Buying the Best Maui Guidebook: Top 5 Features to Look For - Part 1

Not All Maui Hawaii Travel Guides Are Created Equal

When comes the time to choose the right Maui guidebook to buy, it's easy to get confused. There's a lot of guidebooks on the market and each of them propose tons of features.

Here are some advice to help you sort them out and choose the guidebook that is right for you.

1- All Hawaii or Maui Only?

Are you going to visit only Maui or several Hawaiian islands?

This simple question is a very important one. If your answer is Maui only, then you should definitively look for a guidebook that is focusing exclusively on Maui. The reason for that is simple: you will get a lot more valuable information for your money.

It's not that the general Hawaii guidebooks are bad. It's just that those all-Hawaii travel guides need to find a way to squeeze in a single guidebook tons of information covering the 4 main islands (Oahu, Big Island, Maui and Kauai).

Even if some publishers do propose quality all-Hawaii guidebooks, they simply can't provide as many deep and diversified suggestions compared to what specific Maui guidebooks can offer.

My recommendation: Buy a specific guidebook for each island you plan to visit.

Tip - If you really don't have the money to buy 3 or 4 different guidebooks, buy a general Hawaii guidebook and consider buying a specific guidebook related to your main destination. This is probably your best move to cover wide and deep at once. This is what I did the the first time I visited the Hawaiian islands.

Here's a good all-around Hawaii guidebook to start with.

Make sure to visit this page for more Hawaii Guidebooks suggestions.

2- Map Details and Accuracy

I can't stress this enough: your Maui guidebook must provide detailed, accurate and up-to-date maps.

As a tourist, discovering the island for the first time, you are constantly relying on maps to get around and find the 'perfect spot' you are dreaming of. There is nothing more frustrating than being mislead by an inaccurate map.

That doesn't mean that you need maps that are so precise and complete that you could locate every mailbox in front of every houses in every small town of the islandÉ Too much information can easily prevent you from being able to use the maps efficiently.

What you need is just enough of the right information to help you find your way. Things like a big old tree or a giant rock along the road are often a lot more useful than a road sign hidden among all others looking just alike. This is what you, as a tourist, want to find on a map in terms of relevant information.

In my opinion, the very best application of this philosophy has been done by Andrew Doughty in his best-seller Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. Make sure to read my review of this awesome travel guide here. This Maui guidebook is in a class of its own.

As a final piece of advice on maps, make sure the entire island is covered. Some guidebooks only focus on popular towns and the most visited areas. Also, look for durable maps, with paper coating resistant to water and frequent folding. You will use your guidebook a lot and you want it to last.

Tip - Remember that your ultimate goal should be to avoid the need to buy a dedicated map. Replacing a dedicated map is a big challenge for a guidebook, but I know by experience that it is possible since the Maui Revealed Guidebook already achieved it.

3- Editorial Picks and Ratings

There is such a thing as too much choice. I experience it every time I read a new guidebook. I am so excited to discover a new place, that everything I read seems interesting. In my eyes, every single attraction is a must-see (please, be frank and tell me I am not the only crazy never-see-enough travel lover out there!).

Sadly, we all know time is a rare resource. You just can't do and see everything in one trip. And honestly, it should not be your objectiveÉ especially in Hawaii. You should rather try to set yourself on the Hawaiian time, meaning taking time to enjoy everything you do, like exploring the island. After all, allowing you to get away from mainland's frenziness is one of the islands main benefit.

This is where the Editorial Pick or Rating System comes handy. This feature helps you choose the best of the best. The majority of today's guidebooks do propose a rating system generally based on stars (5 stars being the best). This is a good start.

But some Maui travel guides push one step further. Those are the guidebooks you are looking for. They provide straightforward opinions to help you choose the very best thing to do, to see or to taste in a specific area. They are not afraid to criticize and to take position. This kind of information is invaluable for the travelers (like me) who have a very hard time making a final choice.

In some Maui guidebooks these picks are identified by an easy-to-identify icon (ex.: A Real Gem in Maui Revealed). In others, like Fodor's Hawaii, publishers prefer to use a Top 5 or Top 10 system to identify the absolute must-sees, must-dos and so on.

Maui Guidebook Fodor Hawaii Top 10 The Fodor's Hawaii Top 10 Feature is very handy
to help you pick the best when facing too much options
Image source: www.Amazon.com

As long as the Maui guidebook of your choice provides some kind of editorial pick, you are good to go. I do prefer though when a consistent set of icons is used throughout the entire book. Makes everything so much easier.

Continue your reading at: Buying the Best Maui Guidebooks: Top 5 Features to Look For - Part 2

If you prefer, jump directly to my Top 3 Maui Hawaii Travel Guide page or browse through my Maui Hawaii Guidebooks Complete List.

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