DK Eyewitness books, a few years back we stopped buying Lonely Planet guidebooks and completely migrated to the DK Eyewitness series.
However, on a trip to a local bookstore, I saw the "Lonely Planet - Italy for the Indian Traveller" and took a quick look through it. I quite liked what I saw and so I picked up the book.
While the original Lonely Planet books are high on text and full of detail, heavy in weight and small print, this new series is quite different.
The paper is not as glossy as the DK Eyewitness books, but they are much better quality than the thin material of the original LP books. The font is large, there are lots of accompanying pictures and what I really liked about this book is that it covers the highlights and gives you an itinerary for half day, 1 day, 2 days etc. grouping together the main sights based on location.
So this really helped simplify a large step for me in our planning, which is to sit down with googlemaps and figure out how best to group together monuments and sights while traveling to a new location.
This to me was the biggest advantage of this book. The second big advantage for me was the side boxes with tips and facts. Most Indians would love the tips which give you tricks to save money - city cards, discount outlet shopping etc. And a huge plus for a lot of Indians would be the listing of Indian restaurants in the city and the veggie restaurant section. since we scrupulously avoid Indian food and stick to local specialties when traveling out of India, we didn't use these sections at all, but I'm sure it would be a huge boon to a lot of Indian travelers.
The other great thing about this book, is that they have given the website for the restaurant/ outlet/ location, right with the details (rather than at the back of the book) so its easy to look up online as you are reading the book.
They also have a short list of recommended venues to eat at or sleep in, but to cover every budget and this is given at the end of each city rather than at the end of the book (which is what the DK books do), so its easy to plan your visit to each city just by scanning a few pages at a time.
There are sections on highlights written by Indians who have either lived in that location or spent a substantial amount of time there, that are filled with loads of tips.
So this series looks like it will really simplify the planning process for a lot of travelers. It isn't available on amazon yet, but you can find it on flipkart and in most Indian bookstores.
If you are a gung-ho DIY person, you will prefer the DK books, but if you want the pleasure of planning a trip yourself, but yet have someone to help with a basic framework, then you will love this series.
For me, I think I see myself buying both :)
Rating: 4.5 / 5