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Are Lonely Planet Books Still Trustworthy?

Which guidebooks should you read?

We're in shock after a Lonely Planet guidebook writer admitted that he made up information for the famous guides. The quirky guidebooks are proudly promoted because of their "untarnished" journalistic integrity. "If it's in the guidebook our authors have been there."

Searching for AnswersSearching for AnswersThomas Kohnstamm wrote about Chile, the Caribbean, and other South and Central American countries. According to his book Do Travel Writers Go to Hell, he copied information from other guides, dealt drugs for extra cash and even made up details when necessary.

According to folks at Lonely Planet, his reprehensible behavior is completely against company policy, and all the guides he worked on (at least the ones that are still in print) are being thoroughly fact-checked. They reassure readers that his big talk about Columbia isn't so bad after all:

"Thomas has claimed that he was not paid enough to travel to Colombia when he was employed as an author on our Colombia guide. The fact is that Thomas was not employed as an on-the-ground author on that guidebook. This means that he did not write any reviews - of places or establishments - in this book. His contribution was to the introductory chapter covering history, culture, food and drink and environment. "

If this could happen to Lonely Planet...which guidebook can you trust? We don't think this is a matter of Lonely Planet being the underpaying slave drivers that their ex-author is alleging. There are bad apples everywhere.

The fact is, so far the Lonely Planet haven't been able to turn up errors in their fact checking, so Kohnstamm was either lucky, or he's lying about how much he lied.

I'd continue to trust the Lonely Planet, but I use guidebooks in pairs, or with information I find online. Online sources like Restaurantica, Trip Advisor and Go Girlfriend let you find reviews that matter to you. And guidebooks are good general guides.


Will you trust Lonely Planet after this scandal?

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I totally agree with you. I think I my trust in LP has definitely depleted after this. I like to travel mostly, now, with information I get off the internet. I like vivatravelguides.com, plus they sometimes even publish their info from the internet into books. Mostly, I just hope this author doesn't get any rewards from this book and taking advantage LP.

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