They are still hugely popular among travelers and many travelers sail blindly on all the tips described in these books: travel guides! Long ago, we ourselves bought a travel guide (often the Lonely Planet) of every country we visited. Nowadays, these paper travel guides are largely unnecessary to carry around, and we give eight good reasons why the new travel guide can be found online.
Table of contents
#1 Paper travel guides are often dated in many areas
Of course, most guidebooks get an update once every few years, yet we frequently experienced that we had found a restaurant in a guidebook and it had not existed for two years.
Generally, you can find the latest up to date information about a landmark or restaurant on the Internet through websites such as Tripadvisor .
For top attractions like the Taj Mahal in India, there are already more than 30,000 reviews here by travelers, giving you a good idea of the current situation by looking at very recent reviews.
#2 Paper travel guides are not written for parents with kids
Because travel guides like Lonely planet have a very broad target audience, they mainly focus on the entire target group and you almost never read in travel guides where exactly that nice big playground is, where your kids can play all afternoon.
Online you do have a lot of diversity in websites and websites that focus entirely on a particular target group for example hikers, families with kids or beach lovers. This makes it much easier to find all the information necessary for you online.
#3 Paper travel guides are enormously heavy and contain many unnecessary pages
Suppose you are going on a world trip to several countries, you will need many travel guides and if they all have to come with you in your luggage you will have to lug a lot of extra kilos on your trip.
These guidebooks are often very comprehensive and often quite thick. Yet you often use from the travel guide only maybe 20% of the guide, because it describes all the destinations in a country and you and your family only go to a few places.
Avoid these extra pounds and leave all those travel guides at home (or better yet, stop buying them and spend an afternoon at the local library and read up on them).
#4 By using useful apps, many sections in the paper travel guide become redundant
An app that we have used tremendously when traveling is maps.me, where you can download entire maps in advance when you travel and you can see right at your destination where you are walking.
If you mark in advance the main places in the city you want to go, you will almost never go wrong. Also, if you are in a cab, this app is ideal because you can see right away if the cab is actually driving to the destination and not taking weird detours.
In addition, there were frequent occasions when we had to use our app to navigate the driver the last bit to the destination. The advantage of this app is also that you don’t need the Internet.
The map in a paper guide then gives very little information in that regard.
#5 Paper travel guides are often very pricey
If you go on a world trip and want to see 10 countries, you will have to buy a travel guide for all of them separately.
Most travel guides easily cost 20 euros or so, which means that you can easily spend 200 euros for information that you can often find on the Internet.
#6 The tips found in paper travel guides are often crowded and very pricey
Because many travelers use the same guidebooks like Lonely Planet, for example, most travelers also rely on the tips given by Lonely Planet in the guidebook.
Thus, they may give a particular tip for a quiet destination in a particular city, but these kinds of places may actually be enormously crowded by all these travelers checking out these tips.
Because many of these accommodations, eateries and attractions are crowded, you’ll also see prices skyrocket. The familiar principle of supply and demand
#7 With a paper travel guide in hand, you are more likely to be a target abroad
You often see travelers on trips walking around with a travel guide under their arm or busily searching through the travel guide as they walk down the street.
Of course, this often attracts scammers and other criminals who see that you are not known in the area and they can take advantage of that.
Make sure you know in advance where you want to go and try to act like the locals as much as possible, then you will also stand out a lot less abroad.
#8 Picking out a trip already provides a lot of preliminary fun
Many travel guides describe all kinds of itineraries and show exactly where to go.
Yet it’s much more fun to put together your own itinerary with your family by getting inspiration online in advance. Picking a trip together with your family often provides a tremendous amount of anticipation.
Each family member can specify what he or she would like to do and visit and based on that, you can then create your ultimate itinerary.
When we traveled the world, we definitely did go to the library once to read through some travel guides, but we find that we use them less and less. We were able to find so much online that we put together a document of about 25 a4s which we ended up taking for all 12 countries we visited.
More than 95% of the information we wrote down came from online sources and very little from the traditional travel guide.