Thursday, May 10, 2007

Your very own guide

If you had a copy of every guide book to San Francisco, you could wallpaper the entire Vatican with their pages*. So much has been written about Los Angeles, Sydney, London, New York City, Paris and Bangkok that a traveler visiting one of these cities can not only find out the best value-for-money restaurant in their neighborhood, they can also get guidance on what’s a good topic for conversation with their airport cab driver, the most appropriate cheer for the local football team and where they can get a hot stone massage and nightingale guano facial.

But what about visitors to your town, huh? What kind of help do they get? Even if you do live in a top tourist destination, you’ll likely find that the big travel publishers have only written up the most obvious hot-spots in the city and missed most of the places that you hold dear.

Write your own guide: that’ll show ‘em. It’s not that hard to do. Start out with a list of your favourite restaurants and places to shop. Describe each of them, give an idea what they cost, then call them to check their opening hours. If you’re feeling ambitious, make a map. If you’re still keen, add some must-see visitors’ spots (these might include a hill with a great view of the sunset, your favourite boarded-up factory or a particular bus route: this is about what you like, not about what’s ‘popular’), some details about the best ways to get around town and perhaps a bit of local history. Got some good photos? Stick those in too. And there you have it: a guide you can give to friends or family who come to visit, or even to friends or family who already live here.

*not an actual fact


Moncrief Speaks said...

Fabulous! Love it!

Er, maybe this is a question for e-mail, but why are you writing with American English spellings?

Moncrief Speaks said...

Never mind, actually. I was reacting to "neighborhood" only without reading further. Sorry for the irrelevant comment.

I think Wikipedia has done a great service for do-it-yourself travel writers. Every last little burg and town and its attractions are documented there, accuracy sometimes be damned. It's perhaps the greatest amount of non-professional travel writing and non-touristy locations since the WPA travel guides.

travelskerricks said...

thanks! The American spellings are due to lazy c&p'ing from a pitch document I prepared for a US publisher (which was rejected; thus, the blog). And to help you understand.
I wrote a detailed post on bus fares in Canberra for wikitravel. Ridiculous.