Travel Guides are a Godsend and a tremendous amount of research has gone into them, but they can be a little patronising at times.
Don't cling to them religiously, as many travellers do. They are not the bibles that they are made out to be, and are often out of date before they are published.
To get the most out of guidebooks, use them sparingly for basic orientation, then discover the towns and cities on your own.
The information on museums and places of interest are great when all other signs look foreign.
But when it comes to hotels and restaurants, every one to their own taste and budget. Believe me, the gems are never in black and white for all to see. If word gets out, the bargains rise in price with popularity and the 'recommended' places are usually full of foreigners - us, the tourists.
Wandering around on your own, you will be delighted when you discover reasonably-priced, quality rooms and gourmet restaurants dishing up a local ambience; without the need for reservations.
Just because it isn't in the book, doesn't mean that you are entering a hell-hole, or a den of thieves. More often than not, you will encounter a haven of tranquillity that didn't see you coming.