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The Backpacker's Bible: New Edition    by Suzanne King & Elaine Robertson order for
Backpacker's Bible
by Suzanne King
Order:  USA  Can
Robson, 2006 (1999)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I backpacked around the world many years ago, and could have used this 'essential guide to round-the-world travel' then. Originally released in 1999, and reissued many times since, its cover advertizes that it explains 'Where to go / When to go / How to go'. Though many details - like sources for up-to-date travel advice, where to buy tickets, and visa information - are aimed at Brits, the book's generalities, tips and checklists apply to any independent traveller.

In their Introduction, the authors say 'Dreaming about your big trip is exciting - but trying to organize it can be daunting', and offer The Backpacker's Bible as a replacement for much of the legwork involved. They emphasize the right attitude and being prepared for unpredictability, and they include other backpackers' tips in 'traveller's tales dotted throughout the book.' Next come general considerations on where and when to go, and whether to buy all tickets in advance or en route.

Planning to travel solo, with a friend, or on an organized tour? Pros and cons are discussed, as are passport and visa issues, a trip budget, how to carry money, how to haggle, opportunities for working abroad, travel insurance, vaccinations and health risks, what not to eat and drink, water purification, handling different types of transportation, common-sense rules for staying safe, and scams to avoid. The authors advise how to keep in touch with home (cybercafés make it much easier than it was when I did my round the world trip in 1978!), and include tips and checklists on gear.

Also covered is 'How to be a good traveller' - 'Take only photographs, leave only footprints, kill only time.' Finally, the authors include reading references for different world regions, a list of useful websites, an A-Z Country Guide, and a Final Countdown timeline. Whether you're planning that big trip of a lifetime, or are a regular independent traveller, The Backpacker's Bible is an invaluable resource.

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