When I’m traveling, I generally prefer mobile guides for two main reasons: 1) they don’t take up any extra space or weight and 2) they don’t make me stand out like a sore tourist. But I’ve recently discovered some crafty paper guides that add an inspired dose of whimsy that’s so much in the spirit of why I love to travel. And there’s still something to be said for having a tangible, beautiful product in front of you. My fellow magazine lovers and photo printers, this one’s for you.
Collector’s items as much as guides, these 75+ maps feature insider favorites that worldwide artists plot onto neighborhood streets. Browse maps by cities, or filter by activity and aesthetic style. Whether you‘re a foodie or outdoorsman, a modern art enthusiast or classics connoisseur, these artsy maps do double souvenir duty as charming displays of all your escapades.
“Practical” and “romantic” are two words that rarely appear in the same sentence, but these character-based recommendations marry the two in a fresh take on bespoke experiences. Find your “soulmate” by browsing online bios of local experts, detailing what they like to read and what their perfect day looks like, then order a binder of guides produced by your personality double.
For those who crave a more social introduction to new cities, these foldable and waterproof works of art all include a handwritten welcome letter that reads like a hug from a friend. Like any caring advisor, the map bolsters top spots with practical must-know information, covering everything from rain plans to traffic shortcuts. Have a specific interest? Commission an anonymous insider with a custom-themed map.
While the contents of these mini-books, now with children’s editions, aren’t customized for individual travelers, the custom fittings make them both pocket guides and objets d’art. In public, there’s no shame in perusing pages flanked by covers wrapped in fashionable prints. At home, bespoke box sets can be handcrafted in classy linen or luxe velvet with personalized embossing for a tasteful addition to coffee table furnishings.