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Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet is a popular guidebook among independent travelers; in fact, I have even heard some backpackers refer to it as “the Bible” on the road. Lugging around a print version has become archaic — however, after trying the Lonely Planet app for Spain, I would say that the app doesn’t take full advantage of multimedia either.

On the upside, the app is easy to navigate, allowing you to transition smoothly from text to map format. On the map, the most important destinations of a country are flagged; tap a destination, and you then enter the guide to that particular city. Sights, too, are perfectly cataloged; the app even distinguishes wine bars from rooftop bars, and you can filter all sights by distance and in alphabetical order as well.

Moreover, all sights are listed with addresses, which link to an offline map, phone numbers, hours, and a well-written text description, just as it would appear in the print guidebook. The fact that both the text and maps are available offline is certainly a significant advantage. However, the app still remains very much reminiscent of the print guidebook; scrolls of text are long, and photos, audios, videos and other multimedia are lacking. And while Android users can access 26 city guides, 13 audio phrasebooks and 9 offline translators, there are no whole-country guides for Android.

Bottom line

Lonely Planet provides a solid traveling app, but it doesn’t offer the same excitement as the print books.