In the case of some Lonely Planet books, the answer might be none. According to one Lonely Planet contributor, he actually wrote one of the books without ever visiting the country covered. Of course, all these revelations are made in another book that he is releasing, so it is likely that this is just more publicity for that. But it does raise the issue of how much faith we place in travel guides when heading out on a trip. Personally, I’ve been burned by Lonely Planet a couple times and no longer find that their guides match up with my travel habits/desires. Still, I depend on guides at least to get me started, and definitely to help me out once I’m on the ground somewhere. Of course, I also depend on the locals once I get “there” since they are likely to know more than a guide book from a few years ago.
Oh, and the Lonely Planet claims that the books seem just fine to them.
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