Posted by: MummyTravels | May 5, 2012

Travel things I like – the Kindle

I’m hardly the first bookworm to be converted to e-books by the Kindle – or the first travel fan to rave about its possibilities on long journeys. But there’s a few extra advantages I’ve spotted while I’m on the road.

The most obvious is being able to pack almost endless books without risking severe shoulder sprain. I read very fast, and can polish off a couple of average paperbacks on a long-haul flight, so taking half a dozen sizeable books away with me was standard – although I still take something to occupy myself for take-off and landing when the ban on electronics comes on. And as long as there’s wifi, I can always download more.

Being able to sample chapters is great too. I love to take books about my destination, but among the wonderful fiction which brings the atmosphere of a place to life, there’s some truly turgid tomes. When you have to judge a book by its cover, it’s a case of buying then trying – at least the Kindle gives me a taste before I splash out.

But one option I hadn’t thought of originally was downloading guidebooks. More are being designed for e-readers, and I’m a fan of buying digital chapters from Lonely Planet when I don’t want the whole country guide, then emailing the PDFs to my Kindle account.

It’s not foolproof. Maps can take forever to load and the key is often on another page, which can get very frustrating. Plus you can’t flick back and forwards as you might with a paper book – although you can do a search, which is sometimes quicker.

And as a woman often travelling alone, no-one can see if I’m trying to work out where on earth I am, or simply gripped by a thriller. Normally I’m very aware of obviously flicking through maps or guidebooks in public – it would be quicker to have a big red arrow saying ‘Lost’ or ‘Tourist’ pointing at me.

Obviously this wouldn’t work in the depths of the Amazonian rainforest or anywhere where I stick out as very far from local, but in a European or American city, I’ve got a reasonable chance of pulling it off.

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