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Stage one – refinancing already?

September 14, 2008

My friend Mon commented that doing this kind of trip was perhaps, “crazy”. I quite agree but for different reasons.

Stage one has begun and I’m already considering refinancing my house. Just one problem with this. I don’t have a house to refinance. So why do I need to refinance?. Travel guidebooks. 

Have you had to forego your groceries for the week just to cover the cost of a recently published travel guidebook? Now I’m a regular traveller and I have bought guidebooks in the past, but when did they start becoming stupidly expensive?

Yesterday I bought 3 books: Central Asia, Iran, and Caucasus region . Two were from LP and one was from Odyssey. The books and two maps cost me $200 NZ or about $150 US. I Amazoned it and got most of these updated versions on sale. On sale and they still cost me over that much. If I had to buy these guidebooks on the actual LP or Odyssey sites or at a book store, I could afford one at the most.

Guidebooks seem to have taken on a similar role to fashion items. Great to look at and talk about with your travel buddies. But as soon as you buy them they become out of date and can only really be used as a, wait for it, ….. guide. You could sell them but you won’t get your money back. So you have two choices; either donate them or put them on your bookshelf:dusty,forgotten.

At home I enjoy reading these books, checking out the photos, and reviewing the updated information about land border crossings. While travelling I don’t enjoy lugging these books around. Who does? When I was browsing the internet for guidebooks yesterday, I came upon an quote taken from a recent review on the Iran LP Travel Guide. I laughed.

Lonely Planet, like your passport, should always be kept close.’ –Denver Post, January 2008

Humour me. Have you seen the size of some of these guidebooks? – I believe they were designed with another purpose in mind. Once you have finished using the rather large (but incredibly informative) guidebook, feel free to prop your door open with it.

I wonder if this reviewer from the Denver Post has actually travelled to more than one country at one particular time, and for longer than 10 days. Can you imagine carting 3 or 4 guidebooks around in your money belt, just so that they can be kept close to your passport.  Then again, with the cost of these guidebooks, you probably should keep them close to you.

One that note, could someone please design a guidebook that doesn’t resemble a fashion accessory. Isn’t slimeline in vogue these days?

Time for a caffeine hit!

Caffeinated Traveller

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3 Comments
  1. Bear permalink
    September 14, 2008 1:40 pm

    That was good Kiwi 🙂

    I think you hit on the way Americans travel … a short time and to one country at a time.

  2. MonnyQ permalink
    September 14, 2008 9:56 pm

    Hmm! maybe you could talk to Apple about incorporating it into their latest iPhone / iPod podcast – great way to capture the “adventure” market… however bit of catch:
    1. adventures = living on a budget
    2. iPhone = telco network… me don’t think so in Mongolia…

    Looks like you might be stuck with the multi volume design.

  3. September 16, 2008 5:25 am

    Apple what a good idea! The Japanese have a good travel guide. Maybe I should approach one of their publishing houses. These guides really should be easy to fold, black and white photos, and maybe a margin at the side for you to make notes. And should be priced arounnd $15.00
    In a perfect world….
    C

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