While working for Lonely Planet for nearly 15 years, I researched guidebooks in Siberia and Transylvania, trained at Mountie boot camp in Saskatchewan, and even shook hands with Al Roker. But the most eye-opening thing I learned along the way was this simple fact about Americans:

Almost no one knows what a “guidebook” is.

… Seasoned travelers tend to know what guidebooks are, but increasingly find it fashionable to diminish their worth.

What a pity. Even while digital and web world are snatching up veteran guidebook publishers, and observers debate the industry’s uncertain future, I’m certain a guidebook remains both a travel planner’s MVP, yet at the same time one of travel’s most underrated contributors. And that if more Americans knew how to use one, even for 10 minutes, they’d travel more and farther — and better.