From Antarctica to Zimbabwe, if you're going there, chances are Lonely Planet has been there first. With a pithy and matter-of-fact writing style, these guides are guaranteed to calm the nerves of first-time world travelers, while still listing off-the-beaten-path finds sure to thrill even the most jaded globetrotters. Lonely Planet has been perfecting its guidebooks for nearly 30 years and as a result, has the experience and know-how similar to an older sibling's "been there" advice. The original backpacker's bible, the LP series has recently widened its reach. While still giving insights for the low-budget traveler, the books now list a wide range of accommodations and itineraries for those with less time than money.
If you have to choose one book to take to Paris, this fully updated Lonely Planet guide will cover all your bases. Whether you're camping, planning to splurge on a chic hotel, picnicking, or set on haute cuisine, this book gives you thousands of options. Also included is a useful 12-page overview of Parisian architecture, detailed entertainment information, notes on day trips to nearby châteaux and villages, plus 20 pages of detailed city maps, including the Metro. --Kathryn True [via]