4 of the Best (non-Internet) Travel Magazines

If video killed the radio star, then is it fair to say that Internet killed print media? I sure hope not. There’s something comforting about flipping through the pages of a bound and printed book or magazine. Call me strange, but I like the smell of the pages, preferably the ones right smack-dab in the middle. I like that I can take a magazine just about anywhere and not have to worry about battery power or Internet access. I like that I don’t have to click-through any popup advertisements! Even when I’m not sitting idly in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, I find myself drawn to magazines. Jeez, I think I even subscribe to a few of them.

The travel industry has always been well-represented in the world of print-media. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular travel magazines to date:

National Geographic

An obvious first place to start. For many of us, National Geographic is a household name. Its first issue dates back to 1888, trumping all the other magazines in this list by decades. The monthly magazine is based in Washington D.C.  and is published in thirty two different languages around the world, reaching millions of monthly readers.

National Geographic is well-known for its breathtaking photography and maintains a high standard of photojournalism. Its sure to stick around for many years to come.

Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Publications boasts one of the largest and most recognizable magazine portfolios in the world. Vogue, GQ, Golf Digest, Wired and The New Yorker–all Condé Nast.

While Condé Nast Traveler was made known to the public in 1987, its history can be traced back to 1953, when the Diners Club used to send out mailings that listed locations that would accept the card. Eventually, The Diners Club Magazine began to take on advertising. For a while it was titled Signature, but when Condé Nast bought the magazine, the magazine was relaunched the following year under the current name.

Enough history.

Condé Nast Traveler is a fantastic magazine. It tends to focus on high-end travel destinations, hotels, airlines and the like. Its predictable and seasonal features keep readers coming back for more–every January, the Gold List is published. In June or April, the top reader-rated golf courses are listed. In December, the top ski resorts.

In each monthly issue, the magazine runs a “Where Are You?” contest, where readers have to guess a pictorial location. Even with sophisticated technology like Google Images and Google Earth, it’s a tough contest to win. Trust me, I try all the time.

Condé Nast Traveler is based in New York City but also publishes a U.K. version under an almost similarly spelled name, Condé Nast Traveller.

Travel + Leisure

Also based in New York City, Travel + Leisure is a monthly travel magazine published by American Express Publishing–yes, that American Express. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the credit card company. You know, the one that small businesses loathe for their high merchant processing fees?

Originally published as U.S. Camera and Travel in 1937, the name changed to Travel + Leisure after 1971. Its content was initially based around travel photography but has shifted to cover more general topics in recent years. Today, the magazine specializes in leisure travel and includes not only traditionally-structured travel articles, surveys and lists, but those written by poets, designers and non-travel journalists. If you are still looking for a reason to pick up an issue, the magazine often features sexy models on its covers.

I’m just saying.


From the Afar Media website:

AFAR is a multi-platform brand for experiential travelers who have the desire and the means to immerse themselves in other cultures, to engage with local people, and to enrich their own lives. AFAR Media will take its audience to the real experience of travel.

I was so excited when Afar launched last year (in 2009). Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz, both passionate and well-traveled, schemed up the idea over a beer in Goa, India. Their goal with the magazine is to enlighten and encourage a more authentic kind of travel. By offering inspiring stories, educational pieces and useful travel tips, Afar is making a name for itself in the travel magazine world. For only $20, you get six bi-monthly issues. The photography and writing are both superb and worth checking out.

Any others that I’m missing? What are your favorite travel magazines?

image via prolix6x


Alan Perlman

Alan Perlman travels the world as an international cost-of-living surveyor. When he's not hunting for the price of female undergarments in places like Syria, Rwanda and Turkmenistan, he's hanging out in Boston, MA, staying active, meeting people and brainstorming business models. You can read more about Alan and his plans to conquer life at his blog, The 9 to 5 Alternative.

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