Blue Flower

CAE (Advanced Exam) Listening Test 3

You will hear Tim Cole talking about guidebooks. Choose the answer (A, B or C) which fits best according to what you hear. 

1 Once, when Tim used a guidebook in Australia, 

A he found the best budget hotel ever. 
B it took him ages to find the place he was looking for. 
C he ended up at an unexpected destination. 

2 Tim believes the problem with guidebooks is that 

A some of them are very poorly researched. 
B many things have changed by the time you read the book.
C they are only regularly updated. 

3 The thing Tim particularly dislikes about guidebooks is 

A the recommendations about where to eat.
B that they have too much information about nightlife. 
C the limited amount of information about history and culture. 

4 Other things which should be included in guidebooks are 

A clear and detailed maps of the area. 
B as much information as possible about an area. 
C good pictures of well-known tourist sites. 

5 What is Tim’s view on digital guidebooks? 

A They can be problematic when downloading.
B He can’t find what he wants as easily as he can in a traditional guidebook. 
C He likes the fact that they’re tailored to your individual requirements. 

6 What did Tim like about Twitter tourism? 

A It allowed him to meet more local people than tourists.
B The advice from other travellers was extremely helpful. 
C He discovered some unusual things to do. 

 

 

1 C   2 B   3 A   4 A   5 B   6 C 

Tim: I'm Tim Cole, and as an experienced travel writer, I'm here to tell you not to believe everything you read in guidebooks because following some of the recommendations they give can result in the most bizarre situations. I'll never forget the night I arrived in Sydney, for example. I'd turned up at the address of what I thought was a budget hotel given in the guidebook at 1 a.m., exhausted and looking forward to a few hours' rest, but instead found myself at a comedy club, which at the time I didn't find at all funny. 

The problem is that too many travellers are too trusting of their guidebooks and don't bother to research even the most basic facts before they set off. Some guidebooks are only updated every couple of years, so it's no wonder many things have moved on by the time you get there. The most important thing when choosing a guidebook is to check the publication date; if it's not within the last twelve months, don't buy it. 

Then the other thing to think about is who the guidebook is aimed at. If you're into the history and culture of a place, don't buy a guidebook full of information on the alternative nightlife scene. But my pet hate, and something I'm always extremely wary of, are the restaurant suggestions. So often I've turned up somewhere and the menu, price and décor bear no relation to the place I've been reading about – if they haven't already gone out of business and shut down, that is. 

Other things to look out for in a guidebook are the maps. These need to be detailed but not so small you can't read them. You don't want to have to carry a magnifying glass around with you. Books that include unnecessary information are another thing I find annoying – like photos of famous places, for example. We already know what the Eiffel tower looks like! Why not include more background information instead? 

Of course, most guidebooks are also now available in a digital format and many travellers prefer using these because they're obviously not heavy to carry, so you can download as many as you like. But I don't find them easy to use at all because navigation is much harder than flicking through the index at the back of a book. Life's just too short and you can never guarantee you'll have wifi access anyway. Until I can get a digital travel guide which is tailor-made for my individual trip, I'm happy to stick with the traditional form of guidebook. 

However, on my trip to Hawaii last summer I experimented with a new way of getting good travel advice: Twitter tourism. Instead of using a guidebook, I decided to rely on the advice of locals and visitors alike – and let them choose what I should visit, where I should stay and what I should eat. I didn’t mind as long as their advice was based on a recent experience. It actually worked out really well and it felt like a real adventure. Without the Twitter travel tips I'd never have visited the Ukulele Festival or eaten spam sushi. One thing I'd never imagined doing – and I'm so grateful for the advice – was a ten-kilometre kayak expedition along the coast for a night time swim with manta rays in a huge cave. A truly magnificent sight. And my top tip for anyone visiting Hawaii!