Friday Review: Lonely Planet’s The World
Someone once told me that the guidebooks you start travelling with are the ones you will always return to and for me, ever since I bought my first South America on a Shoestring guide, it’s always been Lonely Planet.
I’m not a person who religiously follows a guidebook, but I do love a Lonely Planet to get an overview of a country before I arrive. And while I’m generally happy to sort out my own food and accommodation, I also find them really helpful for the information about getting from A to B, especially in places like China where I had absolutely no idea what was going on!
So when I was invited along to the company’s latest book launch I jumped at the chance. Although I was slightly bemused at the fact that it was for a guidebook to The World. I mean, come on, how on earth could you fit every country into a single book?
The launch night was really fun and it was a chance to catch up with other bloggers and put our travel knowledge to the test with a series of trivia tasks. (Turns out I am terrible at guessing the populations of countries!)
As part of our goody bag we were each given a guide to The World, which I dived into as soon as I got on the train.
The book lists each country in alphabetical order – beginning with Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe – and there are also a few popular itineraries at the start of the book.
There are generally between four and eight pages dedicated to each country, with a short overview and map followed by its top experiences.
One of the things that I like is that while space is tight, Lonely Planet didn’t skimp on the pictures – in some cases putting them across a double page. This means the book doesn’t seem too cluttered and, most importantly, this is what brings a country alive for me.
There are also small boxes covering topics such as When to Go, Food and Drink and Getting Around.
While this certainly isn’t a book you’d ever travel with (it would double your baggage weight for a start) it’s definitely the perfect place to start if you want to travel and you’re not sure where – or simply just a guide to daydream over!
I received a free copy of The World at the Lonely Planet launch. However all views are my own.
I don’t use guide books at all. I relied heavily on gut feeling and the information from other travellers I met along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an anti guide book type (we’ve all met at least one) I just prefer the feeling of ‘getting lost’ even if I do often tread where many already have.
I know what you mean Mark, I tend not to follow them too much but I must admit I don’t know what I would have done without it in countries like China!
Wow you have quite a collection of Lonely Planet guides! Love how old and battered your South America one is looking! I have to admit that I haven’t really delved into mine quite as much yet. Alex had a look and said it was good but I’m trying very hard to resist because I know as soon as I open it a whole ton of ideas will start whirring away in my head!
Yes, it is dangerous Ayla – I’ve already added a few new places to my list! I love my old Lonely Planets, they’re always stuffed with tickets and maps so they bring back lots of memories of my travels 🙂
I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this, I love a good Lonely Planet for day dreaming!
I must admit I’ve already lost a few hours to the day dreaming! 😉
Wow, a lonely planet guide of the world! Where will your next adventure take you…
Heehee, so many choices – so little time!
Oh wow this sounds like a great book- would be good to have a flick through for inspiration. It would be even more fun to flick through with eyes closed, land on a page and book a flight to that country! I do like using guidebooks for longer trips- especially if it’s a country where getting around is not too straight forward.
Ooh, I love that idea! Might have to try it some time – it would definitely be a good way to start an adventure 😉
I agree that I wouldn’t travel with it, it’s a bit of a brick! Certainly one for the bookshelf. I’m not sure it’s one for me, I prefer the thrill of getting a new book when a trip forms! I use them to loosely plan the route, mark things I want to see. I’d love a shelf like that, don’t have that many old books, tend to use them as currency on the road: exchanging them for the next country guide. People must end up with our highly annotated LPs!
The launch sounds fun!
I must admit I’m terrible with my guidebooks – I love to hang on to them all! At one point on my RTW I think I had about four different ones in my backpack. It didn’t help with the weight allowance! Saying that, I’d love to end up with someone’s secondhand annotated LP, for all those extra tips!
I’m a Lonely Planet girl too – my bookshelves are groaning with the weight of them (though I did recently buy a PDF version for Quebec to save carrying the whole book but it’s not quite the same). I have a huge World book but love the idea of this one too – perfect for flicking through to get inspiration. Another couple of good ones are ‘Where to Go When’ and ‘Journeys of a Lifetime’, great armchair travels!