Lonely Planet (new window) guide books seem to be by far the most popular in Asia, which is a massive backpacking region. The company was started by a couple who went travelling and couldn’t find any central source of information on the regions.
In some ways it’s now gone full circle. You meet so many travellers on the road that really moan about seeing all the same back packers in all the same places around Asia. People talk about trying to get away from the backpacker routes and out of the Lonely Planet. In some ways, the LP is a victim of it’s own success.
Personally, I quite like meeting other people and I like being able to turn up somewhere and have a list of a few guest houses. It does make me wonder if there’s a market for a wider, less researched version of the LP though. Lists of a few places to stay, eat and one or two things to see or do in remote places not really covered by the other guide books. Hmm, travelling business venture perhaps? 🙂