Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world. In just over forty years, they have printed over 120 million books, becoming the most successful travel publisher ever. They have around 500 titles that span 195 countries, hiring a combination of travel and local writers to strike a balance between insider tips and foreign perspective. Additionally, these guides are updated with new additions every two years, allowing for new information and highlights with each edition.
These guide books are great because they are straightforward and to-the-point. They are printed in double-columned pages and small print, which can be difficult on the eyes, but ensures for maximum information incorporation. The guides are separated into four major sections: Plan Your Trip, On the Road, Understand, and Survival Guide. The first section covers all vital information one might need to make their trip happen—a cultural etiquette primer, maps, month-by-month calendars of major cultural events, and sample itineraries. The second section comprises the majority of the book; it covers individual areas, breaking down neighborhoods and cities into highlight sites, activities, festivals, events, nightlife, entertainment, shopping, and food recommendations. The Understand section provides a brief history of the country and culture, and the Survival Guide is a quick reference for everything from transportation to emergency medical care tips.
Lonely Planet guide variety is unmatched, and the updates, maps, and recommendations are perfect for both veteran and new travelers. City and small area guides cost around $22, whereas country guides can cost between $25 and $30.