BY HANNAH JENKINS
Lonely Planet has long been regarded as the first stop for fact-hungry travellers.
The website is comprehensive and entertaining, showcasing breathtaking imagery and giving web browsers an intricate insight into the ups and downs of the most visited travel destinations, as well as a few places off the beaten track.
I admit I am one of the website’s many admirers. The straightforward, uncomplicated nature of the Lonely Planet homepage and destination profiles makes it easy to navigate and makes planning that trip of a lifetime much less of a hassle.
The vibrant colours and photos that appear at every click are enticing and enhance the experience of browsing the site.
It also helps the viewer decide where they might like to go simply from pictures alone; the most beautiful cities, picturesque landscapes, quirky bars and chaotic markets are all there for your perusal.
What I like most about this site is the wide range of places and issues you can look up, comment on and read feedback about from other travellers and bloggers.
While Lonely Planet employs its own professional travel writers and photographers, the site remains interactive through the comments and advice of everyday travellers from wherever they might be in the world.
Type in Barcelona, for example (you’ve got a craving for authentic paella). The city’s page is simple and easy to read. A stunning slideshow of professional photos draws you in, and there is a brief intro on the city with handy links to further info about all the juicy sights you can see. A sidebar displays a list of the site’s top ‘to do’ list in Barcelona – plus a range of fast facts about the Spanish city – so if you are short of time, you can make sure you don’t miss all the important bits. If you need more, the links at the bottom of the page can tell you all about weather, what to pack, where you can go to eat, shop, sleep and drink one too many mojitos. The discussion forum adds to this, highlighting what others have to say about the best and worst of the city.
All in all, this colourful, exciting and informative site definitely gets the thumbs up from this travel nut … but beware, just one click and that pesky travel bug will be back to nag at you again.