Making Best in Travel

The four most recent editions of Best in Travel © Lonely Planet The four most recent editions of Best in Travel © Lonely Planet

Of all the amazing places and travel experiences on Earth, how do we choose the best for the year ahead? It’s a decision we do not take lightly. Read on for an overview of how the magic happens.

1. The survey

The annual Best in Travel survey is sent to the whole Lonely Planet family – every staff member, over 200 travel writers, bloggers, our publishing partners and more. In it we ask LPers to share their expertise on places and travel trends that they predict will be buzzing in the year ahead.

A Best in Travel ideas board in Běijīng © Lonely Planet A Best in Travel ideas board in Běijīng © Lonely Planet

2. The Travel Hack

We also organise brainstorming events in Lonely Planet offices the world over – from Bĕijīng to Buenos Aires. This is when we come together to discuss the subject that inspires us the most: travel. Where have we been? What are we excited about? Which destinations are doing something special? Amid a flurry of Post-it notes and coffee cups, the Travel Hacks produce hundreds of ideas.

Four staffers in Lonely Planet's Seoul office discuss their top travel picks for 2019 It was all smiles at The Travel Hack in Lonely Planet’s Seoul office © Lonely Planet

3. The Destination Editors

The results of the survey and Travel Hacks produce a longlist of more than a thousand ideas. This is then reviewed by the Destination Editors – Lonely Planet’s regional experts, a varied bunch of travel geeks with hundreds of thousands of air miles between them. They help whittle down the list to the very best places.

4. The panel

A shortlist of the best ideas is then sent to a panel of travel experts. These are six people who live and breathe travel in their everyday lives. They scrutinise each idea and score them out of 100 for topicality, excitement and ‘wow’ factor.

5. The final list

When the panel results are in, the list is finalised and shared with a trusted handful of people at Lonely Planet until October when, finally, the selection of the best places and travel trends to experience in the coming year is shared with the world.

Best in Travel 2019 judging panel

Piera Chen by the sea Piera’s job involves going barefoot to explore rocky coastlines © Piera Chen
Piera Chen

Piera is a travel writer who divides her time between Hong Kong (hometown), Taiwan and Vancouver when not on the road. She has authored over a dozen travel guides and contributed to just as many travel-related titles. Piera has a BA in literature from Pomona College, in California. Her early life was peppered with trips to Taiwan and China to visit relatives, and then to Southeast Asia where her father was working. But it was during her first trip to Europe that dawn broke. She remembers fresh off a flight, looking around her in Rome, thinking, ‘I want to be doing this everyday.’ And she has.

Bailey in the Cordillera Blanca, Northern Peru © Bailey Freeman
Bailey Freeman

As Lonely Planet’s Destination Editor for South America & Antarctica, Bailey Freeman has commissioned and managed the content for 45 countries and written pieces for, the Lonely Planet US magazine, and coffee-table titles like Secret Marvels of the World. Her work has led her on many adventures throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, her areas of speciality, and she calls Nashville, Tennessee, home.

Tony Wheeler

Tony was one of the founders of Lonely Planet and wrote many of the early guidebooks. Recently he’s contributed to The Travel Atlas, Epic Drives of the World and The Cities Book. In 2017 he spent four months driving along the Silk Road from Bangkok to London and his recent travels have taken him to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and to the Italian colonial architecture of Asmara in Eritrea.

Kia Abdullah posing with the moai on Easter Island Kia meeting the locals on Easter Island © Atlas & Boots
Kia Abdullah

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer based in London, UK. She has written two novels and contributed to The Guardian, The New York Times, BBC and Channel 4 News. Kia is a Lonely Planet Trailblazer and the founding editor of outdoor travel blog Atlas & Boots. She has visited more than 50 countries in pursuit of the world’s best outdoor activities and believes nature is the best antidote to the stresses of modern life.

Andrea in the South of France © Andrea Schulte-Peevers Andrea in the South of France © Andrea Schulte-Peevers
Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Born and raised in Germany and educated in London and at UCLA, Andrea has travelled the distance to the moon and back in her visits to some 75 countries. She has earned her living as a professional travel writer for over two decades and authored or contributed to nearly 100 Lonely Planet titles as well as newspapers, magazines and websites around the world. She also works as a travel consultant, translator and editor. Andrea’s destination expertise is especially strong when it comes to Germany, Dubai and the UAE, Crete and the Caribbean Islands. She makes her home in Berlin.

Martin Heng in Eguisheim, France Martin in Eguisheim, France © Martin Heng
Martin Heng

Martin left England in 1987 and travelled for a decade before migrating to Australia to start a family. He has worked for Lonely Planet since 1999 in many different roles, including seven years as Editorial Manager, until a road accident in 2010 left him a quadriplegic. As Lonely Planet’s Accessible Travel Manager he has published several accessible travel titles, including the world’s largest collection of online resources for accessible travel. He has become a regular speaker at accessible travel conferences around the world.

Check out this year’s Best in Travel list.

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