Moleskine City Notebooks turn you into your own guidebook

We’ve mentioned Moleskine City Notebooks in the past here on Gadling, but this line of Notebooks deserve another mention. With a Moleskine City Notebook, you essentially turn yourself into your own guidebook. Instead of relying on tips from others, you create your own guide as you wander through a city.

Inside each Moleskine City Notebook is everything you need to find your way around – maps, a street index, public transit map, important phone numbers, transport information and room to write down your itinerary.

Of course, the notebook also has plenty of room to write down your own content, along with a section where you can write your own reviews and rate locations. This “city file” section is split into food, drinks, sleep, people, places and books. Handy tabs let you quickly browse to the right section.

In the back of the notebook is a page containing adhesive-tab tracing paper, which make it easy to overlay on a map and trace your steps.

The Moleskine City Notebooks are available for 14 North American cities, 24 European cities and 4 Asian cities. The guides retail for $17.95 each, but can be found for around $12.50 at many online retailers.

In sticking with the principle of going back to basics, leaving your high tech gadgets at home, and relying on good old paper to create your trip report can be a fun experience, it may not be for everyone, but without the distraction of mobile apps, you do have a better chance at seeing more of your destination. Of course, if you lack a sense of direction, you also have a better chance of becoming horribly lost – and everyone should experience the joy of being lost in Tokyo at least once.

To find retailers, or learn more about Moleskine city notebooks, head on over to their product page.

Gadling Review: Traveldodo mobile city guides

We like to play around with mobile phones here at Gadling. They’re becoming one of the more invaluable tools for the on-the-go traveler, both domestically and abroad. Recently we were introduced to a website called Traveldodo, an online travel review site that offers an extensive selection of free mobile travel guides for cities across Europe.

Free mobile guides you say? We decided to take Traveldodo’s suggestion, download a free mobile guide to Barcelona and see for ourselves how it worked. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Extensive selection – Traveldodo offers city guides for more than 100 cities across Europe, including everything from Barcelona to Reykjavik to Istanbul
  • Free Download – the guides are free to download and don’t require a wireless connection to read. You will however pay a charge from your wireless carrier (typically around $1-2 depending on your carrier) if you don’t have a data plan. Take note.
  • City Info – the info within Traveldodo’s guides covers Things to do, Food and drinks, Places to sleep, City info, and Country info, as well as a special section where users can submit their own tips for inclusion in future versions.
  • Compatibility – the guides are designed to work with lots of different phones, meaning you don’t need an iPhone in order for it to work. Traveldodo claims most phones after 2006 to be compatible.

Overall, we like Traveldodo’s concept and their utility, though the guides themselves still have some rough spots. Downloading was easy enough – users simply point their browser at the address of their desired city listed here. Despite two tries we could not get the app to work on a Blackberry, which was a troubling sign, but did get the Barcelona guide downloaded on a Sony Ericsson device.

Having visited Barcelona a few times, we took a look through the guide’s listing of Things to do, Food and drinks and City info. The information was certainly useful, though frequent travelers might find it to be a bit basic. One feature that was particularly interesting was the Submit Do/Don’t, which allows users to add their own tips to Traveldodo’s database by email or SMS. This collaborative feature, along with the app’s free download price and extensive range of cities make Traveldodo mobile city guides worth a second look. Check one out if you’re heading to Europe anytime soon.

Moleskine City Guides

City GuideWhen 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.