Travel guide sites: 10 Best Travel Guide Websites (2023): Top picks for inspiration!
10 Best Travel Guide Websites (2023): Top picks for inspiration!
Travel guides help us plan our trips better. But, with thousands of sites claiming to be travel wizards, it can be hard to pick and choose the best travel guide sites that fit your requirements.
While some like to travel with a paperback guide in hand, others prefer to outsource well-detailed itineraries tailored to our preferences. The pundits, perfectionists, and ardent travelers want to take matters into their own hands and plan trips by themselves. They also need guides and recommendations to help with their research and planning.
Well, folks, worry not because our list of best travel guide websites for 2023 covers it all. Regardless of where you fall on the travel planning spectrum, you’ll find a travel guide that’ll inspire and prepare you for your next trip. Use these fantastic travel guides and start planning your trips with Pilot, our travel planner!
Photo by Muhammad Haikal Sjukri on Unsplash
10 Top Travel Guide Websites for travel inspiration! 
Lonely Planet is a dominant brand in the travel industry, offering both travel guides and other resources on destinations worldwide. It is mainly geared towards backpackers on a budget.
Its travel guidebooks, available in both digital and print form, come under a variety of categories such as regions, countries, cities, hikes, treks, etc. They include itineraries, maps for navigation, insider tips from experts, off-the-beaten-path attractions, and other helpful information.
You can subscribe to their services for a monthly fee of $4.99 or a yearly fee of $39.99. It will give you access to resources on their website and app. You can purchase Lonely Planet books individually too.
Although Lonely Planet is not as resourceful and updated as it used to be, it’s still one of the best travel sites to get an overview of destinations. You can also book accommodation and dining options via the website. Check out our full review of Lonely Planet here.
- A collection of over 825 guides
- Phrasebooks to learn the local language
- Covers a lot of destinations worldwide
- General travel information about countries is free
- Complaints on outdated information
- Unreliable customer service
- Travel forum «Thorn Tree» is no longer available
Image courtesy: Lonely Planet
Fodor’s Travel is another popular website offering travel guides for destinations around the world. Their specialty is the guidebooks available in both print and eBook versions. They have over 300 travel guides covering more than 7000 destinations. The website also has plenty of information, insider tips, and appealing visual content on different destinations. It’s great for inspiration and general information.
Fodor’s forum is a great place to get recommendations, tips, and insider advice that will be useful for your trip plans. It has an active community, so it’s more likely that you will receive prompt answers. You have to be a member to access all of its features.
You can access Fodor’s Travel website and forum free of charge. But, the guides have to be bought either from the website or sites like Amazon. On average, prices range from $10-$20. You can read our in-depth review of Fodor’s Travel here.
- Helpful forum to seek advice
- Good recommendations
- Covers a lot of destinations
- Incomplete guidebooks (complaints of missing pages)
- Lack of localized recommendations
Image courtesy: Fodor’s Travel
Initially, Rough Guides was solely focused on selling travel guidebooks in paperback and eBook formats. These books are still a popular choice among travelers today. They provide:
- Background information.
- Maps to help you find the way around.
- Independent recommendations of the writer.
- Detailed regional coverage.
Books are available at varying prices.
At present, Rough Guides also specializes in providing tailor-made travel guides to suit your personal preferences. You can connect with a local expert to create a special itinerary for you by entering your budget, destination, accommodation and dining choices, preferred activities, and other details. Depending on what you need, you can get everything planned and booked by a local expert or only resort to insider tips. The prices vary based on the kind of service you need.
Besides this, you can also find articles on travel advice, top destinations, and other travel-related subjects on the website. So, even if you are planning the trip by yourself, Rough Rides is a good place for inspiration.
- A wide range of travel guidebooks
- Personalized itineraries
- Local knowledge and recommendations
- Not free
- Not very user-friendly
Image courtesy: Rough Guides
If you are more inclined towards personalized travel guidebooks by locals, ViaHero is one of the best to consider. The platform also promises to take the hassle of planning by outsourcing a day-by-day traveling guide from an expert, aka a ‘Hero.’ The good thing, however, is that you will be updated about every step of the planning.
You can select the destination and review the Heroes available there. Each Hero has a detailed bio outlining their personality, travel specialty, and expertise. You can also check the reviews left by past travelers about them. All you have to do is pick a Hero and specify your requirements. The cost of a customized itinerary is $40 per day.
The Hero won’t be accompanying you, although you will be in touch via email or messaging. ViaHero also posts travel articles for users to read and be informed about the destination(s) they plan to visit. If you want to learn more, check our ViaHero review.
- Travel guides focus on local and uncrowded attractions
- Quality, well-detailed itineraries
- Service is available only to limited destinations
Image courtesy: ViaHero
Frommer’s remains one of the best travel sites because it is very resourceful for travelers. Frommer’s offers guidebooks, podcasts, and the latest travel-related information for wanderlusts. They’re also one of the oldest travel guide publishers.
Its titles cater to a range of travel styles, covering every major destination around the world. Its travel guidebooks are available in both eBook and paperback formats. The books are pretty similar to others in the market.
Frommer’s website has a treasure trove of travel content, and you can browse them by ‘Destination’ or ‘Trip Ideas.’ There’s also a separate section dedicated to travel ‘Tips and News.’ It is especially helpful as travel rules and restrictions are constantly revised and updated on the pandemic.
There’s also a ‘Deals & Bookings’ section to help you grab great discounts on accommodation, airfares, cruises, and car rentals. Even if you don’t want to purchase travel guides, Frommer’s is a good website for updated travel information.
- Updated travel information
- Over 350 travel guidebooks
- Good choice of accommodation
- Guidebooks cover only major highlights
- Website looks outdated
Image courtesy: Frommer’s
Obviously, you know Tripadvisor, famed for both its usefulness and weird reviews. It is a one-stop place to read travel guides, get advice and tips, make reservations, and plan trips.
Tripadvisor is one of the most popular travel apps travelers use to seek advice and recommendations from locals or other travelers. It’s a great place to find and read reviews – just about any restaurant, hostel, attraction, or different travel experience anywhere in the world. If you can’t find a review or discussion about the topic, you can start a discussion in their forum!
You will also find a lot of content for travel inspiration, including travel guides from ardent travelers and ‘Things to Do’ lists on different destinations. Besides guides from experts, you can use Tripadvisor to book hotels, tours, activities, accommodation, etc. It’s one of the best travel deals websites.
You can also save your favorite places and experiences in a destination and view them on a map. However, if you are looking for a planning tool, we recommend trying a better travel planner.
- Active travel forum for trip guidance and tips
- Plenty of user reviews to help your decisions
- Loads of travel content
- Attractive travel deals
- A mobile app for convenience
- Infamous for fake or biased reviews
- A glorified checkout cart, not great for inspiration
- Reserving and managing bookings is not always streamlined
Image courtesy: Tripadvisor
Localeur is one of the best travel websites for travelers who want to avoid tourist traps and enjoy local and authentic experiences. It offers useful insights and recommendations from local insiders as opposed to tourists. At present, it covers over 200 destinations and has a user base of 5 million worldwide.
You can find recommendations on everything from road trips to places to eat to shopping tips on the platform. Their local expert base consists of writers, artists, foodies, and other specialists from different fields. It’s great to plan your trip and want to cover the best attractions in your itinerary.
Localeur’s main features are only offered to its subscribers. You can go for a lifetime subscription of $150 or a monthly subscription of $10. You get recommendations, personalized travel guides, and two weekly emails for travel inspiration.
But, you can still check out its travel content, featured guides and recommendations, and ‘localeurs’ for free. Subscription to their newsletter is also free of charge. Read our full review of Localeur here!
- Reliable and quality recommendations
- Information of local experiences
- Wide range of choices
- Costly subscription
- Limited destinations
- Recommendations could be biased
Image courtesy: Localeur
Atlas Obscura is about intriguing people to travel with its attractive and quirky guides and travel content. It publishes stories focusing on nature, science, culture, history, food, and hidden wonders. If you love sights that are hidden, weird, or rare, this travel guide is the perfect choice for you.
It has an extensive collection of content on unusual attractions and cool dining places in destinations worldwide. They seem to be very informative and attractive to add to the itinerary. The community forums under each destination help you discuss travel-related topics with fellow users.
Another specialty of Atlas Obscura is their guided tours to amazing places described by them. Most of them are adventure trips to less-traveled places, so there’s no doubt that travelers are in a for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The traveling guide website also offers virtual travel experiences.
Although you can browse travel content for free, membership is mandatory to access experiences and events hosted by Atlas Obscura. There are both monthly and yearly plans to choose from.
- Amazing and high-quality travel guides
- Focuses on unique attractions
- Availability of virtual experiences and guided tours
- Not so much of a place to get travel guides and tips
- Not ideal if you are looking for guidance on usual tourist spots
- Paid membership
Image courtesy: Atlas Obscura
2. Travel + Leisure
Of course, no list of best travel sites is perfect without mentioning this leading travel and leisure magazine. While Travel + Leisure’s focus is primarily on an exotic holiday destination, high-end vacations, its high-quality content is worthy for every traveler. From best places to travel to best gadgets to carry, it is a very informative source that educates travelers on how to best prepare for an upcoming trip.
Travel +Leisure provides unique accommodation, dining, attractions in different destinations. You will also find content on the latest travel news, deals, tips, accessories, and inspiration on the site. In the ‘Travel Guides’ section, you can filter guides based on location, language, the best time to visit, and activities.
Last year, the magazine launched its trip booking and subscription features. The Travel + Leisure Go platform lets you book trips to destinations published on the website and other exclusive itineraries. The travel and leisure magazine’s subscribers ($9.95 per month) can enjoy discounts on accommodation and other services.
- Very informative and updated content
- Covers a wide range of travel-related topics
- Convenient trip booking feature
- Travel deals
- Limited destinations under ‘Travel Guides’
- Doesn’t offer detailed travel itineraries
- Expensive subscription fee
Image courtesy: Travel + Leisure
Condé Nast Traveller
Condé Nast Traveller is another magazine & travel guide website that caters to luxury travel experiences. The website is a ripe source for travel inspiration, albeit for quite pricey staycations. On the plus side, there’s some focus on budget travelers as well. Nevertheless, we think it’s one of the best travel guide sites out there with up-to-date information.
The articles on this travel leisure magazine cover a wide range of topics from best pizza places to shooting locations of famous films to activities for kids while traveling. On the Condé Nast Traveller, you can browse for the best accommodation and dining choices and travel content on style and art. It’s a good website for you to get travel ideas from experts in the industry.
You will also find travel news and tips to help you plan and navigate. For those interested, Condé Nast Traveller also offers subscription plans to get its digital and/or print magazine copy delivered to you. The cost varies based on your country.
- Great, informative content
- Promptly updated travel news
- Focus on unique destinations and attractions
- Not for budget backpackers
- No trip booking feature
Image courtesy: Condé Nast Traveler
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Lonely Planet travel guides — Lonely Planet US
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travel guides — travel and more — LiveJournal
Every time before the next trip, I first go not to the bookstore for a guidebook, but to the Internet. Of course, I still buy a guidebook, but information from free sources is a huge help in planning a trip. My personal hit list includes seven sites where you can learn about attractions, history, hotels, restaurants and things to do in different countries. In English. Legally! nine0005
I don’t pretend to be the ultimate truth, if all these sites have been traversed up and down by you — sorry! 🙂
http://www.worldtravelguide.net — a list of guides not only to cities and countries, but also to airports, beaches and places for skiing. A very convenient function of compiling your guide — you choose from the section you are interested in (country \ city) you need points (history \ restaurants \ shopping, etc.) and you get a mini-guide ready for printing. The airport guide deserves special words of gratitude, where everything about everyone is conveniently and clearly written — how to get there, what is inside, a map, a website, etc. Judging by the information about Domodedovo, for example, the data is quite recent. nine0017 http://traveldk.com — Dorling Kindersley travel guide website. Everything is quite traditional, but there are interesting sections, for example, Interaries with a suggestion of routes / excursions around the selected city. Noteworthy is the «Personal Guide» function — go around the site, choose what you want to see or visit, click the Add details to your guide button and get to do\to see at the exit. Then you can choose a cover, a name and create your own, personalized guide. For money, you can download it in pdf or print, and for free you can save the online version. nine0017 http://www.frommers.com/ — Frommer’s guide site. In addition to traditional sections like “Trip ideas”, “Destinations” and “Deals&News”, there are interactive maps, search for different events by date/place, and a handy Interaries function like “London in 1\2\3 days”. The rating system of hotels deserves attention.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ — a classic of the genre. I go here first of all — to read a review about the chosen place, to learn about restaurants and hotels. There is all the information that a tourist needs. nine0017 http://wikitravel.org is a Wikipedia project. Made according to the principle of a classic guide. The main plus is that the information is available not only in English, but also in other languages. The cities/countries are described in sufficient detail.
http://www.letsgo.com is a resource that is distinguished by the fact that here you can read travel stories of other people. The site is very fond of the video format, so here you can find videos on various tourist topics — for example, you can watch a video about the Christmas market in Lyon or about the carnival in Notting Hill. The orientation of the site, if I may say so, is student-budget, for budget travelers. nine0017 http://www.tripadvisor.com/ is another true tourist companion. Everyone here reads reviews about hotels / restaurants, but there is also an excellent section with free guides, small but informative.
8 guides we trust
In less than a year of work, we have prepared 50 guides for you and continue to gain momentum. But what to do if 34travel has so far bypassed the city you are heading to? We have already talked about what to read about travel, and now we want to share guidebooks that we love to look through ourselves. From old school Lonely Planet to insider Huck Magazine — even for real digital nomads. nine0028
Classics of the genre
Rome, Amsterdam, Budapest, Istanbul – our parents have been following these guides for 2000 years. To date, more than 40 books have already been published, which are always a pleasure to look through before a trip: to get a background and a complete picture of the city you are going to. Unfortunately, this year they stopped reissuing paper versions, but with the help of old versions, you can build a coherent system in your head that will make it possible to understand the device and the present day of the main European capitals. Of course, the sections on how to call landline numbers or buy plane tickets today look a little naive, and many areas have changed beyond recognition in just 1-2 years, this does not at all negate the fact that Afisha guides can be safely accommodated on your own. bedside table and enjoy reading before bed. nine0005
An illustrative example. Many old versions have already been leaked to the Internet, and you will find them on torrents at the very first request in Google, but we still suggest that you buy a printed issue or see what Afisha-Mir has become when it became an independent combat unit.
giant of this media. Lonely Planet, it seems, has already tried all the formats — guides by city, country, for children, for extreme sports, phrasebooks, guides to regions, ready-made road trips, even made diaries for vagrants! It is worth giving them their due: the information that is selected in the sections about the sights is always concise, checked to the letter and really interesting. With institutions, the situation is usually worse: what the guys think is cheap eating often makes a normal hole in the budget of Belarus. If you do not want to buy a book, there is a website where you will find almost the same information. nine0005
An illustrative example. London Trails is a fun guide with a colorful design.
“Hooligan” guides position themselves as “guys who cut the truth-uterus”. And indeed, in some cities they boldly advise not only where to go, but also directly say which places you should not go. The first guide to Greece was released back in 1982 and made a splash. Now, of course, you won’t be surprised like that anymore, but their guidebook is still read in one breath. 200 destinations in 18 languages - there are plenty to choose from. Nice bonus: 20% discount on guidebooks for those who subscribe to the newsletter. Surprisingly, the guys don’t even spam. Digital adepts are suitable for electronic formats. nine0005
An illustrative example. Guide to Rome — you can look inside by clicking on Look Inside.
In a substantive London magazine who writes about world trends in business, culture and design, there are 12 guides: from New York to Rio de Janeiro. Monocle’s guides are more likely designed for a business audience and more impressive guys: if they recommend eating mussels, then it will be a stylish expensive restaurant, and not a kiosk on the street, where locals like to eat from plastic dishes. But the compilers of the guides manage to capture the very essence of urban culture — their simple advice on how to behave in a particular place helps to merge with the locales. nine0005
An illustrative example. Madrid is a guide to one of Europe’s changing cities.
Boat makes not guides or guides in the usual sense of the word, but thematic magazines, each of which is dedicated to a certain city. Lima, Reykjavik, Tel Aviv, Bangkok, Kyoto – if we talk about architecture, then with the chief architect; a club where they gather on Mondays to quietly discuss the affairs of the city. The guys are not looking for easy ways and make a product for a really thoughtful reader. The most interesting thing is that for each new issue, the entire editorial office itself moves to the city it writes about. The archive issues of the magazines have already been sold out, but you can always read some of the materials on the site. nine0005
An illustrative example. «White City, Black City»: Talking about Tel Aviv with Sharon Rothbard.
Imagine that you have only 12 hours to meet the city — how to contain all the best in one day and try to penetrate the spirit to understand, it is worth it whether to return. Answers to this question time after time give 12hrs. Routes are scheduled by the hour and include everything from a busy cultural program to hungover Sunday brunches. It is a pity that the guys have not been updated since spring, but while their routes are still relevant — act! nine0005
An illustrative example. 12 hours in Copenhagen.
Yonder Journal’s idea is an outsider’s guide to America. Some sociologist would call the magazine an anthropological study of the States, but we won’t do that. We simply urge you to enjoy American history, far from stereotypes. Here you will not find stories about where to eat the best donut and where to go dancing. The reader is waiting for something more — a complete immersion in daily life and the reality of one of the youngest nations in the world. nine0005
An illustrative example. From Bishop to North Lake.
British indie-magazine about people and movements that releases City Guides-articles and capacious mini-haids in the main European and American cities. Do not count on detailed descriptions — Huck gives only sketches, tips and hints, and then you yourself are included in cultural digging. Essentially, the guides are similar to our Locals section – locals that you can trust tell you about the most important spots for them. nine0005
An illustrative example. Berlin insider guide.
Bonus. Definitely not
As our chief editor recently noted, 34travel guides are anti-Tripadvisor. Tripadvisor has one good feature: it is convenient to see the opening hours, the official website and the location on the map. That is why we often link to the site in guides if a good establishment does not even have a seedy Facebook group. But the tops of places that Tripadvisor gets are a strange result of the collective unconscious, where, due to pluses and minuses, it takes out either obvious business cards of the city, or cafes “near attractions”, which simply have been visited by more people.