I’d like to officially give a warm ‘thank you’ to all the travellers who send reader letters into LonelyPlanet.com with information they’ve collected from their trips. At the beginning of each research period authors receive a giant document with all these letters (mine was 36 pages long, but more popular destinations can be up to 90 pages). These letters range from information on a new sight or destination to corrections/updates on the existing text to referrals to new guides/services/hotels, whatever. Often these letters include wondrously giddying detail, including addresses, phone numbers, prices, email, directions, best meal, availability of ice cream and cleanest toilet among other pricelessly absurd details.
In my mind this is without a doubt the most valuable resource available to authors. Having all these dedicated and caring people taking the time to collect and pass on this information makes the books all the better. An author and editor only have so much time and resources to track down stuff like this, but even with someone fully dedicated to this task, they could never replace an army of motivated travellers canvassing the country, jotting notes in the margins and dutifully sending in this information when they return home.
Thank you all! Every traveller I contact for clarification seems shocked that; a) anyone reads their letters and b) someone actually puts them to good use. Well rest assured every letter is read and treasured by both authors and editors. Please keep up this information sharing. All we can offer in the form of a personal thank you is adding your name in tiny print in the ‘Behind the Scenes’ section at the back of the book, but the real payoff is that untold subsequent travellers benefit from your experience and making for a more enjoyable and fulfilling trip.
So everyone, at your earliest convenience, please raise your hostel dorm room Dixie Cup of community wine to all the people selflessly taking the time to make LP books better resources for one and all.