Review: Independent Guide to New York City 2016
So last week I saw an advert for bloggers to review the 2016 New York City Guide from Independent Guidebooks.
Well, I figured, another guide book never goes astray, especially if it’s up-to-date and can be put on my iPad to read whenever I want. Plus we are wanting to spend a good week or so in New York City at the end of our year away, so any information is a help. So they needed volunteers, and volunteer I did!
They’ve asked for us to do an honest review and post it on our blog and their Amazon page. In exchange we receive a copy of the guide for free.
The guide itself actually surprised me. It’s really good, not just for an independent, but compared to any big name guidebook.
Just a side note: There were some editing and formatting issues in the copy I received (and anyone who knows me, knows this drives me a bit barmy) but they let me know that they were addressing those issues. So I looked past it.
The book (which can be bought as an ebook or a printed paperback) is split up into several sections. I found that the sections were in bit of an odd order (jumping from History of NYC, to Travel Documents and entering the USA, to NYC Today). But the bulk of the book is split into neighbourhoods.
Each neighbourhood in the book has a brief description, history, accommodation, hotspots and food options.
It really is a great way to organise the book. The only thing that would make it better would be if you could go to the contents page of the ebook and select a neighbourhood and it takes you straight to that page (or as a less techy option: have page numbers in the contents).
For me there were two things that really made me love this guide:
1. It is constantly updated:
Most other big name guides are edited and reprinted every two or three years. This is printed on demand so when you buy it, you receive all the latest information.
For us, this was a massive positive because it means there is a 2016 events calendar at the back of the book. Normally guide books have only annual events listed and are very generic in the sort of information that is given. Often it looks like this: “New York Comic-Con is held annually in October”. The Independent Guide is able to say the date (October 6th to 9th), the location (Jacob K Javits Convention Centre) and how to get there (take the 7 train to 34 St and 11 Ave).
Specifics! That’s what makes a guidebook awesome, especially when you have kids!
Specifics and being up to date mean I don’t have to:
- Spend my own time doing independent research. For example: “Oh Comic-Con sounds fun” [Google Comic-Con, find website, find where it is held and exact dates, find cost, Google New York City transport, find website, put in address and find out what train to catch and how much that will cost].
- We don’t waste time when we are out wandering around and looking up how to get somewhere, or where to go next.
- We can budget effectively for food and attractions we want to see.
2. Country entry and visa information:
The one thing that stresses me out more than anything about traveling (especially with a family) is researching visa information. If you stuff up on understanding how to enter a country you can stuff up the whole holiday.
Most guides avoid printing information about visa and entry into a country, because the information can change so rapidly. I presume the team at Independent Guidebooks offer this information because they keep the book up-to-date and print on demand.
There’s also a heap of other guidebooks that are listed on their website focusing on city locations (rather than whole countries) and theme parks. You don’t think you’ll need a guide book on a theme park? Think again! We could have really done with a comprehensive guide on Disneyland last year, because there’s some things that are just presumed knowledge (and because theme parks aren’t set up in the same way in Australia we had no idea). At £4.99 for the printed edition (£1.99 for the ebook) available on Amazon, I would definitely recommend having a look.