After I threw away about “two feet of books” (in other words, I don’t know how many) and an hour’s hard work, I have made my travel bookshelf back in shape. After this “shake-up”, now I have “only” 200 travel books, about half of them are in English, and others in Chinese. Compare to my other IT / photography / web design / usability reference books, business books, comic books and novels, it is still quite a lot.
The reason I bought so many travel books is because, believe it or not, I like to “study” travel books … in other words, understand how they were written, how the information is categorized, presented, cross-referenced etc. etc. In Internet’s term, I like to study the information arhitecture of travel books. However, seriously, after studied so many travel books, I still have not found my ideal book.
All along I believe the best way to plan a trip is not to go to Internet to research, as there are too many information in the Internet and you have no way to tell which one is correct and which one is useful for your style of travel. Searching thru travel books and guides are not necessary the better way as well, mainly because it’s hard to search the details in the physical book. In addition, most books are just a long list of attractions but doesn’t tell you how to connect the attractions together.
Out of the 200 books from that mini-library, the best ones so far are the Daytrips series from Hastings House. All these books let you plan your trip day by day with all the attractions, transportation and dining details.
Therefore I think … will it be great if I can go to one single website and plan my all trips, with all the information I need in a day by day fashion (just like the Daytrips series) ? That idea has been planted in my mind for almost 10 years now, and about 3 and a half year ago I wrote this blog post to illustrate the possible database design …
Not sure you have the same trouble / idea like this or not but if you believe you cannot buy the best travel book from bookstores or Amazon, and you think you have to make your own travel guides – let me know. May be it is about time to develop the best travel site on earth.