Travel guidebooks and how to use them

Travel guidebooks are useful, insightful, helpful and informative – but they can also be infuriating, misleading, out of date and sometimes just plain wrong. I should know, I write them. So here’s an insider’s view on how to get the most out of your travel guide.

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Born in Ghana – the boy from Takoradi goes home

This is where you get to take a peek at the first chapter of my new book, Takoradi to the stars (via Huddersfield) – I’m hoping it grabs you and sends you scurrying to Amazon right away, but even if you’re just dropping by for a moment or two, I send you warm wishes from Takoradi and Huddersfield, wherever you are!

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Tales of my Christmas past

Christmas – a time for family festivities and home comforts. Or, if you’re a travel writer – make that a not very well organised travel writer – a time for ending up somewhere a bit odd, that you hadn’t quite planned.

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How to sell more books than Bill Bryson

You have to jump through all sorts of hoops to publish a book with Kindle Direct Publishing, but in the end it’s fairly straightforward and there are lots of tools to help you promote your book and keep track of its progress. But with a brand new book, there’s not a whole lot they can tell you straight away.

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How to come up with a travel book title

For most of my travel-writing career, coming up with a book title wasn’t an issue. Here’s how it usually went.

Me: I’ve finished that book you sent me to write, on Sicily.

Rough Guide Editor: Great, thanks, we’ll call it The Rough Guide to Sicily.

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Jungle emergency

To get to the lush Cameron Highlands – home of Malaysia’s best-known tea plantations – you go through the old tin-mining town of Ipoh. And to get to Ipoh, you used to have to go through my dad, who was stationed there as a conscripted National Serviceman in the early 1950s.

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Hanging out in Prague

Do you always make a beeline for a city’s best-known sights, or do you give them a miss, preferring to seek out the less ordinary, the off-beat, the – oh go on, I’m going to say it – hidden gem?

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Timeless Australian desert

I took my first trip to Australia in 1998. That’s so last century. No smart phone, no digital camera, just a point-and-shoot compact. Put the photos in an album and never really looked at them again. Until now.

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