As anyone who has recently taken, planned, or even considered a trip can attest, travel is not the glamorous pursuit that it once was. And yet, despite (or perhaps in response to) the endless string of headaches that can stem from taking a vacation in 2014, this year has also been marked by a resurgence of the travel magazine industry. As many household names have finally received some much needed facelifts, and the indie vacation publication world has surged, there has never been a better time to live vicariously through the glossy pages of a travel magazine. Here’s our list of the most exciting travel titles on the stands today, just think of it as your chance to actually enjoy a getaway, minus the endless TSA lines, infinite flight delays, and locker-sized Economy seats.
Condé Nast Traveler – CNT was one of the first magazines to really make travel tantalizing. While publications that preceded it (most notably National Geographic), took a voyeuristic approach to the world, CNT was all about inspiring its readers to actually get out there and try things out for themselves. Having first been published in 1987, CNT underwent a gorgeous and innovative facelift recently, reframing the magazine as a more relatable reference guide for the modern traveler. In layman’s terms this means you can expect articles on beer tours, the Cuban art scene, and “The art of being alone.”
Sidetracked – If CNT is a classic, then Sidetracked is the new kid on the block. With just one physical issue under their belt (although they do maintain a more regular online presence) Sidetracked is a bit more rough around the edges than many of the other publications on this list, but that’s partially what they aim for. Sidetracked is all about pushing exploration to limit, and so their inaugural issue covers everything from deep cave exploration, to cycling the Andes, to paragliding. Unfortunately, that issue is sold out, but hopefully we’ll be seeing more from Sidetracked soon.
Afar – Afar’s covers are stamped with headlines about “traveling like a local,” and venturing “off-the-beaten-path,” but unlike many big name travel magazines, they actually back it up. By adopting an experiential approach to travel journalism Afar captures the spirit of well-known locales, rather than merely glossing them over. What’s more, their website has a great search feature that’ll help you easily discover the more unique destinations for your next trip.
Boat – Boat was established on the simple idea of dedicating each issue to a specific locale. While most travel publications jump around the map, Boat really hones in one city, be it Sarajevo, Detroit, Kyoto, or most recently Lima in an attempt to fully immerse the reader into the culture of that destination.
The Travel Almanac – With offices in both New York and Berlin and cover stars that include David Lynch and Harmony Korine, The Travel Almanac is an incredibly diverse publication. Its articles span not only the globe, but also topics, to cover things that other vacation publications would never touch upon. TTA dissects locations in a more nuanced (and yes some would say hipster) manner to dig up not only aesthetically pleasing hotels and restaurants, but also obscure attractions that lie well off the beaten path.
Cereal – Artsy photo shoots, asymmetrical layouts, features on “vibes,” esoteric topics. Yes, Cereal does often read like a checklist for every cliche of a contemporary publication, but honestly it comes together quite cohesively. Cereal truly is the magazine for someone who would rather read about travel destination than actually go there, but that doesn’t make the articles and photo spreads any less intriguing.
Jungles in Paris – Jungles in Paris is not a print publication like the rest of the titles on this list, but it is no less deserving of a mention here. Founded by brothers Darrell and Oliver Hartman, the content that JiP produces is as good if not better than most “traditional” magazines. Their photos are incredible, the writing is top notch, and every time you visit their site you’ll discover something new.