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Guide books have really taken off as holidays have become more affordable and more and more people are able to travel further and further afield. Their popularity is such that The Lonely Planet and Rough Guide series have become household names. But with the internet booming things are changing.

Whereas guide books are hampered by publishing schedules, the internet allows travel information to be updated almost instantly. And what’s more, the information is free. Publishers are more than aware of the advantages of the internet when it comes to travel info, and many have developed an online presence that provides an interactive element that books cannot. Online, publishers can provide updates to their most recent printed guide books, and many publishers have also set up online message boards, such as The Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree, and Fodor’s Rants and Raves section. Here travellers relish the fact that they can give and receive travel tips and recommendations, as well as find out about places to avoid.

This new trend towards inviting comments from the public can have its downsides. Just because the information is up to date, doesn’t make it correct. As well as becoming a centre for people’s holiday gripes and moans, which can become tiresome, there have been incidences of local businesses exploiting these sites to drum up business for themselves.

Another new trend is for publishers to set up sites that provide up to the minute travel information that can be downloaded to a handheld device. Sites such as CitySync, City to Go and Citykey do just that - providing everything from transport information to restaurant, hotel, and events listings. This is handy for those who are visiting a city for a short time, such as those on business trips, or a fun London weekend: those who need information quickly.

Although the internet has helped to broaden the knowledge of travellers everywhere, it still has its drawbacks. As with printed guidebooks not all of the information will necessarily be accurate. Just because information can be uploaded quickly to the internet does not guarantee that this information is itself up to date.  
The relationship is dependent on guide book writers being as computer savvy as they are geographically in-the-know. Combining the two is the route to purchasing your hard-copy Travel Guides online.


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