Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Travel Magazines Overview

There are dozens of travel magazines, all offering some useful information to travelers with different tastes and desires. You can always go out and buy a copy of each, and most have good websites associated with their magazine. As an overview, here is what we perceive as the strengths, weaknesses, and targeted audience of several of the most popular and widely available publications.

Travel+Leisure was one of the first big travel magazines. It is geared toward a fairly upscale audience, and seems to focus on cities, fine dining, fashion, and both U.S. and international travel.

Conde Nast Traveler
Conde Nast Traveler covers much of the same ground as Travel + Leisure, with (to our perception) even more emphasis on cities and style. We like Conde Nast’s columnists (especially Wendy Perrin) and their travel tips and advice. The magazine also generally includes good cruise info.

National Geographic Traveler
National Geographic Traveler leans much more toward outdoor, active travel (but still carries articles on urban travel). It may have a bit more bias toward U.S. travel than either of the two above, yet still covers destinations around the world. Another of our favorite columnists, Chris Elliott, writes for NGT. While we subscribe to many of the magazines listed here, this is our favorite.

Budget Travel
Budget Travel has a folksy, more down-to-earth take on travel. Its editorial focus varies, but generally strikes a balance between both U.S. and international travel destinations. It seems geared to the audience described in its title – budget.

National Geographic Adventure
National Geographic Adventure features many U.S. destinations, with a strong adventure-travel bent. It seems focused on a younger, trendy audience, with sound-bite journalism rather than in-depth articles.

Wanderlust is a UK publication, and another of our favorites. It has the usual mix of tips and info, as well as many feature articles about destinations around the world – many you might not have even heard of. It does offer articles on U.S. and North American destinations, but to a much lesser degree than any of the U.S. magazines. And despite being based in the UK, it does not have a heavy focus on British travel.

Sunday Times Travel
Sunday Times Travel is another UK magazine, put out by the Times Newspapers. It covers many international destinations, but seems to focus on cities (especially European) and more “civilized” destinations that does Wanderlust. It probably has a bit more info on UK travel than does Wanderlust. It, too, occasionally offers articles on U.S. travel, but most stories cover other international locations.

Both UK publications are available at many newsstands in the U.S., and Wanderlust’s U.S. subscription rates are not unreasonable.

There are also several other travel publications, which to us seem to have smaller distribution and/or less useful content, including CNN Traveler, Endless Vacation (good, but only available to RCI timeshare members), Town & Country Travel, Weekends, and others. One worth mentioning is Outside. Outside is generally not what we’d consider a “travel” magazine, but they publish an annual Outside Traveler issue (usually bundled with a fall issue of the magazine, and probably also available stand-alone on the newsstands), which usually has good travel and destination information, especially covering Caribbean and other warm-weather locales.