Useful Books for Travel and Planning

A 4 minute read, Posted by Dan on Tue, Apr 17, 2012
In Overland, Planning, Preparation
Tags overland, planning, review
Unesco World Heritage Sites

Over the last few years we have read and used various travel related books. Some have been good, some have been great and some we just did not get on with. This may not mean they are bad, it is just that certain types of writing suits certain people better than others. A good example of this is in travel guides, we tend to prefer Bradt guides over Lonely planet. Most people swear by Lonely Planet guides.

One of our most frequently used books is the UNESCO World Heritage site guide, it is a massive book with loads of superb pictures a page or two on each site, not all sites have a photo though, it would be nice if they all did and were at least a page in size, perhaps in the next release? At the beginning of the book are nice maps on several pages showing all the site locations and page numbers, these form a nice geographical index. In the back is a compressive index of each site together with a handy index by country.

Look out for our book!

This is actually our second copy. We think we lost the first in a vineyard in Portugal somewhere, when we were exploring off road. In case you are in the area, I think this is where it was! Near the bench.

We find this book is excellent when we are musing over ideas with our Michelin 1:1,000,000 Europe map for instance. It allows you to get an idea of what is enroute. Just beware after a few beers plans can get somewhat over enthusiastic!

Europe on a shoestring

Having said we prefer Bradt guides, which was actually a fairly late discovery. We do have a fair few Lonely planet guides and one we keep referring to is Europe on a shoestring. It seems to make it into the car every year. At over five years old it is not only getting out of date but also somewhat dog eared. If you want a handy general guide this is one to have, if you need more detail, grab a specific guide for the country or preferably the area you want to visit.

What this book does well is gives you ideas of itineraries, budgets and key things or places to visit.

No doctor

For medical questions and some things you would rather not waste the doctor's time with, we have often referred to Where There Is No Doctor. Horribly detailed and super useful, this one lives in the Landy. It is not really a first aid book, more of a Haynes manual for you body. If you are squeamish at the best of times look away.

I was very luck to get a good tip for purchasing my copy of Tom Sheppard's book the Vehicle Dependent Expedition Guide. When I was looking I was shocked at the prices. When you have read the book you will understand why they command such a price. The level of detail is astonishing and will leave any other book on the topic standing in its shadow. The tip I got was to phone the Royal Geographic Society to purchase a discounted copy from them.

I am still reading Tom's book to this day, it lives beside my bed. The reason is that it is a good reference and I don't think a cover to cover type read. You need to take your time to absorb the topics in this book. The devil is most definitely in the detail.

This book will answer all the questions you have from logging your trip in detail, maintenance of your vehicle to the type of sleeping arrangement you want. If you can think of a vehicle related question, the answer is probably in here.

Definitely a good book to start reading and referring to during what ever you are planning for years to come.

Since I purchased this book I have also read another of Tom's books called Quiet for a Tuesday. This book you should buy even if you only plan to look at the photos! It is an account of Tom's trip to Algeria, where he had all his maps confiscated by officials.

Luckily thanks to his insanely methodical record keeping, Tom managed to navigate and enjoy his journey in the Algerian Sahara. Whilst avoiding the authorities!

He finds out during his covert travels whilst trying to recover the maps with the help of contacts back home, that the Authorities most definitely do not want him to stay! So having acknowledged this will probably be his last trip in Algeria he makes the most of the journey. Which will probably end up in him being banned from Algeria, due to a misunderstanding, which is exactly what happened in Libya.

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