best apps and books for scotland

I am off to Scotland this week with Team Diabetes. I will be packing along 2 iPhones, an iPad, a MacBook Air, an iPod shuffle, and these 4 books.

I have collected a number of apps to help me wander Edinburgh with self-guided walking tours. I have the Lonely Planet app to give me all the background I could possibly want on the different corners of the city – but I still don’t trust digital.

Maybe it’s because I’m a print native, but I find it easier to thumb through a guide book than swipe through an app. I can use post its for bookmarks, highlight parts I really want to see, and easily find information on surprises when I come upon them.

I also don’t trust my iOS devices when out of the country. Last year, on a trip to Iceland, I bought a SIM card on Icelandair. Perhaps it was the language, maybe my iPhone was too beaten up, maybe I didn’t know what I was doing, but the roaming prepaid data on an unlocked card experience didn’t work for me. Still, I will try it again this week in Scotland. I have unlocked my iPhone 4 now, and have a prepaid SIM from giffgaff waiting at my hotel.

So while I will try to go digital (again), when it comes to vacationing in foreign countries, I am still partial to books. The battery never runs out on paper. I won’t go over data limits when reading a book. Sure, they’re heavy (why do I have to bring 4 with me), but they’re also free from the library.

So I have some apps for Scotland. I have some books for Scotland. I have many devices for Scotland. But despite wanting to go digital, I still trust paper.

How do you plan your vacations? Do you unplug and leave the phone at home? Do you buy roaming data? Do you unlock and go pre-paid local? Do you use tourist apps or stick to books?

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