The Evolution of Travel Guides and Their Influence on Travelers

People who make a living out of traveling go to some of the most exotic places and write about it. Hungry travelers who like to explore unique locations are known for merely picking up one of the many travel guides and choose a place they want to visit, based on their tastes and budget. There is a bit of adventure of every kind for different types of travelers. Thanks to the travel writers, travel guides have paved the way for less-known places to find their position on the map.

In the past, travel writers were highly regarded for their ability to find and explore places and write about them in magazines and publish books as well. However, over time and the growth of the internet, the number of people who turn to the travel guides are steadily diminishing.

Travel Guides from the ’60s to ’80s

The growing market for travel books in the 80s instigated the boom in the travel writing industry. Travelers who had something or anything to write about were picked up travel magazines and published and asked to retell their adventures for the millions to experience through their eyes. In the US, the market was at its peak during the 90s, mainly, with their highly visual guides that enticed the audience and urged them to catch the travel bug.

Some of the top travel publication companies were:

  • DK Eye-witness Guides
  • Rough Guides
  • Lonely Planet
  • Insight Guides

Some of the veterans in the travel writing industry made their millions from publishing for these big names and brought much tourism to the places they visited. Over time, the travel guides started offering a variety of added attractions to boost the sales of the guides. Added products like discount coupons, beautiful box sets, posters, etc. were included in the manual to help travelers find options at the places they visit. Publishers found that popular transport destinations and souvenir shops were the best places to sell the guides to travelers and sales began to soar.

Travel Guides Today

The demand for travel guides will always exist. However, the format in which they are sold is quickly changing. In the early 2000s, the sales of paper copies of travel guides plummeted by 40%. The fall continued to happen over the years that followed. Many of the published were reduced to selling a few thousands of a particular guide that they almost stopped publishing the guides. They began to make travel guides that would be a view of the places from a macroscopic point of view.

Travel guides began to extend to the television channels as a dedicated one and now toward the internet. With the introduction of mobile phones and tablets, the number of guides that have sold in digital format has however increased. The trend only goes to show that while the medium in which the travel guides are published has changed, the demand is still very present. People are now able to look up travel guides based on their specific interest and regions. There are also exclusive discount coupons that are available on the online formats and several other benefits which were never possible on the printed guides before. The guides are also filled with photos that give the reader a visual representation of exactly what is unique about the places that have piqued their interest. There is also no limit to the number of photos and videos that they can now see to visualize the area they wish to visit before they book their tickets.