Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring 7th Ed.: 7th Edition Paperback – Oct 4 2011
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About the Author
Tom's first travel memory is long overnight drives down brightly lit French autoroutes to Nice every summer to stay at his grandparents' house. Having convinced his parents to diversify to camping in the Black Forest, and on one occasion even Switzerland, rather than always going back to the same place, he's never looked back. Two decades later he has been to nearly every country on the continent, but can never get enough of anywhere Slavic or Mediterranean. Tom works in London as a freelance writer and can be found online at www.mastersmafia.com
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When a travel guide is advertised for the shoestring traveller, one expects the focus of the book to be on traveling with a small budget. This is hardly the case. There is the occasional aside nod to budget within each chapter, but as far as the places to see/do/eat/sleep, you may as well have purchased a guidebook for each country because there is no low-budget emphasis. I was expecting to see SHOESTRING itineraries for the major cities in Europe.
I mean it's pathetic - in the Britain chapter there's a little box (paraphrased with some snark): "Did you know that you can get young persons railcards if you're 18-25? Makes it cheaper doesn't it?" In a SHOESTRING guide they really ought to provide more details on who is eligible and how to get one!
Lonely planet clearly chopped up all of their Europe guidebooks and shoved them into one (very large and hefty) book and instead of advertising it as such, advertised it as a shoestring guide to, I suppose, compel more people to buy it. I would return this book but the shipping alone would be at least ten dollars because of the heaviness which is %50 of what I paid for the darn thing.
I can see this book being useful for someone who wants a brief overview of each country regardless of budget. But that's what I would have bought if that's what I wanted. I wanted a shoestring guide - now I have a big fat book containing information equal to what I could have accessed on the internet for free. Sigh.
The eBook itself is a lot better laid out than slightly older "... On a Shoestring" eBooks by LP. It has color photos, lots of hyperlinks so I'm able to click around rapidly (from Index to Venice to various things in Venice) - makes it great for armchair exploration. The color photos look awesome on the Kindle Fire. The book also includes Morocco, which may or may not be in Europe.
The content itself is fairly consistent with LP's standards, Thomas Kohnstamm not withstanding. If I were planning a long European adventure, this book would be definitely part of my arsenal of books, along with others and information from online sources (Wikitravel, for instance.)
Lonely Planet also offers PDF maps on their website for other eBooks, but not as of yet for the Europe on a Shoestring eBook. I'm assuming that this is forthcoming, but I'd find myself either printing out lots of copies of maps or relying on the Kindle Fire to view them. If you don't have a Kindle Fire, I'd suggest getting the paperback copy of Lonely Planet Europe (Shoestring Travel Guide) - I quickly deleted off my Kindle Keyboard because it was slow and navigating around was a pain.
I'm of the camp that believes that a paperless travel guide is like a paperless toilet - not something I want to really do. Maybe it's just that I've spent a fair number of years with paper guidebooks that I can jot notes in, carry with me independent of worrying about power and share with a fellow traveler after I'm done. That's not to say that this book is worthless - quite the contrary - it's great to have it all in a digital format that won't weigh you down if you need multiple books. It's all going to boil down to personal preference. Either way, you'll have a vast majority of the information you'll need to navigate around Europe on the cheap.
I do like the fact the addresses and telephone numbers of museums, hotels and restaurants are listed with the price range, hours of operation etc. And the most recommended places to sleep, eat or tour. I enjoy the group of itineraries listed with routes in the event you need some guidance on where to visit and what to see. This guide is pretty good and could be a 5 star guide if the maps were readable.