Let's Go has been on the road for 50 years and counting: We're on a mission to provide our readers with sharp, fresh coverage packed with socially responsible opportunities to go beyond tourism. About The Author. Every summer for the past 50 years, Harvard students have gathered together the bare necessities and set off with nothing but a backpack and some old-fashioned grit.
Budget-conscious gourmets, nimble transit-takers, and die-hard bar-hoppers-Let's Go Researchers have the time of their lives, so you'll know exactly how to have the time Look for similar items by category: Books Travel Europe. Select Parent Grandparent Teacher Kid at heart. Age of the child I gave this to:. Hours of Play:. Tell Us Where You Are:. Preview Your Review. Thank you. Your review has been submitted and will appear here shortly. 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. I use Rough Guides since 4 year ago now, but I mostly get the info from travel blogs like yours. Because I want expert true advice! Thanks for all your knowledge sharing! You are a true inspirational light source! Still tough to ignore new editions of LP for favored destinations New Zealand, Ireland, Ecuador, Maine… but rely on them more for transport, map, and language sections than au courant recommendations for food and lodging options…seem like they are always 2 years behind from boots on the ground maybe to publishing date so prices can be optimistic there as well.
I still like thumbing through a guidebook when on the road, so minimal experience with website issues. Thanks for this alternative, Matt! As someone who has newly started travelling. Since about Without any preconceived notions or any clue about guide books. Since then I have found that the lonely planet guide books to be useless, well below any other guides out there with subpar content and just a clutter. I have been using rough guides now and like them awhole lot better. When I compare them to lonely planets with fellow travellers we end up using the rough guide all the time.
Precise, well organized and update good content. Been very satisfied with rough guide. Along with rough guides I cut my teeth on reading about places to travel to on l. I completely agree! I actually prefer the Rough Guides. I still have a massive collection of Lonely Planet guidebooks too? I went on recently, and it was just not good. Instead, I tend to use a mix of forums and guidebooks to get any insight. Hi Matt, absolutely agree! These days, even Fodors is better ok maybe not that far. Now a days, I just use this app called Sparks getsparks. Could be like so many companies… they start off with excellent ideas,… then the accountants take over.
Great post Matt! I have learned so much from reading all the comments! Lonely Planet is definitely not the same great company it used to be. I get most of my up to date travel info from you and other fave travel bloggers like Oneika The Traveler. Thanks again! I learned over 15 years ago not to go with LP suggestions for restaurants and accommodation — those I research online, and I almost always book through Booking.
The problem with travel websites and blogs is that now there are so many, that the information gets diluted quite a bit, so its hard to find really useful information from travellers all in one place. The LP thorn tree used to be great for that, since so many people used it, but of course now its a shadow of its former self.
But, some forums are better than others, so it still has some usefulness. I much prefer to hear some opinion and real suggestions. Rough are much more practical. Likewise, for Europe, I will also usually snag a Rick Steves — cuts through the crap and gives truly useful, practical info. I felt comfortable with the layout of the books compared to others on the market. That might have been the last LP title I bought, as the other titles I have subsequently thumbed through also seemed to be sub-par. My go to guide books are Rick Steves and Frommers. Guides for me are a rough draft in my trip planning, their usefulness depends on what type of trip we want to take.
They provide basic information and something to use as starting point in a new city or country. I would agree that they are no longer the guidebooks they once were. I live about metres from their old headquarters in Melbourne and I remember thinking that once the Wheelers were out of the picture, things would inevitably change, probably for the worse. The city maps for Kolkata were hilariously out of scale and totally useless.
I got so lost on my first day there that I wondered if I would just have to go to the airport and start again! I do use the books for planning a trip but I borrow them from the library rather than buying them as they are so quickly out of date. I mostly use the LP language guides for any given country. I dissed a plan to go to Panama based on what I saw with LP. I loved LP, and would have enjoyed being one of their writers, but they never wanted to pay for experts who actually lived in the countries covered. This policy has accelerated over the years until they have become garbage publishers of grossly overpriced useless info.
To get quality content, you have to pay quality writers who genuinely know the territory, not passersby with egos. It was not easy at that time. For islanders Philippines , the first requirement is to get off the island fly or sail ; no train or bus connection to the next country, no budget airlines yet, getting visa was a bitch as always , and European money was different in every country.
It was all I needed — a story for every place mentioned, hostels, transportation, locations, strategies, attractions, to-avoid tourist traps, and even prices…oh, and the DB Deutch Bundesbahn European timetable. Great post Matt. Especially when people are increasingly looking for unique and personalized experiences that are no longer geared towards only mass tourism.
Great post, I had never quite put my finger on why I never used LP anymore, but this is it. I live in a really rural area of Sumatra, and the Lonely Planet is still the best, really only, source. In fact, one whole province was greatly expanded in the newest version of the LP, where before there was basically zero info, anywhere.
Yeah, some stuff is already outdated. They seem to come out at three year intervals. Just the reality of the medium. But SO many of the top results in google are also outdated. Most travel bloggers seem to stick mainly to relatively touristy areas, especially the big ones that survive on paid trips and sponsorships obviously, no one in rural Sumatra has the money to pay a blogger. I am sad about the state of Thorn Tree currently.
I would also say that the market itself has changed a LOT. Travellers now want to see a personal blog post, watch Youtube videos, read a lot of Tripadvisor reviews, have direct flights, and be somewhere they can have access to good internet so they can stay up with Instagram and what not.
Backpackers I think were more adventurous, and ready to rough it off the beaten path more than they are now. Obviously there are exceptions.
I prefer researching on Wikitravel or Rough guides but never Lonely Planet website. I love how it is easy to find exactly what I need on WikiTravel and for me it is usually enough. I agree with you, especially regarding LP website. I always find myself to check out their web, and then realise that there is nothing, so then I start to search somewhere else. I still use their books, though. On my travel with car to Mongolia, it was very helpful. But the web — awful. I want to get deep into the real country, and come upon things serendipitously, as travel should be. Following a tourist trail makes everything more predictable.
I like to throw out my thumb and see what the world brings.
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I agree. My first LP Guide was about 19 years ago for Thailand. It was awesome. A couple of years later I bought one for Japan. It was good too. So did the advertising. The LP China guide was as big as a brick and a little disappointing. Annnnnd then I bought LP India another mammoth book and carried it for four weeks. I used it once as a makeshift tripod for my camera. There was nothing useful in it! The book s on Thailand were written for a long while by Joe Cummings. Joe and I were in the same Peace Corps group from and used to hang out occasionally.
He stopped working with LP as things went downhill. It was awesone, and probably made me more enthralled with the company than their guidebooks would have. And no hostel suggestions whatsoever. Very few budget suggestions overall. I have found a lot more valuable info, a lot more off the beaten track suggestions, and better writing, on the many travel blogs I follow, like yours. Or go about it in a new way, and commission people who are already traveling to write on site for lonely planet. For example, about the hostel they are staying at and all the things near it to do.
I mean, they HAVE to do something!! Hmm…quite an insightful post on LP. Well, I refer it for accommodation options in a place. That holds true for any brand. The first time I used LP was about 7 years ago during my first trip to Europe. I was spending more time figuring out what to look at and less time in getting useful information. The information I did find was just a generic repetition from other websites. I just stopped using LP altogether. So glad to see this article! I recently bought a LP book for the first time in 15 years and was shocked to see that the go-to book of my traveling youth was worse than the fuddy-duddy brands and I thought it was my imagination.
As a slightly older woman and adventure traveler, I must say that your comments about the decline of LP so resonate with me. The LP forums especially make me want to cry. The Trip Advisor forums are now much more active, even though you can literally spend hours on them just to uncover the slightest bit of useful info.
For me, LPs still have their place in itinerary planning and quick historical overviews but the majority of information seems outdated or inaccurate. I hope the community grows to include lots of travel experts but avoids the spammers that the ThornTree was overwhelmed with.
They used to be a great guidebook company, lots of useful and specific advice to make my trip more enjoyable. They made an app for my Android watch that was supposed to help with finding cool places and helping me navigate there, but the selection of places are not cool and the app itself is rather slow and wonky. In general, I now prefer rough guides. I believe travelers today are far more sophisticated and the world has become much smaller.
Anything I want to know about a country I will Google individually … visas, monetary exchange, transportation between cities, vaccinations, warnings, top ten places to visit, etc … and, I ask people who have already visited for example, the Nomadic Matt Community … and, I ask locals upon arrival. I had a seat partner on a flight his morning … a scientist from Egypt who immigrated to the US and we had an great discussion about his country.
We exchanged names and contact information and he promised to put me in contact with his family in Egypt who would love to show me around and help me navigate Cairo and Mt. I went three times last month when I was in Paris. I was there in Feb too.
Let's Go Budget Rome by Harvard Student Agencies, Inc. - Read Online
Never once did I see a bouncer. I went when they opened and later at night. I feel like the odds of coming across one would have been pretty good. There could be one but I feel like I would have noticed by now.
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I think Rough guides does a decent job for a physical book for young, off-the-beaten path types. The best info. The best is a direct referral from a friend or advice for a local. Getting skills to find out that info. I recently spent a day as a tourist in Amsterdam — my own capital, where I work, and where I spend a lot of time leisurely in one of the bars. Erik-Ole wanted to say something, but then he was Norwegian and knew his place. On the canal cruise the same thing happened — wrong numbers, wrong translations.
Tourists receive false information. I agree completely, I find their travel books to be bland, no personality, and lacking in photos or clear distinction in their information. And their website is completely void of information, comprising of a lovely picture, a paragraph of text and links to other pages or to purchasing their guide books. They laid off a huge amount of photographers some time ago. That is why the lack of interesting photos like in their earlier books.
When I first started planning my four month trip to Japan as an exchange student , I picked up the version of the Lonely Planet Guide for Japan because that was the most recent version my local library had. I sat down with that book and a package of sticky notes and marked anything that looked evenly remotely interested.
After that, I went back to all the locations I had marked and used it to build my itinerary. Many of the cool places I ended up visiting in Japan I would never found on traditional travel websites. However, I am getting ready to visit Nashville and had been thinking of picking up the Lonely Planet guidebook. The Thorn Tree Forum has become worthless to me now, and has been for some years. I, too, have become exasperated by their web site. I still find myself checking it before a trip, though, out of habit and to see if it has improved.
I still travel with a Lonely Planet guide, it is helpful to have access to maps and have a rough idea of options for itineraries and restaurants.
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It seems less relevant and less accurate than it was years ago. Thank you for writing this article. Very interesting. I used to love Lonely Planet and have been so disappointed by their new direction. Especially the website. It used to be so easy to find all the important info within seconds and everything including maps was printer friendly.
My issue is with how your exec team is running the company and the direction they are taking it. But I do know a lot of writers who would disagree with your assessment of the editing process…because many reached out to me for this article specifically about it. I just wanted to say thank you for all the comments. Your experience with LP and your thoughts….
They were truly something special. They were more than a a guidebook company. They were an idea of travel and to see it changing is hard. I thought I was getting grumpy and frustrated in my old age as found the repetitive information annoying and had difficulty in navigating the website. However, I do feel rather overwhelmed by all the travel information that is now available. Interesting article. All stuff I had noticed as well.
I know when LP was purchased in they dissolved my open contract we had. LP has lot my trust once they started redesigning their site making it harder to find information. I still use it for currency and how much I should budget, but even then I found the information to be slightly outdated. I have been a fan of wikivoyage and wikitravel. The drawback is lack of information at smaller areas and detailed information. But this no different than a travel guide. When I read an interview with the new CEO in , he mentioned he wanted to have more user driven content, I had assumed it would have been like Wikivoyage.
I guess I was wrong. People I met still used LP, but I have never done that. Instead I follow blogs, and also try to get in touch with locals through helpx, couchsurfing, or simply the people I meet on the street. That way I get to see the good parts, as well as the local favourites. Hi Matt. Long time reader, first-time commenter.
I agree with your article. I am really disappointed with the ads on their website — it makes them no different from any other blogger, and I have also heard those same rumours about the way they edit their books that it is just from the office and using Google instead of going to experience it. I think if they focused on their books it would be great. I look at blogs for my research on a place but I love having a book where everything is organised, easily accessed and simply in my hand.
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There is a Western and Eastern Europe version of this. Many emails have recommended this guide over other Western European ones. One of the better LPs. Still widely used, but so are most guides in Italy. Italy is a varied and vast country which is hard to sum up in one book I found it very useful when visiting cities and sourcing food and accommodation. The recommendations are excellent. Just lacking a little when getting into the areas which are off the beaten track but will give a very good indication of what is on offer when visiting Italy.
Great if you plan on just hitting the cities of Italy. Not so good if you plan on going to the lakes or mountains. Pathetically little information given on the Lakes District. A typical RG, great read and very informative, but since the book is a guide and usually only parts of it are actually read the layout and indexing could be organised better. Contents are informative and useful in particular related to Barcelona.
Very clear and improved maps in new version. Bulgakov talks about post revolution Russia , market economy, the great war, philosophy, human nature and his personal experiences in his last years in the most interesting fashion; subtle and humorous. A bit strange, sometimes a little hard work, but if you want to read 'a Russian' this is a good and easy place to start. A blow-by-blow account of the birth of modern Germany on November 9th , when, at an otherwise dull press conference in East Berlin, a government spokesman said that a new law permitting East Germans more freedom to travel would go into effect immediately.
It changed Europe for ever.
Europe: Guides & Reading
This is probably Bryson's best book. Notes from a small island about the UK is funny, sharp and easy to relate to for anyone who has spent any length of time in the UK. The book gets off to a flying start with fascinating conversations with old men on the complexity of B roads and travelling through the English countryside through Upton Dumpton past The Buggered Ploughmen and onto some other insane place.
The book is well written and Bryson never fails to get his witty humour in but never fails to leave out the facts. Again, be warned that this UK travelogue just goes on and on and if you are not a fan of travelogues you are going to get bored after a hundred pages or so. Set in eastern Europe and Switzerland post World War Two, this is a work of considerable confidence and control that follows the differently connected lives of a group of people as they fall in love and fall into line, disperse and return.
It's all about how our lives are all about making mistakes and never being able to do things again. It's often philosophical and yet very readable. As you probably know this book focuses not only on the actions of Schindler, but the moral issues surrounding the Holocaust. Keneally's use of certain anecdotes gives internal views of the concentration camps.
The book is moving and compelling because of its sheer sadness. The aim is not so much to learn but to understand, and Keneally writes fluently.
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