On the Road with Lonely Planet

"Nightline" follows one of the travel guidebook writers through Panama.
3:00 | 08/02/13

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Transcript for On the Road with Lonely Planet
Notice how we never seemed to get as many weeks of vacation as we feel we need so when you do take those precious days it had better be for something special right. If you've ever arrived at a hotel room that was not exactly clean -- an attraction that's -- long since closed. And this -- -- The folks at lonely planet can help you -- -- travel nightmare and snagged that dream vacation they're taking us along for the ride. Here's ABC's David liked. One of the great travel writers -- thorough one says travel is glamorous roles in retrospect. When I'm in the amount one name names and Carolyn McCarthy might well agree she's professional road work. Undercover writer for the lonely planet -- people really can't. -- travel reading -- -- here. Sipping cocktails on the beach -- it fast you're sweating it out you're taking classes. You're guessing where you wiring getting lots -- saying. Twenty different hotels today -- you get my experience -- we shouldn't think I'm -- o'clock. It's not what people think it is. Still it's easy to see why people might envy her job you know -- again we followed along as she researched the lonely planet's Panama -- -- how many rooms and. -- on this. Her eighteenth adventure for the lonely planet -- -- -- that Indiana Jones hot on the trail of perfect summer holiday for trying to cut. For someone else some just making sure that I got some of the details that I -- but it didn't have time to write down. For forty years lonely planet guide books and maybe even the most remote destinations. A bit slow trip to discovering hidden -- abroad and at home. You guys have picked -- it's as good as the best city in America. The best city for travel and. That's Alison -- another -- Clinton -- updating the San Francisco got. We never met him I thought I'd written things. She showed us where to find the most exotic -- in Chinatown. As you try and do you pick up the fitness in the back. The best so -- in north -- -- -- -- -- I know it's alone in one day the best of both worlds kind style American portions of the antelope that. Never predict -- job. The best really. Of course every job has its downs having very little personal time can be -- talent. I'll fulfill at my job -- privilege and I get to see things that nobody gets it. Caroline spend 70%. Of her life on the road for me I loved doing it so it's really addictive and it's hard to get -- It takes time to vet every entry firsthand the lonely planet claims to be the only travel guide series still to do that. So what's the down side of the job. You don't get -- sick days. And that could be a problem when you have -- when he budget hotels covered the day after you've been up all night with food poisoning. And that did happen and it was in the Sahara. Plenty of travelers are no longer inclined to look -- big expensive -- in the carrier and relying instead on free crowd sourced -- available from places like Google -- -- velocity if I were to go to a destination. With my iPad -- I have all the information at my fingertips. Would you have expert information available that you can be confident and you know I think that's why are guides in particular to places that are a little off the beaten track. Are so so valuable because -- triple checked their facts. Each of those spots on the map is a hotel. Caroline has to visit the mall it's only -- on Panama City with the ball and people really like it's I wanted to check it out could be a little bit cleaner. She also checks out the five star trump tower. This is amazing guys -- Train that says this tempered -- A -- The south that's. Are we -- to be back back but those readers who grew up so now they have more discretionary income. Maybe they don't want to leave the dorm bed anymore and that one mark creature comforts may -- some of them can afford the luxury hotels. So we we search for a wide variety people. No matter how many stars the hotel has the drill is pretty much the same. I look at the beds -- look at this needs to be at least nice. Mattresses. And then. How many bets -- room -- there. I take on this tonight he. What kind of -- -- inspecting beds and bathrooms. I'm looking to see if -- hot water. I'm looking to see obviously people have been using the -- warning. House allows -- schools actually. America perhaps. -- only a few seconds to stop and admire the view. -- then it's on to confirming price points that -- -- -- that's 159 suspects getting it settled at city it's. And documenting every last detail new -- tower from the -- now. And time one. After seeing so many different types of -- year to year I think -- I can walk into a place and in. Ten minutes -- get them by just as important as a place to stay. He's a good place to the among allison's top five in San Francisco this hole in the wall Korean -- I'm converted to be done by united let's let's definitely get that really matters to me as a lonely planet -- Is that people don't waste their time and their money in their vacation. On a bad meal are bad place -- -- or bad experience that they couldn't wouldn't otherwise. Dining out is definitely a big perk of the job -- -- -- market. -- -- -- -- -- But there's a catch Carolyn doesn't just -- for herself. She -- to -- multiple meals for readers. The threat at this Texas beaches they were good. I don't need to make myself -- I didn't need to get an idea that there's a general level of quality and it was good. The CBJ is just yet protect -- almost always involved restaurant. There's no sitting still I'd just sort of victory so I'll -- street tonight. Ultimately it's all about finding good value and hidden jams. This is -- people think you're -- Korean acupressure massage in and out of the way neighborhoods but the parts of my job that are not so glamorous like. Fact checking bus schedules in person. Or. Checking out a clean the toilets are exactly. And a hotel rooms you really have to look behind -- to England to this is the. But the most exotic ice cream in San Francisco. That's signature popular in the secret practice group in and when it became that there has been thinking that would relievers. They did not want -- ice cream but it's -- many think clearly enough to between the Korean -- pressure was. Exotica as payment for your got a pretty enviable. Yet not -- and of course have to come back and try it with every new -- -- Some experiences don't end up in the book -- his. Beautiful. Can't believe I'm paddling the Panama Canal. Caroline -- -- love to meet an indigenous tribe hoping for an exotic new recommendation. This is that kind of -- my home and it's really unusual to see this on camera because. Usually they don't allow filming. Alas it ended up not being a side trip she'd recommend a day like today from me as a little bit frustrating because I want people to have new discoveries and I want to show people -- things and I wanna take advantage of going off the beaten track but I don't think this has grown to -- the book I'm ready for. Julianne their journey is meant to be a jumping off point for the rest of us. Even with its headaches. Not a bad job at all that they well it. -- -- -- The regular. -- website the same -- is. I'm David Wright for Nightline in San Francisco.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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