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Fodors Travel Guide Review: Guidebooks Still Worth It? [2023]

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Fodors Travel Guide Review: Guidebooks Still Worth It? [2023]
It's really hard to decide where you want to travel to. With over 190 countries globally, you might be overwhelmed with choices. Can travel guides like Fodor's help? What exactly do they provide? Are they worth your money?
Charmian Lo
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Charmian is a Freelance content writer based in Canada. Her background is in history and culture which fuels her love for traveling. Beyond content writing, she is also an illustrator who loves to draw everything food!

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When searching for travel guides, Fodors is one of the first we pick up. Having been around for over 80 years, Fodor has introduced over 8000 worldwide destinations both digitally and in print. 

Travel guides are the best tools to start planning your dream vacation! If you've ever walked into a bookstore, you've definitely seen big travel guide companies like Lonely Planet on the shelves. A few flips through their travel guides and the beautiful images or attractions will inspire your next travels. Look through the photos for some of the views you may want to see, or discover activities you've never tried before. A travel guide is always the best place to start, no matter what adventure you seek.

But what makes a good travel guide? New restaurants and tourist attractions are always popping up. The best travel guides are constantly updated to include the most up-to-date information. High-quality images and recommendations at various price points are also imperative to a good travel guide. 

More importantly, blog sites are becoming more preferred as a simple google search is much faster than flipping through a 100+ page travel guide. Travel blogs and websites have grown in popularity for their convenience. Did your booking get canceled? Got a hangry traveler on your hands? Fret not. With a quick search on Fodor, you'll find the best options to solve all your problems. 

Fodor is only 1 of the many reputable travel publications existing today. So are consumers still looking to them as a reliable travel guide? Let's look at where Fodor stands today as a travel planning source.

Fodor's Travel Logo
Image Courtesy: Fodor's Travel

What is Fodors.com?

Fodor is a long-standing travel guide offered in both ebook and print format. Beyond providing cultural information and destination descriptions, Fodor also lists accommodation, dining, and attraction recommendations. They've created a travel planning website with detailed information on various destinations and attractions in recent years. Their forum is also a popular source for readers to seek travel advice or other recommendations from the community. 

What are Fodor's Major Features?

Guidebooks

Fodor offers a wide variety of travel guides in both digital and print forms. Their guides range from specific European cities and destinations to continents and areas around the globe. These guides include destination descriptions, enticing images, and accommodation and attraction recommendations. 

Website

Like their guidebooks, the website recommends attractions and places to stay for various global destinations. While destinations categorize guidebooks, the website recommends locations based on your needs. So whether you're traveling for the food or the views, Fodor has recommendations for you.

Forum

Fodor's forum is an active forum where readers can discuss and ask questions about their travel plans. Members can ask for itinerary ideas and seek advice on prices and places to stay. 

Fodor's Travel Guides to Peru and Italy.
Image Courtesy: Fodor's Travel

Best Features on Fodor

Website is Easy to Navigate

Clicking through their website was an easy and stress-free experience. They've organized recommendations in various ways to best suit your travel planning needs. After choosing a destination, expect to see an organized list of recommendations such as attractions, accommodations, and dining. An absolute necessity when overwhelmed with seemingly endless options. They even have a section dedicated to cruises!

Personalized Recommendations 

Everyone travels differently. While some can spend hours in a museum, others prefer long hikes for the best views. The smartest of them book all their restaurant reservations before even buying the plane ticket. Fodor caters to them all by categorizing their travel recommendations based on what the viewer seeks for their travel plans. So if you're planning a romantic getaway for your significant other, click "trip ideas" and go to the "romantic" tab. 

Active Travel Forum

A forum dedicated to travelers. Avoid travel scams by seeking advice from seasoned travelers on the forum. Maybe ask for restaurant recommendations from the locals; they know all the hidden gems! The worst forum is a dead forum, and thankfully the Fodor forums are active with a friendly atmosphere. It's easy to use, and everyone is happy to help!

Good Recommendations

Fodor offers travel guides for a large variety of destinations. They're best known for highlighting the top attractions to visit in each city! Fodor's "Go List" is one of the most anticipated travel lists each year. So if Fodor recommends it, you best be going. Check out their "Go List" for 2022.

Fodor travel inspirations.
Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash


What Features Need Improvement?

Missing Pages in Travel Book Guides.

A common issue many readers bring up is the missing pages in both the ebook and hard copy guides. Oftentimes certain pages are referenced within the book, but the page does not exist. There are also reviews about repeated pages. We recommend flipping through a copy at the bookstore before purchasing.

Not Enough Recommendations for Places to Stay.

Some say the travel guides lack diversity in housing accommodations. They mostly recommend hotels rather than other more budget-friendly options. However, a common workaround is a quick search on google for popular Airbnbs or hostels.

Mainstream Recommendations.

A common complaint with the Fodor book guides is the lack of local touch. They're suitable for short trips or slow-paced travelers. Still, those seeking something beyond the popular tourist destinations may want to look elsewhere. 

What is the Cost of Fodor?

The website and forum are entirely free, and I'd argue those are the two most helpful tools they offer. Their book guides run from about 10-20 USD and are offered in both digital and print options. 

Which is a Better Travel Guide?

Fodor or Frommer, the million-dollar question. When it comes to their book guides, these long-time competitors closely resemble each other. They both provide information on destinations along with accommodation and attraction recommendations. Unfortunately, they both lack localized recommendations and only offer the standard mainstream options. 

In terms of their websites, Fodor is the clear winner. Their website is easy to navigate and offers a wide variety of options. Frommer's website is a bit dated and looks to offer more travel news than travel recommendations. If you're looking for a source other than Fodors, try out Culture Trip, another popular travel guide. Read through our recent review of Culture Trip here.

Get Inspired to Travel by Fodor's Travel Guides.
Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash

My Rating: 3.8/5

Pros

  • Active forum to seek advice from seasoned travelers or locals
  • Easy to navigate website
  • Great mainstream recommendations

Cons

  • Travel guides in both digital and print have missing pages
  • Not enough variety in accommodation recommendations
  • Lacks local touch in recommendations

Start Planning your trip!

While Fodor's website is a great starting place for planning your trip, we still recommend using a travel planner to get the most out of your experience. Think of planners as the next step after gathering inspiration from a travel guide. Check out our Top Free Travel Planner Apps blog post for more information on travel planners.

When you're ready to lock down your itinerary, give our brand new travel planning app Pilot a try!

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Pilot is a social trip planner to discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere, for free. Pilot makes it fun and easy to create and share your favorite travel moments.

Collaborate stress-free with your travel companions and have all the features you need all in one place with Pilot. It’s completely free and ready for you to try it out now!

Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

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Charmian Lo
Contributor
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Charmian is a Freelance content writer based in Canada. Her background is in history and culture which fuels her love for traveling. Beyond content writing, she is also an illustrator who loves to draw everything food!

Read more about this author
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