Major inaccuracies to say the least…and shoestring my ass!! Great article, Matt. I have found them to be both useful and correct when traveling and never go to Europe without one. For destinations outside of Europe, I really like the Moon guides.
Even with a guide, I will also use TA for generating ideas about things to do. Yep, I agree. I used LP all the time as a starting point to finding out more information about a location new to me. But, no more. I seldom find anything of value. Too bad, especially because I referenced them on my website and blogs. Also, I was planning to hold them up as a great travel site in my new how-to travel book.
I agree with some of the comments here. I love using my LP book for the city overviews, transportation information, weekly trip suggestions, and the brief history lessons for each site or city — however rarely do I reliably use the hotels or food suggestions. I rely heavily on trip advisor for all reviews of accommodations. My favorite guide books are the Eyewitness Guides due to their size, thicker pages, and the number of photos.
They are just nice to flip through. Although I still buy LP guides as they contain more information depending on the country. I do love my guidebooks and usually spent quite a bit of time choosing my books for each destination. I used for Lonely Planet for my recent visit to Cambodia and it was a total disaster.
Not only were the bars out dated but they listed hostels and hotels that no longer exist. For some reason, LP comped me with a year of the LP magazine.
Photography was dull and uninspiring. The writing felt as if it may have been the product of a bot. Turns out that I thumbed through the pages without finding any thing I was interested in reading. What a legacy to throw away. A content company, huh? The result? A downward plunge.
Lonely Planet's Italy travel guide – Lonely Planet Shop - Lonely Planet EMEA
LP seems yet another example. You got to focus on your one thing. These are interesting times for content companies. How CAN travel guide book companies compete with the free and very up-to-date content available on the internet? How can they pay people without a revenue stream? In the end, I think that people will pay for well-organized accurate content that cuts through the clutter.
Cutting through the noise will be the new king. But for now…. I think they are going for quantity content online than quality guidebooks. Like the CEO said, they are a content company now. I would second ALL of this, and thank you for expressing it!
Lonely Planet’s Best In Travel Destinations for 2018 Revealed
My first encounter with LP was in , right before the dawn of the Internet. I used their books on a one-year trip across SEA and India. The LP guide to India was like our bible at the time. Not anymore. I use Trip Advisor and blogs for that now. I still have this urge to turn to TT for pressing questions but rarely do I ever get useful answers anymore. I like them as well and may start buying them more.
I think this coincided with LPs acquisitions of a bunch of other guidebook companies. Friends who are younger than me would never consider buying a guidebook and rely entirely on their cell phones.
Lonely Planet Travel Guides
As more travelers ditch guidebooks, they get worse. A good guidebook helps you optimize your time. It curates the sights, gives you some suggestions, and you can always supplement with the overload of information on TripAdvisor, Google Maps, Yelp, and other apps. I think this is part of a larger trend across industries to digitize content and get rid of the expensive human editors. But what we have lost is consistency, perspective, voice, and frankly biased opinions. No app has been able to replicate that. Yeah I used to see the lonely planet as a kind of Bible of travel but the biggest problem nowadays is that they are too generic.
The website is particularly useless and not user friendly at all. What would be really great would be guides written by people who know a place inside out. The Huffington Post took a similar route Matt, from high energy to lower energy. Same deal; change in ownership and a big time change in direction. I still write for HP but noted how when Arianna sold it, the articles instantly went Yellow Journalism. Few uplifting pieces. Fewer not tainted by hate and fear. It seems like there is an opportunity in the market place that maybe Matt and other intrepid travelers can capitalize on.
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My own crude method is to use TA as a starting point and then gain local knowledge from my AirBNB and other lodging hosts. I left a longer comment below but agree with you Tim. I just used an app called Sparks getsparks. Lets you ask a question quickly, wait a few minutes, and usually people will reply with their recs.
There are those. Travelfish is the best SEA resource in the Internet for curated tourism. The Green Guides from Michelin are the best guides from the historical, architecture etc. Lonely is for children or Americans. I had a hunch Lonely Planet was going into the dumper a few years ago while I was in Melbourne and the LP office shut down.
Never a good sign. I am a Tour Manager and recommend my guests go online to get information about our up coming trips. Visit a City and local blogs give tons of info about any destination.
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Bottom line …… a company that publishes a quality guide book would need to hire someone that travels in depth to provide excellent local info. Most guide books now use the internet to gather info. Nothing like being lostish in the alleys of Kathmandu, Marrakech, or even Rome to gather useful intel. If I only knew how to share it with you guys. Really good and extremely helpful in my planning. Was excited about buying the new edition this was about 10 years ago and was stunned to see that it was much much worse.
These days, I look at all the guides, but Rough and Moon seem to be always worth looking at although Moon does too little evaluation. That means curation — tell me what are highlights etc. I want someone to make it a little easier for me. I quite looking at them on paper and digitally a few years ago. I use guidebooks to: 1.
Logistics: are these two things really far apart? Is the hike long or short? We just look at the guidebook and then decide. Doing pretrip research into the history etc of the area — makes for a richer experience. Has anyone really come in and filled the gap here? Bought the recent Guide book for Guatemala , different cover, same content as my 1st guide book for Guate 6 years ago! I depended on word of mouth by fellow travellers and locals.
I do like checking ThornTree Forum for pre-trip advice and questions. It is like you said Matt, the strongest part of their website.
These days I look for a guidebook in my local library. Then I use TripAdvisor and Booking. For potential flights I use matrix.