Tech traveller: The future of guidebooks

Today's e-guidebooks offer much more than simple listings, enabling you to connect with locals, book specialist tours and even tailor content to suit your own needs.

By Kate Russell
Published 26 Mar 2017, 09:00 BST, Updated 20 Jul 2021, 15:12 BST
Stack of Lonely Planet guide books

Stack of Lonely Planet guide books

Photograph by Getty Images

Gone are the days when you have to carry extra kilos on a trip because of all the travel guides and books you're taking along; popular guides like Lonely Planet are now available to download for users of Kindle and other e-readers.

But e-books provide much more than mere listings. Insight Guides offers a Walking Eye app to link with its guidebooks. If you already have the print version, scan the QR code with the app and download the e-book free of charge, adding lots of extra content like reviews and real-time updates. Otherwise, you can buy the e-books with in-app purchases.

Evaneos aims to help you plan the perfect holiday by connecting you with local agents and tour guides using new apps for iOS and Android. Another great way to get inside information is Plansify, a peer-to-peer market for travel advice. You'll have to pay a fee to get your queries answered ($12-$30/£9.60-£24 for up to three written questions; $50-$75/£40-£60 for up to an hour on Skype), but it's ideal for getting insider knowledge if you're planning a trip for a wedding or you want to find work as you travel. What's more, you can sign up as an adviser, to earn extra cash from your know-how.

Alternatively, there's Google Trips, which draws on the user's Google history to tailor advice, including maps and directions, that can be downloaded and used offline.

Kate Russell is technology reporter for @BBCClick and author of Working the Cloud

Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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