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Archive for August, 2010

One of the reasons I bought a Kindle was so that I wouldn’t have to schlep around travel guides on vacation any more. Electronic travel guides are easy to find on Amazon, and even though some of them don’t have photos, they’re still a lot better than lugging around a paper version.

Another good use of the Kindle is to carry all those pieces of paper I tend to bring with me on a trip: a copy of my itinerary, some pages from the internet that weren’t in the guide book. These items can easily be converted to a Kindle readable format, either by emailing them to Amazon or by doing it yourself with the free Mobipocket Creator software.

While planning for next year’s trip to India, I found much more information on the specific places I was going on the internet than in the guidebook. So I made my own guidebook.

I copied the collected information from the internet, including photos and URLs, and pasted it into html documents. If you don’t know html, you can also paste the information in a text document. I wanted to add links so I’d have a linkable table of contents, and I’m more familiar with how to do that in html than in Word.

I arranged the information in the same order as my itinerary. Then I converted it, using the Mobipocket Creator. Using the USB cord, I transferred a copy onto my Kindle. I now had an extremely useful, very personalized travel guide rather than a sheaf of paper I would have otherwise printed from websites.

Where the electronic travel guide I purchased is very general, my personalized travel guide is very specific on the cities I’ll be visiting and the sights I’ll be seeing. There’s also a wealth of information on places to shop and other tips that I gathered from online travel forums which don’t exist in the guidebook. Having it arranged in my itinerary order is useful beyond description. I included the URLs where I found the information as headings to the relevant paragraphs so that I could go back to the website for further reading if I wanted to.

Best of all, I also have photos of most of the places I’ll see on the personalized Kindle guide. Even though they’re displayed in black and white, it’s still very helpful, not to mention exciting, to have a preview of the wonders that await me on my trip. The electronic guide that I bought has NO photos!

Although the Kindle’s capacity for carrying books leaves me without any worries for something to read while on the flight, I decided to add bits of history to the end of my personalized guide and whatever else I found on India that caught my fancy.

I did the same thing when I was looking for a guide to Indian cuisine.  I couldn’t find a book or encyclopedia on the subject, so I decided to compile information on Indian cuisine from the web. I found one website that had a glossary of Indian food terms, which was what I was most interested in! I even found several websites that had articles on Rajasthani cuisine, which is the state in northern India where I’ll be spending most of my time. This is going to be a great way to learn more about what’s on the menu before I get there.

I now have terrific resource guides with extra reading material which I can pore over on my flight and less weight to carry in my bag. While on the trip, I can make notes on the Kindle as to which pieces of information were most valuable and also make notes for updates. The time spent putting together a personalized Kindle travel guide was definitely worthwhile. I might not have to buy travel guides ever again.

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