An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.
WHAT: Insideout guides, pop-out maps that include all of a traveler's navigational needs.
AIMED AT: Tourists who can't find the Duomo or Statue of Liberty, much less a trattoria or pastrami on rye, without a little help.
HOW MUCH: $9.95 to $11.95 for the soft-covered map-plus, with 20 destinations throughout the United States and Europe.
BUT DOES IT WORK? Insideout passed the pocket test (fits snugly in a hip pocket); the folding test (pop-out map opens and closes easily, like a fan); and the taste test (the white beans and clams at Casa Lastra Sidreira in Madrid sound delicious). The small notebook-size aid comes with a detailed double map that doesn't require bifocals to read; a pen that glides in and out of the spine; a mini-compass; and an abbreviated city guide with tips on eating, shopping, hotels, etc., as well as emergency contacts and key phrases, such as "buon giorno" ("good morning" in Florence) and "yo" ("yo" in New York). All in all, it's a welcome companion on any voyage -- and it's no "schlep" ("to carry with difficulty or a stupid person") at all.
-- Andrea Sachs
Insideout guides are available at Rand McNally stores and major bookstores, or for more information, contact the company at 800-617-6768, www.mapgroup.net.