In a world of smartphones with GPS maps, travelling unfamiliar cities has become easy and lazy, assuming you have data. When I travel I prefer to wander a city and orient myself, to discover where things are in relation to each other. And when getting a signal is not always guarenteed, having a backup is essential.
A few years ago I was introduced to the Crumpled City map series when I lived in London. Limited to a few European cities (Paris, Berlin, Rome) plus the Big Apple, the maps as both durable & waterproof, and useful. I still have my original three maps which I still use today when I visit Berlin or Paris.
Unlike paper maps, Crumpled maps are printed on plastic cloth that can take abuse, including being roughly crumpled up and crammed in your pocket/bag many times—literally crushed into a ball. You can still fold them up, but without those pre-defined creases, you don’t have to get confused trying to refold the map properly.
Aside from the indestructible selling feature, each Crumpled City map focuses on the core area of most cities, the part tourists are most likely to go. You won’t find these maps cluttered with ads to local restaurants, hotels and tacky tourist spots, but you will find an easy to follow street plan with major culture spots, and Crumpled’s own curated ‘soulspots’.
Of course I’m not suggesting ditching the smartphone entirely. Many apps are good for finding decent food or browsing the locals, but when it comes to discovering a new place, there’s nothing better then just going for a wander and use the map as a simple backup, a way to see how the city is laid out.
If you have any plans to travel, I highly recommend picking up these maps to make your visit more interesting. You can pick them up at some travel shops, bookstores or buy Crumpled City maps on Amazon.com.
Crumpled Cities available:
Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Cape Town, Chicago, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Florence, Hamburg, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Krakow, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Mallorca, Melbourne, Milan, Moscow, Munich, New York, New Zealand, Oslo, Paris, Porto, Reykjavik, Rome, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Toronto, Trinity, Vancouver, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich