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!
10 Top Travel Guide Websites for travel inspiration! 
10. Lonely Planet
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- Complaints on outdated information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
9. Fodor's Travel
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
8. Rough Guides
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
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
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
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
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
3. Atlas Obscura
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
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
1. 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
Pair the best travel guide websites with Pilot.
We hope our list of the best travel websites has satisfied your wanderlust or has inspired you to travel!
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