Sunday, August 4, 2013

Best Travel Buddy: Moleskine City Notebook

While doing all my research for traveling to Europe, I knew that there was no way I wanted to carry around a huge guidebook with me. For one, they're heavy, and you really only reference a few pages at a time. For another, what screams tourist more than carrying around an English guidebook?

Thankfully, while browsing my local Barnes & Noble shortly before leaving, I found a solution with the Moleskine City Notebooks. Now, I love Moleskine anyway, and keep the small weekly planner and a blank notebook with me pretty much 24/7. My current favorites are the Star Wars editions, obviously, though I did just find a houndstooth print that's pretty cute......Anyway, I already had one with all my little notes about Paris, so when I found the Paris city notebook ON SALE at Barnes & Noble, I snatched it right up.

This notebook is the standard small size, 3.5" x 5.5", with a black leather hard cover and elastic band. On the inside are lots of maps, with a street index for each small map, as well as a metro map which folds out. VERY HELPFUL!

After the maps, there are several blank pages, as well as tabbed pages you can use for whatever you want. Some tabs have images on them, for restaurants, hotels, shops, and such, but there are also several blank tabs, and included tab stickers, so you can label and arrange them yourself. I included tabs for itinerary, museums, budget, and words, where I wrote down useful phrases I just can't remember (two years of college French, and I still don't know left from right...).

Clearly, I didn't really follow my notebook itinerary all that well.....

I liked being able to write down the map page number in my notes, for easy reference to wherever it was we were going. Also included were several pages of tracing paper, so I made a map overlay for the metro map highlighting our hostel stop and any stops near where we wanted to go.

And, like all Moleskine notebooks, there's a pocket in the back. I was so paranoid about pickpockets that I actually kept my debit card, some cash, and ID in this back pocket, rather than carry a wallet. Since I mostly walked around with this in my hand anyway, referencing my notes, making new notes, or looking discretely at a map, I knew no one was going to take that thing from me.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a Rome notebook before I left :( Even when I got to Rome, and saw the Moleskine store in the middle of the Termini train station, they were all sold out of Rome city notebooks! Which is a shame, since they also had a Rome Moleskine stamp right there in the store! Since I've been back, though, I've been snatching them up off ebay for pretty much every city I want to visit, both here and abroad (note: that's all of them). Washington DC for $2.50? You bet I got that one! I'm actually really glad I got this one, since I live so close to DC now. I already wrote down exhibits I want to see this fall, marked my most common metro stops, and put my smart trip card in the back pocket where I will NEVER lose it again!

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