House,  Travel

How to Create the Perfect Travel Map

I have always liked looking at the geography of far away locations. There’s so much you can learn about a place just by knowing where it is and what features are around it. As a kid I had a globe that would ask you geography questions. You could use it to help you decide between answer choices. Globes are difficult to mark your travels on (unless you have something like this, of course) and they take up valuable surface area. I wanted something for my wall instead so I set out to make a travel map.

The travel maps on the market are absurdly expensive, so I did a lot of research on how to make one myself. My problem was that most of ideas I found put holes in the map. Maps are too expensive to be putting holes in! What if I decided to use the map a different way? What if we moved and all of the pins got messed up and made massive holes in the map? I wanted an alternative to pins so that the map could be used again. After I found magnets small enough to be used as markers and metal sheeting to make them stick, I started building my travel map.

(For more on our single Canada pin, check my posts on Niagara Falls and Toronto!)

Magnets – $19.95

I got these blue, green, and silver magnets. I ordered the larger variety pack because it was cheaper per pin and I have aspirations of needing them all! But there is a smaller pack too. And there are other colors: black metal, metallic goldred plastic, white plastic, and a plastic variety pack. At 4 mm in diameter, they are small enough to use as pins for travel maps, but also strong enough to attach photos or other things from your trip, if you want to do that. We use the blue for Mr. PC’s trips, green for mine, and silver for the places we’ve been together. Any suggestions for our next silver pin?! I’m thinking somewhere with coastline views.

Metal Backing – $10.20

Home Depot has a 24″ x 36″ galvanized metal sheet that magnets will stick to. I found it with the HVAC supplies. Don’t get aluminum sheeting; it won’t hold magnets. When I went shopping for this, I carried a magnet in my purse to be sure I got metal that would work. Someone looked at me funny on the aisle, but hey who’s the one with the cool travel map? Also, be careful handling it, as it could cut you (I didn’t have any issues, just passing along the warnings from the label).

Map – $13.90

Cutting metal sheeting to fit a map and frame size did not sound fun to me. I bought this map because it was the same size as the sheet metal. The colors match nicely with a frame I had in mind and the overall colors in my house.  I did a world map, but you could pick a state or a country to focus on. I may do a United States map too so I can incorporate more pins and still be able to see the map. The downside to magnetic pins is that you can only place them so close together without them attracting to each other and jumping together.

Frame – $20

Does anyone else take forever when they go into Michael’s? If Mr. PC is with me, he gets bored and starts dancing to try and embarrass me into leaving. Anyway, I got this frame at Michael’s when it was on a 60% off sale. The color of the “wood” matches the map coloring perfectly. I took all of the pictures without the plastic “glass” that covers the map to avoid camera glare, but the magnets are strong enough to work through the plastic covering too.

Our map hangs in the dining room, and was the first thing hung after we painted the walls of our house. I wanted it to be in a main area so it would be seen regularly, plus it’s close to the living room. I have been known to reference it while watching Jeopardy. As I’m pacing to make my daily steps. I’m not weird. This is totally normal behavior.

Anyway, who’s ready to make a travel map and start filling it up with their adventures?

To Pin for Later ↓

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