The digital revolution has introduced a lot of changes in our lifestyle. While we had books, newspapers, and letters before, we dabble now with our laptops, tablets, and the ever-so-handy smart phone.
The tourism and travel industry is one that has definitely been influenced by this shift. Not too long ago, anyone planning on a trip abroad would have to drop by the book store to pick up travel guidebooks. Nowadays, tourists go headlong to their adventures by banking only on a few swipes or clicks.
This leaves us the question: Are guidebooks already obsolete?
Travel guidebooks are very comprehensive sources that cover everything a tourist may need to know – from the best location with the best view of the Big Ben to finding the closest restroom to the River Thames. However, technology has also encouraged the very same authors of these guides to bring their works to the web to provide travellers a more mobile alternative.
The Internet and smart phone revolution definitely makes it seem that the days of lugging around guidebooks are gone. But is this really the case? Below, we talk about the pros and cons of these guides to help you decide.
A number of reputable guidebooks are available in the UK. Probably the most popular and respected guide in the area is the Lonely Planet Guide which is well-known for its sassy use of language and blatant honesty in describing places and services.
Another popular option is the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Known for its visual guides, this guidebook is a helpful one for those who are wanting to get some visual ideas and information of the spots they want to visit. Fodor’s is also one preferred by many, thanks to the variety of interests, tastes, and budgets that is covers.
These works are good examples of the level of detail that guidebooks offer. A well-written guide combines the geographical, cultural, and historical references to any part of the globe in a way that even the most well-developed websites and phone apps cannot. In addition, these references are also easy to use because of their indexed and logical format. So, if you are the type of traveler who isn’t that hot about website or app navigation, then the good ol’ guidebook is what’s for you.
Moreover, not all areas in the world are lucky enough to have good Internet connection and mobile phone coverage. Obviously, the last thing you want is to find yourself lost in the middle of an unfamiliar place with only a useless smart phone in hand. So if you are planning to have a reconnaissance in a developing country or rural area, then a travel guidebook is the foolproof solution for you.
If there is one thing about travel guidebooks that can make anyone immediately come running to the comforts of mobile travel apps and websites, it is its weight. Lugging around a guidebook will obviously mean extra space in your baggage, not to mention a possible crick on your neck and shoulders. Of course there are guidebooks now designed to be more pocket-friendly, but if it is really in-depth information that you are after, then you usually would have to deal with the bulky ones.
The timeliness of these guides can also be an issue sometimes. While most guidebooks are updated yearly, there are those that do not update as often. Websites, on the other hand, are more in track when it comes to changes so the problem of dealing with outdated information is not much of an issue.
Last but not the least, travel guidebooks can cost a pretty penny unlike the free information that you can get from the Internet. If you are the type of traveler who can live with basic facts, then going online is a good way to go. The catch, in the end, really lies in the amount of details that you need.
So, should you buy a guidebook for your holiday?
The answer to this can actually be yes or no depending on what you are looking for. The internet and mobile apps are a quick, affordable, and more manageable options for those who do not need comprehensive information about their travels. On the other hand, travel guidebooks still remain to be the best source for travellers who need as much details as they can to make the most of their wanderlust.