For those looking for engaging travel maps that provide valuable service info, but with more artistic flair, They Draw & Travel could be the treasure trove you've been looking for. The site is an eye-catching collection of illustrated maps filled with unexpected tips, discoveries, and off-the-radar spots currently covering over 110 cities from about 30 different countries. Instead of getting a guide to the typical tourist traps, you'll be treated to an insider's itinerary to, say, the best parks for an afternoon picnic, a tour through the town's annual festivals, and which neighborhood markets are worth exploring—each map style completely different from the next.
The website is a spin-off from sibling designers Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell's They Draw & Cook, which launched last year and has about 1,500 illustrated recipes, some of which will appear in their upcoming book of the same name. After seeing the energy illustrators put into their submissions, Padavick and Swindell decided to create a second site for artists with a passion for travel.
"They Draw & Travel is all about the wonderful little things you might not find in any guidebook," Swindell says. "While shops and restaurants are great, too, these maps focus on places and things of permanence like pretty parks, cool statues, wonderful hikes, and funky neighborhoods. It's like getting the inside scoop on where to go."
Talented locals and travelers can upload their maps directly onto the site and share their own travel stories with others. And right now, all maps submitted by July 24 will be entered into their Marvelous Map contest with $2,000 in prize money. But even the artistically challenged will enjoy searching the world map of archives and feeding their wanderlust dreams.
"They definitely ignite the travel bug and pique curiosity," Swindell says. "They tell a story that's much richer and more emotional than simply saying how to get somewhere."
Dorkys Ramos is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter at @dorkysramos.