Travel Magazines: Did you pack this one yourself?

Who can you turn to for the best holiday inspiration? Martin Deeson separates the Club class from the economy
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The Independent Online
Condé Nast Traveller

Publisher: Condé Nast. Subscription: 12 for £38.40

Condé Nast Traveller

Publisher: Condé Nast. Subscription: 12 for £38.40

The 'Playboy' of upmarket travel porn. The one for the best hotels, safari lodges, restaurants and five-star wilderness camps: you just want to go everywhere they do ("the 60 most stylish new hotels", "buying champagne at source"). The famous "never take a freebie" policy gives CNT a perceived edge and expert writers such as Simon Calder and photography you could frame and put on the wall make this one the gold-topped full-fat cream of the crop. For the rich and for those who like to dream.

Sunday Times Travel

Publisher: River Publishing. Subs: 12 for £30

The young pretender makes a fine fist of it. Determinedly less conventional than CNT (adventure trips for single parents, holidays for people whose hobby is already or soon to be illegal in Britain: hunting, shooting, smoking weed) but also possessed of more mouthwatering photography (as well as a couple of ideas that turn up three times each in 12 travel titles: learn to tango in Buenos Aires, "secret" Venice). For the urban professional in a hurry: "the long summer evening is the new (mini) mini break".

Living Abroad

Publisher: The Media Company. Subs: 6 for £17.99

Hanker for the holiday that never ends? Or at least a bolt- hole within no- frills flight range to get you off the suicide watch in February? First-hand "we did it" features on buying a cave in Spain, downsizing to Nice, owning a hotel in New England or picking up a holiday home for 30 grand in Sicily - and a whole host of other options that all sound like an equally bloody good idea - this is the one if you want relocation, relocation. Cheap and very, very cheerful.

Travel + Leisure

Publisher: American Express. Subs: 12 for $19.95 (£11)

Typically professional US import. One of six world editions so its design and content give a pleasing reminder of the non-specific world traveller feeling you get after your third departure lounge of the week. Innovative fashion (skeletons as mannequins, no, really) reflect its New York roots. Plenty of travel staples ("secret" Majorca, "hidden" Riviera) plus great ideas ("Is Europe turning into America? Would that really be so terrible?", "the best towns to buy second-hand books in rural Wales"). Eclectic and monied.

Travel Africa

Publisher: Travel Africa Ltd. Subs: 4 for £15

This month's cover star - a mountain gorilla - could lead you to believe the Africa to be travelled was strictly for the wildlife snappers (and there is plenty for them), but an editorial on Bono's speech to the Labour conference, Andy Kershaw on Mali's Ali Farka Touré and bushcraft with Ray Mears show that TA is not all white rhinos and sundowners. Pieces on £5 guesthouses ("Prostitutes are not allowed," said the sign, "except your own wife") and the problems facing Ba'aka Pygmies help TA stand out.

Coast

Publisher: Edisea Ltd. Subs: 12 for £31.50

Sometimes you just want to rinse the white sand out of your thong and go somewhere a bit more rugged. The island issue of Coast ("dedicated to the British coastline") could be hoped to appeal to hermit manqués, until you realise it's more Isle of Wight than isle of solitude. Reminds me of the Spike Milligan poem: "I must got down to the sea again, the lonely sea and sky - I left my pants and socks there, I wonder if they're dry." Perfect for a doctor's waiting room-on-sea.

Outback

Publisher: Outback Publishing. Subs: 6 for aus$150 (£63)

Another animal cover star (this time the Working Dog of the Year). Outback is dedicated to, uh-huh, the Australian Outback - an area which may not actually be the end of the world, but which certainly has a very similar postcode. How do they fill six mags a year? With adventure travel , fossil digging, lots of 4x4s, a bit of canyon walking and kayaking and many, many pictures of red dirt. For those who really want to get away from it all, and I mean it all.

Wanderlust

Publisher: Wanderlust Publications. Subs: 8 for £22.80

One for the "proper" traveller - how to blend into a crowd in Egypt, the cheapest way to get round Morocco, doing the Plymouth-Dakar Rally in a £100 banger. The contents page is a map of the world (simple idea, done well) - but even the terminally armchair bound will enjoy its mix of information and solid travel writing. Makes your feet itch like Jiminy Cricket. Best idea: How to Come Home, a guide for the sabbatical/gap year returner. Best headline: How to Stop Persistent Diarrhoea.

Travel Savvy

Publisher: Frank Media. Subs: 6 for $12 (£6.62)

Primarily aimed at Americans on world shopping trips (but available here from larger newsagents) it'll well suit the domestic retail addicted who haven't suffered a collapsing exchange rate. For those on this side of the dollar disaster/bonanza there's a feature on how to live like a celebrity in Beverly Hills, gushing pieces about the swimming holes of the Grand Canyon and ER's Maura Tierney gushing about Ireland. There's a lot of gushing in TS. It gushes like an old-school in-flight magazine.

Trip

Publisher: The Media Company. Subs: 6 for £17.99

As the name implies, one for the post-Ecstasy generation: smoking in Istanbul, cocktails in Singapore, mushrooms in Sydney. And loads o' celebs. The contents page is an inflatable globe (complicated idea, done badly). Some good ideas (how to kill 24 hours in an airport), some tired ("eating in the open air is the only way to dine"): in general more va va voom required. As if Heat chick and Nuts lad went on holiday together, but the weather wasn't all that.

VIP International Traveller

Publisher: BM Medien Verlag

Another multi-lingual experience - this time in German and English. The golf edition focuses on the Marbella/ Dubai/Algarve nexus and includes no-nonsense features with no nonsense headlines like "The Art of Luxury Golf Travel". For the rich executive in a hurry. Yawn. Printed on paper thick enough to build a Japanese house and illustrated by well-lit pictures taken from unartistic angles, this is the Leading Hotels of the World brochure of the pack. The cover price and ads reinforce that this is not a mag for plebs.

Paper Sky

Publisher: Knee High Media

The Wallpaper* of the pack and an "international" title - edited in Tokyo, published in New York (though reassuringly for Western eyes it reads front to back). This really is rather beautiful - more architecture than nature - and its design is reminiscent of the golden age of Pan Am seen through Hoxton eyes. With text in Japanese and English, travel writing from a Mexican/US illegal border crossing and the indigenous Sami of Lapland this is the cuttingest cutting edge in cutting edge travel mags.

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