Cookies Policy

This page sets out the cookies used on our site and how to opt out of or reject cookies.

For our general privacy policy click here.

Lonely Planet (part of BBC Worldwide) is committed to protecting your personal information when you are using our services. We strive to make our services safe and enjoyable environments for you to use. We have created this separate cookies policy in order to provide comprehensive information about Lonely Planet’s use of cookies across its website.

This policy provides the following information for users:

  • Information about cookies
  • Types of Cookies
  • How do we use cookies?
  • Cookies we set on our site
  • Advertising on our website and other BBC Worldwide-owned websites
  • Auditing Cookies on our websites
  • Updating your Settings
  • Contacting Us

Information about cookies

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small amount of data, which often includes a unique identifier that is sent to your computer or mobile device (referred to here as a “device”) browser from a website’s server and is stored on your device’s hard drive. Each website or third party service provider used by the website can send its own cookie to your browser if your browser’s preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a website or third party service provider to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other sites or other third party service providers. A cookie will contain some anonymous information such as a unique identifier and the site name and some digits and numbers. It allows a website to remember things like your preferences or what’s in your shopping basket.

What is a browser?

A browser is an application that allows you to surf the internet. The most common browsers are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. Most browsers are secure and offer quick and easy ways to delete information like cookies. Please see the section below Change your Browser Settings

What do cookies do?

Cookies record information about your online preferences and allow us to tailor the websites to your interests. Information supplied by cookies can help us to analyse your use of our sites and help us to provide you with a better user experience. For example, you may choose to personalise the content of a website in order to see the latest news and weather for your region. In order to do this, a cookie is placed on your device to remember where you live so that we deliver the information that has been requested by you. This is a prime example of how cookies are used to improve your experience of a website.

Change your Browser Settings

You can choose how cookies are handled by your device via your browser settings. The most popular browsers allow users to a) accept all cookies, b) to notify you when a cookie is issued, or c) to not receive cookies at any time. If you choose not to receive cookies at any time, the website may not function properly and certain services will not be provided, spoiling your experience of the website. Each browser is different, so check the “Help” menu of your browser to learn how to change your cookie preferences.

Types of Cookie

First Party Cookies

First party cookies are set by the website you are visiting and they can only be read by that site.

Third Party Cookies

Third party cookies are set by other organisations that we use for different services. For example, Lonely Planet uses external analytics services and these suppliers may set cookies on Lonely Planet’s behalf in order to report what’s popular and what’s not. The website you are visiting may also contain content embedded from, for example, YouTube or Flickr and these sites may set their own cookies.

Session Cookies

Session Cookies are stored only for the duration of your visit to a website and these are deleted from your device when your browsing session ends.

Persistent Cookies

This type of cookie is saved on your device for a fixed period. Persistent cookies are used where we need to know who you are for more than one usage session. For example, if you have asked us to remember preferences like your location or your username.

Flash cookies

Many websites use Adobe Flash Player to deliver video and game content to their users. Adobe utilise their own cookies, which are not manageable through your browser settings but are used by the Flash Player for similar purposes, such as storing preferences or tracking users.

Flash Cookies work in a different way to web browser cookies; rather than having individual cookies for particular jobs, a website is restricted to storing all data in one cookie. You can control how much data, if any, may be stored in that cookie but you cannot choose what type of information is allowed to be stored. You can manage which websites can store information in Flash cookies on your device via the website storage settings panel on the Adobe website.

Web beacons, clear GIFs, page tags and web bugs

These are all terms used to describe a particular form of technology implemented by many websites in order to help them to analyse how their site is being used and, in turn, to improve your experience of their site. They may also be used to target any advertising being served on the web page you are viewing.

A web beacon (or similar) usually takes the form of a small, transparent image, which is embedded in a web page or an email. They are used in conjunction with cookies and send information such as your IP address, when you viewed the page or email, from what device and your (broad) location.

How do we use cookies?

Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.

Typically, we use cookies to deliver the following services throughout the pages of our websites:

  • To enable us to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same information repeatedly;
  • To recognise that you may have requested that we remember your username and password so you don’t need to enter your details each time you visit the site;
  • To ensure that if you are purchasing a product or service via our websites, your experience is smooth and secure;
  • To record what people like and don’t like on the website and the popularity of various elements of the website so that we can ensure that it works properly at points of high usage. Lonely Planet also uses a number of independent measurement, advertising and research companies. They gather information regarding the visitors to Lonely Planet on our behalf using cookies, log file data and code which is embedded on our website. Lonely Planet uses this type of information to help improve the services it provides to its users.
  • Our website and other BBC Worldwide-owned websites s contain advertising and all advertising that is served on BBC Worldwide-owned websites will be clearly marked with the word “Advertisement”. Cookies may sometimes be used to deliver advertising and marketing messages relevant to you – a practice across the internet and known as behavioural marketing. Please see the section below called: What is Behavioural Marketing?

What is Behavioural Marketing?

Behavioural Marketing technology gives users and advertisers a more valuable and unique experience by delivering advertising and content that is more relevant to the user. The system we are using is a type of “onsite behavioural marketing” which uses cookies to discover general information about which pages on our sites you visit. It also looks at IP addresses to add general information about the country, city or region in which you are located, along with your domain name (e.g. what internet service provider you use). This information enables you to be grouped with other people of similar interests and places you in a “market segment”.

We may then display advertisements on the site which we believe people in your market segment will find relevant. We consider that this makes the advertising more interesting and useful to you, and also helps us increase the value we get out of the site and from our advertisers, and therefore ultimately gives us a greater ability to invest in great content for the benefit of all our users.

It is important to note that at no time will we or our service providers attempt to identify you individually, and at no time do we know who you are or what pages you individually have been looking at – we simply aggregate the relevant information to create the market segments of groups of people. We will at all times seek to comply with the regulatory framework applicable to onsite behavioural targeting technology in our implementation of it. Our “onsite behavioural marketing” functionality is different from other forms of behavioural targeting in that we only look at your journey across our website and other BBC Worldwide-owned websites. We do not use or share data with or from other non- BBC Worldwide-owned websites.

Cookies we set on our site

lpCookie. This is used to ensure that sign-in and sign-out works across the various applications that make up (eg: Groups, Thorn tree forum, Destinations). For example, if you have signed-in and move from Groups to the Thorn tree forum, you do not need to sign-in again. Similarly, once you have signed out, you have signed out of all sections of the site.

lpmaps. Many of the Destinations pages include the option to open and view a large map of the destination. This cookie is used to register that a user has opened a map within Destinations and enables us to ensure that maps remain open and visible on other Destinations pages as you move through the site.

groups_session. This cookie stores the username within the Groups application. This means that if you leave Groups to visit another part of the site (eg: Hotels & Hostels), and then return to Groups you do not need to log-in again.

jive.vid. This cookie is given to anonymous users when they enter the Thorn tree forum. This is used for statistical purposes so one anonymous user can be distinguished from another.

JSESSIONID. This cookie enables the Lonely Planet web server to know your log-in status.

Shop Cookies. The online shop requires the use of cookies to make the purchase process as easy as possible. This includes using cookies to enable the site to remember what items are in your ‘shopping basket’ as you move around the site, as well as remembering what currency you wish to view products in. These cookies are deleted when you close the browser.

These cookies include: bmJava, bmClrDpt, ODLPSID, cookieID, ARPT, bmScrRes, and bmTzOff

Hotels Cookies. Lonely Planet Hotels & Hostels requires the use of cookies to ensure booking a property is as easy as possible. This includes using cookies to remember the check-in and check-out dates that you are searching (so you do not have to enter this in each time you search for properties) as well as well as remembering what currency you wish to view rates in.

These cookies include: CustomerSiteId, SiteId, and ASP.NET_SessionId

Cookies set on our site by our commercial service providers

We use a range of third party services on our site – from statistics packages to advertising, video delivery, content delivery and even low level techie functions like load balancing our servers so that they are always available when you want to use them. Some of these services require the use of cookies to work properly. These services include:


Some of the advertisers on our site may serve content and advertisements that place or recognize cookies on your browser.

Ad Serving (onsite behavioural targeting) – AudienceScience Inc. (formerly Revenue Science, Inc.)

AudienceScience uses cookies to discover general information about the web pages owned by the BBC that you visit (including “” and other BBC sites such as “”). It also processes IP addresses to collect other general information in order to place you in a “market segment”. This includes data about the country, city or region where you are located and your domain name (e.g. what ISP you use). It then places advertisements onto “” which it believes people in your market segment will find relevant. If you would like more information about the cookies used by AudienceScience and how to opt out, please see their Privacy Policy at

Information (IP addresses and information in other cookies on our sites) that AudienceScience collects is transferred to them in the United States, and Lonely Planet confirm that AudienceScience satisfies the EU’s data protection requirements through its registration with the US Department of Commerce’s “safe harbor” framework. Data is sometimes shared with AudienceScience’s sub-contractors in India who are also required contractually to comply with the EU’s data protection requirements.

It is important to note that at no time will we or our service providers attempt to identify you individually, and at no time do we know who you are or what pages you individually have been looking at – we simply aggregate the relevant information to create the market segments of groups of people. Also, this “onsite behavioural targeting” functionality is different from other forms of behavioural targeting in that we will only look at your journey across BBC Worldwide websites and we do not use or share data with or from non-BBC Worldwide sites.

DoubleClick is a service provider that we use to insert our advertisers’ ads into our sites for us. Their cookies help them to make the ads more relevant to you (eg if you use our sites from outside Australia, you may get ads from your local country, not from Australia). If you would like more information about the cookies used by DoubleClick, please see their privacy policy



Omniture (Omniture SiteCatalyst) provides anonymous statistical information for us. They process IP addresses and information from other cookies used on our sites so we know how many page views we have, how many users we have, what browsers they are using (so we can target our resources in the right way to maximise compatibility for the majority of our users) and, in some cases, in which country, city or region they are located.

Specifically, SiteCatalyst uses three cookies per site tracked to accomplish this task. Each cookie starts with a similar name, but has a unique ID assigned to it for each site tracked:

  • s_cc – This cookie is set and read by the JavaScript code to determine if cookies are enabled.
  • s_sq – This cookie is set and read by the JavaScript code when the ClickMap functionality is enabled; it contains information about the previous link that was clicked on by the user.
  • s_vi [ID} – Unique visitor ID time/date stamp


Lonely Planet advertises using Google Adwords. A Google cookie is used to enable us to monitor the effectiveness of this advertising by seeing the amount of traffic and conversions (e.g. shop purchases) this advertising generates. These cookies expire after 30 days.

Server Functions

Because of the scale and size of our website, we have to use more than one computer to serve pages to all our users. Otherwise everyone would have to get a coffee between page loads… We use various pieces of equipment and services for this.

For example, Akamai’s service allows us to cache (i.e. keep a copy of) files (images, movies, scripts and the like) at a location near you. This means that rather than every user, worldwide, having to download the entire homepage from our server in Australia, some of the files which make up the site – usually ones which don’t change so often – are held for us on Akamai’s servers. Akamai’s cookies allow them to redirect the user – transparently and automatically – to the closest and fastest server for them without Akamai’s system having to spend time working this out for itself.



Via Facebook Connect you can sign-in to Lonely Planet using your Facebook log-in. A Facebook cookie (fbsetting_(ID) is used to remember your Facebook log-in so you do not need to enter these details each time you log-in.

Updating Your Settings

Advertising Network Bodies

The table below shows the 3 main associations that represent advertising networks. You can visit their websites to opt out of all cookies served by their members. Typically, they will scan your device for a few seconds to see what cookies are currently set and then provide you with the facility to opt out on an individual basis or completely from all cookies. The image below provides an illustration of the information that is presented:

How to opt out of Online Behavioural Advertising

BodyLink to Opt Out
Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)YourOnlineChoices
Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)::Network Advertising Opt Out
The Digital Advertising AllianceDAA Opt Out

These are the main Ad networks used on Lonely Planet’s website:

Third Party Ad Servers::Link to Opt Out
Google Double ClickClick Here to Opt Out
Advertising.comClick Here to Opt Out
Revenue ScienceClick Here to Opt Out
Rubicon ProjectClick Here to Opt Out
Travel Ad NetworkClick Here to Opt Out

If you would like to opt out of Analytics cookies, please do so by clicking on the links below:

Auditing our Websites

On a quarterly basis, we conduct an audit of all cookies being used across the website portfolio.

Further Information

Please contact the Data Protection team at BBC Worldwide if you would like more information on the cookies that we use and their purposes.

Policy Last Updated: May 2012