Travel books - how long to keep?

patserMarch 15, 2008

Over the last 20-25 years, I've been fortunate to have traveled around the world. For each trip, I've purchased guide books to the place I've gone. As a result, now I'm looking at books like 1985 guides to Italy, 1989 guides to Germany and 1992 guides to Egypt (and lots more). But I'm also looking at fairly cluttered bookshelves which need cleaning out.

How long would you keep travel materials and do you think there is a garage sale type market for the older things?

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If they have prices and things in them, they aren't going to be good after a couple of years. I'd put a 1-2 year limit on them.

If you're having a garage sale, I'd put them in it. The books could have value to someone who is interested in going to those countries someday or a student who has to do a report could use them for research or to cut up for another project.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 9:43AM
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The ones I've kept hold special memories of places I've been to. The books are reminders of those trips. During my recent move, I did finally get rid of those that didn't fit that criteria.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 1:22PM
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Another option is to keep just the pages that have information about the places you went. While you were in Italy in 1985, I am betting that you didn't visit every city and event.

The few pages you keep can be added to any museum guides, bus passes, old money, etc. from the city and kept together in a ziplock bag. That way if you ever want to remember the name of the Church you saw in Milan, you can still find it, but you don't keep all the information about the places you didn't go on that trip.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 11:00PM
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I don't keep travel books more than 2 years. Everything changes. The last time I visited Europe was 1985, when I bought a three-week Eurail pass for under $400. I flew on Laker Airlines, now defunct. I know that's ridiculous in today's world.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 3:31PM
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Thanks everyone. I will be doing a garage sale in a couple of months so the older books will go into the very low priced bin. Jannie, although everything costs more, airline tickets are about the same price. With the $ so weak, the airlines are pretty much giving round trip tix away...but one can't afford anything once they get there.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 5:29PM
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restaurants close
public attractions get remodeled, or closed to the public.

Were I going to Italy now, there's NO WAY I would bother with any travel guide except one that's current NOW.

If I can afford to fly to Italy, I can afford to buy a current travel guide.

True, all the historical stuff is still the same, and the directions are still the same, but that info will be in a new travel guide as well; why would I want 2?

The only uses I can think of for a travel guide that's more than 20 years old (or more than 3 years old) is:
-a keepsake (in which case, tear out the sections that matter most to you, and recycle the rest of the book)
-cutting apart for collages

Out of date books should NOT be passed on to other people. Think of it as a service to the factual accuracy of the world, and put them in the paper-recycling bin unless they have some strong personal connection.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 9:56AM
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I think the best souvenir of a trip is a journal. Take along a spiral notebook and write notes of everything, where you stayed, where and what you ate, what you saw,how you traveled (car,train,jet,etc). There is nothing better to jog your memory. Photos and postcards are nice,too, but as Tally sue advised, attractions change. That great hotel you stayed at in Paris in 1985 certainly has changed in 20 plus years. Ditch those guidebooks. Keep your memories.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 6:25PM
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The only travel books/guides that I have kept are the castle directories. While the prices change I have found these guides helpful in mapping where the castles are in the area we will be traveling to. Then I can verify online if there is a vacancy and what the current lodging prices are.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 8:28PM
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If uou need updated travel directory information, check your public library. I fondly remember Arthur Frommer's Europe on Five Dollars a Day. There are more updated Frommer's books now.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 3:13PM
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I figure, of all the clutter in my life, books are the least of my worries. They usually look tidy and don't take up much space. YMMV.

I buy new copies of the generic guidebooks whenever I make a major trip, and only keep the latest if I have multiples. They're a good start to the obsessive planning of the next trip - "oh, I wanted to see this museum but it was closed for renovation," or, "I wonder if this restaurant is still there". I lend them out freely to friends without worrying about getting them back.

On the other hand, I'll keep older books that have something interesting to them - The Jane Austen Guide to Bath, for example, or Literary Walks in Rome.

The last time I got ruthless about a travel book, I was on the ferry to Corsica for a 3-week hiking trip. As I was tearing out the section on Corsica from the *huge* general Italy book and throwing the rest away, an Italian gentleman looked at me, horrified. "Americans, so wasteful!" Sigh...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 5:56PM
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Sometimes libraries will take the books, especially the travel ones. Also a VA hospital will accept donations, along with nursing homes. Might bring back memories.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:38PM
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A library won't take an OUT OF DATE travel book.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:50AM
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I've gone through them and have whittled down by 1/3 so far. I am going to keep a number of them, because even though admission hours and prices have changed, the basic places to visit with history and descriptions have pretty much stayed the same. I'll be doing the garage sale in May so will have another once over before then and they'll go into the "free" box. Our library didn't want them - due to the age. Thanks for everyone's thoughts and ideas.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:05PM
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I agree with what has been said. 1-3 years and they are out of date.

I first pass them on to my daughter (young) because she really likes books and checks out the pictures & maps. After I notice she's done, the books go to the recycle bin.

I'm of the opinion that if someone is looking to travel and wanting info, they will go buy a current book or go on the web. Outdated books are not what they're looking for.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:03AM
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