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Well written article.


Interesting to know.

David Stanley

Good article Kate, and as someone who has made his living writing travel guidebooks since 1979, I can confirm that there's a lot in what you say. However, not all guidebook writers are corrupt. I've never accepted freebies while researching guides to the South Pacific, Micronesia, Alaska, Eastern Europe, and Cuba. I travel incognito and will even deny my identity if someone guesses who I am from the type of questions I'm asking. Of course, this creates a new problem: How do I research upscale resorts from which non-guests are banned? Especially exclusive outer island resorts in the South Pacific. Bora Bora alone has several dozen thousand-dollar-a-night properties and I'd be in the hole financially if I had to sleep in all (or indeed any) of them. Thus I'm forced to rely on secondary sources for information on places like Turtle Island in Fiji. Not the best solution, I know, but no worse than going in on a freebie and being indebted to the resort owner. Actually, it's just a matter of personal style. On a small Pacific island, everyone soon knows the hosted travel writer and I value my privacy more than that.

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