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Criticism of Lonely Planet:

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So, I've been trying to visit every country in the world. After about four world, I'm now up to 79 out of 200.

One absolutely pet-peeve of mine is when I am chilling in a hostel or whatever reading my guidebook, and someone comes up to me and informs me that I'm "not really traveling if I use a guide book" or that they are "more genuine" and "real" because they don't use guides.

Do they not realize how limited and horrendous traveling could be just a few decades ago? I've heard stories of travelers back in the 70's stuck for weeks in Nepal over airplane issues or Visa issues etc, because they had no choice but to blindly enter a country without knowing what to expect.

Thoughts?
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There's a certain element of traveller who is so pretentious that they look down on people who use guides or visit landmarks.

These are typically the people who come back and have wasted months of their time away in travelling through the middle of nowhere , to hang out in the middle of nowhere.

There aren't really any hidden gems in the world anymore, so "going off the beaten track" usually means you end up in places that people don't go to for a reason...because they're shit.
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Guidebooks are to be used as a reference, and not 'you must go there and there and do this'.
But I don't think anyone actually does that (save for japanese).
The good point in them is in the historical/cultural explanation they provide, which is not obvious if you just go there without any knowledge.
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>>915520
>There aren't really any hidden gems in the world anymore

This is a pretty good point. If something amazing is discovered, the whole world will learn about it. The only places that are awesome and can stay off the beaten path are those that are difficult to reach.
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I like setting aside a couple of days checking out the stuff in the guide book and then the rest of the days I explore. Anyone who looks down on you for using one is a tool.
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countries seen is a pretty shitty metric for how much you've traveled. I spent 2 years in australia and visited every fucking corner of that place, but it's still just one country. i've been to india three times and still haven't seen enough. just one country. even the States is worth several visits, or several years of travel. you can knock of countries left and right if you go to europe or south america, but it doesn't mean a thing (they're all the same in south america, anyway)
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>>915520
>>There aren't really any hidden gems in the world anymore, so "going off the beaten track" usually means you end up in places that people don't go to for a reason...because they're shit.

This is absolutely not true for much of the world outside western Europe and North America. Personally I use lonely planet if I'm going to be in a country for more than a month because its still an excellent resource but there are still plenty of awesome travel destinations and experiences that have yet to be recorded in commercially published material.
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the LP is great for getting an idea of what a country is like in general, but it's good to get away from things listed in the LP now and then. there are tons of guesthouses and restaurants in Thailand and Nepal and whatnot that actually advertise "NOT IN THE LONELY PLANET" outside them
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>>915520
> "going off the beaten track" usually means you end up in places that people don't go to for a reason...because they're shit.

Can't agree with that. There are many hidden gems, which aren't described in LP, even though these guidebooks are backed by pretty good research.

But, I could point at such places only in the countries where I spent well over a month, which is usually the top limit of ordinary holidays duration.
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>>915520

Sounds like a Real Traveller
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I don't travel with guide books, although I admit they do have their place and will read them if one is lying around. It is a self-evident that you aren't going to do anything unique by following the lonely planet, but if you don't mind that then it is fine. However when I look back at my own travels, a large percentage of my favourite memories come from times when I just looked at a map and picked some place that looked interesting and then got there however I could. Yes there will be delays, hassles, discomfort, language barriers, and in the end the places might not be that interesting in themselves. But you meet great people and see a genuine part of local life, and if you get lucky you will actually find something fascinating.
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>>915520
I wouldn't quite say there are no hidden gems. The hidden gems, however, ARE quite contingent on speaking the language.

To argue that tehre are no hidden gems is to say that no one, anywhere in the world, has good things to do in their time off outside of traveling to their country's capital and seeing landmarks.

Which is obviously false. Youre simplifying too much in the opposite direction. Be smarter than that.
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>>915672
> Implying all known gems are in the capital or landmarks

There are no hidden gems. everything worth seeing can be found using a couple of hours of google search. Of course a landmark's popularity may not be perfectly related to its awesomeness but there is a good relationship.

however this depends on what you define as worth seeing. Maybe you want to see parts of the country that are not affected by tourism and hence stray off the beaten path in areas that have no touristic value.

Guidebooks are usefu,l but 21st century man, use the internet you luddite cunt
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>>915675
To add, you will never do anything unique in your travels. There is an extremely high probability many people have done it prior to you. You can however do things that are done less frequently by others. These experiences will be unknown to you at the time (having no prior knowledge through reading or pictures) and hence you will gain a sense of adventure.
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>>915679
I think that was the original meaning of that other anon.
Off the beaten "touristic" track maybe, but not off the grid of the general population.

Though to be honest I'm a bit pissed by threads on /trv/ where OP are fascinated by "underground" culture in places where they are not even familiar with the culture.
Sure a rave in the catacombs has a cool factor to show up your Real Travelerness, yeah all of 4chan and reddit will love you for sticking your dick in a skull eye socket; but the Eiffel Tower, although highly popular with tourists, can still be a great sight.
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>>915518
The reason why people think traveling without guides is "real" traveling is because of the unpredictability.

This brings me to a rant I have with The Adventurists, the people who run The Mongol rally. On their website they explain one of the few rules is that your vehicle must be a piece of shit because it will break down which will lead to you needing help which according to them is a "real adventure".

Fair enough, but their fucking entry fee is 500 pounds, or for me about 900 USD. They claim that what you get out of that money is worth it even though it's only a few scheduled parties at checkpoints a GPS system which I guess is on their site. Do they think the kinds of people who would do something like the mongol rally are people with money? I mean yeah, they need to make money somehow but $900 can go a long way when youre traveling. I was a fan of the MR but now I'm thinking its better to just do a similar solo trip.
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>>915520
depends on what you mean by "going off the beaten track"
Ive never been a fan of just heading one direction and seeing whats there. because its most often boring as hell and nothing interesting happens.

But going off the beaten track could be a local taking you into their home which is almost always an opportunity you shouldnt pass up. I could think of other totally different examples, but yeah youre wrong m8
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>>915518

Dad got stuck in Afghanistan in the 60's, he was trying to do the hippie thing and managed to get lost and robbed.

Though he ended up going back to Pakistan where there was an embassy through the Khyber pass and what is now the FATA in Pakistan, he said the Pashtuns were some of the nicest people he had ever met.

I think if he had been going through the FATA now days he would not be saying the same things.
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>>915679
So long as you don't expect to discover a wonder of the world, you are wrong. It isn't that hard to get to a village where no white person has been in living memory. But yeah, don't expect to find a hotel with english speaking staff there.
>>
I use LP to get a skeleton outline of what I want to see/do and build around that. I also like to pull from tripadvisor and whatever equivalent of yelp is in that country (if it's available).
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>>915550
Every country has its own little nuances that make them unique. the more you've been to, the more cultures you've experienced, simple as that. let alone the geographic aspect of it, physically visiting a wider range of climates and topographies.

All that time you spent in oz, you could have spent in different, more interesting countries [honestly what the fuck were you thinking?], two of those times you went to India were two times you missed out on Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, or Nepal, or Bhutan or Pakistan or Tibet.

Real traveler here: 55 countries (6 Europe), 30 years old
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>>915745
What a load of crap. Who the fuck cares how many stamps are in the passport. I would rather spend half a year in one region then blazing in and out of 7 countries.

You never get into the culture if you dont know the language anyways.

Only country metric that counts is the number of flags.
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>>915672
>I wouldn't quite say there are no hidden gems. The hidden gems, however, ARE quite contingent on speaking the language.
This. The locals know about it but usually it takes a little bit of time for it to be translated into English. But if you know the language of the country then you use a guide book or search in that countries language.
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>>915725
This is not unique, many people have gone to villages in whoop whoop. Just because you went to village b does not mean it is not different from village a. There might be marginal differences in culture if that.

I am also sceptical about how you determined that no white person had been there in living memory.

It is a false sense of discovery, everybody wishes they were the first to do this or that but you are lying to youself.

Maybe become friends with Elon Musk and go to Mars or something.
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>>915745
His point was that there is inter-regional variation within countries. Each state in India is very different (culture, language, etc) yet it is one country. I have a stamp from India in my passport but I have only been to three states and I definitely do not think I have truly travelled India.

A better travel indicator might be a combination of days travelled and distance covered.
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>>915803
Seriously? Many people have been to cities. Many people have been to the countryside. So why travel? Basically what you are saying. Get off the internet you fucking spastic.
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"It's all about the journey, not the destination."
"It's all about the destination, not the journey."
Why isn't traveling about experiencing both journey and destination? I guess it takes on a bit of a hedonist vibe, but I mean it is a bit hedonistic. I can't see any justification for either of the above statements without adding an experience element, which basically makes us all hedonists. Plus, experience doesn't necessarily have to be hedonistic, it can have a concrete purpose in an abstract way. Good travel experiences I feel hinge on spontaneity and interesting vibes more than they do on place itself(purely, at least), at least for tourist experiences(like most of us, one way or another, are looking for). If you're living somewhere, the approach is different, but if you're using a lonely planet then you more than likely aren't living there. I think Lonely Planet quells the spontaneity, and thus makes less interesting vibes and a worse travel experience than if you'd just stumbled upon it [spontaneously]. I know that some of the best experiences I have had traveling have been wholly spontaneous, although not exclusively. Company also makes a difference, as I say, it's all about interesting vibes and spontaneity, good company is important.
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>>915807
Biggest counterpoint to your post is that if you stumbled upon a truly amazing sight or area, it's because you didn't do enough research.The world has been logged and blogged.Discovery is over, only the uninformed think their travels are unique.
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>>915809
But research is boring and stumbling is exciting. The stumbling is an important part of it. My point was largely about how the spontaneity of stumbling is important to the vibe and that that's a major part of the experience, which is what we travel for. I really don't see how, 'Well that's just a sign you should have done more research,' counteracts that. Logged and blogged the world may be, but we live in a portion of history where personal experience has never been more important.
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>>915811
>But research is boring

I disagree, planning and researching is part of the trip to me.
I'm traveling in my mind before actually hitting the road. Looking at itineraries, hotels, car rentals... puts me in a traveling mood even months in advance.

Also some destinations NEED you to plan and research, be it for visa issues, or popular spots that are booked months in advance.
When I'm traveling to a big city I also check in advance whatever show/exhibition is in town at the same time as I am or if a restaurant I want to try needs prior reservation.

I think it mainly depends on your type of travels, and on what you expect from your trips.
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>>915814
I plan too, and I get a lot out of it as well, but the strictly planned side of the trip to me are seldom the most enjoyable/memorable; compared to actually traveling that part of traveling is like watching a movie, just escapism from banality. That's the limitation of the use of LP imo.
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>>915814
An itinerary turns the potential for anything into a scripted bore. It's great you enjoy your kind of travel but please stop expounding on it, it makes me feel like I'm in a retirement home. No wonder you think that discovery is impossible if everything you have ever seen you first saw on the internet. The fact is there is much more to the world than has been blogged about. And I mean muuuuch more. Stop pretending you know everything.
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>>915811
Stumbling about aimlessly is a waste of time/money/effort, some basic research would have out at the same spot without the bullshit.Every person I've spoken to with the same ideals inevitably misses half of the great sights in a country/gets their shit stolen/ends up bored.
>>Important to the vibe
Vague bullshit in an attempt to sound deep, you are saying you like finding places you hadn't heard about, I'm saying you would already know of those places, and spend less time wandering aimlessly, with basic research.
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>>915818
What I said wasn't vague, and you didn't read my posts closely enough. You're projecting an extreme opinion onto me that I don't hold: I clearly acknowledge the importance of planning, to some extent -- you need to know what you're getting into. Wandering aimlessly, I don't do, I always have a general plan, but stray from it as often as I want to. I think that's the best way to approach traveling, and if you don't think so, enjoy your tour group.

>>important to the vibe
>trying to sound deep
Am I trying to sound deep? If I was trying to sound deep I might have used a bigger and more complicated word. Vibe and how you're feeling, what mood you're in, if you're tired or alert, sober or shitfaced, with guys or girls, etc etc etc, -- we could go on all day -- are essential to the experience, which is essential to how much you're going to enjoy/get out of/experience/want to continue/etc etc etc, -- we could go on all day -- the trip as a whole. Pretty fucking simple, not at all vague. Spontaneity is important in travel, enjoy writing your itineraries and generally being a dry sack of shit, though. There's a middle-ground in this argument that you're abstaining from, but to argue what you're claiming is plain idiocy.
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>>915817
Everything you said is wrong, and you are a fool.I want you to name me a single amazing thing you have ever seen or visited that was not blogged and written about before you arrived.Just one, not 10, only one.Prove me wrong.

Oh this great wall hike would have been great, if only I didn't take the time to read up on its starting point,finishing point and available public transport! I should have wandered around bumfuck no where gesturing to the locals about a wall and fisting myself!
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>>915821
I hate tour groups, one of the main reason I research is to avoid them, I can research public transport,costs, accommodation and what time the tourist coaches arrive so I can avoid them, enjoy rocking up without a clue and being swamped by spitting chinese tourists.

Though I admit I have been on two tours, DPRK and tibet, though it's not as though you can avoid using a tour in those two areas.
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>>915824
>>915826
Do I even have to. What I'm saying is perfectly clear, no one is denying the importance of research, we're talking about the limits of use on LP you bunch of fucking morons.
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>>915817
You must have me confused with another anon.
>>915814 is my only post ITT.

Also, fuck you pedantic faggot.
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Traveling for me is all about meeting the people of a country. I was in the Dubai last month waiting for a visa and guy from my hostel invited me to stay with him in Abu Dhabi.

Long story short, I wound up spending for nights in a labor camp. Thanks to my dark skin I was able to walk in no questions asked. Ended up having a wonderful time speaking to and hanging out with the workers who built the city. I don't think they put that in the abu dhabi section on Lonely Planet..

>pic related, having tea in our 10 person dorm.
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>>915858
>this is why I don't stay in dorms
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>>915858
>>915858
Four* lol

I could give a fuck less if I missed sheik Zayed mosque, yas island, another dam shopping mall or ferrari world or whatever the fuck it's called.
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>>915518
who gives a fuck what they think? tell them you've seen more of the planet than 95% of the world's population. then blow smoke in their face.
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>>915858
as an aside-
so they haven't discovered the table yet in Dubai? Or do they prefer scraping street shit off their flatbread?
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>>915859
Maybe I should have clarified that this was the dorm in the labor camp.

>FREE accommodation
>3 FREE meals a day

5 star fucking labor camp. Would stay again.

I wonder how many stars LP gave it?
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>>915879
>I wonder how many stars LP gave it?
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>>915859

yeah, you're a spoiled brat, of course you don't.
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>>915885
Another spolied brat here, dorm peasants are the worst, one came up and tried to talk to me the other day.I had my tour guide shoo him away, it was dreadful.
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>>915824
You seem like the kind of person who only wants to see large attractions to take photos for posting on facebook, so no you aren't going to find anything you think is amazing. But the vast majority of Africa, for example, has never been written about and you can have all kinds of experiences there. But to you they are "just villages". Just accept that you are a tourist and not a Real Traveler. I want to see how you put these kinds of things in your precious itinerary: "Meet random guy on street, go stay in his village for a few days getting to know local culture". "Meet beautiful girl, spend week in her bedroom fucking like rabbits". "Make circle of friends, spend next month in this city with said friends having a good time". "Hitch hike aimlessly, end up in the middle of nowhere, walk around enjoying the place".

Now go back to reading LP.
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>>916008
Name one amazing sight in africa that hasn't been written about, or even a single stand-out village, oh wait, you can't.

The funny thing is all those experiences you list are the exact same experiences you can have when you do some research, reading an article online does not stop you from meeting people.

>> "Hitch hike aimlessly, end up in the middle of nowhere, walk around enjoying the place"

Pffffftt hahahahahaha.

No, I will not go back to reading LP, I gotta catch a flight from jeju to seoul, tomorrow I visit guinsa temple for a night then Im heading to Deogyusan National Park to do the Hyangjeokbong peak hike, I am sure I will have a terrible time though, because unlike you, I did some research and know what I am doing.
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>>916009
Are you fucking retarded? This is literally the third time I have told you that no, you aren't going to find something to appeal to superficial tourists, and that doesn't mean you can't have amazing experiences. And no, there is no way in the world you can plan for them, I promise you that. Enjoy your package tour.
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>>915957
You were mad someone tried to talk to you?

That's a bit hard to understand. Why don't you want to talk to someone? Just because you think you're better than they are? You should know that doesn't make you look good.
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>>916015
You will understand the feeling when you are out with your tour group and an unshaven, disheveled backpacker comes and tries to socialise with you. Sometimes they don't even wear straw hats and hang expensive DSLRs around their neck and have their LP in their superfluous day pack. Scum of the earth.
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>>916013
Holy shit hahaha,you got botched out 3 times in a row now,wreck.If you read my post you can see I say you can still meet people and research places before you go,illiterate bigger.
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>>916016
One of them even told me he ate "street food", I nearly gagged. No wonder he smelt like poor and looked to be suffering from jaundice.
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>>916008
I will end the argument.

You clearly misinterpreted his post. His statement is that nothing is unique. This is fact, all of Africa has been explored by white people. I know this, I am African.

However whilst you may be doing something that everyone else has already done, it does not mean it is not worth doing.

Secondly, ignorance is bliss. Whilst it is important to reasearch and find the main attractions; wandering into places you consider to be "the midlle of nowhere" can be exciting and gives you a sense of adventure. It doesn't matter that thousands of people have done the same thing, it is just nice to be somewhere different where you don't know what you're doing. Call it personal discovery.

Also "Real Traveller" is a joke. no such hting as real travel
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>>915885
>>915957
>>916016
>>916041
If you're over the age of 25 and still staying in dorms when you travel, you really do deserve contempt - so these words of wisdom only apply over age 25. I used to be dormscum too when I was a young buck, but anyone with any kind of real job should not want or have to stay in a dorm in a hostel. Maybe stay in a single room in a hostel, but a dorm? What a loser.

If you go to an exotic country where the single rooms in local hotels are cheaper than the YHA hostel dorms, you have to ask yourself what the fuck you're doing at the hostel in the first place.

If you go to a rich country and can't afford a single room in the hostel, maybe you should reevaluate which countries you should be visiting.
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>>916198
>when I was a young buck
>>
There is no good reason whatsoever to not do your research, it just leads to lots of stuff being missed and wasted time.

And guide books are mainly good for initial planning or emergencies, I have seen three different books all fail to mention a fortress right in the middle of a city.
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Research enables you to use your time more wisely because you dont have forever in wherever you're visiting to begin with. You want to get the most of it, dont you?

Are people on here seriously stupid enough to think that if you do your research you wont "stumble" upon interesting things to begin with? Of course you will!

This "lack of research is cool" opinion circulating here seems to be one of people who haven't really traveled much, but idolize the idea of a traveler randomly running around and taking what the world gives him. Life isn't that idealistic.

Go to wherever the hell you want for 2 weeks with no research and see what happens. As you struggle to figure out what the fuck to do by asking locals who most likely dont want to see your uninformed tourist ass, you'll be lost and wasting your time.
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OP HERE

I'm glad this thread picked up.

"There aren't really any hidden gems in the world anymore" >>915520


This is total bullshit. Even capital cities (like Quito, Ecuador) have far off sections of city where no travelers go--you can go stay in a shoe-cobbler's house with fifteen people in a single house and have him show you a picture of a family tree that goes back 300 years.

"countries seen is a pretty shitty metric for how much you've traveled" >>915550

Well, you're dead fucking wrong. Central America has seven countries which you can honestly can enjoy in a two month period. Spending two years in Panama or Guatemala would bore the living shit out of you; see the English-speaking Africans of Belize, the Socialist attempt of El Salvador, or the mountainous lives of Colombia...as a general rule, I'd recommend trying to see as much as possible.

Experiencing the culture-shock of Finland is just as fun as the culture-shock of Afghanistan as it is of Laos.
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>>916261
>you can go stay in a shoe-cobbler's house with fifteen people in a single house and have him show you a picture of a family tree that goes back 300 years.

In other words, there's still poverty in the world. So what?

Honestly, that poster is right--there's no off the beaten track anymore because so many people travel, and the world is so fucking overpopulated now. Places like Phi Phi and Atitlan used to be unknown, but they're crawling with tourists now. Those were "hidden gems" 20 years ago.
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>>916235
Nice assumptions, but you're wrong. I've been doing it for years, and it is far and away the best way to travel in my opinion.
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>>916270
>but you're wrong
>in my opinion

Kek, take a look at this jibby wibbler, too afraid to stand by his opinions.

ALso purposely avoiding knowledge is a fucking retarded concept and only commited by REAL TRAVELER TEE EM's who enjoy wasting their time,money,life wandering around witnessing nothing.B-BUT I MET POOR BROWN PEOPLE ANON! IT WAS INCREDIBLE, THEY WERE REALLY POOR!....AND BROWN!
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>>916273

>This "lack of research is cool" opinion circulating here seems to be one of people who haven't really traveled much
You are wrong.

>it is far and away the best way to travel
In my opinion.

You mong.
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>>916281
what?
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>>916267

There are more than 180,000 islands in the world. I'm sorry that your Thailand-based ass thinks that Leonardo DiCaprio fucked up Ko Phi Phi for you.

Did you want to be alone with Leo on the little itty-bitty island?

"there's no off the beaten track anymore because so many people travel, and the world is so fucking overpopulated now."

You're an idiot--go travel Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan (you can stay there months and not run into a tourist), just go to India and get out of downtown you will not run into another tourist. I stayed in Tajikistan for a month--aside from two French people and an Australian I was the only traveler I saw.

Define your terms, what do you mean hidden gem? You can stay with people who have never used a cell-phone or tv, who have been doing the same lifestyle for 300 years--what do you want? To go discover some Mayan temple and stand on it all alone?
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>>915679
>nihilists in my /trv/
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>>915518
>One absolutely pet-peeve of mine is when I am chilling in a hostel or whatever reading my guidebook, and someone comes up to me and informs me that I'm "not really traveling if I use a guide book" or that they are "more genuine" and "real" because they don't use guides.
Ignore these idiots. The are judging you based on interactions with others in their past. You're not them.
>Do they not realize how limited and horrendous traveling could be just a few decades ago? I've heard stories of travelers back in the 70's stuck for weeks in Nepal over airplane issues or Visa issues etc, because they had no choice but to blindly enter a country without knowing what to expect.
70s? Please. There were guidebooks going back to the middle ages. You know before the telephone and telex, things were definitely complicated and more formal in making reservations, and it was a necessity to prearrange much of your travel or find no room at the inn. Guidebooks are great sources of walking tours, formalities, in the case of like a Rick Steves, helps you make some choices like insider information, tips like avoiding lines, or like the Frommers or zagat diner information. Even michelin is old school. And, no, the internet is not the same. And, no, winging it is fun if you don't give a shit about your money, your time, or returning again, but that logic doesn't make reading a guide the complete polar opposite to fun or normal. It's a tool. You use it. Others do as well. Some people who are idiots at home will act out when they travel. Don't be surprised if they mouth off to you or gain a little arrogance to express themselves while they live like a king for a few days.
I like how I travel. While I don't have a list or number I need to check off, it's up there, but it's not my goal. I follow my whim and mood. I return to places as much times as I new try ones. I have high standards for my evening comfort, and I build in spa days. Do your own thing and don't peeve.
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>>916552
Depending on where you go you still have to prearrange or pay much more for somewhere to stay.
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>>916554
Oh, it can be less too, however. The "fill an empty room" urgency or a priceline used to be done in person. I used to fly somewhere for the day, make a refundable reservation somewhere, and then walk next door or the one next star up, and before check-in to see if they would beat the rate. 9 times out of 10, if they had a room, they would match or beat it. Rental cars as well. Got a $100 rate with Avis, walk right over to Hertz first, before picking up your Avis car, and see what the manager will do for you.
>>
>>915877
>then blow smoke in their face.

This made me smile.
>>
>>915599
Always just flicked open google maps and found stuff around me and just went from there, never once been too terribly disappointed.
>>
>mfw I plan every single trip down to the fine details weather I'm going away for a weekend or 4 months
>mfw I use guide books everywhere i go
>mfw I never couch surf
>mfw I wont stay in shitty looking hostels
>mfw I book excursions and tourist packages
>mfw I don't travel light
>mfw I don't give a fuck when Real Travellerâ„¢ faggots look down their noses on the way I travel.
>>
I use old LP books because I only specifically use them for 2 things. 1 is to see what I should be checking out in each city I visit. 2 is to find maps with landmarks or directions to those sites in #1. I would never use LP for places to stay or eat because those change all the time and it's much better to look them up online. But LP also has good itinerary suggestions for which cities to hit up.

At the end of the day, just rolling into a random city with nothing to see or do won't make you a better traveler like you say. There's plenty of those cities in the world, and local would at first look at you like you're some idiot for showing up and second would tell you to move on to the next city where there is something worth visiting. I can understand just randomly wondering around one of the world-cities like NY or London or Tokyo and stumbling upon interesting sights. But for every one of those there's a hundred Tacoma's where there really isn't much to do beyond going to a bar.

Just cause you take some notes from LP doesn't make you an organized-tour tourist. If you stumble upon a hidden temple in Tokyo, walk in and see a group of Germans with LP, how does that impact your experience? Are you really so much better than Hans in khakis and a fanny pack? You're both looking at the same temple.

I think people in this thread have a skewed view of travel. I think after watching many of those travel guide shows they think that spontaneous travel happens all the time and you make all these amazing experiences from just stumbling around in some Turkish village. Thing is, those shows are all scripted and pre-arranged. That guy who randomly took the show's host to eat at his grandma's house is getting paid. You want real experiences you need to get into the depths of the local society, know the language and customs and then you'll get real experiences, otherwise we're all just shades of tourists.
>>
>>916584
>be me
>be stumbling around turkish villages
>get randomly invited to live with people
>therewasnoscript.jpg
>>
>>916585
Of course...
>>
>>915745

lol, 55, I got you beat by one bro. 32 here. can't travel for a while now, though. :(
>>
>>916261

>Spending two years in Panama or Guatemala would bore the living shit out of you

that's why you don't spend 2 years in panama. but 2 years in India would let you experience hundreds of cultures and dozens of languages.
>>
>>916584
>I think after watching many of those travel guide shows they think that spontaneous travel happens all the time and you make all these amazing experiences from just stumbling around in some Turkish village. Thing is, those shows are all scripted and pre-arranged.
Not necessarily true. Walk around many African villages and you'll get an invite for dinner if you converse with them for 5 minutes. It depends on the location but this is wholly possible and happens frequently.
>>
Jesus fuck I can't believe this thread is still here. The amount of planning you do and whether you use a guidebook or not depends on so many factors :

- It's easier not to plan if you're traveling for a long period of time : spending a few days wandering around in some moderately exciting place hoping that something cool will happen is fine if you're traveling for six months or a year. If you're on a regular two week vacation, you might want to make the most of it and not waste time figuring out what to do / where to go / where to sleep.

- It depends on what you're interested in. Want to meet locals, get to know them, try local street food ? Why and how would you plan that ? You're interested in romanesque wall painting in rural churches ? Well you'd better plan hard because 99% of locals won't know shit about that and you'll have to arrange for people to open most churches for you.

- You're paranoid and have panic attacks when you don't know what's going to happen next ? Plan. You like being surprised ? Don't.

- Where are you traveling ? Pakistan ? Well, maybe you should do some research. Japan ? You'll be fine without planning anything.

- When are you going there ? Carnival in Venice ? You'll need to book well in advance. Emilia-Romagna at the same time of year ? You can show up anywhere you'll get a room.

- What's your comfort zone / budget ? If you haven't planned for your accomodation, can you pay for something more expensive than what you'd usually pay for if everything else is booked ? Alternatively, are you ready to sleep outside ?

We could probably go on like this for a long time, and deciding how much planning is done depends on all those factors. Doing some planning doesn't necessarily annihilate any possible surprises, not planning doesn't mean you'll miss great sights.

We should have "There is no one way to travel" written somewhere, too many people tend to forget that thing which is a prerequisite to discuss travel intelligently as we should.
>>
Am I the only one who just Wikitravel and Tripadvisor when planning a trip?

There's no reason to invest in a book. Use Wikitravel to check out information about where you're heading to, how to get around, what to see etc. etc. Use Tripadvisor for hostel reviews or finding places to eat.
>>
>>916857
I do the same. There's plenty of good information available online these days. The only time I could see LP being useful would be when you go to a country without good interweb connections.
>>
>>916857

wikitravel used to be good, but it's shite now. the same ability for anyone to edit it means shitty hostels and restaurants recommend themselves in many places. it's as broken as Yelp.
>>
LP is not bad. Wikitravel is better. On my last trip to China I didn't even take a guidebook.
>>
>>916873
Yeah but LP has outdated recommendations on both restaurants and hotels/hostels as well. This is why for hostels I always compare the reviews on hostelworld and hostelbookers to see what they're like. And for restaurants there's review sites or restaurant bloggers that you can rely on.

Wikitravel is still pretty good at telling you how to get to a location and then the landmarks or places to see.
>>
>>916817
73 countries here. Age 37.
>>
Which books would you guys recommend for the pictures and/or narration for immersion purposes?

I rarely use travel guides for actual advice. I've found I enjoyed the books that make me feel like I'm there, that give me an insight of the place and get me hyped.
>>
>>916857
I use every guide ever made and have never paid a cent, who the fuck pays for books in 2014?
>>
>>916897
How did you speak the language or get around town?
>>
I'm probably a pleb for this but every time I've gone to europe i've stayed in hyatts using my points, had a international data package and just walked around looking at 4chan,

At least when I went to concerts with friends I was drunk enough to not be autistismo
>>
>>916817
Then you're fucked, I'm going to destroy you. I just turned 30 two months ago and have a trip planned to visit three new ones in one week time.

>>916989
how many in Europe?
>>
>>917501
You're all fucked, 23 year old here, 26 countries down, 2 more planned for this year, and 140 planned over the next 5 years, its gg no re you you geriatric fags.
>>
>>916573

Solid post
>>
>>917509
>140 planned over the next 5 years
Good luck with that Chad. Solid investment of your trust fund.
>>
>>915518
>someone comes up to me and informs me that I'm "not really traveling if I use a guide book" or that they are "more genuine" and "real" because they don't use guides
tell em to fuck off. ive never met cunts like that
>>
>>917501
All of them.
>>
>>915518
I am Mexican, I just bought one to see what they said about.
>>
Lonely Planet sucks ass. It reads like it was written by a 21-year-old pretentious hipster, blatantly calling places 'ugly' or 'boring'. It's not a guide with all these opinions. I want a DESCRIPTION of where I'm going, not a judgement or a review (of only one person, mind you).

I bought the Lonely Planet book for Iran and they're basically trying way to hard to give you the 'authentic' experience with supposedly 'pure culture'. The guide told me Tehran was an ugly city where you shouldn't be for more than two days. So, you should more or less skip the most important city of Iran just because it is not historical looking to go for muh authentic experience which is not authentic at all because all those places are riddled with other retarded backpackers who are afraid to make their own decisions.
>>
>>918790

Tehran is hands down one of the ugliest cities I have ever seen.
>>
>>918832
Not that guy, but I like Tehran. Yeah it isn't beautiful, but I have seen much uglier cities. And it is a fun place to be.
>>
>>915518
sounds like hipsters to me
wake up super early and steal their shit before you leave the hostel
>>
>>915858
I had a bad experience in Morocco, so I couldn't handle that sort of situation.
>tfw you are now a little bit /pol/ ;_;
>>
>>916198
>If you're over the age of 25 and still staying in dorms when you travel, you really do deserve contempt
fug
>>
>>918899
Don't worry, that's only 4chan logic.
>>
>>918897

You had a bad experience in Morocco so now you're scared of brown people? kek m8

Morocco is easy mode btw

t. Real Traveler
>>
>>918922
Morocco haggling is not easy mode though.
>>
>>916536
>You can stay with people who have never used a cell-phone or tv, who have been doing the same lifestyle for 300 years
I'm going to have to ask - so what? What do you get from that? Do you get some sort of neo-luddite charge from it?

I don't mean to sound aggressive or sceptical, I'm just honestly puzzled. What makes the fact that they've done the same thing for 300 years interesting?
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