Thirty Years Young

Lonely Planet guidebooks—as indispensable a part of travel as a valid credit card—celebrate their 30th anniversary this month. And every haggard backpacker who has ever needed a hostel address in Chiang Mai or the number of a bus route in New Delhi owes them thanks.

Given that it's in the front section of every volume, Lonely Planet's history is well known. The first title, Across Asia on the Cheap, was written by Maureen and Tony Wheeler after a land journey from London to Australia, as a response to friends who constantly asked, "How did you do it?" The...

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