Lonely Planet founder hits the road again

Lonely Planet founder hits the road again

It’s not quite the shoestring travel that launched his success, but Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler is on the move and doing it on a budget again.

The Melbourne-based philanthropist’s latest adventure takes him from London to home in 22 stops, on low-cost carriers all the way.

While Wheeler is delighted by the hop-on, hop-off jaunt, one person’s fully reclined seat is another’s nightmare.

Maureen, his wife and travel companion since the Southeast Asia road trip that began the guidebooks, is not along for this ride.

“Maureen said `you are nuts, don’t even consider asking me to come’,” he says.

“So she has gone on a European opera tour, which I don’t have the stamina for.

“After a week of that I’ve had enough. So far, I’m really enjoying this.”

It’s now stop 14, in Singapore, and Wheeler is unbelievably unruffled despite deliberately choosing airlines of ill-repute.

Among them are perennial survey loser Ryanair, and Lion Air, which managed to overshoot an unusually decent Indonesian runway in Bali in 2013.

But it’s all in the name of “fun”, he says, and possibly another book.

Going the long way is a chance to see cities one wouldn’t otherwise think to visit – in Wheeler’s case he’d never been to Marseilles.

He’s also taking statistics to measure airline performance.

“I have my iPad at the ready, recording how long each flight takes compared to their claims,” he says.

“It’s definitely a boy’s geek thing.”

Also on Wheeler’s horizon is one of his favourite events, the Ubud Writers Festival, where he and Maureen will both be leading talks on things literary.

There’s also a trip to Romania for a Global Heritage Fund project preserving Carpathian Mountain villages – one of the many causes the couple has taken up since selling the Lonely Planet empire.

But first, there’s eight flights to catch before he’s home.

* Early bird tickets are now on sale for the Ubud Writers Festival, October 29 to November 1.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

lonely planet tony wheeler

Latest News

  • Destinations
  • Events

World Surf League picks Cloudbreak in Fiji for the 2025 WSL Finals

Tourism Fiji has announced that the World Surf League (WSL) has selected Cloudbreak, located close to the island of Tavarua, as the prestigious venue for the 2025 WSL Finals. The event is part of the Championship Tour and will determine the men’s and women’s World Champions in a one-day, winner-takes-all competition. Fiji is renowned for […]

  • Cruise

Silversea’s Silver Ray heads for Rome on her maiden voyage

Silver Ray, the second Nova Class ship and the 12th in the Silversea fleet, has now embarked on her maiden voyage, departing Lisbon on June 15 and scheduled to arrive in Civitavecchia (Rome) on June 27. Stops along the way include Cadiz, Malaga, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca before the main port of  Barcelona then […]

  • Destinations

Malolo Island Resort Fiji launches its own resort app

Guests at the Malolo Island Resort can now get a better experience even before they arrive with the resort’s newly launched mobile app. Guests are encouraged to download and use the app ahead of their stay to build their itinerary. They can check-in prior to their arrival and make dinner and spa reservations all from […]

  • Tour Operators

France on foot holiday savings

Walking up a steep incline may be painful, but it is all worth it when you see that incredible view.

  • Cruise

Seabourn introduces enhanced groups programs for travel advisors

Leading ultra-luxury cruising and expedition travel company, Seabourne, proudly announces the “Seabourn Enhanced Groups Program” to elevate business prospects for travel advisors. This program introduces a revamped Tour Conductor Credit that offers shipboard credits or bonus commission for bookings. It also eliminates the need for deposits for small group allotments and increases group capacity. “Seabourn […]

  • Cruise

Ponant’s latest luxury cruise expeditions for 2024 and 2025

Head out to see the beauty of unique destinations on three bucket-list explorations of Australia with Ponant Cruise’s new luxury expeditions. Known for their luxury cruises, Ponant offers unique and truly exceptional sea voyage aboard sleek and intimately sized cruise yachts. They offer a range of discovery expeditions, and launched new cruises that take guests […]