5 Short City Guides for the Business Traveler

Very occasionally when I travel for work, I find myself with some free time in a nice city. Instead of working some more, I try to do what normal people do and enjoy myself. 

And I'm trying to be more deliberate about it, so I started looking for short, quick travel guides for people like me. That's what I'd like to share with you today, with my own rating for how likely I'll use it the next time I find myself with a cheeky two hours in Chicago, Zurich or Tokyo.

Monocle travel guides are short, succinct and targeted squarely at the business traveler. I love it. And it's a free.

Some good advice I once read: To see if a travel guide is good for you, see what it recommends in your city. For New York, Monocle has got many of the same places I'd recommend (Balthazaar, Blue Hill). Excellent.

On top of the regular recommendations, it also tells you where to eat on your own and where to shop if you've lost your luggage. Plus some tips: did you know that you aren't supposed to open your own taxi door in Tokyo? Or pour your own drinks? Very handy.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Guided is a very pretty set of travel guides by Cereal magazine that you can subscribe to for GBP20 a year. It's aimed at design-lovers, not business travelers. There's a well-curated, beautifully photographed list of recommendations, but it's somewhat lacking in practicality: there's no external links to a website, to maps or to make a call. Get it if you love discovering beautiful stores and restaurants.

Rating: 3 stars

It's $5 to download an app for each Wallpaper City Guide. What's useful is the narrative for where to shop and or what you can do in 24 hrs, instead of just a list of places. They also show their recommendations laid out on a map. I'd get this if I had at least a day to explore the city.

Rating: 4 stars

The TripAdvisor app is not aimed at the business traveler, but it's free and comprehensive. It has a handy "Near Me Now" feature that maps the nearest restaurants, attractions and shopping on your smart phone. But it really lists ALL of the venues near you - you'll have to curate it yourself. I'd use it if I was searching for a good, nearby restaurant in a foreign city, since it will show lots of restaurants with lots of English reviews on a map.

Rating: 3 stars

This app by a UK newspaper is surprisingly good. It combines the best of many of the apps here: it's free, it has 24 hour itineraries and it maps out a well-selected list of attractions, restaurants and shops near you on your smart phone. Brilliant!

Rating: 4 stars

Here's to mixing business and pleasure! Happy travels!

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Tags: travel, work