An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.
WHAT: Pocket city guides with fold-out maps.
AIMED AT: People who can't handle a map and a guidebook simultaneously.
HOW MUCH: $8.95 per map guide, covering 10 cities worldwide (London, Berlin, Boston, Venice, etc.).
BUT DO THEY WORK? Sometimes traveling requires two people just to heft the guidebook and the map. Let's Go stream- lines sightseeing with its uber-pamphlets: 38 pages highlighting top tourist attractions, eats, entertainment and more, all wrapped inside cover-to-cover maps that never fold out beyond arm's length. The maps are divided into smaller zones, so, for example, you can peruse the U.C. Berkeley area one-handed and the San Francisco Bay Area with a hand and an extra thumb. Trying to match the indexed sights with the various detailed maps, though, took some skill, as we found ourselves flipping back to front and back again searching for B9 or D13. In addition, we uncovered some discrepancies between the guidebook half and the map half, such as Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art noted as No. 14 in the guidebook and No. 16 on the map. However, we will happily forgive such oversights for its one-of-a-kind tips, such as the Best Place to Watch Hardened Turkish Mothers Bargain with Flatbread Vendors in Berlin.
-- Andrea Sachs
Let's Go pocket city guides are available at major bookstores.