comScore COVER WARS: Travel Mags Race to Bargain Basement | Mediaite

COVER WARS: Travel Mags Race to Bargain Basement

cntEven though money’s tight in 2009, the editors at Condé Nast Traveler have continued to produce content for their lux-loving readers without being woefully oblivious to the recession (Vogue, too: Everything under $500!). The July cover presents yet another sweepingly grand view of some distant paradise — exactly what we’ve come to expect from CNT. So what if these “14 Greatest Deals Ever” aren’t actually with the times.

Mediaite Grade (A-) – Breathtaking covers are CNT’s bread and butter — so much so that will forgive them for having a seriously vintage design inside.






Budget Travel faces the exact opposite challenge as its peers at CNT: Readers want to feel thrifty and smart instead of broke. And ostensibly BT‘s editors have the most practice at packaging spendthrift content for readers who want to travel at any price. The July/August 2008 cover, however, cannot have been their best effort. Is filling a third of the cover with washed-out grass the best way to make us believe we can travel to Italy on the cheap? Probably not.


Mediaite Grade (C+) –  A disappointing and lazy effort from Budget Travel, repackaging last summer’s Italy cover. Plus, last year Italy was ‘Authentic and Romantic.’ But this year it’s just authentic! Now we feel really poor.

national-geographic-travelerNational Geographic Traveler skirts around the issue of traveling on a shoe-string by trying to sell us a bunch of codswallop about “Great Long Weekends.” But what happened to our vacation?! Forget that for now, we’re too confused by the cover photo to get bummed. Rows of tulips… a cypress-lined road… rolling hills before sunset… Where are we?

Mediate Grade (C-) – We’re too busy scratching our heads to even start thinking about planning this summer’s vacation… err, long weekend?  Lucky for them, The National Geographic brand might afford this bogus cover a second chance: We still want to see the photos inside.


This month’s Travel + Leisure is a reminder of one recession cure we can all get behind: booze. So maybe we don’t actually see drinks on the cover, but what else would we be doing chilling in deck chairs by the water? Maybe we should forget all about traveling (and travel magazines) and settle down with a tall boy —$5 well spent.

Mediaite Grade (B+) – We’ll forgive T+L for using Microsoft WordArt–style color gradients on the cover because we’re so psyched for our drink. And hats off for showing us normal-looking vacationers. Hey, that could be us!

COVER WARS WINNER: No surprise here — the Traveler cover is in a league of its own. Plus, we at Mediaite prefer to cope with a summer of slim budgets by remembering the good times … like last year, when CNT had almost twice as many ads. With Peter Kaplan assuming the number two spot on the ed side and former Portfolio publisher William Li sitting in the  associate publisher chair on the business side, we’ll be looking forward to a new look (if not new number-ones) at CNT pretty soon. Kaplan’s already beating out EIC Klara Glowczewska on the Power Grid!

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