May 242010
 

The travel planning and ideas website, Tripbase, has released a series of seven free travel guide books.  These are all in PDF format, and downloadable from their website.

There is a generic travel tips book, and a series of ‘travel secrets’ books.

Many of the travel secrets are of little interest/value to anyone – for example, a suggestion to spend a night in a yurt on Lake Issyk-Kul in Kyrgyzstan is probably a bona fide secret, but how many of us are planning a trip to that country, let alone to Lake Issyk-Kul (a place with one of its main claims to fame being that it is thought to be the origin of the Black Death plagues that afflicted Europe in the 14th century – something not mentioned in the travel secret).

Some secrets are trivial, while others are downright dangerous; for example, a suggestion that one should climb the Great Wall of China in the snow.  I would urge you not to do that — the wall is very steep in places, with uneven steps, and the last thing you need is slippery snow and ice causing you to fall and break something.

Other secrets are not at all secret, such as an entry about New Zealand’s Franz Josef Glacier, and one ‘secret’ even says ‘Hamish is actually one of Scotland’s biggest celebrities so he may not be that much of a secret.  Almost any tour you take in the Scottish Highlands will make a stop to visit Hamish’ and so it is hard to know how the editors qualified that as a secret.

Similar comments can be made about the travel tips, which range from excellent to mundane to contradictory and/or wrong.

For example, on one page, there are two travel tips, one saying that the best things about travel are kept secret, and the other tip saying that there are no secrets in travel.  How to reconcile and understand these two adjoining statements (even more confusingly, both made by the same person!)?

Some tips are sadly impractical — such as the tip saying that one should always wake up feeling rested and refreshed when traveling — how to ensure that?

But, not to seem too churlish, some tips are very useful, and others bear repetition because we sometimes forget about them.

Most of all, how can one criticize a series of PDF files being given away for free?  One can’t.  So when you find yourself with a few free minutes, why not go and check out these free downloads.

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