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In the studio with Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler, creator of the first logo


The first ever iteration of the Lonely Planet logo on the cover of 'across ASIA on the cheap' © Lonely Planet The first ever iteration of the Lonely Planet logo on the cover of 'across ASIA on the cheap' © Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet began life in 1973 when Tony and Maureen Wheeler made the trip of a lifetime ? a honeymoon from London to Australia, across Europe and overland through Asia ? with nothing but a car, a few dollars in their pockets and a sense of adventure. Perhaps a lesser known fact is that Tony Wheeler also created the Lonely Planet logo and turned his hand to illustration in the early days. We delved into the archives and caught up with Tony to learn more about the legacy of the logo.

Tell us about the first guidebook...

Our proposed book was too big for Tomato Press? small printing press in Melbourne, but they put us in touch with David Bisset who had a larger press in his basement and agreed to print 1500 copies. I drew maps of the countries we?d visited, crudely drew illustrations, and we pasted up the typeset galleys to produce a book which came out to precisely 96 pages.

We needed two more things ? a title for the book and a name for our fledgling publishing house. The title was easy; the book was about travelling across Asia on a tight budget, so we called it Across Asia on the Cheap.

Where did the name Lonely Planet come from?

Finding a name for our publishing business was less straightforward. We ran through dozens of names over bowls of spaghetti and glasses of cheap red wine in a small Italian restaurant on Oxford Street, London before inspiration hit. I?d been humming the opening line from the Matthew Moore song Space Captain, sung by Joe Cocker in the classic rock and roll tour film Mad Dogs & Englishmen. ?Once while travelling across the sky,? I sang, ?this lonely planet caught my eye.?

?No,? said Maureen, ?you?ve got the words wrong. As usual. It?s lovely planet.?

She was right, I always got the words wrong, but lonely planet sounded much nicer. I sometimes wished we?d come up with a more business-like, more serious name, but it?s certainly a name people don?t forget.

When did you draw the logo?

I sketched it for Across Asia on the Cheap in 1973, the same year Lonely Planet was founded. It was the first Lonely Planet title ever published. The book was hand stapled and trimmed in a basement flat in Sydney. I also drew the sketchy illustrations that feature on the front cover.

How has the logo changed since you first sketched it?

In 1975 I redid the logo with Letraset, a typeface that I thought looked good, and it really hasn?t changed that much over all the subsequent years. I'm proud of how it's retained its original identity!

When you sketched the Lonely Planet logo did you have any idea would last so long?

No, I had no idea the logo would survive so long! It's a bit like the Nike Swoosh which I think somebody sketched in a couple of minutes and was paid $20 for it.

If you could change anything about the logo, what would it be?

Nothing! I think at some point they did pay somebody real money to improve it, they might have made the circle a bit thicker or something, but no real change.

Do you still get a buzz seeing your logo lined up on bookshelves across the globe?

Absolutely. Who wouldn?t?!

Do you still sketch while travelling?

No, I take far too many photographs but I do keep a diary every day and carry a little notebook for when I can?t note something down on a phone or iPad. I love taking out-the-window aerial photographs, some of which can be seen here. I keep thinking, however, that sketching would be a good thing. The last time I can remember actually sketching something was because we stayed in the very flash Al Maha Desert Resort an hour or so out of Dubai about 15 years ago; our room came with an easel and a bunch of coloured pencils. You can see the sketch below.

Tony's illustrations and snaps

The 1975 edition of South-East Asia on a shoestring featuring the slightly more refined logo and some illustrations © Lonely Planet The 1975 edition of South-East Asia on a shoestring featuring the slightly more refined logo and some illustrations © Lonely Planet
The many editions of South-East Asia on a shoestring on display at Lonely Planet's 45th birthday party in 2018 © Teofil Rewers Photography. The many editions of South-East Asia on a shoestring on display at Lonely Planet's 45th birthday party in 2018 © Teofil Rewers Photography.
The retro logo in the window of the Lonely Planet shopfront office in Richmond, Melbourne, where Lonely Planet was based between 1980 to 1988 © Lonely Planet The retro logo in the window of the Lonely Planet shopfront office in Richmond, Melbourne, where Lonely Planet was based between 1980 to 1988 © Lonely Planet
The wooden cutouts by Peter Campbell (pictured left in the above image) displayed in the Melbourne shop front © Lonely Planet The wooden cutouts by Peter Campbell (pictured left in the above image) displayed in the Melbourne shop front © Lonely Planet
The Lonely Planet logo illustrated on a t-shirt on the cover of India: a travel survival kit by Peter Campbell © Lonely Planet The Lonely Planet logo illustrated on a t-shirt on the cover of India: a travel survival kit by Peter Campbell © Lonely Planet
'View from Room 19, Al Maha Desert Resort, UAE? by Tony Wheeler in 2004 © Tony Wheeler 'View from Room 19, Al Maha Desert Resort, UAE? by Tony Wheeler in 2004 © Tony Wheeler
Tony cutting a huge Lonely Planet globe cake at our 45th birthday party in 2018 © Teofil Rewers Photography Tony cutting a huge Lonely Planet globe cake at our 45th birthday party in 2018 © Teofil Rewers Photography
The modern Lonely Planet logo on full display at the London office © Lonely Planet

Wonderings: put the camera down and step away from the wombat


Illustration of a traveller looking out of a train window at a lake with mountains and forest in the background © Joe Davis / Lonely Planet Wonderings: rambles through and reflections on travel... this month, James Kay reflects on tourists behaving badly in the Antipodes © Joe Davis / Lonely Planet

Wombats. Wonderful creatures. I saw one once on the Overland Track, Tasmania. We were putting up our tent when it shuffled out of the undergrowth, unperturbed by our presence, as was much of the wildlife on that enchanted isle. Back then, my iPhone wasn?t capable of capturing a worthwhile image in the fast-fading twilight, so I didn?t bother taking a picture. But I can understand the desire to do so.

For those who haven?t had the pleasure, imagine if a guinea pig had impregnated a water vole (remember them, anyone?), and the odd couple raised their offspring on a diet of Domino?s pizza, Ben & Jerry?s ice cream and anabolic steroids. Wombats are rotund, rodent-like marsupials that reach about a metre long, but despite their bulk, they still elicit a reaction of ?aw, isn?t he cuuuute!? from most people who encounter them.

That was then, this is now

If I had come nose to nose with that wombat in daylight, I?d have taken a snap (just as I did of the short-beaked echidna that ambled across our path the following morning, nonchalantly sniffing my boot before trundling on). But would I have interposed my mug in the frame, made a moue like a man who has just found a tiger snake in his trouser leg, and splayed my index and middle fingers in the inevitable peace sign as I did so? I hope not, dear reader. I hope not. And I didn?t see any of my fellow walkers bothering the beast in this way as it snuffled outside our tents ? drawn there, no doubt, by the scent of rehydrated cheesecake. Or sweat-starched socks.

But as cult novelist S.E. Hinton once put it, that was then, this is now. Instagram was just a few months old when we walked the Overland Track, and although #selfie first appeared on Flickr back in 2004, the term didn?t enter mainstream consciousness until 2013. How things have changed. So much so, officials in Tasmania now feel the need to make tourists pledge not to stalk the wombats with their selfie sticks, mob the poor blighters or even, believe it or not, pick them up for a cuddle.

Wombat at Lesueur Point. Maria Island, Tasmania Don't kid yourself, people ? he doesn't want a cuddle © Posnov / Getty Images

As so often, Google?s search results are like a murky window on the mind; for example, you?ll often see a short list of questions commonly asked in relation to your subject ? my search for ?wombat? turned up the following:

  1. Can I get a wombat as a pet?
  2. Are wombats dangerous to humans?
  3. Do wombats have square buttholes?
  4. Are wombats cuddly?

Question one bespeaks of our species? destructive desire to domesticate any animal that looks remotely like a children?s toy: red pandas; bush babies; slow lorises; bearded tamarins, mouse lemurs; three-toed sloths? nothing is safe, not even wombats. The urge to cuddle these creatures (question four) comes from the same tragic place in our hearts. As for question three, I draw no inferences.

Does question two suggest the presence of a more mature traveller, who approaches these wild animals with the respect, and even caution, they deserve ? and, moreover, wants them to stay wild? Perhaps. But then again, it might just be the would-be wombat cuddlers googling to make sure before ordering one on eBay. If threatened, wombats might bite, scratch or even charge a human being at a push, but the most likely reaction to an onrushing horde of selfie-stick-wielding strangers is not fight but flight, any which way they can. And who can blame them? I?d be down my burrow faster than you can say ?cheese?.

Shoplift like it?s Purge Night

The Maria Island Pledge (I?ll paraphrase it: don?t be an imbecile, please) has echoes of the Tiaki Promise, the New Zealand tourism industry?s attempt to encourage visitors to engage their brains, show some respect and look after the country.

The promise fell on deaf ears when it came to a group of tourists ? English, I?m sad but not surprised to say ? who have caused ?six weeks of strife? in the North Island, littering, threatening locals and shoplifting like it?s Purge Night. Never mind menacing the native fauna; these anti-social ambassadors have taught the Kiwis a thing or two about bad behaviour, scandalising the nation to such an extent that there is talk of deportation.

When reporters tracked them down, a member of this now-infamous clan said ? without a trace of irony, it seems ? that they?d come ?to see the hobbits?. Good grief. If I were a hobbit, this is the last thing I?d want to see rock up at the border of the Shire. Instead of sending them back here on the first available plane, can I suggest Mordor instead? They?d fit right in.

Pathfinders: best blogs, Instagram shots and videos from December 2018


The Maldives may be one of the most Instagram-worthy locations © Food Travel Stockforlife / Shutterstock The Maldives may be one of the most Instagram-worthy locations © Food Travel Stockforlife / Shutterstock

While most people slow down for the festive season, our merry band of bloggers, photographers and videographers have been going on even more epic adventures. December sees us basking in the natural beauty of Norway and the Maldives, taking a stroll round London?s twinkly Christmas markets and exploring quirky ways of getting under the surface of cities like Florence and Dublin.

Best of the blogs

More signs of a solitary traveller ? Bobbi Fisher

The Ponet Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy © Food Travel Stockforlife / Shutterstock The Ponet Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy © Food Travel Stockforlife / Shutterstock

Why we like it: In a world where bloggers venture to increasingly intrepid locales and undertake ever more extreme activities to stand out, there is something wonderfully refreshing about Bobbi?s simple article showcasing a selection of quirky signs she?s spotted while wandering the streets of Florence, Italy. Bobbi?s amusing observations, from flood markings to warnings that ?David (the statue) is not here?, highlights the joy that can be garnered from everyday surroundings.

Bobbi has been travelling solo for 20 years, her blog is an ode to a lifelong longing for silence, solitude and simplicity. Find out more at acottagebythesea.net.

Guinness?s goodness to Dublin: discover the Guinness legacy ? Christophe Gaillard

Pulling pints at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock Pulling pints at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Why we like it: Most travellers associate Guiness with the city of Dublin, home to its original factory where tours run daily. But few travellers will be aware of the extent to which the Guiness family shaped the city. In this article Chris hunts down the lasting legacy of the Guiness family, from the cathedral they helped save to the famous public park they created. The result is an entertaining and insightful post that will leave readers with a deeper appreciation for the distinctive black tipple and those who created it.

Chris is a Dublin-based blogger who endeavours to inspire travellers to visit the Celtic regions of the world. Discover more of Chris?s travels at celticwanderlust.com.

Top Instagram shots

Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives ? Vicki Garside

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A post shared by Vicki Louise (@maketimetoseetheworld) on

Why we like it: If ever there were a more drool-worthy, idyllic scene captured on camera, we've yet to see it. Vicki's snap of this deliciously shimmering pool on the shores of a Maldivian beach is not just a treat for the eyes due to its subject matter ? the image is split perfectly into thirds, with the reflective depths of the water in the foreground, the lounger-lined beach and ocean in the centre, and the sun-kissed clouds unfurling into the distance. The delicate fringes of palm tree at either edge of the shot frame it expertly, and complete a totally dreamy palette of colours.

Vicki is a lawyer from the UK who walked away from her corporate wage to inspire others to see the world. Follow her on Instagram @maketimetoseetheworld.

Lofoten Islands, Norway ? Michael Petrick

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A post shared by Michael T. Petrick (@michaelpetrick91) on

Why we like it: The Northern Lights will never stop being a captivating subject to capture on camera, but Michael's shot of those iconic, neon-green bands snaking across a night sky stands out from similar frames due to its setting amongst the rooftops of Svolvær, Norway. The contrast in light sources within the image, from the porch lights of the houses below to the emerald ribbons above is truly striking ? this is a skilfully captured snap of one of nature's most impressive phenomena.

Michael is a travel and photography enthusiast based in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Instagram @michaelpetrick91.

Our favourite footage

Best things to do in London at Christmas ? Sven Koster

Why we like it: The Christmas season may well be done and dusted, but we enjoyed taking a look back at how Londoners celebrated with Svenywhere. From seeing the twinkling lights on Carnaby Street to strolling the festive Southbank markets, there are some lovely shots of London's attractions dressed up for Christmas throughout this video. We also particularly enjoyed the location markers and graphics which pop up throughout the video which give the viewer a sense of location and help them better plan their upcoming trip.

Sven is addicted to travelling and loves to experience destinations by getting to know the locals. Check out more of his videos on his YouTube channel Svenywhere.

Find out what else the Lonely Planet Pathfinders are up to by checking out the Pathfinders forum on Thorn Tree.

Ask us anything about new year?s travel resolutions in our Twitter #asklp!


As the end of January draws closer, we?ve been thinking about all the travel-based resolutions that have been made ? and possibly already broken. But how do you ensure your globetrotting goals go the distance? What?s the key to devising travel resolves that aren?t wildly unrealistic?

Well, for one glorious afternoon on Twitter, we?re throwing open the floor to any questions, queries and concerns regarding anything to do with making (and keeping!) travel resolutions. We?ll be on hand with our network of worldwide travel experts to bring you the best answers possible ? all you have to do is #asklp!

How do I take part?

  1. Follow @lonelyplanet and the hashtag #asklp on Twitter, on Thursday 24 January between 15:00-18:00 GMT/7:00-10:00 PST
  2. Tweet us as many questions as you like on the subject of making and keeping travel resolutions, using the hashtag #asklp.
  3. We?ll consult the appropriate Lonely Planet staffer, and deliver you a bespoke answer within 24 hours!
  4. Go forth into 2019 with your newly acquired knowledge.

See you there!

Just back from: Australia, France, Bulgaria, Berlin and Italy


Cliff astride his noble steed Turbo on Rainbow Beach, Queensland © Clifton Wilkinson Cliff astride his noble steed Turbo on Rainbow Beach, Queensland © Clifton Wilkinson

At Lonely Planet we?re simply obsessed with travel; rarely a week goes by when someone hasn?t just got back from an epic adventure. To celebrate our infatuation with exploration, each month Lonely Planet staff will be sharing some of their recent travel stories from the road. Read on for horseback beach escapes, birthday celebrations in Berlin and more...

Horse riding along Rainbow Beach, Queensland

Turbo was having none of it. Try as I might, I couldn?t get my otherwise compliant horse to take the two of us into the ocean as we ambled along the magnificent Rainbow Beach in Queensland. It?s not like I wasn?t having an amazing time already. It would be difficult not to on what is regularly named as one of the world?s most beautiful beaches; a stretch of golden sand that goes on for miles, bordered on one side by dunes and forest, and on the other by the glistening Pacific.

But I?d always wanted to ride a horse on a beach, galloping through the waves, man and horse and the elements combining in an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Turbo clearly had not got the memo, so I had to make do with a gentle stroll along the sand, every now and again trying, unsuccessfully, to coax my clearly ironically named steed to head just a little closer to the water, but still revelling, grin spread across my face, in the stunning surroundings.

Clifton Wilkinson, Destination Editor for Great Britain, Ireland and Iceland. Follow his tweets @Cliff_Wilkinson.

Clifton travelled to Queensland with support from Tourism Events Queensland. Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

A cycle path and bike on Ile de Re Traffic on Ile de Re may include the odd donkey © Jessica Ryan

Cycling around idyllic Île de Ré, France

Last September I spent five glorious days in Île de Ré, near La Rochelle on the west coast of France. We stayed in an area called Le-Bois-Plage-en-Ré, a 15-minute cycle from the island?s main hub, Saint-Martin, a quaint, upmarket port town. Cycling wouldn?t normally be my preferred method of transport, but you really need a bike to experience what makes this place special. And with an elaborate network of flat, smooth cycle paths that take you past fields of donkeys, vineyards, oyster farms, beaches and salt flats, it was a pretty dreamy way to get around.

By day, we criss-crossed the island en vélo, stopping for an ice cream at the famous La Martinière in Saint-Martin. Its winding streets are lined with charming white houses, decorated with shuttered windows and climbing plants. You can stop for a dip in the sea when it gets too hot, and have lunch at the many beach restaurants before exploring the rest of the island. By night, dine at La Cible; or if you?re on a tighter budget, pick up a takeaway pizza and beers from one of the roadside vendors, pedal onto the beach and watch the sun set.

Jessica Ryan, Senior Product Editor. Follow her on Instagram @jessimica_ryan.

Tasmin Waby in the mountains, Bulgaria Tas taking in the Bulgarian mountains © Tasmin Waby

Soaking tired muscles in Bulgaria?s hot springs

I love mountains and I love thermal hot springs (known as banya in Bulgaria), so I was pretty happy to find both just an hour from the country?s capital, Sofia. After a full day walking around Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria?s Rila Mountains, photographing glacial lakes, icy waterfalls and wild alpine flowers, I convinced my travel buddies we should check out the town we had come through the night before. Surely Dolna Banya has a banya, right!?

We rolled up to a public hot springs complex in the early evening, and despite having zero Bulgarian vocabulary at our disposal, the immensely patient staff hired us towels, a locker and pointed out where the hot pools were, as well as the steam room, sauna, and snow fountain ? for cooling back down. We relaxed our weary bodies after a long day hiking, watching the sun set and the thermal steam waft through the crisp mountain air while we floated around various indoor and outdoor pools, soaking ourselves in the therapeutic waters.

Tasmin Waby, Destination Editor for Australia and the Pacific. Follow her tweets @TravellingTaz.

Jen, mama and stepdad David enjoying a bevvy in Gendarmenmarkt Jen, mama and stepdad David enjoying a bevvy in Gendarmenmarkt © Jennifer Carey

Ladies about town in Berlin, Germany

Berlin is famous for its wonderful nightlife, but I experienced the city in a brand new light when I brought my mum on her first trip to Germany. Bernadette had a big birthday in November (60 and sensational), and I wanted to treat her after a tough year. Is there anything better than day drinking in Christmas markets and buying 400 tree decorations? The answer is no.

Mama only deserves the best and that was the Regent Berlin. It?s a hotel I?ve lustfully eyed from afar, but didn?t feel sufficiently fancy or rich enough to stay in. Turns out November Jennifer is both rich (credit card) and fancy (discount designer bag) enough to shimmy through its marble entrance. The staff were a joy and showered my mum with champagne and cake to celebrate her birthday. In fact half of Berlin gave her free cake for the occasion ? we basically told everyone we met.

We hit up the joyously festive market in Gendarmenmarkt, fangirled the Berlin Symphony Orchestra in the Konzerthaus, and generally ate and drank our way around the city in grand style. Berlin is a great option for intergenerational travel: loads of chilled bars and restaurants, and all the major sights are in an easily navigable area. Next time we?re hitting up Berghain ? the city?s most exclusive nightclub!

Jennifer Carey, Managing Destination Editor. Follow her tweets @JenniferCarey01.

Peter Grunert in his 1955 AC Ace Peter looking the part in his 1955 AC Ace © Peter Grunert

Driving a classic car through Lombardy, Italy

As a massive fan of the nostalgic character and many peculiarities of classic cars, the idea of taking one on a tour through Italy had long sat at the peak of my bucket list. And so, with a little help from a friend of a friend of a friend, I found myself clambering behind the timber-rimmed steering wheel of a beautiful old British convertible, a 1955 AC Ace, in Brescia.

We chugged out at dawn from the dusty courtyard of the Mille Miglia Museum. The Mille Miglia was once known as the world?s most dangerous road race, originally running from 1927-57 on a 1000-mile loop from Brescia to Rome and back. My co-driver Paolo and I were taking the AC on an event called the Coppa Franco Mazzotti, which retraces the first 200 miles of the Mille Miglia through Lombardy.

Over the next couple of days we wound between graffiti-spattered suburbs and sprawling medieval fortresses; through the vineyards of the little-visited Franciacorta region and selfie-stick-wielding hordes in the spa town of Sirmione by Lake Garda. We also soaked up some of the happiest of rural Italian clichés: roving packs of nuns; farmers harvesting olives; and grandparents with their grandkids, leaning from terracotta-coloured roadside houses ? all cheering our cartoonish convoy as we came barrelling on through.

Peter Grunert, Group Editor, Magazines. Follow his tweets @peter_grunert.

Peter Grunert travelled with support from Scuderia Classiche. Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

Pathfinders spotlight: Carrie Veatch, For Gluten Sake


Carrie tucking into tapioca crepes in Brazil © Carrie Veatch Carrie tucking into tapioca crepes in Brazil © Carrie Veatch

New year, new Pathfinder spotlight! Kicking off 2019 we caught up with Carrie from For Gluten Sake who talks us through life on the road with a dietary restriction.

Give us the lowdown on your blog...

My name is Carrie and I have celiac disease, and I have yet to let it stop me from travelling the world. For Gluten Sake is all about showing you that, if you have the right tools, it is more than possible to travel the world as a celiac. My website has the largest list of 100% gluten-free spots around the world, gluten-free city guides, gluten-free tips, hotel reviews and so much more!

Describe your travel style in three words?

Food-centred, flexible and adventurous.

Top three places you?ve visited?

Hanoi, Rio de Janeiro and Patagonia.

With landscapes like these it's easy to see how Patagonia topped Carrie's travel list © Carrie Veatch With landscapes like these it's easy to see how Patagonia topped Carrie's travel list © Carrie Veatch

How has being celiac changed the way you travel?

If I'm honest, it hasn't changed it that much. I've always been one to carry food on me and can easily get 'hangry' if I don't have snacks! That said, it still has changed in terms of needing to be more proactive and I can't always be as spontaneous as I'd like to be. Food is definitely at the centre of my travels now, but I refuse to let celiac disease stand in the way of seeing the world.

The whole reason I have a website in the first place is to empower others in a similar fashion. I was also finding that many celiacs were not wanting to travel unless they could eat at 100% gluten-free spots, which is why I launched the listing of 100% gluten-free places in 41 countries and counting!

Which destinations most surprised you in terms of gluten-free hotspots?

Both Brazil and Tokyo. In Brazil, everything at the supermarket has to be labelled if it has gluten in. It's amazing! And much of the Brazilian diet is naturally gluten free (think açaí and tapioca crepes, which I'm forever obsessed with after that trip). One of my current dreams is to open up a tapioca food truck. Tapioca crepes are now becoming popular all over the world.

Tokyo now has six 100% gluten-free spots. I was there this summer and went to all five (the sixth opened after I was there). This is huge, as Japan can be challenging to navigate with celiac disease because of all the soy sauce.

Carrie with the owners of 'Where is a Dog' in Tokyo, a 100% gluten-free restaurant © Carrie Veatch Carrie with the owners of 'Where is a Dog' in Tokyo, a 100% gluten-free restaurant © Carrie Veatch

What one piece of advice would you give a traveller who has a dietary restriction?

Do your research and don't be afraid to advocate for yourself. There are so many amazing websites, Instagram posts, and resources out there now to help you travel the world with dietary restrictions.

And if I can give two pieces of advice, the second would be: don't let it stand in your way. Decide that you can still travel with a dietary restriction and change your mindset to use your dietary restriction in a positive way. Although it can feel limiting and challenging at times, I have found a ridiculously supportive community online through my website and being an advocate for celiac disease that I wouldn't have otherwise. I've also been able to meet up with other celiacs around the world, not to mention getting to interview over 70 owners of 100% gluten-free spots (many of which I have done in person too).

If you?re a member of our Pathfinders community and would like to share your story, drop us an email at pathfinders@lonelyplanet.com and tell us what exciting things you?re up to on your blog.

FREE mini-guides: the Cotswolds, Ghent, Sofia, Denver, Kathmandu and Vancouver


The February edition of Lonely Planet Magazine (UK) The February edition of Lonely Planet Magazine (UK) is out now! © Lonely Planet

New year, new travel plans. Our latest issue of Lonely Planet Magazine (UK) is on newsstands and packed with ideas for your 2019 adventures. Check out these free destination mini-guides to get you started!

Bibury?s Arlington Row, built of Cotswold stone Bibury?s Arlington Row, built of Cotswold stone © ALXCRS / Shutterstock

Best of the Cotswolds

Undulating gracefully across six English counties, the Cotswolds region is a delightful tangle of golden-hued villages, thatched cottages, evocative medieval churches and honey-coloured mansions.

> Download free PDF

Houses along Graslei reflected in the canal Houses along Graslei reflected in the canal © R.Kiedrowski / Robert Harding

Culture in Ghent

One of Belgium?s oldest cities, Ghent has a wealth of medieval and classical architecture, as well as areas of urban renewal populated with quirky art galleries and contemporary museums.

> Download free PDF

The monumental Aleksander Nevski Cathedral The monumental Aleksander Nevski Cathedral © Mariyan Tashev / 500px

Weekend in Sofia

Sofia is an eclectic city, with a scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments. Use this list to plan your itinerary for a weekend in the Bulgarian capital.

> Download free PDF

On summer Saturdays, farmers markets set up outside Union Station, Denver On summer Saturdays, farmers markets set up outside Union Station, Denver © Jan Abadschieff / Shutterstock

Food and drink in Denver

Colorado?s cosmopolitan state capital has come a long way as a centre of food and drink. This gateway to the Rocky Mountains now delights with an array of excellent restaurants, brewpubs and bars.

> Download free PDF

World Heritage-listed Durbar Square, Kathmandu World Heritage-listed Durbar Square © Anandoart / Shutterstock

First time in Kathmandu

Nepal?s capital is a riot of sights, sounds and smells. This list will help you barrel through the traffic-jammed alleyways of the Old Town in a rickshaw, marvel at medieval temples and more.

> Download free PDF

Towering trees in Stanley Park, Vancouver Towering trees in Stanley Park © Dominik Eckelt / Getty Images

Outdoors in Vancouver

Canada?s urban jewel of green space, the mighty and highly beloved Stanley Park, is the highlight when it comes to outdoor fun in Vancouver. Use this list to find things to do outside in the city.

> Download free PDF

Want more freebies? Check out last month?s mini-guides.

In the studio with Kait Eaton, illustrator and maker of Cardboard Box Creations


Kait and her husband Craig at their studio in The Vale of Belvoir, UK

Illustrator turned cardboard box enthusiast, Kait Eaton talks us through the challenges and chaos that ensued when her home and studio was inundated with 21 cardboard box models during the making of our new Lonely Planet Kids title Cardboard Box Creations.

Got kids? Feeling crafty? Enter our Cardboard Box Creations competition!

Tell us about the brief

Craig and I started off by creating a really long list of fun things we could try and make from cardboard and pulled together a mood board. Once we?d whittled down the list, we shared our favourites with the author, Laura Baker, who created a page plan from our ideas. Laura selected a good mix of large and small scale makes that she knew would be fun for children to make and play with. As Cardboard Box Creations is based around an exciting worldwide journey, we all thought it made good sense to start off with a suitcase, passport and camera!

How did you make a start?

Once we had an initial page plan in place, we set about collecting as much cardboard as possible. Our friends and family all saved their delivery boxes and we raided local businesses? recycling bins (with their permission!). However, it wasn?t long before we realised we would need to change a couple of the models as they were too difficult to execute with minimal adult help. The Colosseum, Golden Gate Bridge and Taj Mahal were all a bit ambitious for small hands! We were really keen to create a book full of accessible ideas that children could ? for the most part, at least ? do and decorate themselves.

Once the models had been photographed, I illustrated extra details to add to the photos. Birds, buildings, decorative embellishments and people were hand-drawn directly into the photographs on the screen with a tablet pen. We wanted the illustrations to bring the cardboard creations to life in the same way a child?s imagination would.

Were there any challenges?

Yes: lack of space! 21 models, some as large as us, completely took over our studio, kitchen and dining room. We couldn?t move for cardboard. Our children wanted to play with them and our cats wanted to climb in them! The roof of the Japanese Tea House was also quite a challenge. We really wanted it to curve up when taped together to look authentic, so Craig made lots of mini versions to practice the angles.

What?s the one item in your studio you can?t live without?

The obvious answer would be our Macs, but that aside it has to be the radio. You can?t beat having a bit of background chat or music to work to.

How did you get into illustrating books?

I was lucky enough to land a job as an in-house illustrator for a toy company once I finished university, but my heart was in children?s publishing and I regularly bought lovely picture books that inspired me. My bookshelves were full of children?s books long before I had children! Craig worked as a designer for a few children?s publishers after graduating, so when we set up Duck Egg Blue together, pooling our skills to design and illustrate children?s books was a natural progression.

Kait's creations and illustrations

When Kait said 'we couldn?t move for cardboard!' she wasn't lying...
Cardboard box creations aren't always easy when there's a curious cat around
A New York Cab and a London Bus
Road sign illustrations for the book
The New York skyline from the back cover of the book
Illustrations overlayed on cardboard as shown in the book
Illustrations of the tools needed to make the cardboard box creations
A final spread from the book: how to build a cardboard campsite
A final spread from the book: how to build an Amazon adventure ?

Travel quiz: December edition


Interior shot of the Aya Sofya, in Istanbul Do you know which architectural wonder this interior belongs to? Find out in our travel quiz © Artur Bogacki / Shutterstock

Do you know which country uses baht as a currency? Or where in the UK you?d find the giant cranes ?Samson and Goliath?? Test your knowledge of travel trivia with the December edition of our monthly travel quiz, based around stories featuring in this month?s Lonely Planet magazine. Can you score full marks?


Desperate for more travel trivia? Have a go at last month?s quiz.

Find quizzes just like this, plus plenty of travel inspiration and planning tips in Lonely Planet's UK magazine.

Pathfinders: top Instagrams from November 2018


Getting cosy in northern Iceland © @easyplanettravel

From hiking along China?s most iconic landmark to exploring Milan?s streets in the early morning sun, our Instagramming Pathfinders found fantastic frames and stunning shots in all corners of the globe last month. Here are the captures that impressed us the most from November.

Northern Iceland

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A post shared by Award Winning Travel Blog ? (@easyplanettravel) on

?We experienced the ?vanlife? lifestyle for 10 days in Iceland, discovering this breathtaking country with our little girl, and creating lifelong memories of incredible experiences in the wild. It was an unforgettable family road trip!? ? Dominique, @easyplanettravel

Why we like it: This image is the perfect encapsulation of the word ?cosy?. The perspective shot from inside a warm, blanketed camper-van, overlooking the snow-strewn wilds of northern Iceland evokes a warming, wintry atmosphere, which is further enhanced by the sharp foreground focus. And we?re huge fans of the matching socks too.

Mexico City, Mexico

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A post shared by Axel Alvarado (@axel.ach) on

?The Día de Muertos parade has become a major event in Mexico City. Thousands gathered at Paseo de la Reforma to watch a spectacle made by a team of more than 1000 volunteers, make-up artists, producers and creators. The theme of this year was migration, and was dedicated to those who lost their lives travelling to America, as well as migrating animals such as monarch butterflies, whales and sea turtles.? ? Axel, @axel.ach

Why we like it: With his skilful composition and framing, Axel has managed to capture a beautiful action shot of the world-famous Día de Muertos celebrations. The sprinkling of butterflies in flight adds a sense of movement to the image, and his focus on the face of the performer brings the human emotion of the occasion right to the fore. This shot is a thing of beauty, and tells a story too.

Hallstatt, Austria

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A post shared by Lauren Breedlove (@girlwanderlist) on

?Even at sunrise, Hallstatt is full of tourists, which is understandable, given its fairy-tale vibes. I snapped a few shots at the popular spot, and then escaped the crowds for a different vantage point. While hoofing it up some stairs, I found the church steeple splicing the sun. I celebrated with a fist-pump ? sunrise score!? ? Lauren, @girlwanderlist

Why we like it: As Lauren rightly points out, Hallstatt is a much-photographed, popular tourist spot, rendering it difficult to capture from an original angle. Her shot however, framed by the distant mountains and multi-hued houses in the foreground, is a refreshingly different perspective of this picturesque destination, perfectly capturing the sun?s first rays as they break over the church spire.

Jinshanling, China

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A post shared by Xavier Marchal (@xaviermarchal) on

?Walking The Great Wall of China must be a dream for everybody. Going to Jinshanling made this dream come true. On a part of the wall which has not been restored, you can walk hours without seeing anyone. Just you, nature, and the immensity of the great wall, stuck in the past.? ? Xavier, @xaviermarchal

Why we like it: The Great Wall of China is indeed at the top of many an adventurous traveller?s list, but experiencing its sheer scale and majesty for real however, is another matter. Xavier?s shot puts us right in the midst of the climb, with the wall snaking endlessly into the distance, seemingly completely deserted. This is the kind of travel shot that makes you want to immediately pack up a backpack and jump on a plane.

Milan, Italy

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?Who said you can't visit Milan without the crowds? It was well worth getting up early to see the famous Milan Cathedral in all its glory. Sun rays, sleepy pigeons and one early bird make this image my favourite candid smartphone shot ever!? ? Jurga, @fullsuitcase

Why we like it: What a capture! Jurga?s early rising yielded a truly fantastic result, framing Milan?s magnificent cathedral being bathed in the sun?s morning rays. The one energetic pigeon of the flock forms the perfect central focus for the shot, and adds a sense of drama and movement to the otherwise tranquil scene. This is a skilful frame of one of Milan?s endlessly beautiful panoramas.

Follow @lonelyplanet for more Instagram inspiration.

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