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Lonely Planet guides - do you use them?

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RooFlyer

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Following on from CruiserElite's thread on use of Trip Advisor, I was wondering whether travellers here use Lonely Planet guides much - I mean the city/country guides, not the forums.

I have been a solid user of them since my very first overseas trip, as the picture below might indicate :) .

I especially like:
The list of sights and attractions from which one can cull a personal 'must see' list (with opening hours and approx. fees), the 'essentials' of understanding how a place works, from taxis to money, power and phones. Their 'city highlights walks' usually work for me and I usually end up doing them. The potted histories give the basis for at least a basic appreciation of the history of the place. Often their 'off the beaten track' recommendations are well worth doing and occasionally I spot a hotel in their lists which is attractive to me and I would never have found it otherwise. Having a digital edition, where you can buy just one chapter for about $5 is great for doing the first line of research.

I don't like:
I think they are remiss in sticking with emphasising 'backpacker / young trekker' themes; or am I the only over 40 to still use them? Their in-text city maps are pretty crook and often inaccurate and prices for hotels and restaurants are useless in these days of variable hotel pricing (but this is warned about, of course). I find their nagging about 'social responsibility', ie where they don't like the government, and b/s re climate change very irritating, but one can simply ignore that. Their recent format change has very nearly put me off LP completely. I started buying their digital editions but went off them when the digital colours just couldn't be read properly outside and its really fiddly to find a particular page or section compared to the hardcopy. Where the hardcopy book is bulky, I photocopy relevant pages and keep the book in the room.

Over the years I've found a couple of outright mistakes, but not that many.

LP.jpg
 
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That's a small fortune investment pile of books. I have moved on from LP as the cheaper paper and almost indecipherable maps were not as good as DK Eyewitness Guides and Insight Guides.
 

kelvedon

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I usually read the Lonely Planet book for any new destination, but only for a summary of the sights, as I agree it's accomodation reviews are a bit backpacker skewed, and I've moved on from there.
The popularity of this series is also it's downfall as if you go to a restaurant suggested in the guide, I don't want to find a room full of fellow tourists and be supplied with English menus. I'd rather be a bit more native. Indeed some 20 years ago when backpacking through India,the Lonely Planet guide was the Bible, everyone used it, and consequently, you kept bumping into the same people all over the country.
 

RB

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I think the last "real" LP we bought was in 2000 & we found shotcomings in their advice in moving from Slovenia to Italy-much less info generally available in those days. We got a "hacked" version of Cambodia in 2004 & used it to avoid the restaurants that were getting the paid for plugs-multiple food outlets were not happy with the way the pre-booked visits were being conducted by LP
 

JohnM

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I do.

LP.jpg

Ahem..., notice my orderly alphabetical filing (except for the four on top currently being used for 2015 DONE5 planning) :p. I've tossed out a few old ones that I've replaced, such as Italy & France pre-Euro.

Agree about the digital editions being pretty much useless and about the recent format change. However, I still think LP is pretty useful source of info - especially for the independent traveller. But they are a guide, not a gospel. They can give good pointers to things to further investigate at other sources if more detail is required.
 

JessicaTam

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I enjoy getting a book or two to cover my planned travels. It gives me something to look forward to as well as helping me finalise what to do and where to go. I rarely travel with them though as they can be a bit bulky/heavy. The DK Top Ten guides are handy for the abbreviated trip planning.
 

RooFlyer

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I do.

View attachment 40565

Ahem..., notice my orderly alphabetical filing (except for the four on top currently being used for 2015 DONE5 planning) :p. I've tossed out a few old ones that I've replaced, such as Italy & France pre-Euro.

<snip>.
ROFL. Mine are arranged stratigraphically, as you'd expect from a mining person :). Older ones at the bottom, newer layers toward the top (mostly).
 

lovetravellingoz

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In the beginning there was Lonely Planet, and the independent traveller rejoiced.
But then the Internet was begot, and the rejoicing became a deluge.
The independent traveller cast off the information shackles, became blessed and inherited the earth.
 

kpc

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I must admit i tend to borrow my traveling guide books incl Lonely Planets from the local library as once I have been to that place, the books no longer have a lot interest for me, and they also become rapidly out of date...however, I have bought a few online LP versions for the Ipad when they had them on sale for $10 each:)
 

drron

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I did use them but then about 15 years ago chose a hotel in Chiang Rai regarded as the best by LP.We turned up,took a whiff and left.It was forever after known as the time I tried to book mrsdrron into the cat's p*ss hotel.Have not been allowed to use it since.
 
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medhead

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I got many itunes/ipad/iphone versions when they were free. Also general grab the pockets guides for an idea. SWMBO prefers the DK guides and uses the local library.
 

Cossie

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Still got my copies of "Across Asia on the Cheap" and "Africa on the Cheap" from the late seventies plus a couple of dozen others. Every now and again I get them out and have a chuckle. I even subscribed to their quarterly newsletter for a few years in the eighties for up to the minute(!) information.
The evolution of the internet has made a lot of information gathering very easy, however the old guides were not just a list of places to stay and eat, they were also good for giving a concise history of places and other useful information which wasn't easily available.
I wish I had been able to but shares in the company all those years ago!
 
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Alanslegal

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With the internet so accessible nowadays I no longer use paper based travel books. There is enough information from articles, blogs, PDFs, trip reports, social media to learn enough about any country one is wanting to go to.
 

amaroo

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Luxe City Guides are a fantastic, chock-a-block pocket dynamo. Eyewitness Guides for most other areas.
 
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I still use them as my first look at a region - I read the summarised culture and history bits, and the attractions info (and look at the pictures :) ) Like others, I don't bother with their accommodation or dining recommendations, except occasionally to get a feel for the areas of the particular city.
 

bpeteb

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We still buy them and we're both happy to see maps have changed slightly for the better. They were pretty useless.

We've never looked at recommended accomm in them, that's what TA is for!

The new format small encounters guides are much better. Over time we've bought DK and Luxe as well. I like paper copies that I can carry around, or take photos of pages of info with my phone to use during the day.

We've just bought our first Bradt guide book for our trip to Iceland later in the year. If they're all in the same format I like them a lot. Much more conversational than LP but great info.

The issue with so many of them is the interval between editions. Some info is years out of date.
 
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