Travel Guides are expensive.
If you are on a tight budget, the price of a guide could be the equivalent of several days traveling expenses. Let’s say you travel on $5 a day, like Hobo Traveler. Then a $30 guide works out at quite a lot. Would you prefer to buy a guide or to travel 6 more days?
Even if you are not on such a tight budget, the price of guides can add up quickly. Visiting Europe usually means staying in more than one country … and buying more than one guide. Also, many publishers split the content about “big” countries into several books.
Travel Guides are heavy.
When it comes to traveling, weight matters. Because of the weight limits on planes and because of the trouble of actually having to lug your luggage around! Books are amongst the heaviest things that you can choose to carry.
Travel Guides are outdated.
Once you have bought your travel book, it is already some time since the book was published. Equally, there is also a time lapse between when the guide was published and when it was researched. Also, while top destinations are updated almost every year, some others are updated more like every two or three years. (This is something I experienced first hand when working for a French travel book).Hence you will find that guidebooks have outdated content on airlines that went bankrupt, hotels that closed down, restaurants that changed owners and so on.
Travel Guides kill improvisation.
Talk to someone in a bar for a good place to end the night, to the taxi driver for a nice restaurant. The best way to discover a country is with its locals. With a guide, it is tempting to book a hotel, decide where you’re going to eat, what you are going to see long before you have left from home. What room does that leave for spontaneity and improvisation? Do you want to be a tourist or do you prefer to be a traveler?
Travel Guides are the beaten path.
How many times have you seen other travelers reading the same travel guides in the guesthouse or restaurants that were described as “authentic” and “mostly locals”? Travelers who buy guidebooks use them. So many places that are mentioned in guides are likely to be packed full of other travelers.