Tailor-Made Travel

Dump the generic guidebook and get a key to the city


| Utne Reader May / June 2007



Don't you hate spending half your vacation in a new city poring over guidebooks, trying to figure out whether this art gallery or that club is worth visiting or is just a tourist trap? If you wish you could feel like a local wherever you travel, Miss Information (www.miss-info.net) has just the remedy. Partners Alexis Owens and Colleen Cavanaugh Anthony create custom guidebooks with all the crucial tips for your trip.

Owens and Cavanaugh Anthony have been in business since January 2005. Owens has a journalism background and Cavanaugh Anthony is an arts aficionado. They met while they were working on film and fashion projects, and they decided to combine their travel expertise with their love of library research.

'Alexis . . . pitched me an idea of [starting] a company, and we just ran with it,' Cavanaugh Anthony says. Within four months, the two launched Miss Information while both were between other jobs.

Although they're pretty and palm-sized, the hand-bound books pack tons of useful information on events and destinations for your trip. Each guidebook is personalized with listings based on your interests and accompanied by photos and other thoughtful extras, such as a library card bearing your name.

They're also easy to handle and easy to hide. 'I don't like traveling with a big guidebook that a hundred thousand other people have,' Owens says. 'These are small and inconspicuous, so you're not screaming 'tourist.' '

Owens and Cavanaugh Anthony use a variety of methods to seek out the best of the best in cities around the world. They talk to locals and comb websites, books, and magazines. 'We do look at other travel guides for bare-bones references,' says Owens, 'but we try to find someone from the area who can give us different information.' If they don't know anyone, they sometimes contact the concierge of the hotel where their client will be staying.