know I'm more likely to trust them on an unknown destination to me.
I guess I like the Karen Brown site because it covers the lesser known places and is easy to use. Don't have a good feel though for the actual advice.
While I know all of these guides are intersted in selling you a hotel room and all that goes with a trip, the Brown site doesn't seem too pushy about the fact. It really is the actual guidebook word for word.
I have & use Karen Brown's guides & love them. I've stayed at a few of the B & B's listed in her England guide & Italy. I too find it accurate.
Another guide I swear by, use them all the time, for both domestic travel and international, are the Access Guides. They are so good that I buy any of them that I don't have, even if I don't have a trip planned. Their maps are fantastic-they get me un-lost unfailingly, even in difficult places (i.e. London). Descriptions, especialy for restaurants, are extremely accurate. When we were in Venice & Florence, we used the Access guide to go to all non-tourist, out of the way places and for pizza (ultra thin crust). It was right on the mark every time.
I'm not sure about practical stuff like lodging and food--but for history, art, and culture--the Cadogan Guides are the best I've found. At least in the case of Spain, I've ready pretty much every other guide and they all just recycles heresay, urban legends, and outdated info. The Cadogan Guides are very well researched and well-written.