Don’t you just love Lonely Planet? As an undergraduate, my Lonely Planet Spain Travel Guide was the only book I needed—besides my Spanish dictionary and textbooks, of course—during my travels abroad. I just love how the guides are rooted in keeping travel as cheap as possible—as well as how honest they are. Their full color spreads, maps and especially their tips about the when’s, where’s, and what’s of the area make their guides amazing to read even when you’re not traveling.
But did you know the story of Lonely Planet? It’s just adorable. The founders, Tony and Maureen Wheeler, met on a park bench and were married a year later. They became avid travelers, taking a cross-Europe and Asian trip for their honeymoon. Through their travels, they learned how to make it as cheaply as possible, ending up broke but happy at the end of their trip in Australia.
When they returned, they wrote all about their travels in the book Across Asia on the Cheap and Lonely Planet was started. Today they have guides for countries and trips all over the world, as well as books about subjects ranging from weird foods around the world to traveling with children or heading off to destinations featuring sports.
Some of the company’s bestsellers include Europe on a Shoestring, India Travel Guide, New York Travel Guide, and Australia Travel Guide. But even the more obscure ones are fun to read as well.
You don’t even have to travel to enjoy Lonely Planet guides. Take the Extreme Cuisine book, for example—listed as one of the company’s most popular gift books. It’s like wandering through Fear Factor and a number of those scary-eats shows at your leisure, thumbing through pages of mouth-watering… grasshoppers, scorpions, grubs, and blood.
Traveling isn’t necessary to get a laugh out of lost in translation signs, either. In Signspotting and Signspotting 2, you can see the mis-translated hilarity of fried pimples, tasteless coffee, and warnings to “beware of missing foot.” When you’re learning a new language, you often hear about the possible garbled messages during translations—but seeing actual businesses use them is even funnier than anything you’ve ever imagined.
From destination books to coffee table tomes to even travel gear, Lonely Planet is now one of the most trusted travel names in the world. Use a guide from the company to make your world a little less lonely.