In my opinion Fodor’s has been a weak travel guide. In ten years I have not bought one. I am satisfied to get the two sentences out of them that I need while at the bookstore, and instead buying a Rough Guide (my preference) or a Lonely Planet. My wife, who works in the travel industry, prefers Cadogan’s, although she thinks it is getting a bit stuffy. On our recent trip to France I brought Rough Guide and photographed pages from Cadogan’s and DK Eyewitness.

On my last visit to the local mega-bookstore, I noticed that the 2005 Fodor’s is more than twice its normal size. I thumbed through the France and Germany editions. To my surprise, they are excellent. I wished I had looked at them before leaving: lots of interesting details, advice for budget travelers (that is to say, grad students like me), great itinerary advice (depending on whether someone wants to explore a whole country or a region or a theme), info on how to get around. I agreed with much of what the guides advised. For our next trip (which could be southern Mexico), I might buy Fodor’s and leave the rest at home. The next time you are in the bookstore, check them out. (Of course, my luggage would be lighter if they made specific guides for the regions I visit.)