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I am losing trust in the good old travel guides. They more and more seem to have difficulty in keeping up to date. There are still some good ones out there (e.g. "Guide du routard"), but I find myself more and more relying on online content.

I would love to compose my own paper-based travel guide from online content. Are there tools/apps/websites out there that cater to this? The workflow would be as follows: I bookmark any single travel page. Once finished, I push a button and the book form is composed which then can be ordered and send to you.

I know that I could just print it all, staple it and bring that along. But I would like to have the sensation of the big travel guide with my personal notes in it. The book should just be bundles like any Routard or Lonely Planet. I have no intention of reselling the book. It would solely be for personal use.

Once I have a book form in PDF, I can order it through websites like Lulu or cafepress. I am just looking for an app that could collect the URLs and conveniently order it into a convenient book format.

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+1 Really good question. For me I use MS OneNote since it is automatically synchronized in all my devices (PC, phones, tablet, laptop) and I can access it offline. I can easily categorize things and mark things then print it the way I want in any size and also easily exported to MS Word. This way I can keep everything in soft copy easily accessible from any device or even online from any browser (Office 360) or print it in hard copy. –  MeNoTalk Sep 1 '13 at 22:11
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I think the question is relevant for travel, but I wonder if you would not find a better answer somewhere else, such as superuser.com since this type of question is IMO rather an IT issue and not depending on travel content. –  uncovery Sep 2 '13 at 2:44
    
+1 to uncovery - I'd think that any document place could print and spiral-bind for you. More 'real' bindings might be a little harder to find, but will depend on where you are (should be a few shops in most cities, and websites that do it varying by country). Seems like it would be easier (quicker, cheaper, lihgter) to put it on a small tablet, unless you need to rip out pages or get it wet ... –  hunter2 Sep 2 '13 at 7:20
    
@uncovery I expect a different answer when I post it to superuser.com. In IT cases, a spiral-bind a4 bundle suffice, where you don't want to carry that along while traveling . –  andra Sep 2 '13 at 7:38
    
@Globetrotter I would expect from them to tell you how to conveniently convert many different website formats in to a printable format, possibly automated. –  uncovery Sep 2 '13 at 7:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In addition to jpatokal's excellent answer on using MediaWiki's built-in PDF conversion feature, I have a couple of more tips:

  • ANY web page can be converted into a PDF: Use a "virtual" printer such as PrimoPDF (for Windows). This gets installed on your system as a printer device that outputs PDF files, which you can then save.
  • If you have an Amazon Kindle, you transfer these PDFs to carry as a book: Amazon allows you to transfer PDFs to your device either by plugging in over USB to your computer, or using the Kindle Personal Documents service over WhisperSync to transfer files. N.B. Amazon may charge you if the delivery is done over 3G instead of WiFi.
  • Use a note-taking app such as Evernote: Evernote allows you "snip" web pages and annotate them, and has apps for every phone / tablet platform. Unfortunately, the free tier of service does not allow offline syncing so you'll need an Internet connection to access your content, but with the premium service you can store specific notebooks (such as the one for your travel) offline.

Personally, I use a combination of printing out individuals chapters of guides, my Kindle reader, and offline notebooks on Evernote when travelling (I generally use Evernote a lot, so YMMV if you're not used to using note taking apps.)

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Like all Mediawiki Foundation wikis (Wikipedia etc), you can "collect" pages on Wikivoyage and turn them into PDFs that can then be professionally printed:

https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Special:Book

Obviously this is limited to Wikivoyage and Wikipedia, but that's still a pretty good start. See the company behind it, PediaPress, for more info including video tutorials.

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I think the PDF way is the best solution for most of the websites anyhow. While there might be an issue to get a proper printable version for many websites (w/o menus etc), you should be able to save all pages as PDF and compile them into a document. –  uncovery Sep 2 '13 at 6:30

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