Backpackers can finally shelve those bulky guidebooks thanks to the Lonely Planet Travel Guides app and its regularly updated (and considerably lighter) city guides.
The app costs 99 cents to download and comes with a free travel guide to San Francisco, plus the option to download additional guides for some 35 cities around the world for another $14.99 each. It’s a semireasonable price when you consider they’re practically the same guides you’d find in any bookstore, but with added interactive features such as offline maps, in-text searching and bookmarking capabilities.
With this app, you’ll carry everything you need to know about a city’s history, transportation and entertainment recommendations right in your pocket. Even better, the guides download straight to your iPhone or iPod Touch, so you don’t have to search around for Wi-Fi every time you need to look something up.
A comprehensive table of contents links quickly to different sections, though the list is long and takes time to scroll through if what you’re looking for is toward the bottom. For faster referencing, Lonely Planet Travel Guides features in-text searching and also lets you save your favorite pages—spelled “Favourites,” so you know this is the real deal.
That’s just the book. You’re also getting offline maps that flag restaurants and shopping around the city—addresses, open hours and a short description just one tap away. And for those with Internet access, there’s no reason to pass up the “Nearby” tab, which finds your current location and lists recommendations close by.
It’s definitely worth leaving that Bible-sized alternative at home and spending the extra cash you were saving for the chiropractor on something more substantial than a bread-and-cheese diet.