Travel Blogs vs Lonely Planet

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Travel bloggers will hate me for posting this, but I’m known for my honesty, maybe for being rather pedantic at times. Reading too many travel blogs can give you entirely the wrong impression. This post came about after trusting information from smaller travel blogs and finding that their rosy picture was less than factual. Lonely Planet vs Travel Blogs.


I’ve been a full-time, professional travel blogger for well over a decade now, but when I first started in the blogging industry, I’d never seen a travel blog before!

I’ve always been a Lonely Planet girl and I didn’t know travel blogs even existed ’till I started blogging myself.

A whole new world opened up to me, information at my fingertips, first hand experiences, parents’ eye views. Fantastic!

I’ve loved reading them and made some superb new friends in the blogging world.

I’ve actually ditched my Lonely Planet habit recently and started to rely on the travel bloggosphere instead.

But, I’m starting to notice that I’m not always getting suitable information.

Not All The Facts You Need Are on Some Travel Blogs

A couple of times now I’ve looked at blogs to research destinations, 10 things to do in whatever place with kids, sort of posts. There are some great ideas and suggestions, but I’ve realised, I can’t always trust this type of post.

You don’t know the blogger’s budget. They may be loaded, we’re not.

They may think nothing of blowing a few hundred dollars on a day out.

You also don’t know what this blogger considers nearby. Do they mean 5 minutes walk or 3 hours in a taxi?

Different people like different things. I love temples and culture and history, some people like the big purpose-built tourist draws.

Unless that blogger spells out the costs and practicalities of getting to a spot, you don’t know if it’s going to be do-able for your family.

Our ideal budget is $41/day right now, we know that’s very low.

Another blogger may consider $100/day or even $200 to be a tight budget, you just don’t know.

Some people are happy to stay in a hovel, others would consider a 4 star hotel slumming it, I know one blogger who only sleeps and travels for free.

A couple of times now I’ve seen cool things to do on a travel blog, arrived at my destination without doing enough solid research for myself and found that the attraction was just too difficult and expensive to get to or admission costs were through the roof.

My bad, I know.

Do Your Own Research Too!

I’m just saying, before you decide to go to Timbuktu, because a blogger says they had a great time there, do your research.

See if it fits your needs and budgets. Travel blogs are often purely opinion and that opinion can be bought, or can be very different to the opinion the reader may form.

I know I’ve had issues with readers attacking me for painting an overly rosy picture. Read our post on hijabs and Sri Lanka to get a taste of that!

If you don’t do plenty of research you may have a few disappointments along the way.

Travel Blogs Can Be Out of Date

This goes for my site too. Some of the posts on this website are 8 years old and the information does become irrelevant or out of date. We’re in the fortunate position of being able to visit and re-visit destinations to update and improve content.

The so-and-so family who backpacked around the world once 5 years ago will not have up-to-date information. Watch out for that.

This is why certain travel blogs rise to the top of Google, we stay up to date and provide complete information.

Blogs are great, fantastic reads and I love being a travel blogger. My advice is to always check the facts for yourself alongside what you read on the travel blogs. Nobody can create a complete world travel blog that is 100% up to date. Not even Lonely Planet. Read the blogs, get the ideas and if the information is important to you double-check everything. Thanks.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

20 thoughts on “Travel Blogs vs Lonely Planet”

  1. You make a very good point. If writers are more open to publishing the realities of things, such as cost and time involved then we’d be able to make an informed decision based on what is written. That is why such as the E-Trampers with their motto of travelling the world on less than $25 a day is so transparent. You know exactly what you are getting and if it is suitable to your needs.

  2. great point alyson. we are always buckos under the budget other people go on. we also knew that we travel until we run out of money, which is probably why you’re able to go to a couple of places i have been to- cheap. wasn’t kanchaburi sugar cane great? you are doing such wonderful learning on the road. i love seeing you out there alyson. gabi

  3. Great post! Budget planing is an important part of any successful trip. Unfortunately, it’s true that very few bloggers give detailed information about the price of food, transport, admission fees and other travel expenses. I guest we get carried away with sharing how amazing our trip was and forget this important bit. So reading guide books along with inspiring travel blogs is a wise thing to do! Thanks for the tip!

  4. Hello:

    You are spot on. The “double edged sword” of the internet is that you have all the information you could ever want, but anyone can supply it. I read other blogs and have similar frustrations. So as a travel and education blogger, I am either a hypocrite or arrogant!

    • It’s just the amount of money we have divided by 4 years Tracey. We just use it as a guide really, plus a lot of the countries we are visiting are really cheap. We did India and Nepal on $10/day last time. In the more expensive places, like Bangkok, it was impossible, we easily doubled that, but Kanchanaburi it was fine and now Laos is way under that $41. We’ve got a great room with aircon for $16, we could find much cheaper.

      • Hi that budget amount is in what currency ? Also does that include travel to from destination, insurance etc or is that just a daiily food living activities amount?

        Love your stuff


        • Hi Tom, this post is from 6 years ago, we’d just started out on the road and our first year was super budget. It was in Au or US $, back then they were pretty much the same. These days we quote everything in US $. Our first year on the road came in at $100 per day, roughly. We did the maths. We have a couple of posts in our money section that break down this spend. It did not include pre- trip expenses such as insurance and vaccinations we got at home. Neither did it include that first flight from Australia to KL. It included all other flights. It did include the vaccinations we got on the road, it included everything we spent from the day we left, including 2 new laptops, 2 cameras a watch and 2 cruise ship Atlantic crossings. In Asia $50 a day was and still is very achievable. These days we find $100 a day to be comfortable in most places, not all ! Tibet cost us $4000 for 8 days, some things are just expensive, but Asia and Eastern Europe can be super cheap.

          • Thanks for that. Yes of course prices will go up over time. Even then I’m impressed you could do it back then on that amount.

            Mind you I guess the boys were younger then and had not hit the eat them out of house and home stage!

            Look foward to more of your posts. Quite good digging through your older stuff and can see you have updated some things

            • I don’t think prices are higher in Asia now, if anything hotel prices seen to have gone down in Thailand. We noticed it particularly around the time of the King’s death. The global travel slump maybe ? I was booking hotels in Malaysia last night and couldn’t believe the low prices …maybe we’re just richer LOL, And we just booked a flight for $16 ! Unreal.

  5. Yep, absolutely agree with you on this one! Blogs are great for getting ideas, particularly if you have a similar travel style to the blogger. But, even so, it’s worth doing a bit of research for yourself just so you know what to expect when you arrive. I usually get inspiration from blogs but then use fact-based sites for the important details like opening times, prices, and how to get there.

  6. It’s really the hard facts that I need from a guide book, location, how to get there, is there a local bus ( not a more expensive, tourist mini bus), how much is admission. Sure, you can find all that information on the internet, but my computer doesn’t fit in my bag. I love having the backpacker’s bible, with all it’s maps and instant information, at hand, anywhere. Plus it’s a good read if you have some down time. Thanks for all the support and great comments.

  7. Yes, I really agree on the budget thing. I use both too. The problem with guides- The guide books say that Tuscany is not really for kids. They list a few of the main things and the tiny paragraph is over. I just spent 2 months in Tuscany with my 3 kids, ages 5, 9, and 13. We hardly stopped the entire time and still didn’t see all we wanted to.

    There is something to be said about the actual experiences of the blogger.

  8. Good blog. Travel blogs, guidebooks, newspaper & magazine travel articles and UGC sites like Tripadvisor etc. are all only tools; each being subjective to a lesser or greater extent. But all have their uses and to me they can help prepare the way to having my own unique experience when I hit the ground. I suppose the trick is being able to separate the wheat from the chaff with each of them 🙂

  9. Spot on post Alyson, but even the guide’s are an opinion; I much prefer to find out myself or from a local, budget allowing of course!

  10. You are absolutely right about budget for each traveller differing. I personally don’t read blogs for recommendations. I read them for wanting to learn about that bloggers experience or thoughts on a subject or location. I seek out trip advisor reviews after I do my own web research cos most of the time I’m not into the typical tourist scene. I much prefer walk in a neighborhood and discover on my own. That way I don’t have expectations and I leave with my own experiences 🙂


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