A guide book is a book for tourists or travelers that provides details about a geographic location, tourist destination, or itinerary. It is the written equivalent of a tour guide. Many travel guides now take the form of travel websites rather than printed books.
It will usually include details such as phone numbers, addresses, prices and reviews of hotels and other lodgings, restaurants, and activities. Maps of varying detail are often included. Sometimes historical and cultural information is also provided. Different guide books may focus on different aspects of travel, from adventure travel to relaxation, or be aimed at travelers with larger or smaller travel budgets, or focus on the particular interests and concerns of certain groups such as sexual orientation or dietary restrictions. Guide books are generally intended to be used in conjunction with actual travel, although simply enjoying a guide book with little or no intention of visiting may be referred to as "armchair tourism".
The periplus was an itinerary from landmark to landmark of the ports along a coast, a forerunner of the guide. A periplus such as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea was a manuscript document that listed, in order, the ports and coastal landmarks, with approximate intervening distances, that the captain of a vessel could expect to find along a shore. It served the same purpose as the later Roman itinerarium of road stops.
The periegesis, or "progress around" was an established literary genre during the Hellenistic age. A lost work by Agaclytus describing Olympia (περὶ Ὀλυμπίας) is referred to by the Suda and Photius. Dionysius Periegetes (literally, Dionysius the Traveller) was the author of a description of the habitable world in Greek hexameter verse written in a terse and elegant style, intended for the klismos traveller rather than the actual tourist on the ground; he is believed to have worked in Alexandria and to have flourished around the time of Hadrian. The most famous guide, however, still useful to Classicists today, is Pausanias' 2nd-century CE guide to the interesting places, works of architecture and sculpture and curious ancient customs of Ancient Greece.
With the advent of Christianity, the guide for the European religious pilgrim became a useful guidebook. An early account is that of the pilgrim Egeria, who visited the Holy Land in the 4th century CE and left a detailed itinerary.
Medieval Arab world 
In the medieval Arab world, treasure hunting was established as a major industry from around the 9th century. Many guide books for travelers in search of ancient Near Eastern artifacts, monuments and treasures were written by experienced Arabic treasure hunters and alchemists which became best sellers in the medieval Arab world. This was particularly the case in Arab Egypt, where ancient Egyptian antiquities were highly valued by early Egyptologists.[verification needed]
Modern version 
The first tourist guidebooks of the 19th century appeared in the United States, Gideon Minor Davison's The Fashionable Tour, published in 1822 in Saratoga Springs, New York, and Theodore Dwight's The Northern Traveller and Henry Gilpin's The Northern Tour, both from 1825. In Europe, the published guidebook was developed through the sixteenth century seventeenth century as the Grand Tour became an increasingly significant educational phenomenon. As the appreciation of art, architecture and antiquity became ever-more essential ingredients of the Grand Tour so they predominated in the guidebooks, particularly those devoted to the Italian peninsula. Richard Lassels (1603-1668) wrote a series of manuscript guides which were eventually published posthumously in Paris and London (1670) as The Voyage of Italy. Grand Tour guidebooks poured off the presses throughout the eighteenth century, those such as Brydone's Voyage of Sicily and Malta being read by many who never left England. One of the most popular was by Mariana Starke (1761/2-1838) whose 1824 guide to travel in France and Italy served as an essential companion for British travelers to the Continent in the early 19th century. Starke's guide was frequently revised and was the first to focus on practical information rather than descriptions of the places to be visited. The genre was further developed by Karl Baedeker in Germany (1835) and Starke's publisher John Murray III in England (1836). Baedeker and Murray produced impersonal, objective guide; works prior to this combined factual information and personal sentimental reflection. The availability of the books by Baedeker and Murray helped sharpen and formalize the complementary genre of the personal travelogue, which was freed from the burden of serving as a guide book. The Baedeker and Murray guide books were hugely popular and were standard resources for travelers well into the 20th century. As William Wetmore Story said in the 1860s, "Every Englishman abroad carries a Murray for information, and a Byron for sentiment, and finds out by them what he is to know and feel by every step." During World War I the two editors of Baedeker's English-language titles left the company and acquired the rights to Murray's Handbooks; the resulting guide books, called the Blue Guides to distinguish them from the red-covered Baedekers, constituted one of the major guide book series for much of the 20th century and are still published today.
Following World War II, two new names emerged which combined European and American perspectives on international travel. Eugene Fodor, a Hungarian-born author of travel articles, who had emigrated to the United States before the war, wrote guidebooks which introduced English-reading audiences to continental Europe. Arthur Frommer, an American soldier stationed in Europe during the Korean War, used his experience traveling around the Continent as the basis for Europe on $5 a Day (1957), which introduced readers to options for budget travel in Europe. Both authors' guidebooks became the foundations for extensive series, eventually covering destinations around the world, including the United States. In the decades that followed, Let's Go, Lonely Planet, Insight Guides, Rough Guides, and a wide variety of similar travel guides were developed, with varying focuses.
Mountain guides 
Specialist guides for mountains have a long history owing to the special needs of mountaineering, climbing, hill walking and scrambling. The guides by W A Poucher for example, are widely used for the hill regions of Britain. There are many more special guides to the numerous climbing grounds in Britain published by the Climbers Club, for example.
Digital world 
With the emergence of digital technology, many publishers turned to electronic distribution, either in addition to or instead of print publication. This can take the form of downloadable documents for reading on a portable computer or hand held device such a PDA or iPod, or online information accessible via a web site. This enabled guidebook publishers to keep their information more current. Traditional guide book incumbents Lonely Planet, Frommers, Rough Guides, and In Your Pocket City Guides, and newcomers such as Schmap or Ulysses Travel Guides are now offering travel guides for download. New online and interactive guides such as Tripadvisor, Wikivoyage, and Travellerspoint enable individual travelers to share their own experiences and contribute information to the guide. Wikivoyage, CityLeaves, and Travellerspoint make the entire contents of their guides updatable by users, and make the information in their guides available as open content, free for others to use.
Guide book publishers 
This list is a select sample of the full range of English language guide book publishers - either contemporary or historical.
- AAA/CAA TourBook
- Blue Guides
- DK Eyewitness Travel
- For Dummies
- Forbes Travel Guide
- Footprint Books
- Insight Guides
- In Your Pocket
- Let's Go
- Lonely Planet
- Michelin Guide
- Moon Handbooks
- Mr. & Mrs. Smith
- National Geographic Traveler
- Nicholson Guides
- Not For Tourists
- Rick Steves
- Rough Guides
- Spartacus International Gay Guide
- Spotted by Locals
- Time Out
- Ulysses Travel Guides
- Wallpaper City Guides
See also 
|Look up guide book in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Mirabilia Urbis Romae
- De mirabilibus urbis Romae
- Outdoor literature
- Travel website
- Travel writing
- Travel literature
- Textbook (for academic 'Guide Books' i.e. brief reference works)
- Guide to Reference (selective guide to print and online reference sources)
- Kish, George (1978). A Source Book in Geography. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-674-82270-6, ISBN 978-0-674-82270-2 Check
- Suda, s.v. Κυψελιδῶν
- Smith, William (1870). "Agaclytus". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1. Boston. p. 57.
- El Daly, Okasha (2004). Egyptology: The Missing Millennium: Ancient Egypt in Medieval Arabic Writings. Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 1-84472-063-2
- Richard Gassan, "The First American Tourist Guidebooks: Authorship and Print Culture of the 1820s," Book History 8 (2005), pp. 51-74
- Edward Chaney, The Grand Tour and the Great Rebellion (Geneva-Turin, 1985)
- E. Chaney, The Evolution of the Grand Tour, revised ed. (Routledge, 2000)
- James Buzzard. "The Grand Tour and after (1660-1840)" in The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing (2002), pp. 48-50.