The best guidebook is the one you write yourself

The best guidebook is the one you write yourself

“For every traveller who has any taste of his own, the only useful guidebook will be the one which he himself has written.” 

                                                 -Aldous Huxley

No kidding. During our home exchange to Paris last summer, our best tips didn’t come from Fodor’s or Rough Guide or Lonely Planet but from the pile of hand-picked and well-worn books, magazines, newspaper clippings and hand-written notes left for us by our exchange family. 

I vowed we’d do a similar favour for our Berlin exchange visitors this coming summer, and was delighted to run across a new offering from the good folks at Moleskine, creators of the sleek little Italian notebooks favoured for centuries by artists and other creative types.

Moleskine City Notebooks –the “guidebooks you write yourself”–are currently available for dozens of international destinations, including Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. Each blank 3.5 x 5.5″ 228-page leather-bound notebook features the Moleskine hallmarks: an elastic wrap-around closure, an accordion pocket for receipts and such, and ribbon placemarkers. But you also get detailed city and transit maps, a street index, blank pages for notes and diary entries, indexed pages with space for shopping, dining and entertainment recommendations, and tear-out loose notes.

Includes a detailed city map

Includes a detailed city map

At just over $17 CDN (from Amazon.ca), this is the best guidebook investment a committed home exchanger will ever make.

Buy one for your home city and fill it in during the year, then leave it behind for your guests with a request that they add their favourite finds to it. And then buy another one for your destination city, fill it in during your exchange holiday, and leave it behind as a gift–to be added to by other guests over the years.

Related post: 10 tips for a successful home exchange.

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