08 February 2009

wish list: digital travel guides

Our favourite travel guides are the Eyewitness Travel Guide series by Dorling Kindersley, probably because they're very visual, and so are we. The problem with these (and all other brands) is that they're so heavy. Who wants to lug around a whole heap (depending on how many countries you're going to) of heavy travel guides with them?

With the amazing uptake of netbooks over the past year or so (apparently about 1 in 10 laptop sales in Australia are now netbooks) when are DK going to release digital versions of their books so that they can be used on the computers or PDAs that people are taking travelling with them?

If they did release digital travel guides, it’s highly likely that we would end up buying both the paper version and the digital version. We'd use the paper one at home to browse through and use for armchair travel, and the digital one we would use on location.

On our last holiday we had just entered a new country with a different language and needed to find somewhere to buy some lunch. It was a Saturday afternoon in the country and it seemed like nowhere was open. We went to the tourist attraction that we planned to visit that afternoon, hoping that they might have a cafe (they didn't). Try as we might, we just didn't have enough of the language to communicate to the staff that we wanted to know where we could buy some lunch. We raced back to the car and started up the computer. We pulled up the file containing a scan of the phrasebook pages of one of our guidebooks. We were able to piece together enough words to communicate successfully what we were after.

Our computer saved the day, and it confirmed for us how useful digital guidebooks would be.

Other times, it would have been great to pull up detailed maps of where we were, or information about the place that we were visiting at that moment. Internet access isn't available everywhere, so having it all on tap would be great.

So DK, how about it? Eyewitness E-Travel?

No comments:

Post a Comment