This is pretty much your father's travel guide but art directed by a guy in Brooklyn.
Vice, the media brand best known for stunts like sending Dennis Rodman to North Korea and big investments from Rupert Murdoch, has a new series of guides for travelers who are, according to the press release, “frustrated by a lack of relevant travel guides for young people.”
The Vice Guide To Europe 2014 covers 16 European cities, 13 of which are traditional grand tour destinations and three are in Eastern Europe.
According to the release:
Eschewing the standard travel writing fare of listing so-called “hidden gems” everyone and their dogs knows about, The VICE Guide to Europe covers everything from vacation basics, like the best acid house club in Glasgow, where to find the most welcoming quasi-autonomous anarchist district in Copenhagen, to more esoteric topics such as the Berlin squatters’ political scene, and how to avoid a drug fine in Madrid.
Delivering on this unique insight is hard in the digital age when an army of online and offline guides have already been there. Especially since the best acid house in Glasgow can already be found on Yelp, Copenhagen’s anarchist district is on Foodspotting, Lonely Planet covers Berlin squatters, and drug advice in Madrid can be found in Rick Steves’ community boards.
You’ll find this across the 16 markets covered by Vice. Comparing listings in the Vice guides with those on Time Out, Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, and Google Plus (some of which is old, old Frommer’s content) brings lots and lots of places in common.
Looking on Google for the first restaurant listed in Vice’s Paris guides, Pho 14, brings a result first from TripAdvisor. A Google search for Café De L’industrie, the second on the list, has results from TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google Plus, LonelyPlanet, Michelin Guides, and even 10best.
Amersterdam’s cool clubs on Vice are also on TripAdvisor, while Rick Steves has advice about smoking weed that’s even more in-depth than what you’ll find at Vice.
So what do you do when TripAdvisor has already beat you to the scene? Double down on posturing:
Alex Miller, UK Editor-in-Chief says of the guides: “Because VICE has so many offices around the world, we’re able to produce guides that go beyond listing cheap places to sleep and go into the things that really matter to our audience: yes, the clubbing culture, but also the street politics of the region – the anarchists, the fascists and the police. Admittedly, we also cover cheap places to sleep.”
One thing you’ll find on Vice that you won’t find in the non-youth centric guides: Pictures of upraised middle fingers, Instagram-inspired images, and photos that look like outtakes from an American Apparel advertising shoot. And lots of swearing.
It’s hard to be a rebel tourist when your parents got there first.
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Photo credit: Screenshot from Vice's travel guide to Europe. Vice