Guides by Lonely Planet is a free application for Google Android that provides you with free city guides curated by Lonely Planet.
It takes at least some preparation to visit a different city in your own country or another country. This ranges from figuring out how to get there and where to stay, but also what you may want to see and do once you are there.
Traditional travel guides are more and more replaced by online solutions, and one of the solutions is Guides by Lonely Planet for Android.
The free application lists all available cities in its interface on launch. The list is quite large and features popular destinations such as Moscow, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and New York.
A search is provided to find cities quickly, and you may also filter by region to reduce the number of items in the listing.
You may add as many cities as you like, and get among other things offline access to maps for that city.
The city hub starts with a map at the top that lists major points of interest that editors added to the map. You can filter this by "see", "eat", "sleep" and "shop", "drink" or "play", or use the built-in search to find places, themes or categories.
If you are interested in flea markets for instance, you may use the search to find all of those markets easily without having to go through the "all" or "shop" listings.
You can zoom in and out of the map, and tap on any of the dots displayed to check it out in detail. The name of the place and its type is displayed when you do so, and you may click on the link that is provided to open a page full of information on that particular place.
Information usually includes a description, location and contact information, how to get there by public transport, entrance fee information, and places of interest that are nearby.
When you switch from the "all" listing to another listing, you get more places that fit the selected category. The "see" category is special as you get photos of the places, whereas you only get text listings if you pick one of the other categories.
The "all" category usually offers a curated collection that lists must see places on top of that.
A tap on the menu icon display links to the "need to know" and "my favorites" section of the city you have selected. There is also a "phrasebook" link for select languages.
You may add places to your favorites, and list all of your favorites using the "my favorites" listing.
The "need to know" section is quite useful. It gives you an overview of the city, provides information on transport, and makes suggestions based on your budget.
Transport offers information on how to get to the city from the airport or main station, using public transport, as well as car and taxi. A public transit map is provided for each city as well which may come in handy.
Phrasebook finally is offered for places in Spain, France, China or Japan. It lists top phrases, and phrases based on certain conversation topics such as eating & drinking, shopping or sightseeing. Only the basic phrases are freely available. You can unlock all 19 supported languages for a one-time purchase price of €5.99.
Guides by Lonely Planet is an excellent application for Android. You may add as many cities as you like and gain offline access to important information right away. The map lacks a bit in my opinion; favorites are not highlighted on it, and you don't get comfortable options such as getting directions or additional details when you tap on a point of interest.
All in all though it is well produced, and the additional information you get is well worth the download.
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