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Lonely Planet, can they be trusted???

Travel Forums General Talk Lonely Planet, can they be trusted???

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21. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Depends on the perspective of the LP writer. Makes you wonder at times if they ever set foot outside the bar when writing about certain places.

22. Posted by YerMan (Full Member 66 posts) 11y

By the very nature of what they are any guide book is going to be out of date before it's even published.

Having said that, I've always used LP guides. I've been using them for years and find them very good. Obviously by now, I'm well used to the layout of them, and I'm comfortable with it. Can't really see myself using anything else really.

23. Posted by dougj (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y

I used the europe on a shoestring LP book while in europe...some of it was out of date (like one internet cafe I tracked down in paris, only to find it had closed down) but generally it was pretty good for getting the feel of a place before arriving (mostly the maps). great for reading on the train and getting your bearings fairly quickly in a new city.

24. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 11y

Hearing people talking about the reliability of guidebooks is funny, especially about north america or Europe. Really, you always get the most up-to-date info if you ask someone who has travelled there before or while you are on the train. I use guidebooks to learn about the basic safety of a country, the political/border-crossing info, where an embassy is located, etc. To complain about a shut-down coffee shop or net cafe is rediculous- that guidebook is updated if that is the only complaint. Try to ask the reception desk of any hostel or hotel and the person you speak with is a living encyclopedia- use them to decide whether or not you want to travel there, bring the whole book if it is the busy season, and rely on your old fashioned brains and braun (if you aren't handicapped in any way) to find your way around. It's not that hard- I did it. Look at postcards . . . really, and find the highest place in a city and look down, then tell yourself, "I want to go there." Do that especially in Barcelona, or any city known for its archetecture. By the way, I've heard that South America on a Shoestring is notoriously out-of-date. Learn Spanish in Equador and rely on word-of-mouth and your Spanish skills. Do not join the Explorers. That was your Lonely Planet advice. However, I think that Europe on a Shoestring is more often ligitimately updated, so I think it is a safe book to rely on- either that, or the Western Europe or Eastern Europe guidebooks by LP. I've gotton good hostel advice in a europe LP guide so that is safe to say. And one word: maps. They are decent, if you can read them. And they list more hostels in Amsterdam than The Flying Pig, which is good because all the hostels in that city fill up so fast they probably open up the homeless shelters for the tourists in August! (just kidding, really.) And there you have it.
Peace,
Steph

25. Posted by YerMan (Full Member 66 posts) 11y

bluewaav makes a very good point.

The very best info is from the traveller you meet in the hostel who has just come from where you are going, or through travel websites from people who actually live there. I've got some great advice over the years this way, and it sure doesn't go out of date like a guidebook - any guidebook.

An online mate in Berlin recently not only put me onto a really good hostel there, but even arranged to meet me a couple of evenings and show me round. Same scene in Lithuania recently.

Guidebooks are actually very well named for that's what they are - guides.

26. Posted by dougj (Budding Member 32 posts) 11y

mentioning the closed net cafe was more to illustrate that it was a minor thing that was out of date in the book...although it was annoying at the time as it was a sunday (most things closed in paris), the hotel's internet was down and the person on the front desk sent us to a different cafe that was closed and we needed to get online to book another hotel/hostel.....but its all part of the experience.

Quoting bluewaav

Hearing people talking about the reliability of guidebooks is funny, especially about north america or Europe. Really, you always get the most up-to-date info if you ask someone who has travelled there before or while you are on the train. I use guidebooks to learn about the basic safety of a country, the political/border-crossing info, where an embassy is located, etc. To complain about a shut-down coffee shop or net cafe is rediculous- that guidebook is updated if that is the only complaint. Try to ask the reception desk of any hostel or hotel and the person you speak with is a living encyclopedia- use them to decide whether or not you want to travel there, bring the whole book if it is the busy season, and rely on your old fashioned brains and braun (if you aren't handicapped in any way) to find your way around.

27. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 11y

I must admit that i've never travelled with any guide book, anywhere, although on occassions i've taken a few photocopies of odd bits as a fall back/base idea. Locals, or people that have recently been to/come from the place you are as well as information sourced when you get there, plus luck and natural curiosity/stupidity has stood me well enough so far. If i want to use a guidebook, chances are somebody (normally many, or everybody else) staying in the hostel you end will have one you can borrow/browse through. free leaflets in tourist bureaus/hostels etc can be of use, and easily disposable or recyclable afterwards

Beforehand if planning, talk to people on line, sites like this etc and randomly chuck things into google. Also an hour browsing in a library and maybe photocopying a few relevant pages to me makes much more sense than going out and buying large/heavy/expensive guidebooks which will either be far too general for you, or include reams of stuff that's of no use or interest to you at all.

btw, apol for going off topic, but YerMan:

An online mate in Berlin recently not only put me onto a really good hostel there, but even arranged to meet me a couple of evenings and show me round.


How was Berlin in the end?? and (i assume it was, anyway) how did things go with Rikita?

28. Posted by pcobrien (Full Member 42 posts) 11y

Hey Ace, there are a number of travel guides for India. LP's for India was my first back in the dark ages - '88

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