I'm kind of in love with the new Lonely Planet guide to… well… the planet. It’s four inches thick, 956 pages long, and heavy enough to put your carryon solidly over the weight limit on many a European budget airline. It highlights more than 200 countries -- including some that don’t exactly top a lot of travelers’ bucket lists. (Heading to Burkina Faso, anyone? How about Turkmenistan?)
So, why would you buy it? My guess is that there isn’t a huge, rabid audience that’s dying for guidance on when to visit Yemen. (September to February, in case you were wondering.) But maybe the point of the book isn’t to use it for the purpose of traveling. After all, if you really were rolling into French Guiana or Moldova on your next trip abroad, you’d want more than a page or two of guidance -- the max that this tome offers. Maybe this book is for people who love the idea of travel, the sense that yes, if you really wanted to, you could go anywhere. And maybe those people like to have a reminder of that sitting on their bedroom shelf. I know I would. You can look at maps, plan your imaginary itinerary, scan photos of friendly locals and scenic vistas. And it won’t cost you more than $30 -- the price of the book itself. For a journey this inexpensive, it’s a little tough to resist.
So we have to ask. Would you buy it?