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Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring Paperback – February, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Your head jerks up and your eyes snap open as the awkward thud of the landing gear hitting earth jars you from the unrestful half-doze in which you've spent the last few hours. Furiously blinking in a vain attempt to clear the stinging redness from your vision, you moan softly as your head resumes its throbbing and your throat begins to itch again. Dazedly, you stumble down the aisle with your fellow passengers, sniffing for that taste of free air, desperate for a drink, and aching in all your joints. And you couldn't be more thrilled.

Welcome to Europe. This is it - the big time, the grand show, the Trip of Your Lifetime. You have good cause to be excited. Whether you're new to this whole travelling gig or a hardened veteran of decades of globetrotting, your trip to Europe will be the one that you'll never forget. There's a reason that this destination is always in vogue, consistently attracting millions of visitors per year and burning itself in the memories and imaginations of every single one.

Europe exudes a powerful energy grounded in its legendary history and sharpened by its key position at the cutting edge of the modern world. Forming the basis for much of global culture today, European traditions and ways have been shaped by a seemingly endless procession of innovations, conflicts and reawakenings. When you step onto European soil, you are almost certainly touching ground that has been stained by the blood of countless battles. These clashes - partially the product of an almost unimaginable diversity of races and cultures tightly packed into a petite parcel of land - have created and destroyed vast empires, allowed for the spreading and cultivation (and occasionally, the destruction) of myriad cultures, and in the process shaped the history of the world.

But now, perhaps more so than ever in their shared history, Europeans are turning from the chaos of war and adopting a communal future. The worlds of Western and Eastern Europe are converging, as common currencies and laws, the dismantling of barriers, and the gradual disappearing of international violence from the continent strip away so many of the causes for strife. It's an exciting time to visit, as travelling has never been easier, yet individual nations and regions are still clinging firmly to independent identities, steadfastly maintaining their traditions, languages and beliefs while accepting that the future lies in commonality. Meanwhile, forward-looking nations are moving quickly to protect their lands from overdevelopment and misuse, providing the visitor with enchanting, majestic escapes from the style and substance of modern European life.

It all smacks of epic adventure - and, as any good storyteller knows, such adventures are best undertaken with trustworthy companions. And the book you're currently holding is one such companion. It is our intent to serve you not as a tour guide, but rather as a friend who's been there and has learned a couple of tricks. We're not going to prescribe what to do, but we'll certainly offer suggestions. When it comes to finding you a comfortable place to rest or making sure that you don't miss the last bus out of town, we're there for you. Of course, sometimes we won't be able to contain our excitement and will nudge you to say, "Hey, check this out - it's really unbelievable!" But most of the time we'll try to point you in the right direction and let you play the explorer yourself. You are going to have a marvellous time no matter what, but the way to make the most out of your trip is to let your interests and intuition be your guide.

If this is all new to you, don't worry. We'll take you aside right at the beginning and bring you up to speed before letting you play with the others. In no time, you'll be cultivating your own storylines and amassing experience and knowledge that you, in turn, can pass on to fellow travellers.

Hey look - isn't that your backpack coming 'round the luggage carousel? Time to snatch it up, grab that last drink of water, and sprint to the bus stop so you don't miss that last connection to the hostel.

Enjoy the ride.


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Product Details

  • Series: Lonely Planet Europe on a Shoestring
  • Paperback: 1296 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 3rd edition (February 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1740593146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1740593144
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,158,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Anderson VINE VOICE on January 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
With 17 countries on a 102-day itinerary and a careful eye on our budget, my son and I needed a book like this for our recently completed trip. Although we stuck with it until the end, I gotta say, Lonely Planet's "Europe on a Shoestring" has lots of flaws and you should think carefully before buying it.

THE GOOD NEWS: This is a great alternative to buying a dozen country-specific books. You'll save on pack weight and on dollars (or Euros). Furthermore, since its from Lonely Planet, this book does a lot better job than most of the "mainstream tourist" books of recognizing that a $300-a-night hotel room and a $50 meal are NOT in your plans.

THE BAD NEWS: (a) The prices and lots of info are out of date and getting more so. (b) The maps will taunt you with enough information to get you going but not enough to keep from getting lost, and (c) Overall the book offers a weird combination of too-much and too-little information.

You should consider this book only if you are planning to visit at least 10 different countries in Europe - otherwise you are better off buying individual country guides while in Europe (or sneaking a peek at the freebies stashed at many Hostel reception desks.)

My rating is three stars because you have to realize that there is probably no book out there that does an adequate job of `covering' all of Europe - but there are still lots of travelers, like us, who hope to do just that!

* * * details follow

(A) Check the COPYRIGHT date of the book very carefully before you buy! The one currently for sale is copyright early 2003.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
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 useless information 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 backpacker booking web sites.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By T. Bland on February 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I used this book to get me through Europe as well as plan my backpacking adventure, and I thought it was great (especially for London). I barely had enough $ to afford the plane ticket to Europe, much less spend more on other things. The restaurant recommendations were especially useful in places like Athens. It was condensed enough (probably too condensed for some) so that I didn't have to waste time tracking things down. If you are short on time and money, this is the book for you. If you have money and more time, this book isn't for you then and you should upgrade to Frommer's and the like. I would echo what another reviewer said and make certain you have the most recent edition of this book because things can be out of date (especially prices) rather quickly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I spent three months in Europe (England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium) last summer, and used this book as my primary guide.
It is good for finding the basics (hostels, train and bus stations, etc) but not much else, and with so much area to cover this should hardly be surprising.
As about 2/3 of my time was spent in Italy, I do wish I'd purchased an Italy specific guide... luckily I had access to various other books that were more in depth.
The maps and contact information were accurate. I don't think I ever used this guide for restaurant recommendations, though. It's much easier and more fun to go menu-shopping or ask locals. Hostel operators tend to know what's up too.
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