Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring (LONELY PLANET EUROPE ON A SHOESTRING)
by Vivek Wagle, Lonley Planet
Release Date: February, 2003
This book isn't as good as Lets Go's version as it is written more for an American audience. It doesn't include what it should and has been drastically thickened with a lot of [stuff] backpackers don't need to know and more importantly do not want to carry the weight of those pages around.
Who cares about restaurants, up market hotels and other places backpackers are unlikely to go. More supermarket listings would be more helpful and pointing out when what is listed is a 7 Eleven, Spar, Quix type place and not actually a supermarket would also be good as these places aren't budget friendly.
The information on the actual towns, cities and national parks listed is ever increasing which is good, but the number of places is fast declining. This is because they want you to buy all their individual versions like Lonley Planet Germany, France, Eastern Europe etc. Like you're really going to carry around twenty books and spend more than you will for your trip on books. You will be better of buying an older version as more places are listed although hostel information won't be as up to date. Obviously Euro Dollar prices won't be used either but remember the price information is usually drastically wrong anyway. For an overview of the entire continent of Europe this should concentrate on having as many places as possible not just the main ones. The whole differentiation of backpackers from tourists is that we see places package tours don't go.
While this book is good to find the location of hostels that's about it. Prices of course go up the day after the book is published. You're better off to go by word of mouth from other backpackers to find quality hostels. There aren't as many hostels listed in this book as there are on web sites...Buy this book if you know nothing about where you are going and read it on the train/bus before getting there but don't have it out when you arrive or you'll be hassled by homeless people and be a target for thieves. You should always look like you know exactly where you are going when you arrive somewhere, it's way safer that way.
Of all the continental single-volume books that Lonely Planet has produced, this is the best. This book is a valuable all-in-one guide that any visitor touring Europe can depend on. Some forty countries (including Morocco and Turkey) were discussed in detail. Well-illustrated maps and superb index are among its strongest qualities. But note that the single European currency, Euro, came into circulation a year after the publication of this Second Edition. As a result, all the prices in the E.U. zone are listed in the outdated pre-Euro currencies of individual nations. Another weak point is this: instead of including Russia, (as a full country), Lonely Planet decided to pick only the Saint Petersburg city.