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USA (Lonely Planet Country Guides) Paperback – 1 Feb 2002
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Showcases the USA's amazing variety of landscape, peoples, food and music with an exhausting amount of outdoor activities to be found in its 50 states and four seasons. With 95 maps which let the traveller get their kicks on Route 66 and absolutely everywhere else.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I have several major issues with this book, which are explained in the introduction ( If only I had read it before I bothered to pack this worthless book ).
The writers have not traveled to all of the towns, cities or regions in the book. You will find some actual travel advice for places they have visited. But even that is worthless, since they point you towards "trendy" spots that have long past gone out of favor.
The reference information is so dated that it is worthless. Prices and basic information is incorrect, and I have the revised edition. I would make advanced reservations based on advice in this book. Odds are they have never seen the place or even been to the town. ( they mention this fact in the introduction, I should have started at page one.).
The book lacks practical travel tips you really need in some regions of the US.
This book doesn't include everything it should and has been drastically thickened with a lot of [info] backpackers don't need to know and more importantly do not want to carry the weight of those pages around.
Who cares about restaurants, hotels and other places backpackers are unlikely to go. More supermarket listings would be more helpful and pointing out when what is listed is a 7 Eleven, Spar, Quix type place and not actually a supermarket would also be good as these places aren't budget friendly.
The information on the actual towns, cities and national parks listed is ever increasing which is good but the number of places is fast declining especially the limited Canadian ones it has (a lot more pages used to be devoted to Canada).
If it's just background information you want to plan your trip you may be better off getting a version from a few year ago. ..For an overview of the USA and Canada this should concentrate on having as many places as possible not just the main ones. The whole differentiation of backpackers from tourists is that we see places package tours don't go. Who is going to carry around 50 or so Lonely Planet books and for the money spent on the books you will spend more than your entire trip.
While this book is good to find the location of hostels that's about it. Prices of course go up the day after the book is published. ...you're better off to go by word of mouth from other backpackers to find quality hostels. ...
Buy this book if you know nothing about where you are going and read it on the train/bus before getting there but don't have it out when you arrive or you'll be hassled by homeless people and be a target for thieves. You should always look like you know exactly where you are going when you arrive somewhere, it's way safer that way.
I also brought along this book, thinking it would be useful for the areas not covered in my other books. It wasn't. The entries for each city are so short that all it really offers is a brief history, the major tourist attractions and a couple of (often outdated) hotel/restaurant recommendatations.
I highly recommend the regional Lonely Planet guidebooks for US travel, but don't bother buying this one.