So these lonely planet books, are they really as good as there cracked up to be? Now I've never been traveling with one before, and have assumed that they are in deed a reliable souces.
However, just reading through an old thread someone said that they loathed these books. Should they be hated, taken with a pinch of salt, or can they be relied upon???
I've never used one myself, but from what I've read (in other travel books, mind), so many people use Lonley Planet that the entire planet ends up wherever it is you're going...
I couldn't tell you whether or not it's a reliable guide, though.
I used insight guides for my last trip and by chance also happened on a lonely planet for the same destination. I'd go with insight again over lp. Lp is not a bad guide book though by any means.
Rough Guides are also pretty good.
Considering the amount of information any of these books carry, i always feel like I never get my full money's worth though since I just end up reading a few pages here and there....
I think that Lonely Planet is pretty good. They are really good in listing the key attractions of a place, and are really good on the transportation (trains, planes, buses). I find that restaurant and hotel recommendations can sometimes be a bit off. Usually I use them to figure out what neighbourhoods are decent, and then walk around and find my own hotel and restaurants.
I'm a big "Let's Go" girl. I've looked through Lonley Planet and Frommers and I just like the info and set up of LG better. I, like Greg, used my guide book for general ideas about the city and sometimes took their recommendations, but most of the time we found great treasures and good deals on our own.
In the past LP Guide were written by people who lived in or had at least travelled in the countries they were writing about.
Sadly this is no longer the case.
These days many LP Guides are literally written 'over the phone' by hack writers who are paid a minimum to update old info.
If they don't visit a hotel just phone it for updated prices that's OK with LP.
I know this for a fact.
The Fiji book hasn't been updated for years it's just old info regurgitated.
The LP Colombia book is full of holes, street names wrong, hotels that have been closed for years/torn down and an author who doesn't seem to know Colombian geography at all.
Similarly the LP book for Vancouver BC-my hometown-is odd in the way it approaches the city as though the author had never visited many of places that he's writing about.I mean I know the places he's writing about and he has many important details completely wrong-laughable in some cases.
Again it's someone who relied on second or third hand descriptions of places to write a book and the result is some serious bs.
Two Legs got it right -
I was at a party saturday night and met the LP author for several asian countries. After chattting for a bit he admitted that there isn't time to check everything out, and he usually ends up trying to find people like you and me who may actually know something about it before he has to fly off to the next destination to meet his deadlines.
My site was created to fill in the gaps between guidebooks and reality - It's called Urban Lowdown and is written by american (could be other nationalities if anyone's interested) students who are on study abroad (erasmus) programs.
Not trying to replace the guidebooks (no chance of competing), but offer an alternative to the information that is so often wrong.
I used Frommers for my recent trip to Benelux. Even though the book was published in 2003, most of the information was pretty much accurate, maybe except for the price changes or a couple of restaurants shifting places (not a big boo-boo for me, per se). But it doesn't hurt to do some quick research of your own before you set off. Travel guides can't always cover everything and it's good to have a bit of back-up.
For me LP was handy for basic info about Egypt but when I visited Czech Republic I ran into trouble, some of the main hotels, bars and restaurants were closed down , and had been for a few years in some areas even though the book had 'just been updated'.... the information for Prague was good but when you try to go elsewhere we ended up relying on info in hostels etc,....... still had a great trip .....
for Egypt I found out that one of their top tips for a place to eat in Luxor was terrible and nearly poisoned me with out of date food that was passed from customer to customer if it wasn't eaten...... the hotel in the same area which was supposed to have just been renovated and be really nice was like a building site !! ( but we found somewhere better so it was happyland for us after that,,,) saying that I wouldn't dismiss the info totally........
TwoLegs, I'm with Sam on this.
I've used LP a number of times, but my impression these days is that they rely solely on readers sending them up-to-date information and don't actually send their writers abroad.
I have heard good things about both Insight and Rough Guide.