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Old 04-25-2012, 07:09 AM
Location: CHicago, United States
6,936 posts, read 7,263,577 times
Reputation: 3490


Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Lonely Planet is for 19 year old gap year kids who want to get drunk in Prague. Thoroughly useless.
Well, the millions of people of all ages traveling in varying styles who purchase the Lonely Planet guidebooks each year demonstrate that while this may be your opinion, it's definately in the minority. I think that people who have traveled widely understand the value gained by having a good guidebook. I consider Lonely Planet the publisher of the best ... for my purposes.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:42 AM
Location: Eureka CA
8,257 posts, read 11,124,485 times
Reputation: 12575
Lonely Planet is bad, but not as bad as Let's Go.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:56 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,292,936 times
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There was a time when Lonely Planet was essential to anyone traveling independently, because much of the third world had very rudimentary transport infrastructure, and many towns had no hotels at all. But since about the 80s, it is now quite easy to travel in the third world with no guidebook at all. Lonely Planet, at first, was the only source of any information based on the experiences of other travelers.

I traveled the length of Africa overland in the mid 70s, and there was literally nothing published at all that was of any value except the Michelin maps, which were legendary for their accuracy and relevance, but there was no text, just a map with a legend. Once I ran across a British traveler who had a mimeographed and stapled description of routes and locations, which was put together by some students at Oxford, but otherwise, everyone was just winging it and hoping for the best, and sometimes meeting a traveler coming in the opposite direction, to exchange tips with.

Lonely planet filled that gap, and then a couple of others like Rough Guide came along when independent travel got really popular. Now nowadays, you don't need any of them anymore. And it's true, the Thorn Tree at the LP online is about as full of predictable crap as City-Data forums are. But the print editions of LP are still legitimate guides to places off the beaten track.

But in South America, when I had the SA Handbook, I often wished I didn't have it, because it was just herding me along with all the other users, and South America is perfectly safe and reliable to just piece your way through without any guidebook at all.
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