Travel Books vs. Travel Apps

Saturday’s Financial Times had a feature on the downturn in the guidebook publishing and the rise of travel applications. The FT likes “augmented reality” tools that let you scan the horizon with your phone’s camera and see hotels pointed out over the screen or take a snapshot of a museum’s painting to get its history. I’ve played with some of these apps and found them slow and finicky. And the the information provided isn’t usually what I’m looking for. My iPhone’s GPS map and web browser are the only apps I regularly use for travel help. Even with those, we still carry a traditional map and usually a walking tour book or two. On our summer trip to London we used Andrew Duncan‘s Favourite London Walks (we have been using his books for years) and an old copy of Walks in London, written in the late 19th century by Augustus Hare.

2 Responses to “Travel Books vs. Travel Apps”


  1. 1 Cat

    Yes, where will we be in the future without odd travel books to remind us what people found important and interesting in the past? I usually plan a trip around one. (Last year I used “Los Angeles in 7 Days” published in 1932 in anticipation of a glut of visitors for the Games of the X Olympiad. Most of the sites still exist, but many are left out of current guide books. My favorite was the lookout on the top floor of the tower of the Los Angeles City Hall. Believe me, we were the only people there. None of the Angelinos we spoke to even know one could go there.)

    Thanks for your fun site!

  2. 2 Merriweather

    We’re heading to LA this Fall for a wedding. We’ll have to look up that book!

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