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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 5 Jan 2008
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Leaving your guidebook at home

Hi all,

I hope I'm not stating the obvious for some people here, but I thought this would be worth sharing:

I just compressed a few guidebooks that I bought into a motorcycling-worthy-space-saving format, onto a CompactFlash card.
Tools used: tripod, camera and external flashgun. I put the guidebook on the floor. Camera above the book, pointing down. Flash on camera, swiveled around 180 degrees so the light is bouncing against the ceiling (gives a softer light without hot-spots).
The results are great, and I managed to compress 200 pages into less than 100 MB at A5 size (black and white JPG).

Save it onto a small USB memory stick, and access at any Internet Cafe on the road. I'll probably tape a second memory stick with the same information onto the bike's frame.


Cheers
Bjorn
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  #2  
Old 6 Jan 2008
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Another way to do it is is to saw the binding off and with a scanner scan in the pages. Dont know about copy right however.
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  #3  
Old 6 Jan 2008
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I just colour scan the pages i want, and make myself my own little book. Taking pictures sounds like hard work! I don't think anyone in the office understands why i have been spending so long my the photo copier.
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  #4  
Old 12 Jan 2008
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scan using your computer printer. save as b/w text. use "shink" on the photos (downloadable from afterdawn.com) and you can put a whole book in one megabyte. the average novel will run about 1.4 megabytes. I put a whole Lonely Planet guide into 2 megabytes including most of the maps.
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  #5  
Old 12 Jan 2008
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I seach the internet and save the HTML to my ipod and now iphone to read while I'm on the road.... BUT I still always ask a local if there's anyplaces nearby that they like, normally leads me on a few nice adventures and great food but you do have to be flexable in your route and times.

Just my 2cents
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  #6  
Old 13 Jan 2008
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I never use guidebooks. I know I've missed some incredible places and faces.. but it forces me to meet and talk to people, to find out what they recomend. Which is not always the obvious tourist attraction or guidebook entry.

And best of all -- by not knowing in advance -- I'm often totally and pleasantly surprised when I round a corner and find something *incredible*.

(Though in the interests of full disclosure I should also point out that I'm riding in Europe, and therefore most of the time have a pretty good idea of what to expect.)

--Mike
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  #7  
Old 18 Feb 2008
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im with Mike

im with Mike, yeah a guide book can point out Places of INTEREST but LOCAL KNOWLEDGE will show you the best & usually cheapest family run places to Eat n Drink, good places to Stay, local Mechanics, roads that lead to the most amazing swimming holes under waterfalls with a bar and a barbecue....

the Lonely Planet don't tell you about THOSE!
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  #8  
Old 20 Feb 2008
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As being a non native English speaking guy want to ask:

How can I learn something from thisthread?

or is this just a joke?

Or Hubb is going to be a place to help boring people to have fun together.
I don't want to teach or say something to you but I really wonder if I miss something?

Sure we need fun sometimes,

Cheers,
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  #9  
Old 5 Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
I never use guidebooks. I know I've missed some incredible places and faces.. but it forces me to meet and talk to people, to find out what they recomend. Which is not always the obvious tourist attraction or guidebook entry.

And best of all -- by not knowing in advance -- I'm often totally and pleasantly surprised when I round a corner and find something *incredible*.

(Though in the interests of full disclosure I should also point out that I'm riding in Europe, and therefore most of the time have a pretty good idea of what to expect.)

--Mike

Nice one Mike - you might be interested in the title of a novel by Graham Greene - Journey without maps. This is an extension of your idea. Mine is to buy Rough Guides/Lonely planets from my local library - they sell them when they are out of date. This means I get the info on monuments, museums etc, but I have to hunt for restaurants, budget hotels myself, as they have often changed. This has given me a large book collection for about 50 pence each, as opposed to £14 - £20 per book.
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  #10  
Old 30 Apr 2008
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A lot of what is in guidebooks is not much of interest to me.

For example, I am more interested in seeing the 3 places in London where my mother lived in the 1950s than the Tower of London, the London Art Museum or Buckingham palace.

When I get to Belgium, the only thing I am interested in really doing is watching Supermoto, motocross and motorcycle races at Spa, and then visiting a couple friends. I don't really care too much about what tourist attractions are there.

Generally guidebooks don't have my interests in mind. I am not interested in fighting crowds to some tourist trap that I have seen on TV or in photos a zillion times.

And as someone pointed out, the surprise aspect is neat. I saw two unusual islands connected by rope off the coast in Mie Prefecture in Japan, just happened across it, saw the tour buses stopped so I checked it out. I was stoked to later see this exact same attraction in a black and white photo in a turn-of-the-last-century encyclopedia. It was exactly how I remember it. Wow, it was really that famous, and I just happened across it.
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  #11  
Old 8 May 2008
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Smile forget the guidebook...

I never looked at my guide book, the entire time. I asked locals "what should I see while in your country?" where ever I was and I stumbled onto magical places that aren't even in the guide books.
It seems the guidebooks direct you straight to the most touisty places, the same 'ol same 'ol, scruffy back-packers doing their little fire twirling thing, selling their home made jewlery, etc, etc... I think it's been done to death. I'd rather meet a local farmer and spend time with him and his family. I've seen things you could hope to find simply by talking with the locals.
I was the guest of honor in a religious ritual in Ecuador that I just happened to stumble across; unforgetable.
Simply arriving on a bike, racoon face from dust, shows that you've earned the right to be where ever you are. People are genuinley curious about you when arrive on a bike as opposed to a tour bus along with fifty other tourists.
Also, traveling alone you're much more approachable to locals. When there are more than one of you you tend to be isolated in a cacoon of sorts which leaves the locals less likely to approach you. Being alone has it's advantages for sure.
I hope this helps,
Jeff
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  #12  
Old 8 May 2008
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But, back to the topic, thanks for the tip on photographing books I'd not though to bounce the flash and they never came out right for me. I've just tried it and it's so much better.
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  #13  
Old 8 May 2008
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Smile Lol.

Samy, I know exactly what you mean!
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