Since the best travel guides of today can be easily accessed via any smarthphone, tablet, or iOS device, we no longer have to fumble with those huge road atlases, or print out a dozen different online maps to take along on our trips. But how do you know which travel guide websites are the most reliable, or which ones will let you know that your next exit will only lead you to 57 miles of road construction? The best way is the old fashioned way, by conducting a little research.
The number of travel guides online has grown exponentially over the last dozen years. Of course, travel guides are nothing new, and have been used for centuries. While the origin of the very first travel guide is uncertain, the Greek periplus is one of the first examples of a written travel guide. Translated into English, the term “periplus” means “sailing around.”
A periplus was basically an itinerary that Greek, Phoenician, and, later on, Roman sailors used to help them navigate the approximate locations of land, as well as specific ports. Obviously, since accurate geographical maps did not yet exist, a periplus could only offer approximate locations. Thus, the accuracy of a periplus could be dubious; just ask Columbus. Fortunately, with the online traveling guides of today, we can calculate our trips down to fractions of a mile or kilometer, and even find the closest location to grab coffee.
When sorting through the multitude of travel guides online, it is impossible to determine which ones are “the best.” It really depends on how an individual defines “travel guide,” and what he or she is looking for. For instance, one person might consider online maps and directions as travel guides, while another could think of them as travel agent websites.
Basically, a modern online travel guides can do both those things and more. The best travel guides online can also give travelers hotel reviews, dining recommendations, travel coupons, and more. What they will never give you, however, are directions to India that take you to the Bahamas.