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.
This completely updated guide contains excellent trekking information (including advice for those planning to trek with children), extensive background on people and cultures, and essential pretrip guidance, including tips on being an ecologically sound traveler. Sidebar highlights: short overviews of a festival calendar, the Dhyani Buddhas, one traveler's account of a Nepalese bus ride, antiques, and the gods of Nepal. --Kathryn True [via]