Now that I live on the West Coast, I do a lot more traveling than I used to. Previously, I’d go to a couple of conferences a year, travel for the holidays and vacation, and that’s it. Between Labor Day and Christmas this year, I’ll be taking six trips to three different locations, so I’m suddenly paying more attention to travel news, books and apps.
The New York Times yesterday ran a review, of sorts, on travel apps, the gist of which is: books are still better than apps. And, in fact, they recommend that the iPad is actually a better travel companion that the iPhone, if you want the right app for the job. This surprised me a bit, considering my previous blog post about the usage of the iPad. But it makes sense: more screen real estate can be a huge advantage, not just because it can display more information, but because it’s much easier to navigate. But the lesson learned here isn’t that books are better travel companions or people should take their iPads everywhere they go (not everyone is me!). Rather, the book publishers and their app developers need to work harder to make the travel app experience a better one. From the review, it seems like the fixes could be quite simple. And, as apps mature, I think we’ll see that the apps can actually do a better job of showcasing guidebook information on the fly.
But until then, I’ll still carry my beat up, dog-eared guidebooks when I travel. How else would I have ever found the Mütter Museum? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist linking to it!)