There was a time when the bigger and more ponderous the travel guide, the better. Such behemoths were meant as bibles, the fount of all information about a place. Times are changing, though, and less is more when it comes to what we want to lug along on our journeys. Consider these newfangled encyclopedias of place when planning your next vacation. - Becca Hensley



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Find Your Place

An ingenious new take on the usual travel guide, PlaceNotes are durable traveler's information cards that expound on specific aspects of a setting: a building, a park, a painting. Created to celebrate the discovery of travel and give the user a sense of place, these cards illuminate such cities as Houston and Santa Fe. $20, www.placenotes.com



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Paper the City

For those who live by the rules of bon ton, exactly where you go matters. Perfect for the trendy tourist, Wallpaper City Guides tell discerning travelers what they need to know. Colorful, design-savvy guides boasting sections such as "Urban Life," "Sports," and "Spas," these pocket-size wonders explain what's hot in 20 cities around the world. $9, www.wallpaper.com



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Snap to It

Lightweight yet dense in factoids, Budget Travel Snap Guides are mini-miracles. Need the scoop on the best dance floor in Buenos Aires? The most potable cocktail in Los Angeles? Let the locals tell you in this downloadable, printable guide, which is meant to be discarded after you complete your trip. Free, www.budgettravelonline.com