Other useful publications
When travelling, there are several books that would be helpful
in your day-to-day activities. Just remember before you start
purchasing books to bring along, they are something that you
are going to have to carry wherever you go and they will take
up valuable space in your backpack. They can also be heavy,
so choose carefully.
Maps: Maps are the key to getting around in a new area.
The maps that are included in the guidebook tend to show only
the main streets and half the street names. They are frustrating
due to that fact. Free maps of cities are easy to come by at the
local tourist agency, hostel/hotel, bus/train station, or Internet
café. It is a lot easier to carry around a map of the local area
than your bulky guidebook, with an abridged and poorly
Language books: Although English is widely spoken in many
parts of the world do not assume that everyone speaks it.
When travelling to a new country that speaks a different
language, it is handy to know some basic phrases. If the locals
see that you are trying to speak their language, they usually
make an extra effort to help you.
The words that are essential to learn are: “”hello”, “goodbye”,
“thank you”, “yes”, “no”, “sorry”, and “welcome”. Knowing
the words such as “man”, “woman” and “toilet” are also
handy. Most guidebooks have their own small “commonly
used words” guide in the back.
Language books are nice, but not essential. If you are going to
be spending some time in an area and immerse yourself in the
culture, I would recommend one. A small compact pocket
version is quite versatile and easy to carry around. Go to your
local book store and pick out something that would be
practical to use. A language phrase book would most likely be
more useful than a language translation dictionary. The phrase
book has complete sentences that are designed to be used by
travellers, while a dictionary contains translations of words.
Reading Material: If you are ever bored, need to relax and
unwind in one spot, or are on a long-haul journey, it is nice to
have a small paperback book to read. You only need one and
can trade it with other packers when you are done. Limit
yourself to focus on one book at a time, to save yourself from
carrying around a library in your pack.