by Lonely Planet
Thu 24 Sep 09
Outline: A multi country guidebook covering Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia (limited to Moscow, St Petersburg), Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. Mainly geared towards the the general tourist and backpacker. Offering accommodation reviews and prices. Where to eat and how much it costs. Small highlights on on political and cultural history, activities and itineraries. Trekking guides. Maps of the country and cites.
Costs: Strangely I found the opposite to most guide book flaws of outdated prices. Here Accommodation was highly inflated. Barcelona accommodation for the budget traveler starts at 30 Euro, while in reality hostels are 17-25. Therein lies the flaw of a book trying to be a backpackers and all round travel book.
Maps & Cities: The main cities are covered well considering the size, and amount of countries within the book. Don't look for too many off the beaten path references. Nor smaller towns. But for the main tourist attractions, they are covered quite well.
Countries covered: Europe is a large region, with many many countries. Trying to get one book to cover all is very hard. Yet when choosing, one can't help but think Lonely Planet has made it difficult to buy just one. Why Morocco and Russia are in here taking up European space, when several other countries like Hungary could have been expanded, I don't know. But for marketing it must work...
Overall: There is no way a book this size can cover everything. And, I don't thing it should considering who it's geared for. With that in mind this book is surprisingly good. It contains a lot of multi cross border information that most European travellers need. And the city guides are well laid out. The only real flaw within this book is that while pertaining to be for the Shoestring traveler (backpacker) it contains many hotel and eating references way our of that budget category. If they'd concentrated on the books shoestring readership a bit more instead of trying to cater to everyone then it would get a higher rating for sure.
Packing Space Guide: Its 1284 pages. 2 inches thick and weighs about 2 pounds. Won't fit easily anywhere but your daypack.
My Rating: 4/5
Buy it: Europe on a Shoestring is available from Amazon.com
About the Author: Dave has been traveling around the world in search of home for 5 years, photographing and writing about his journey on his website: www.thelongestwayhome.com.