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Dec 12th 2007 3:02PM Oddsocks, I looked at the sites you mentioned and http://www.balkanology.com/ is an attractive site but it doesn't seem to contain any specific hotel or restaurant listings. I also like the design of http://www.outsideprague.com/ but it's listings are very limited and I suspect they're all related to Outside Prague's owner in some way. Sites like this are great to peruse while you're planning a trip but they don't eliminate the need for a printed guidebook. I haven't seen one yet that does. Even Lonely Planet's famous Thorn Tree only provides many snippets of information - you still have to but the printed guidebook if you want to see the full picture. Of course, Lonely Planet planned it that way.
Dec 5th 2007 2:21PM "Guidebooks cost $25 while online guides are free." Fine, but what's the incentive for anyone to keep a website up to date if they don't get paid for their work? Sure, enthusiastic travelers can have a lot of fun posting their photos and travel tips online, but will they be prepared to go back and update their "guides" regularly every couple of months or years? If so, who will pay their travel expenses? Lonely Planet makes a lot of money selling hard copies of their guidebooks and they can easily afford to send writers for hire out to do the donkey work. How many webmasters will be willing to regularly update their hotel prices and restaurant listings the way established publishers do? The web is a wonderful resource but I don't think it will ever replace printed guidebooks. How can anyone leaving on an extensive trip foreign trip be stupid enough to go half blind just to save $25? Much of the information available for free on websites is anecdotal, incomplete, misleading, and out of date, or just paid advertising in disguise. There's a lot of stuff you can organize and check online but it's always great to have that printed guidebook on hand when you're alone in a strange place and really need it. I know because over the past 30 years I've written many travel guidebooks to the South Pacific, Alaska, Canada, Europe, and Cuba. My personal (and free) website http://www.southpacific.org is subsidized by sales of my books and online advertising. Without that income, I'd rather just go traveling for my own pleasure and not waste time sitting behind a screen.