Sunday, March 6, 2011

Web site credibility: travel guide

I love to travel. To prepare for my travels I use It has helpful information on just about any place you can name. For example, it has tips on where to go, when to go and how to get there. Some features I find useful are the tips & articles, the “top picks” section and the information on getting there and around. I am looking into national parks the U.S. has to offer and trying to locate the best park and time to visit (anyone have any suggestions?). I’m using lonely planet and would like to know how legit its information is.


The Lonely Planet page is complete, but is set-up in a way that information can be added through the update sections. The title of the homepage is Lonely Planet Travel Guides and Travel Information. The last addition or update is an article on visiting Egypt that was written on March 1, 2011. It’s offered in 7 languages so I imagine the audience is diverse. The information posted provides the pros and cons of the locations and there isn’t an obvious bias or slant to the information. Favorites, articles and other materials that bring focus to particular places consistently change for fair exposure. Internal and external links work properly and use ‘target blank’ in an efficient manner. The outside links compliment the website by adding useful information such as travel advisories.


Lonely Planet was created by a couple who is passionate about traveling. Tony and Maureen Wheeler crossed Europe, Asia, all the way to Australia on foot for their honeymoon. They didn’t have a penny by the end of their trip and wrote a travel guide called Across Asia on the Cheap. 1,500 copies sold in one week and Lonely Planet was born. They continued to travel and made Lonely Planet what it is today. After 30 years the Wheeler’s found a partner who they trusted to carry on Lonely Planet as a guide to independent travelers for trustworthy advice. Today, BBC holds a 75% share. This affiliation is clearly explained in the ‘About Us’ page of the site and in the footer of everypage. There are several means to contact the authors of the site. There is contact information for all three locations (Australia, US and UK), including address, phone, email and fax. In addition there are particular links and contact information for questions about licensing, advertising, permissions, customer feedback, help & support and infringements. The domain name is a .com, which does mean the information could be inaccurate or skewed. Sponsors are only at the top right corner with ‘advertisement’ clearly by the sponsor. Today, Lonely planet’s mediums include magazines, books, applications and Internet.


The website is presented professionally. There aren’t gsp errors and the writing style is laid back and to the point. The content is editorial, but the authors are experienced travelers. In a way I believe this is better because instead of a new story with “strict” facts, you get the perspective of someone who knows the open road. I love the format of this website. It’s easy to use with drop down categorized navigation across the top. Headings are clear with relevant information presented below. There are plenty of images and maps, which is essential in presenting a clear idea of a location. Rollovers provide summaries and credits of photos. There is usually main photo and the view can decide to enter a photo gallery for additional photos. The images are diverse in showing not just the land, but also the culture of the natives. As stated before, the tag “proudly supported by” on the ads defines advertisements for sponsors. If you search “travel guides” on Google Lonely Planet is the second link, on Bing and Yahoo it’s the third link. Meta tags for Lonely Planet include: Pacific, Transport in Pacific, Weather in Pacific, Travel Guides, Guidebooks, Advice, Travel Information, Tips, Climate, History, Work, Volunteering, Attractions, Entertainment, Shopping, Trips, and Itineraries.

After going through the evaluating websites checklist, I have come to the conclusion Lonely Plant is a credible website. I will continue to use this website to prepare for my travels and I highly recommend it to other travelers. While it presents useful information, I would use this website as a starting point of my research. I would NOT use this as my only research tool. No matter how great the website’s information seems to be, it is important to look at a variety of websites. Traveling can be dangerous, preparation is crucial!

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