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Top tour guides

You can lose your money or bag, but lose your guidebook and you are truly lost. Here are the some popular guide books:

Lonely Planet: Most trusted but not always up-to-date, however their maps are generally considered the best. With over 600 titles, they cover pretty much the entire world, and could be your only resource for some destinations. The Lonely Planet guidebooks are also published in French, Italian, Spanish, Korean and Japanese, among other languages.

www.lonelyplanet.com If you are a travel enthusiast, you could join their community and get travel gossip and information such as hiking with Vikings or even find travel companions at http:// thorntree.lonelyplanet.com.

Rough Guide: Started by Mark Ellingham in 1981 when, as a graduate travelling round Greece, he could not find a single guidebook that suited his needs. The first rough guide, published in 1982, according to their website, "was aimed to combine a journalistic approach to description with a thoroughly practical approach to travellers' needs". The Rough Guide has since matured to include the best of restaurants and hotels along with their shoestring recommendations. And it's not just travel, you can find your Rough Guides to World Music, the Internet or even Pop.

www.roughguides.com

Bradt: Claims to cover Antarctica to Zanzibar, for "the adventurous traveller who seeks out off-beat places and the dreamer who would like to travel there but perhaps never will". Its coverage of Africa is reportedly the most accurate you can find. But a search for India will, unfortunately, give you no results. However, you could still check their website for some travel writing and photography workshops conducted by among others Hilary Bradt and William Dalrymple.

www.bradtguides.com

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