Review: Fodor’s Travel mobile iPhone city guides with offline mapping

Fodor’s is no stranger to city guides – for years, I used their paper guides as my go-to source for help in foreign cities. But as many of us made our way to electronic guides, paper books are slowly becoming a rarity.

Thankfully, many of the big brands that made their name in paper guides took note of innovations and developed mobile guides. In this review, we’ll take a brief look at the newest products from Fodor’s travel. The new guides cover New York City, San Francisco, London, Rome and Paris (which all happen to be my favorite cities in the world).

The apps are available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and provide an easy to navigate source of information. Data is split into handy categories:

What’s nearby, neighborhoods, where to eat, shopping, nightlife & the arts, where to stay, subway map, features and travel tips.

Each section offers a massive amount of information, and under each portion of the results, you can map the location, link to their web site and add notes.

Now, while the concept behind this app may not be entirely new, one feature does stand out – offline mapping. On the main screen of the guides, you can select Google maps or offline maps. To use the offline maps, you need to download the data, which can be done before you even embark on your trip.

Having access to offline maps has one massive advantage – no expensive roaming charges or battles to find free Wi-Fi. There are one or two minor issues that were borderline annoying – the app only works in portrait mode, and some of the content could do with more photos. Especially in the hotel section, having access to photos would make the content richer.

But to be honest, those complaints seem petty when you see the price tag – $5.99. For that price, you get all the data and the offline maps, making these Fodor’s apps a fantastic bargain. I’ve spent $40 just to access 20 minutes of Google maps when I was abroad.

To learn more about these mobile apps, and for links to the iTunes App Store, head on over to