So Long. It’s Been Good to Know Yuh.

This post was originally intended as a reminder that my giveaway for the 3-piece packing cube set ends on Wednesday.

But then I read that Google, after acquiring the Frommer’s series of travel guides seven months ago, is reportedly halting production of the printed books. Although I wholeheartedly embrace every internet tool available to enable and enrich my travel experience, I am sad to see the beginning of the end of packable travel guide books.

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Before leaving for my semester abroad, I pored over Let’s Go Europe with the intensity I failed to direct toward The European Philosophers from Descartes to Nietzsche. It accompanied me to London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Nice, Venice, and Florence, providing good enough directions to get me to cheap meals and hostels. I tore pages out and gave them to other student pilgrims and shoved ticket stubs and receipts between the dog-eared pages.

All of the information contained in that book, and so much more, is available to today’s backpackers via the internet. But it means they’re necessarily tethered to a smart phone or tablet, making them vulnerable targets for petty theft and dependent on wireless connections.

I think it’s important to travel simply so you have room in your mind and heart to acquire the things that really matter – successfully deciphering a foreign rail timetable, the solemn beauty of Rembrandt’s Night Watch, the satisfaction of a torn piece of warm bread and fresh cheese. I’m blessed to have those memories and a bit sad to think that tomorrow’s young travelers might only recall how bad the cell service was in Morocco.

12 thoughts on “So Long. It’s Been Good to Know Yuh.

  1. You can’t paw through a tablet or smart phone and highlight the places you want to see, or fold downthe corners on the particularly juicy pages. You can’t circle things or write comments in the margins on a tablet. You cant read a tablet once you have run out of batteries/charge/wifi! Give me a book anyday.

  2. I agree. So many of the places I’ve traveled over the years do not have connectivity, and often don’t have reliable electricity. I guess Frommer’s will only be good if you are traveling to London or Miami . . . and while those cities are great, it’s a sad day for wanderlust.

  3. Another great post! I continue to use my 1997 versions of Let’s Go Europe, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal from my semester abroad. (For me, a better publication than Frommer’s if you want more than a nice hotel or restaurant.) My books are heavily marked up with sights I’ve seen and ticket stubs, all of which bring back fond memories. Much of the information remains accurate for historical places with a simple check of a website to confirm opening/closing times. Fully agree with strawberryquicksand!

    • Thanks, Kara. I ordered a used copy of Let’s Go Europe yesterday morning-mine is either hiding in my mother’s attic or my basement. I can’t wait to read what the owner scribbled in it.

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  5. Such sad news. Frommer’s and Rick Steves books always accompany furrylittlegnome on her European trips. They’re a wealth of knowledge of things to see and do and with travel tips that really can’t be found anywhere else.

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