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What do you think about Lonely Planet?

JosePonce1

New Member
Hi all!

I'm a novice traveller and I would like to have opinions about Lonely Planet as a travel book guide. When you think about them what are the first things that come to mind? What do you associate them with?
To what 'kind' of traveller do you think it is most recommended? (Is it more for adventurous? or maybe business travel? etc).

Finally, any other thoughts?

Thanks!
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
It all depends on what you want from a guide book. Lonely Planet Guides seem to have a lot of information for the solo traveler or back packer explaining how to get between places, accommodation and eating options and can be a bit thin on what to do and see once you are there. Depending on when the guide was written, these recommendations can be some years old...

I prefer Rough Guide as they do have more information (and more pages too!)

Both have reasonable maps of the major cities and towns although the country maps in both are useless for planning as they don't have enough detail.

As an introduction to a country DK Eyewitness guides are the best. They have lots of pictures and cover a lot more places and attractions which are ignored by the above two guides. Maps are also sufficiently detailed for initial planning. They do have some information about places to stay and eat.

As with any guide it is advisable to check up to date details of opening times on the web.

I also use a map for planning. The Michelin maps are very good as they have a star system for places of interest, and also mark scenic routes. You can google the names for more information. An image search is a good way to get a feel for a place. This is the way to discover the hidden gems the average visitor never finds. I have used Michelin Green Guides although these can be confusing to use and don't have very good indexes as many of the smaller places mentioned in the guide may not be listed in the index. You need a good grasp of the geography to be able to find them again in the guide!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I prefer Rough Guide as they do have more information (and more pages). ... As an introduction to a country DK Eyewitness guides are the best.

I agree! These are the guidebooks that I use.

I am currently reading Lonely Planet Israel because there is no Rough Guide, and it is good. I always think of Lonely Planet as backpacker guides, probably because they were when they started out, but the Israel guide seems to be for all types of travelers.
 

kupus

10+ Posts
I'm a rough guide fan too....

It might be because my first guidebook ever was a rough guide (the Thailand one, nicked by someone somewhere on Koh Pha Ngan ... ah, the memories :) ), but I don't think so. It just seemed to be very complete and have good info.

But LP's are good too, I can't say any differently. They've also started using members from their forum for their guidebooks which probably offers some interesting insights others might not be able to provide...
 

Parigi

100+ Posts
I find Lonely Planets quite good on Asian countries. The guides on China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia devote a big section on the local culture, which truly helps one become a traveler instead of a tourist. I wish all guides had such an extensive, informative and in-depth culture section.
The LP guides on European countries are not bad, but are not unique like the Asian guides.
On the other hand, the Asian guides tend to be excessively budget-conscious in a very superficial way. I suspect the info is not regularly updated, and when updated, it takes on only one factor: room price. We all know that room price alone does not reflect the real value of a lodging. Example: if a room costs more, yet the hotel or guesthouse offers you free transport to and from the airport, and has other services like last-day early-checkout kept-luggage, use of fridge, microwave and other basic kitchen appliances, it could add up to better value.

Lastly I am sentimental about - and feel grateful toward - Lonely Planet. It was the first guidebook publication to offer a different way of traveling, to countries whose culture and language were ill-known or downright inaccessible to the average traveler. Respect.
 

Helen789

10+ Posts
I also use Lonely Planet, and look for its guides when I'm going to visit a new place. Though this is not the only one good source. I can suggest checking a travelsites platform that includes a collections of useful sites for travelers. I always find some helpful info there.
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
Hi Jose
I find one such guide (Lonely Planet, Rough guide etc.) for a Country like Italy or France to be moderately useful. Not for the restaurants, etc. as I think they are overly focused on the city centres and often a decade or two behind the times. However for a simple way to look through places that might be worth exploring in more detail, or for a simple set of logistics (e.g. regular buses and trains from the listed locations), then it's got use.

I don't update my old copies though, as I'll always be writing my 'crib notes' from more up to date specialist sources (often online now).

Italy has been our main focus and for that I've found some specialist resources that have been massively more useful
1. Fred Plotkin's Italy for the gourmet traveller. Oddly not so much for the restaurant and shop suggestions, which aren't comprehensive and too rarely updated. However as a writer giving you a feel for the different places, I find him exceptionally good. He is a very engaging writer and can entice with his descriptions of the regions, towns, etc. It is his guide I'll often reach for when shaping up the 2-3 destinations of the trip.
2. Golosario. An annual listing of fine food shops & producers and it is very thorough. Occasionally they'll miss a really good place, but more often than not they'll have them listed. It is a real celebration of the fine food traditions (and modern innovations) in Italy.
3. Duemilavini. Sadly now online only, and I miss reading their wine tasting notes. However in the back was a listing of restaurants and bars/enoteche where wine is taken seriously (the book is published by the sommeliers association, so they are champions of places that care about wine)

On top of that, I'll often use googlemaps to scout out the local area, from cafes to ice-cream shops, to where the local post offices are. This occasionally highlights a new place of interest, or sometimes something less fancy, but convenient enough to want to know about e.g. a pizzeria

My criblist is obscenely long for the amount of time we're spending in a location e.g. 15 restaurants for a 3 night stay and might include 10-15 places for a village we might or might not visit. It is never a 'must do' list, but always a convenient list of options that I am confident will be interesting, good or both. We still trust our own instincts, either trying something not on the list that looks good, or deciding against a place on the list which doesn't look as good as anticipated.

For a modern way to do this, creating your own labelled map in Googlemaps can be very easy to use on a phone. I did one for Torino and have added to it with later visits, as new places are identified, or others close. The idea is that if you're getting towards midday and feeling hungry, it's lovely to be able to bring up 2-3 good options in walking distance.

I hope this helps

Regards
Ian
 

VickyFF

New Member
I always think there's just so much information, I don't necessarily need it all. I'd rather just do an internet search to find the info I want. I guess if you only do one adventure a year, then it's a good way to lead up to it, but if you do a few then it's too much to take in.
 

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