Lonely Planet acquired travel-planning company Elsewhere in 2022. Today, we announce the  rebranding and positioning of this bespoke travel offering as Elsewhere by Lonely Planet. 

We are excited to announce our new bespoke travel-planning service, Elsewhere by Lonely Planet. To mark the occasion, Lonely Planet’s Director of Content, Brekke Fletcher, tells the story of Elsewhere, how their values align perfectly with Lonely Planet’s and what this groundbreaking travel service can do for travelers like you. 

A happy couple walk in the sunshine in front of Sagrada Familia.
Experience Barcelona's treasures with Elsewhere by Lonely Planet © Getty Images

At Lonely Planet, we believe planning is part of the journey. But did you know that it takes something like 40 hours to plan a week-long trip? 

With that in mind, we know there are times when as much as you'd like to, you don't have time to plan, when you need the expert advice of someone on the ground to work with you and consider your unique trip goals.

Maybe you've had an especially busy time at work and don't have time to plan. Or you need to plan a multi-generational trip that considers the broad range of interests in your group? Or maybe you need to plan a unique experience for a milestone birthday or anniversary.

If this describes you, you're exactly who we imagined helping when we added a this groundbreaking travel-planning service to our slate of travel centric offerings.

For half a century Lonely Planet has been providing trustworthy information from experts on the ground to help travelers visit nearly every destination on earth, with our thoroughly-researched guide books and our team of digital editors and writers providing up-to-date guidance and details about what’s going on in the world today. Now, with Elsewhere by Lonely Planet, we’ve taken that guidance to the next level with a person-to-person experience.

This is no call center or chatbot, Elsewhere by Lonely Planet is powered by embedded professional human beings (it’s getting hard to tell the difference, we know), people who know the travel landscape and actually live in the destinations that you want to visit, like Iceland, Colombia and Portugal (to name just a few). These local experts offer a depth of expertise and local contacts and know-how that pretty much guarantees a seamless travel experience. 

Elsewhere's origins

You might wonder who starts a travel company in the middle of a global pandemic. Alexis Bowen and Craig Zapatka did just that. 

Alexis Bowen and Craig Zapatka, co-founders Elsewhere by Lonely Planet sit at a computer.
Alexis Bowen and Craig Zapatka, co-founders of Elsewhere by Lonely Planet © Elsewhere by Lonely Planet

“We had a wild idea in 2020 to shake up how you travel, and it changed our lives,” Alexis said. “I’d been working in the travel industry for a decade when all of a sudden I was out of a job and wondering what comes next. My co-founder Craig was in the same boat.

“Neither of us could find a travel company that really spoke our language. The industry is outdated, and we wanted to shake things up and create something more young, modern, fresh. It didn’t exist—so we decided to create it,” she said. 

Built on the principles that travelers and the destinations they visit deserved a better, more thoughtful approach, Elsewhere committed early to supporting local communities. 87% of the  spent with Elsewhere is funneled directly into the destination, toward quality suppliers and projects that support local businesses, combat overtourism and protect the environment. 

Furthermore, Elsewhere’s in-destination experts pass through a series of rigorous screenings and interviews. Their business practices are vetted. The partners they work with are scrutinized. They offer unique, - experiences you won’t find by googling that transform a standard vacation into an unforgettable, life-altering experience. This process is akin to applying to an elite university – only 5% of people that apply make the cut to become an Elsewhere local expert. 

How does it work?

Elsewhere doesn’t mess around. You just go to their site, choose a location and fill out a brief online questionnaire detailing everything from the time of year you wish to travel, to the kinds of experiences you wish to have. You tell them all your likes, dislikes and details of the crew with whom you’ll be traveling. From there, you can choose to be connected with a local expert to talk details and price. 

A woman works on her laptop in a coffeeshop.
Connect with local experts to craft a unique itinerary  © Tom Werner/Getty Images

Melinda Anderson from Stanford, CT, came to Elsewhere with a complicated proposition: A week-long trip to Spain with her family, all of whom have different interests, passions, needs and desires. Dad and son like to golf and explore; mom and step daughter like to cook and visit museums. Some interests intersect. Some don’t. But when Laura, Elsewhere’s local expert, received the request she knew exactly how to create the perfect itinerary for Melinda’s Spain trip. 

Melinda and Laura reviewed the plan together, drilling down on the hotel selections (all locally-owned and operated in this case), the museum tours, the cooking class, the day at sea. The entire trip laid out in meticulous detail, with enough free time built in for whatever last-minute inspiration might strike.

What do you value?

Elsewhere is for people who love to travel, people who are curious about the world around them, who are compassionate and care about the people and the places they encounter, who value unforgettable experiences and human connections.

Even with all the preparation in the world, there are always situations you can't plan for and that's where you'll love having Elsewhere on call. Traveling with Elsewhere by Lonely Planet provides 24/7 support from the moment you arrive. If you miss a train, need a last-minute lunch recommendation, sprain an ankle, there is always someone on the other end of the line to take care of you. This isn’t travel insurance, this is travel assurance.

A man, Tiago, jumps in front of a fountain in Lisbon.
Tiago, a local expert in Portugal, will help plan your trip © Elsewhere by Lonely Planet

Finally, you’re going to get to see and do things on an Elsewhere trip that you could never have done on your own. Local experts like Laura in Spain, Tiago in Portugal, Lucas in Argentina … all of these wonderful Elsewhere people are trusted partners with unmatched insider knowledge. They live to show off the places they call home, they thrive on connecting with their clients and make it their business to make sure you have the time of your life. 

This exciting new chapter is the next evolution of how we travel in the 21st century: with intention, with care, with curiosity, with kindness, with passion. Take the stress out of the equation. Save some time. Let Elsewhere by Lonely Planet take you to the places you’ve always wanted to go, with once-in-a-lifetime experiences you couldn’t have imagined. What are you waiting for?

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