Mar 3 2012

The curse of The Lonely Planet

If a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears it, does it make a sound?

Being a fairly down to earth, practical type of guy –  yes, of course it bloomin’ does. If I make a pie and no-one eats it, it’s still a pie isn’t it?

If, on the other hand, this ruddy guide book hadn’t told everyone that sunset from this particular viewpoint is fantastic, would it still be fantastic?

Again, yes it probably would. But they did tell everyone. And they’re all here with us. Damn.

We’ve spent a lot of time this year reading Lonely Planet Guides, mainly because they are available on Kindle where their competitors are not. The other major guide books probably suffer from exactly the same problem, but I don’t know because we haven’t been using them!

My theory is this: If a hotel / bar / town / whatever is recommended in a major guide book, they will be swamped with tourists for the entire time that edition of the guide book is in print, whether or not the hotel / restaurant / bar / town carries on being any good. It’s a golden ticket, which enables the hotel or whatever to double their prices, sack the cleaner, and watch the travellers queue up regardless.  The Lonely Planet is a self defeating prophecy. Of course there are exceptions, but at the budget end of things it does seem to hold true a lot of the time. Ah well, trip advisor it is then…

 

PS – If you are gong travelling, buy a Kindle! They’re amazing. I have 16 guidebooks, the complete works of Shakespeare, most of last year’s booker nominees and 70 other books in my bag… and they have the combined size and weight of an A5 exercise book. Brilliant. I love it more than sausages.