Guide book

Guide book

A guide book is a book for tourists or travelers that provides details about a geographic location, tourist destination, or itinerary. It is the written equivalent of a tour guide. It will usually include details, such as phone numbers, addresses, prices, and reviews of hotels and other lodgings, restaurants, and activities. Maps of varying detail are often included. Sometimes historical and cultural information is also provided. Different guide books may focus on different aspects of travel, from adventure travel to relaxation, or be aimed at travellers with larger or smaller travel budgets, or focus on the particular interests and concerns of certain groups, such as lesbian and gay singles or couples. Guide books are generally intended to be used in conjunction with actual travel, although simply enjoying a guide book with no intention of visiting may be referred to as "armchair tourism".


The idea of a guide book dates back to the medieval Arab world, with the establishment of treasure hunting as a major industry from around the 9th century. Many guide books for travellers in search of ancient Near Eastern artifacts, monuments and treasures were written by experienced Arabic treasure hunters and alchemists which became best sellers in the medieval Arab world. This was particularly the case in Arab Egypt, where ancient Egyptian antiquities were highly valued by early Egyptologists. [citation|title=Egyptology: The Missing Millennium : Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings|first=Okasha|last=El Daly|publisher=Routledge|year=2004|isbn=1844720632|page=36]

The modern tourist's guide book was separately invented by Karl Baedeker in Germany (1835) and by John Murray III in England (1836).James Buzzard. "The Grand Tour and after (1660-1840)" in "The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing" (2002). Page 48-50.] Baedeker and Murray produced impersonal, objective guide; works prior to this combined factual information and personal sentimental reflection. The availability of the books by Baedeker and Murray helped sharpen and formalize the complementary genre of the personal travelogue, which was freed from the burden of serving as a guide book. The Baedeker and Murray guide books were hugely popular and were standard resources for travelers well into the 20th century. As William Wetmore Story said in the 1860s, "Every Englishman abroad carries a Murray for information, and a Byron for sentiment, and finds out by them what he is to know and feel by every step." During World War I the two editors of Baedeker's English-language titles left the company and acquired the rights to Murray's Handbooks; the resulting guide books, called the Blue Guides to distinguish them from the red-covered Baedekers, constituted one of the major guide book series for much of the twentieth century and are still published today.

Following World War II, two new names emerged which combined European and American perspectives on international travel. Eugene Fodor, a Hungarian-born author of travel articles, who had emigrated to the United States before the war, wrote guidebooks which introduced English-reading audiences to continental Europe. Arthur Frommer, an American soldier stationed in Europe during the Korean War, used his experience traveling around the Continent as the basis for "Europe on $5 a Day" (1957), which introduced readers to options for budget travel in Europe. Both authors' guidebooks became the foundations for extensive series, eventually covering destinations around the world, including the United States. In the decades that followed, Let's Go, Lonely Planet, Insight Guides, Rough Guides, and a wide variety of similar travel guides were developed, with varying focuses.

With the emergence of digital technology, many publishers turned to electronic distribution, either in addition to or instead of print publication. This can take the form of downloadable documents for reading on a portable computer or handheld device such a PDA or iPod, or online information accessible via a web site. This enabled guidebook publishers to keep their information more current. Traditional guide book incumbents Lonely Planet, Frommers, Rough Guides, and In Your Pocket City Guides, and newcomers such as Schmap are now offering travel guides for download. New online and interactive guides such as Tripadvisor, Wikitravel, World66, and Travellerspoint enable individual travelers to share their own experiences and contribute information to the guide. Wikitravel, Travellerspoint and World66 make the entire contents of their guides updatable by users, and make the information in their guides available as open content, free for others to use.


This list is a select sample of the full range of English language guide book publishers - either contemporary or historical.

* Avant Guide
* Blue Guides
* City Trail Publishing
* DK Eyewitness Travel
* Footprint
* Frommer's
* Fodor's
* Insight Guides
* In Your Pocket City Guides
* Let's Go
* Lonely Planet
* Moon Handbooks
* Not For Tourists
* Rough Guides
* Schmap
* Spartacus International Gay Guide
* AAA/CAA TourBook
* Time Out
* VIVA Travel Guides
* Wikitravel
* Wikivoyage


For world travellers (who visit a high number of countries), it is often cumbersome of having too many guide books (one on each country along). To meet in this demand, especially in popular Asian cities, "swapping" of guide books is practiced. To do so, the guidebook of the visited country is sold at travelbook-shops and new guide books (of the next country on the list) are bought. Such travelbook-shops exist in places as Bangkok (Kaosan Road), Penang (Chulia Street), Singapore (Bras Basah Road), Colva, Kovalam, Yogyakarta, ... [Handboek voor de Wereldreiziger by Frans Timmerhuis]


ee also

*Michelin Guide
*Mirabilia Urbis Romae
*Travel writing
*Travel literature

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