A Pics & Ink Guide to Travel Mags
So many amazing travel mags out there, but which one should you try? Which one is going to make you say, “This mag was made for me?!” Some share nail-biting stories of adventure, some feature incredible places to stay, some dive into history and culture and some simply want to share and celebrate incredible places. We’ve broken down a few of our favourites in the list below. So, let’s dive in to the wonderful world of indie travel mags…
New kid on the block, Good Place is up first.
In a nutshell: Created by a lot of the editorial team from the Lonely Planet magazine (which sadly closed in the pandemic), these guys combine their serious mag-making experience and passion for the less trodden path in this new quarterly mag.
Pics: Arty shots from some award-winning photographers. A mix of landscapes, cityscapes and beautiful zoomed in shots of the smaller details (think octopus drying on a barbed wire line).
Ink: Whether it’s the deserts of Namibia or the bowels of the Natural History Museum, each piece captures what’s truly unique about that place. The writing is great, with personal experiences, and history woven in. A mix of longer form travel pieces and zippier features, like One Fine Day (exploring a city from first cup of coffee to last drink of the night). Good Place feels like a series of windows showing you a snapshots of “enduringly good” places.
Looks? Thick silky pages with an uncoated cover that’s lovely to touch. Bold and bright style and visually very interesting as they play around with the layout for the different features.
In a nutshell: Each issue explores a different country. It’s a carefully curated selection of stories about the landscapes and cities, the food, architecture, local crafts and industry, folklore and traditions.
Pics: A mix of gorgeous landscapes and candid shots (think snaps of fresh caught prawns and rustic lunch tables), and beautiful illustrations (we love the map illustrations at the start of each issue).
Ink: Travel stories from interesting places and experiences, like cycling through Normandy or eating Pao buns in Goa; musings on what gives a place its identity, like the decadent interior architecture of luxury Parisian hotels; and lovely sensory pieces about things like dissecting and tasting the mysterious produce from a market stall in India.
Looks? Loverly matte pages, beautifully bound, it’s more book than magazine. Delicate font and very beautiful layout. Did we mention beautiful? Oh and no ads.
You can browse all our issues of Lodestars Anthology here. £12
In a nutshell: Each issue explores a different city, through its food, history and communities. Like Lodestars, it’s less about travel recommendations and more of a deep dive into what gives the city its identity. Each issue has lots of local input, with guest editors, writers and photographers who know the city well or call it home.
Pics: Fewer landscape shots for obvious reasons, and more snippets of life in the city, portraits and close up shots of food from street vendors to haute cuisine kitchens.
Ink: A great variety of content in this one. There are essays on cultural phenomenons (like the infamous ‘Rolex’ street food snack in Kampala), interviews with locals about life in the city, descriptive travel pieces, and even fiction and poetry at times. (We love the masterclass in Uglish (Ugandan English) and the side-by-side translations of a Ugandan folktale in the Kampala issue).
Looks: Smaller format magazine but nice and chunky. It’s visually exciting, with playful composition and a bit of a collage feel as it weaves together all the parts that make up the city.
In a nutshell: Suitcase is about seeking out amazing places, discovering interesting communities both near and faraway and finding unique experiences and places to stay.
Pics: A mix of epic landscapes, and candid shots of locals and local crafts and produce (think drained espresso cups and unpasteurised milk for sale in Coca-Cola bottles).
Ink: A mix of stories about travel and adventure like the guided tour around a Finnish National Park; and stories about interesting communities and places around the world, like the huge body-building movement in Southern India (“once you spot one, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.”) There's also occasional musings on the nature of travel.
Looks? Will fit nicely in your carry on. The gold embossed logo gives a hint of luxury and there’s a very pleasing blend of matte and glossy pages.
You can find the latest issue of Suitcase here. £10
In a nutshell: Tonic magazine explores places through the world of drink, with stories of the history, culture and makers behind each local libation.
Pics: Beauty shots of national tipples and close ups of lovely frothy beer mixed with scenic shots that bring the stories alive.
Ink: A mix of long form features weaving in the history, cultural context and traditions of drinks and drinking culture, and more personal travel stories. In Volume 1, for example, you’ll find the story of how IPA got its name and the history of Iceland’s prohibition alongside an account of drinking Soju in North Korea, and of growing up making moonshine in Zimbabwe.
Looks: Lovely bold headers and a great easy-to-read layout, all wrapped up in a sleek, tactile black cover, with a choice of either an impossibly cool Michael Caine or Diana Ross on the cover of Volume 1.
You can find Volume 1 of Tonic here. Watch out for Volume 2 coming 12th October! £15
In a nutshell: JRNY is an annual mag bringing you a selection of travel ideas from walking the Yorkshire Wolds Way to the Banana Islands of Sierra Leone, from Venice Carnival to Bhutan. Each location starts with a ‘need to know’ stats page which is a nice throwback to the guidebooks of yore but then expands into some seriously engaging and immersive travel writing.
Pics: Super vibrant, high saturation images give landscapes, wildlife and locals shots an almost cinematic feel.
Ink: Some photo stories but mostly longer 1st person narrative pieces which really put you there, with snippets of conversation with guides, locals and occasionally police!
Look: Yes, JRNY is a bit pricier than many indie mags, but it is a TOME. 2cm thick and A4 size, it looks fab on the bookshelf or coffee table and the images look marvellous on the larger pages.
JRNY Issue 1 is available here. £20
In a nutshell: Sidetracked is all about adventures, whether that’s paragliding the migration route of the monarch butterfly, free diving under the ice in Greenland or walking the mountains from Spain to Norway. All the stories are told by incredibly dedicated and fearless adventurers and the journal is a mix of awe-inspiring scenery and insane feats of courage and endurance.
Pics: Photography and adventure go together like, well, snow caps on a mountain. The action shots in Sidetracked won’t disappoint, whether they are underwater or mid-blizzard. Alongside the awesome landscapes, you’ll also see pics showing the realities of the adventure, like a flask of warm water being poured over frozen feet, or an exhausted and slightly fed up tent scene at the end of a gruelling day.
Ink: Very ‘in the moment’ style first person narrative, full of the fears and exhilaration, pain and jubilation felt along the way.
Looks:Just under A4 size, with matte pages and a simple elegant layout that lets the pics and the writing speak for themselves.
We’ve got lots of back issues to choose from on the shop. Browse them all here. £10
Browse all these marvellous mags and more on our Travel & Adventure shelves.