Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to get the most out of travel guides - Mini-travel Books

Introducing Rick Steves' Mediterranean Cruise Ports travel book.  My husband leave tomorrow for a 9 day cruise (11 day vacation) so we've spent the last month or so doing quite a bit of researching.  This book is our prime source of knowledge.  The book covers ports and cities all over the Mediterranean.  We're going to several ports but not all of the ports that are listed in the book. 

When we were thinking about the book and traveling we knew several things:
1.  We didn't want to carry the book around all day every day since it's huge and would just add weight to our bag.
2.  There are large chunks of the book that we wont even look at.
3. We wont use the book again after our cruise since we'll be leaving Europe in a few short months.

So what did I do?  I cut it up, of course.  When I first started I swore I could hear the book crying, but I'm confident that it will be more helpful in the long-run.

I'll show you what I did and how it has been helpful so far.  When we get back from our cruise I'll share if it was helpful while we were away.

P.S.  Please excuse the quality of the images.  My dSLR is in the shop and I used my 5 year old point and shoot with flash... yikes!

Step 1:
         Find the first and last page of the section you want to keep and fold the pages back as far as you can go until you crease and/or break the binding.

Step 2:
       Using a box cutter or utility knife, cut directly down towards the binding of the book, through the gummy lining.  It is important to cut towards the spine of the book.  Don't cut through actual pages.  If you hear the tearing of pages, you're cutting at the wrong angle. You may have to run the blade through a few times in order to get all the way through the binding.   Repeat step 1 & 2 for both the beginning and end of the section you need.

Step 3:
          Lift the entire section out, being careful to bring the gummy binding with it.  If you hear the tearing of pages, go back and run the blade through one more time.  It will make keeping the mini-booklets together much easier if you can manage to get the binding to come with the pages.

Step 4:
         Reinforce the binding with either staples or tape.

Viola!  You have mini-travel books

So far, it was a great idea to create these.  During the planning process, my husband and I were able to research two different towns at once without having to pass a tour book back and forth between the two of us.  When we're in port for Florence, we wont have to carry information on Barcelona or Rome (both of which are thick sections).  We can just grab the section that coincides with the port that we're at and go from there.

This is all of the book that we AREN'T using.  No reason to carry around half a book all day if there's no need for it!

There are plenty of ways to customize this method including adding covers to the mini-books or using a special binding.  Make the books work for you though.  The travel guide is not going to be useful if you can't find anything while shuffling through 800 pages that you don't need.  Simplify and streamline it.  Not to mention, if you lose one mini-section, it'll be a lot less stressful than if you lose the entire book while you're out and about one day. 

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