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Originally published July 9, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Page modified July 10, 2012 at 2:58 PM

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Lonely Planet app can be a guiding force

Lighten your load, give up the guidebook

Los Angeles Times

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Personally, I would never let an app replace a LP guidebook. Guidebooks can be highlig... MORE

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Can Lonely Planet fans give up their Bible-sized guidebooks for a teeny-tiny app?

Name: Lonely Planet Country Guides

Available for: iPhone, iPod Touch

What it does: Get thousands of recommendations for places to eat, sleep, sight-see and more. Lonely Planet's guides to Italy, Ireland, Australia, France, Spain and Costa Rica were among the first to become apps.

Cost: $9.99

What's hot: The entire app is available offline, so there's no sweating data or roaming fees. It was designed for travelers already on the road, so you can tap into cultural sites and walking tours mapped to a specific neighborhood. Those who plan to use it for a future trip might find it tough if they don't know where they want to go first. Don't fret, head straight for the "Highlights" and "Regional Itinerary" sections for inspiration before you sink your teeth into specifics, such as where to sleep or eat.

What's not: Where are the photos? Apparently there are 70 photos in the Italy app I tested, but when I was using it they were few and far between. You won't find hotel room photos either.

Worth it: Yes, if you're planning to visit more than one city in a country. It's jampacked with practical information, and you can pair it with other Lonely Planet apps.

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