Lonely Planet reveals book covers from its archives as it turns 50

As Lonely Planet turns 50, we delve into the archives and look back at some of its fascinating iconic book covers, including from the very first guide it published in 1973

  • Lonely Planet’s first guide was the 1973 guidebook ‘Across Asia on the Cheap’
  • The book publisher has since printed 150 million guidebooks in 33 languages 
  • READ MORE: The tourist beaches predicted to shrink the most by 2100

Lonely Planet published its first travel guide in 1973, a time long before Google and MailOnline Travel of course… when reliable travel advice was hard to come by.

Its books would go on to become invaluable tools to travellers, with the publisher printing 150million guidebooks – in 33 languages – about everywhere from Afghanistan to Australia in the years that followed. 

To mark its 50th birthday, Lonely Planet has released pictures of some of its standout guidebook covers from the past half a century – including that of its very first guidebook, ‘Across Asia on the Cheap’, which cost just $1.80. 

It’s also redesigning its signature blue-spine guidebooks, releasing a set of new travel guides that provide ‘more in-depth and inspirational insight into how best to navigate destinations, how to save time and money, how to take more eco-conscious routes and connect with local communities, as well as personal stories from locals to provide a greater sense of community’.

Chris Zeiher, Lonely Planet’s Senior Director, Trade Sales and Marketing, commented: ‘Travel has changed a lot since 1973, but Lonely Planet’s much-loved guidebooks remain a core part of the travel process and our guides have evolved with changing demographics, habits and desires and fresh feedback from our loyal travellers. Lonely Planet may be 50 but we are still guided by the same restless spirit and desire to shape and inspire travel.’

Scroll down to see a selection of wanderlust-inducing book covers from the ever-expanding Lonely Planet library…

Behold the very first Lonely Planet guide, published in October 1973. Written by Tony and Maureen Wheeler, it was a self-published manuscript ‘based on the couple’s overland travels from the UK to Australia via the much-romanticised Asian hippy-trail’, Lonely Planet reveals 

This guide to Europe, which hit the shelves in 1977, was compiled by author Roger Brown

Published in 1977, this guide to Africa was written by the late British travel writer Geoff Crowther

Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler penned this guide to Down Under in 1977.  Lonely Planet’s guides to Australia are so popular that the publisher has printed more than two million copies of books about the destination. The same goes for New Zealand, Thailand and India

‘India: A Travel Survival Kit’, written by Geoff Crowther, was published in 1981 

Likely an essential aid to anyone travelling around Canada in the 1980s, this guide by Mark Lightbody was published in 1983

This book of tips for exploring Nepal was published back in 1990 

Travel writer Pat Yale penned this Lonely Planet guide to London back in 1998 

This striking cover belongs to a 1998 guide to Bhutan, written by travel writer Stan Armington 

A trio of authors wrote this guide to Bali and Lombok, which came out in 1999. They were Mary Covernton, Paul Greenway and co-founder Tony Wheeler 

This guide to America’s Southwest winds the clock back to 1999 

Travel writer Pertti Hamalainen penned this 1999 guidebook to Yemen 

This handbook for exploring the Arctic region was released in 1999 

Published in 1999, this guide to Syria is a joint effort by authors Andrew Humphreys and Damien Simonis

This vibrant book cover belongs to a 2000 guide to Cambodia that’s the handiwork of author Nick Ray

Offering travel lovers advice on touring Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, this guidebook dates back to 2000 

Those who travelled to Boston in the year 2000 may have this compendium in their book collection, as it was published that same year 

British travel writer Brendan Sainsbury wrote this guide to Cuba, which was released in 2006 

This guidebook to Afghanistan, written by English travel writer Paul Clammer, was published in 2007 

This beautiful book cover belongs to a 2018 travel guide to Ukraine

This Lonely Planet guide to Scotland was published this year – half a century after the travel company’s story began 

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