$$ \newcommand{\dint}{\mathrm{d}} \newcommand{\vphi}{\boldsymbol{\phi}} \newcommand{\vpi}{\boldsymbol{\pi}} \newcommand{\vpsi}{\boldsymbol{\psi}} \newcommand{\vomg}{\boldsymbol{\omega}} \newcommand{\vsigma}{\boldsymbol{\sigma}} \newcommand{\vzeta}{\boldsymbol{\zeta}} \renewcommand{\vx}{\mathbf{x}} \renewcommand{\vy}{\mathbf{y}} \renewcommand{\vz}{\mathbf{z}} \renewcommand{\vh}{\mathbf{h}} \renewcommand{\b}{\mathbf} \renewcommand{\vec}{\mathrm{vec}} \newcommand{\vecemph}{\mathrm{vec}} \newcommand{\mvn}{\mathcal{MN}} \newcommand{\G}{\mathcal{G}} \newcommand{\M}{\mathcal{M}} \newcommand{\N}{\mathcal{N}} \newcommand{\S}{\mathcal{S}} \newcommand{\diag}[1]{\mathrm{diag}(#1)} \newcommand{\diagemph}[1]{\mathrm{diag}(#1)} \newcommand{\tr}[1]{\text{tr}(#1)} \renewcommand{\C}{\mathbb{C}} \renewcommand{\R}{\mathbb{R}} \renewcommand{\E}{\mathbb{E}} \newcommand{\D}{\mathcal{D}} \newcommand{\inner}[1]{\langle #1 \rangle} \newcommand{\innerbig}[1]{\left \langle #1 \right \rangle} \newcommand{\abs}[1]{\lvert #1 \rvert} \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\lVert #1 \rVert} \newcommand{\two}{\mathrm{II}} \newcommand{\GL}{\mathrm{GL}} \newcommand{\Id}{\mathrm{Id}} \newcommand{\grad}[1]{\mathrm{grad} \, #1} \newcommand{\gradat}[2]{\mathrm{grad} \, #1 \, \vert_{#2}} \newcommand{\Hess}[1]{\mathrm{Hess} \, #1} \newcommand{\T}{\text{T}} \newcommand{\dim}[1]{\mathrm{dim} \, #1} \newcommand{\partder}[2]{\frac{\partial #1}{\partial #2}} \newcommand{\rank}[1]{\mathrm{rank} \, #1} $$

The Best Travel Guide You can Have (and for Free!)

When I was traveling solo in Vietnam, July 2014, I bought a Lonely Planet book for Vietnam. It was a thick book and you don’t have to guess twice that it was heavy. I decided not to bring it.

Guidebooks are inconvenient as they are heavy and thick. Also, it would really be a hassle just to find something quickly. Guidebooks can only hold so much information before they become too thick and uncomfortable to use. So, the ultimate guidebook that contains all of the information about all the countries in the world doesn’t exist. Plus, they are often outdated. Information is changing quickly. I doubt that the editors of the books can track everything, let alone updating the book in timely manner.

So, what do we travelers need? We need a guidebook that:

  • Has the most complete information about traveling the world
  • Easy to look up when you need some information about a specific place
  • Convenient to carry
  • Always up to date
  • Available everytime

But, didn’t I say that no such book exists? Yes, but only if you think books as in a bundle of papers.

If we think digitally though, it exists!

For starter, head to http://en.wikivoyage.org. It’s the ultimate guidebook that I talked before. Every country has a lot of information. It’s community driven, so everyone could contribute to the guidebook by editing or adding new entry. Given that there are so many travelers traveling the world, even if it’s just the tiny fraction of them who are willing to contribute to Wikivoyage, we still get HUGE amount of information. And because they experienced it the first hand, of course the information would be very accurate and updated regularly.

However, Wikivoyage still can’t fullfill all of our demands. It’s still not available everytime, because you need internet connection to look up for the information you need.

Thankfully, in this modern era, virtually everyone has a smartphone or tablet. So, what you need to do is this:

  1. Download and install Kiwix app in your smartphone or tablet:
  2. Download the latest offline Wikivoyage file: http://download.kiwix.org/zim/wikivoyage/wikivoyage_en_all_2016-01.zim
  3. Open up Kiwix app, and load the .zim file you’ve just downloaded
  4. Done!

Now, you have the ultimate travel guidebook in your pocket. And the best thing is that it’s completely offline! So, even when you don’t have internet connection, you could still look some information up! That’s the handiest thing ever for a traveler.

So, with Kiwix installed and loaded with Wikivoyage file, you’re ready to ditch all of your travel guidebooks!