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

By Albhe Macmahon for Mailonline

Updated: July 21, 2023 at 18:07

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

The company’s books would continue to be an invaluable tool for travelers, and over the next few years the publisher printed 150 million guidebooks in 33 languages, covering places from Afghanistan to Australia.

In honor of its 50th birthday, lonely planet has released cover images for some of the great guidebooks of the past half-century, including the cover of its first guidebook, Across Asia on the Cheap, which sells for just $1.80.

It has also redesigned its iconic Blue Ridge guides, releasing a new set of travel guides with “deeper, more inspiring insights into how best to visit destinations, how to save time and money, how to take greener 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 of Trade Sales and Marketing, commented: “Travel has changed a lot since 1973, but Lonely Planet’s much-loved guidebooks remain a central part of the travel process, and our guides continue to evolve with changing demographics, habits and aspirations, as well as new feedback from our loyal travelers.” Lonely Planet is 50 years old, but we still carry the same relentless 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…

Check out the first Lonely Planet guide, published in October 1973.Written by Tony and Maureen Wheeler, the guide is a self-published manuscript “based on the couple’s overland travels from Britain’s romanticized Asian hippie trail to Australia”, Lonely Planet has revealed
This guide to Europe, which hit shelves in 1977, was written 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 wrote this guide to Australia in 1977. Lonely Planet’s guide to Australia is so popular that the publisher has printed more than two million copies of the destination.The same goes for New Zealand, Thailand and India
India: A Travel Survival Kit, by Geoff Crowther, 1981
Published in 1983, this 1983 guidebook by Mark Lightbody could have been an essential aid for anyone traveling around Canada in the 1980s
This Tips for Exploring Nepal was published in 1990
Travel writer Pat Yale wrote this Lonely Planet guide to London in 1998
This striking cover belongs to a 1998 guide to Bhutan by travel writer Stan Armington
This guide to Bali and Lombok was written by three authors and was published in 1999. They are Mary Covernton, Paul Greenway and co-founder Tony Wheeler
This Guide to the American Southwest Travels Back to 1999
Travel writer Pertti Hamalainen wrote this Yemen travel guide in 1999
This Arctic Exploration Handbook was published in 1999
This guide to Syria, written by authors Andrew Humphreys and Damien Simonis, was published in 1999
The cover of this vibrant book belongs to Cambodia Guide 2000 by Nick Ray
Dating back to 2000, this travel guide offers travel enthusiasts advice on visiting the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Those of you who were in Boston in 2000 probably had this compendium in their library since it was published that same year
British travel writer Brendan Sainsbury wrote this guide to Cuba, published in 2006
This Afghanistan travel guide was written by British travel writer Paul Clammer and was published in 2007
The cover of this beautiful book belongs in Ukraine Travel Guide 2018
The Lonely Planet guide to Scotland was published this year – half a century after the tour company’s story began

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