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Advice for Using the Lonely Planet Guides

THAILAND | Monday, 2 March 2009 | Views [1053] | Comments [4]

Albert opens a discussion about the controvertial border. In a coffee shop.

Albert opens a discussion about the controvertial border. In a coffee shop.

 

We’ve travelled around half of the world using the Lonely Planet Guides, and we think they are a great way to give you some basic information for your trip. However, they are not, and do not profess to be the gospel of travel, and we’d like to share some of our experience with you to help you get more out of your Lonely Planet Guide.

 

Do’s

 

  • Do treat the Guide as a Guide, and not the be all and end all of information.
  • We’ve found that nothing beats local knowledge, so feel free to make friends with people on the internet on travel forums and talk to them about their area, before you arrive.
  • When you do arrive, get advice from ‘impartial’ locals and other travellers.
  • Do talk to other travellers.
  • Keep a smile on your face.
  • Believe most people are just like you. That is, they don’t want to steal from you or trick you or abuse you in any way.
  • Try the stalls. They are cheap and fun. Choose the ones that have a lot of people in them – they have the quickest turn over of food.
  • Learn some basics in the local tongue. Nothing lights people up more than a tourist with a little show of respect for the local people.
  • Listen to advice from other travellers, but also, notice who you are talking to. Everyone is different and has different expectations about their travel needs.
  • Talk to locals about their leisure activities in the area. They have a few good secrets up their sleeves.
  • Be spontaneous. Wander around the streets. Keep the hotel card in your pocket and if worse comes to worst, you call always get a rickshaw/taxi home again.
  • Research where you are going to. It makes everything some much more interesting once you arrive.
  • Join forums, or just lurk, and find out information that is up-to-date. Many people have great blogs about their travels too, and share their experiences and advice. The internet is invaluable for planning your trip.
  • Treat others as you would like to be treated. How would you like tourists to treat you and your country when they come to visit you? Exactly.
  • Have a great time.

 

Don’ts

 

  • Believe everything you read. The writers are people just like you, so their opinions are to be weighed with your own information from other sources.
  • Just roll up to the first hotel the guide suggests and then feel devastated when its full. Usually, where there’s one hotel, there are quite a few other options, and since they have not been quoted by the lonely planet, then they will be more reasonable and happier to please. 
  • Be paranoid about the violence in ‘hot spots’. As one American we met said (while we were travelling in terrorist infested Sumatra) ‘We have shootings back home every week. Here, I’ve never met a nicer, friendlier bunch of people or felt safer.’
  • Ignore cultural advice about clothing and greetings.
  • Be afraid or worried. When you’ve faced problems before, you got through them. Being afraid about something that might happen just marks you as a ‘victim’. Stay positive and sensible and skip the drama.
  • Treat a country like it’s little more than a potty hole because its currency is low. People are people, no matter where they are from or what their currency is worth, or how they live their lives. I’ve seen the look of utter disbelief on Westerners’ faces when then realise how cheap things and its often mingled with ‘I wonder if this country realises its so cheap for us to come here’ and ‘ahh, they’re poor and deserve my pity not to be like me – privileged.’  They are poorer, many times, than what we are used to. But instead of pity, give them respect and honest kindness. Many of us weren’t so better off ourselves 50 years or so ago. Just ask your parents.

 

Mistakes/ Out dated Information

 

  • Sometimes the maps are not perfect.
  • Sometimes the information is not exact. Like, this hotel is right beside the National Park (actually, it could be a kilometre or so)
  • We’ve usually been charged 10 – 20 % more than the latest Lonely Planet Guide has quoted.  Sometimes we’ve been charged less.

Comments

1

hey Guys, great tips - I've made this a feature post in our Adventures section.
I didn't realise you were back on the road again. Looking forward to more tales and inspiration,

take care
Christy
Community Manager, WorldNomads.com

  crustyadventures Mar 2, 2009 12:26 PM

2

Thank you Christy!
We are on the road again, yes... and we will for a couple of months more... we'll keep writing some stuff about it!

Hugs from us!

  allwelcome Mar 4, 2009 2:20 PM

3

Well said.
Thanks for sharing

to crustyadventures: on photo you look like Lara croft in the same movie
lisa

  lisa Mar 5, 2009 7:45 PM

4

We’ve travelled around half of the world using the Lonely Planet Guides, and we think they are a great way to give you some basic information for your trip. However, they are not, and do not profess to be the gospel of travel, and we’d like to share some of our experience with you to help you get more out of your Lonely Planet Guide.


ihackr

  ihackr Mar 24, 2009 6:36 AM

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