Beyond ensuring that I have all I need in my bag, I’m not a big believer in exhaustive trip planning. I prefer spontaneity as a means of framing my experience of a new place. When visiting a city I do pick waypoints, specific points of interest, which I might try to hit while I go about my urban explorations. I’ve long since eschewed the guidebook for background research, preferring google search or local blogs as my pre departure tools, and locals for on arrival advice.
Though fairly limited in scope, I couldn’t find anything for major centers in Asia, Googles newly introduced City Tours has me excited as it removes my need for a large bulky map and further refines my pre-departure research. It’s also excellent for last minute arrivals.
City Tours helps the user “identify points of interest and plan multi-day trips to most major cities throughout the world.”
It features suggested sights, the ability to manually enter your own points of interest and to view refinements like distance & time. This is a very functional tool, especially when coupled with a device like an iPhone with it’s built in compass and aGPS. City Tours is a Google Labs project which generally means it’s still very much a work-in-progress.
Google Labs’ City Tours.