The Lonely Planet Story

Lonely Planet began in the early 1970s after founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler completed an overland journey from London through Asia and on to Australia. Recently married, they took the trip in a hopeless attempt to get travel out of their systems before settling into ‘real world’ jobs. After arriving in Australia, the Wheelers were approached by so many other travellers with questions about their trip that they decided to publish a book about it.

Written at their kitchen table and hand-collated, trimmed and stapled, that book, Across Asia on the Cheap, became the first Lonely Planet guidebook and an instant local bestseller. Eighteen months in South-East Asia resulted in their second guide, South-East Asia on a shoestring, which became one of the most popular guidebooks ever.

Today there are nearly 500 Lonely Planet employees working in offices in Melbourne, Australia; Oakland, California; London, and Paris and a crew of experienced authors traveling and writing around the globe.

While Lonely Planet initially covered far-flung destinations for budget travellers, its scope has widened to cover the most popular spots on earth and to offer good-value options for travellers of all ranges.

The typical Lonely Planet reader is hard to define by age or income. Whether a student on a first trip to Europe, a trekker traversing the Himalaya or a business executive touching down for a few days in a new city, the traveller turns to Lonely Planet for solid, down-to-earth advice, accurate maps and enriching background information.

Each year LP donates a percentage of its profits to organizations benefiting the people and places it covers. In the past, contributions have been made to famine relief organizations in Africa, health care cooperatives in Central and South America and environmental groups working to stop nuclear testing in the Pacific. In addition Lonely Planet encourages travellers to make a direct contribution to the countries they visit through the money they spend there and by learning about and respecting the cultures f each country.

As Lonely Planet continues to grow, its emphasis remains on well-researched information written by experienced travellers. The Wheelers continue to spend much of their time on the road, writing new guidebooks and ensuring that their commitment to quality travel information is reflected in all Lonely Planet projects.

Posted on: January 23, 2000

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