Even since Tony and Maureen Wheeler crossed Asia and wrote the iconic “Across Asia on the Cheap” (Which can be downloaded as a free ebook on Amazon) in 1972, travel guidebooks have been big business. Over the next forty years, guidebooks such as Lonely Planet, Moon, DK, and Rough Guides, just to name a few, have made travel more accessible for all types of travelers. Whether you were traveling for a week to London or a year in Asia, there are likely several guidebooks that can help you plan your travels.
However, with the advent on the internet, the usefulness of guidebooks is starting to become questioned. After all, why spend money to find information published 2 years ago when you can find information published today for free?
So, that brings us to this week’s discussion question: Do we still need travel guidebooks?
In my opinion, the answer is yes. Throughout my travels I’ve usually traveled with a guidebook, but have gone without one from time to time. I find a physical guidebook is a great companion for travel. If you’re like me and don’t travel with a phone connected to the internet, a guidebook can be an invaluable resource. It provides maps, dining recommendations, and bits of trivia that can help make your travel experiences more interesting.
Sure, guidebooks aren’t the end all be all that they used to be. After all, we have the internet that can provide a nearly endless selection of fantastic places to visit. But to me, there is something special about holding a guidebook in my hand. Before I leave on a vacation, it’s a promise of coming travel. Then, when I return home, I love flipping through my used guidebook, seeing the pages I dog-eared, the sections I highlighted, and the places I visited.
What do you think? Are travel guidebooks quickly going the way of the dinosaur, or do you still think they are a valuable resource for travelers? Let us know in the comments section below.
Quick Product Pitch: If you want a humorous read about a travel writer using Lonely Planet’s “Across Asia on the Cheap” as his only resource 30 years after its publication, read “Tell Them to Get Lost: Travels with Lonely Planet’s First Guide Book” by Brian Thacker