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Guidebooks

There's a wide selection of guidebooks out there to help plan your trip. Bear in mind that they aren't always up to date, particularly with regard to accommodation and places to eat. Unfortunately when some places get included in guidebooks, they become very popular - consequently prices go up and quality goes down.

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet provide guidebooks aimed primarily at the backpacker market. As such they are centred on cities and assume you are reliant on public transport - missing much of the countryside out. The town maps are very good, as are the accommodation and transport options. There aren't many photos which is a shame. The aggregate guides, while good at an overview of a region, tend to have chapters chosen from the individual countries - so missing whole sections out rather than haveing less information about every area.

Rough Guides

Rough Guides have a similar market to Lonely Planet but tend to be more descriptive of locations and are easier to read but have less accommodation options. Again they focus on the cities and assume you don't have your own transport. They don't have too many photos either but do have good maps.

DK Eyewitness Guides

As with all DK books these guides are very visual - with loads of photos and diagrams. They've a better balance of country and city although the featured locations can seem a little haphazardly chosen. The accommodation listings are a little harder to reference but go further upscale than the other guides.

Accommodation guides

There's a wide variety of accommodation guides out there - although the internet is a very good resource when looking at a specific destination. For campsites, the Alan Rogers guides are very well regarded with good descriptions and driving directions. While the AA guides contain more campsites, they aren't so easy to reference.

Websites such as booking.com, Travel Republic, Agoda and Hostel World are a good place to start when looking at onward accommodation, although they all have different options and prices!

Maps

A good quality regional map is essential for planning your trip although a country specific map is much more helpful when you are there - the more detail the better. City maps are often available from tourist information or your accommodation. Sat Nav is a good investment if you are driving - signs can be inconsistent in many countries!

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