Monday, November 14, 2011

Hostel Book Swaps

A boon to the long term hostel traveller is the open book swap. You have a book just trade it in for a new used one. I have two books on the go, one reading and one travel. I am currently reading "The Reasons Behind the Charge of the Light Brigade". Its historical and dry and incredibly insightful into the history of the British Military. Postings and Rank were purchased and not earned. The most inexperienced weathly aristocrat could lead vast armys...Thus the fateful Charge of the Light Brigade.
The more important of my books is of course the Travel Guide. There are many out there, Lonely Planet, Footprints, Moon, Frommers and Rough Guides to name a few. When compiled with thier companion websites and the vast amounts travel information available on the WebberNet the core of travel is easy and readily available.
I am a Lonely Planet guy, however thier website now is partnered with so you dont get any information on available accomidations unless you use the forums section. Its all about booking a hotel through the site. Its not a game changer as I use HostelWorld and HostelBookers to find my rooms.  So I started with a Lonely Planet Central America, good basic book on all countries. When I arrived in Ecuador I swapped that for a Lonely Planet Ecuador, smart and easy. In Quito I found a Footprints to Ecuador, Peru and Boliva. Good swap as I was heading to Peru.  In Torillo I found a Frommers Chile so I swapped Running with Scissors for that. Now I had Chile covered, and since I was working my way back up to Bolivia I would keep both regardless of the extra weight.

** NOTE, any chance you have to shed weight you do it, adding weight is a back packers biggest nemesis. However realistically we are not carrying our packs for any real distance. Buses to Cabs, into the hostel and repeat. Sometimes a hostel is close enough to the bus station and you walk the 15 minutes. Its a good workout but its then you realize, I need to shed weight from my pack...and the belly wouldnt hurt either.
** Footprints is a nice book and useful but I am not a fan of the layout and how you have to figure out the presumed cost of accommidation. I would never start with one
**Frommers is not for the budget Traveller. They do have amazing historical information about each country and location but the book does seem to cater to the short term, money to burn traveller.

Today is bonus day here in Santiago. I found the Lonely Planet guide to South America and Swapped my Footprints book for it, although its as heavy as a brick. I now have country covered with my boys from Lonely Planet plus I have my Frommers Chile to swap along the way.

So future travellers, dont shell out big bucks for a brand new travel guide. First buy a used one and save yourself $50. If its only a few years out of date, not much changes and you can always get online to verify information. Second, get ready to Swap!! Its a small victory that gives your day a life when you find what you really need.

Crazy how something so simple as a book swap is now what makes me happy.

 Off to Valparasio tomorrow for a few days then back here for 2, then the big move into the Lake District.  A quick word about the Lake District. It was settled by Germans just after the war, so like it or not many of these Germans are decendants of Nazis. Its NOT thier fault by any means, but its weird knowing that people I will be staying with are the children and grand children of those evil bastards. However the food is going to be fantastic and authentic German. I am ready to dig in.

A few more street shots of Santiago

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