Whenever I pick a new place to travel to, there's always one thing I do first: pick up the Lonely Planet travel companion book (on Amazon too!) for the location in question. I do this before polling Twitter for tips, perusing the internet, or downloading a new location-specific app (all things I get around to doing).
Once the book arrives, I spend the next couple weeks reading every last word of the book I can. I doggy-ear, I highlight, I make notes, I basically dive down a travel research black hole. This sounds pretty horrible if travel research isn't your thing, but it's my favorite thing to do besides, you know, traveling.
There are all sorts of travel guides out there, of course, but I've found Lonely Planet to include the best recommendations, most straightforward tips, and up-to-date information.
What about you, though? What's your favorite travel book? Or favorite way to prepare for a trip?