When I visited Amsterdam, I bought a sketchbook, and while I was in the city, I shoved everything in there, from ticket stubs, to brochures, to notes about destinations. Although it wasn’t a moleskin — and wasn’t anywhere near as pretty as some moleskins I’ve seen — it served its purpose, and it’s fun to look at now.
Moleskine, makers of the ubiquitous travel journals, recently introduced City Guides. Sort of a make-yer-own guidebook, Moleskine’s City Guides are an excellent, stylish way of organizing a trip — before or after you go. Each 3½” x 5½” book comes with numerous maps of the city; an alphabetical street index; 228 pages (76 of which are blank); 32 removable sheets for exchanging email addresses with wild-eyed hostelers; 12 translucent sticky sheets, to overlay and re-position, so you can trace your route; an inside accordion pocket; and three ribbon place-markers.
Currently, the series includes Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Prague, Rome, and Wien. During 2007, the series will expand to include Boston, New York, San Fran, D.C., Chicago, LA, Montreal, and Seattle. With one of these $17 City Guides, all you need is a translator, some coffee, and a sharp pencil, and you’ll have your own, customized travel guide in no time.