When I was in Europe this past summer, doin' my collegiate study-abroad-and-backpack thing, Let's Go's travel guide was my Bible. I like to think of myself as an independent, quirky, off-the-beaten-track kind of person, so I was skeptical of using any sort of mass-marketed travel guide. However, Let's Go Europe quickly highlights the obvious things to see and do in each city or region, and then divulges into the hidden gems (which were often recommended to me by locals anyway). Their writing is surprisingly clever and witty, and it doesn't just tell you that "there's a bunch of statues here" or "there's a lot of amazing history" behind such-and-such place. Let's Go Europe is dotted with idiosyncratic facts, stories, and urban legends, and it truly conveyed how I--as a college student who can handle a bit of grit (and enjoys doing so)--would gel at different places.
Once you understand how the book works (the first three pages on "How To Use This Works" are key!), this book is a breeze to skim and find what you want. I love their playful use of icons so the important information can be gleamed within a glance. Let's Go Europe gives you the flavor (not the statistics) of the major neighborhoods in each city, then accommodations (mostly hostels within my budget!!) in each neighborhood, then sights, food, hot party spots, and artsy/cultural events/festivals. I don't know what Let's Go guides were like half a decade ago, but the directions were clear enough for me. It gave me a map of each neighborhood (with metro stops, almost every street name), and under each accommodation (organized by neighborhood), it gave me the street address, the closest metro stop, and directions from that metro stop.
I guess I can see how this travel guide won't work for everyone. It's not your mother's travel guide. It's real. It's not flowery. And it's not for those people who be trippin' because the elevator in their hostel/hotel is broken, or the person at the hotel's front desk wasn't the most charming person. My ultimatum was to understand as well as I could these new places I visited, and I spent every last cent and minute in my possession on experiencing things that could not be experienced elsewhere. For that, Let's Go was the best guidebook I could have asked for.