The Lonely Planet guidebooks are an essential part of your travel armamentarium
when seeing the world.
It has all the basic stuff you would find in a travel book: places to see, stay, eat, activities and tours, facts about the place, a little bit of a history lesson, maps, getting there and around etc. But what I like about them is that it gives loads of practical information and recommendations, and it is constantly updated by travellers.
They always list the name of the place with a telephone number, and a web site if applicable. And prices (last reported!), with a comment on the suitability. It has a simple efficient narrative style. Lonely Planet encourages feedback from travellers. Nothing stays the same. Everyone who writes to them will get their name in the next edition of the appropriate guide and a free subscription to their newsletter.
It is generally suited to those travelling in less than 4- 5 star luxury, and that is really the majority of us out there! It does have its root with backpackers. Lonely Planet has quite a diversified series covering the whole earth: travel guides, shoe string guides, walking guides, city guides, audio packs, travel atlases, diving and snorkelling guides and travel literature. You and even download selected guidebook upgrades from www.lonelyplanet.com. There is also a tv and video series.
The Lonely Planet Story
It began in 1972 when Tony and Maureen Wheeler took a journey across Asia, from England to Australia. As there was virtually no information about the overland route at that time, so they responded to questions by compiling the book Across Asia on the Cheap in 1973. The book was written and stapled together at a kitchen table in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia).
I guess you might say that the rest was history. From the first tiny office in Melbourne, Lonely Planet has grown to become the largest independent travel publisher in the world. It has offices in Melbourne, Oakland, London and Paris.