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Traditional tourist maps of the future?

With an increasing reliance on all things internet, you could be forgiven for thinking that the traditional paper map has had its day.   I mean, there’s Google Maps now, and there are iPhones, as well as a variety of GPS devices, so it’s easy to get an up-to-date map at your fingertips in minutes.   Paper maps have their advantages but they get worn and  tear, which isn’t ideal. Make way, therefore, for Rand McNally’s fabMAPs which are printed on microfibre cloths.   They’re waterproof, you can stuff them in your pocket, and they’re not dependent on internet access or a GPS signal.   What’s more, you can clean your iPhone or camera lens with them. Prices start from $5.95. Perhaps the traditional,  printed map isn’t  dead just yet.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. While a decent idea, I generally travel to alot of places on a trip, and it would not make financial sense to buy one of these with each city/town. I would rather stick to technology, and have free maps, AND gps wherever I go. I will use clothes for cleaning my face.

  2. This will be an excellent travel guide for Jet Set Travellers who want to be able to tract their location while they travel to certain places. Thanks for the information. We will be passing this along too.

  3. Well the last part made me laugh. I think these maps would spend more of their life as cleaning materials for ipod screens or lenses. At $5? Perhaps this more for backpackers and adventure travelers but not for luxury travelers. With all the handheld GPS devices available (which are getting pretty cheap already), I expect these things not to sell like hotcakes. Besides its terribly inconvenient to open a map whether you are on foot or in a car. It would be good if the map carries something unique from its place of origin, much like a souvenir.

  4. Granted, at that price, they probably wouldn’t be classed as a luxury item. I wouldn’t regard them as inconvenient, though. GPS devices don’t always readily pick up a signal and in some cases I suspect you could actually establish your whereabouts and work out where you want to go quicker with a conventional map.


  5. I quite like the idea of these maps and probably would buy for some of the cities I visit regularly. But only if I happened to see one in a shop, I doubt if I’d go out of my way for one or buy online.

    Thinking along the souvenir idea. Nancy Chandler designs would be great. (She’s quite well known in Thailand for her very distinctive and stylised maps – they’re useful too.)

    How about making T-shirts with a map design? As long as there’s more than one of you, one person could wear it and the other(s) could read the map.

  6. this would be great, my maps always end well worn and torn at least this way i could keep them in a better state!

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