DIY Travel Map

Travel Map Gift Idea 
My husband and I LOVE to travel. No matter what our budget looks like, we make it a priority to put away something for a nice trip for just the two of us. We love to discover new cultures, experience new things and, of course, get away alone for awhile!  So, when it came time to think of a special gift for him for our anniversary – I really wanted to give my husband a travel map to mark all of the places that we have been together. Here is what I did! 
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My husband’s grandparents have been married for 61 years and have displayed in their home a detailed map labeled with all of their travels throughout their marriage (and they have a LOT!). I thought that was so sweet and something I would like to do with my spouse, but  when I went to go buy the same map it cost $169.00. Now – it is a BEAUTIFUL map, but that is money that I would MUCH rather spend on our next trip! So I made my own and am sharing with you today how you can make your very own Travel Map for under $25.00! 

For My Map I Used the Following:

TOTAL COST: $24.32

Here is what you do:

I purchased my 24×36 poster frame from Target, but the frame outline was black. I wanted an antique-feel for my map, so I used my favorite kind of spray paint to give a copper-toned color to the frame. What I like about this spray is that is gives off a “hammered” look rather than a smooth, glossy finish. The texture adds a nice depth and helps the final project look more antique.

After the spray had completely dried, I added my World Map Poster to the poster frame. I played with the idea of using foam board, cork board or even a canvas for my backing but all of that required trimming my map and/or gluing. Way too difficult. I am all about easy and effective! Using the poster frame I had an instant frame, and the frame CAME WITH a cardboard back and the map fit perfectly! The pins stick into the cardboard without any problem and I didn’t have to cut or trim at all! A crafters dream!

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Next, I used spray adhesive to add the printables created especially for this project by our designer Leah Aldous. She does custom design work and for this project she matched the design to my purchased map perfectly! It totally looks like it was meant to go with the map. If you ever need anything designed contact her – trust me you won’t regret it!

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 Next, you will want to decide how you want to label your pins. The legend provides three categories: places we have been together, places we plan to visit soon, and places we dream of going. Amazon has oodles of color pin choices and even some tacks with colored flags that you could have a different color pin for each category. This is the traditional way of doing a travel map.

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For my own unique spin, I went with all gold pins to match the antique feel of my map, and used paper punch shapes for each of the categories. I used my punch to make hearts for the places we have been together and stars for places we plan to visit soon. I then pricked the pin through the shape and placed each in the legend. For the places we dream of going, I used my hot glue gun to glue a small jewels to the head of the pin.

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There are so many ways you can label your map! This is where you can really personalize it to make it special.

Then comes my favorite part – adding in the pins to show where you have traveled!

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Using the legend I created, I placed pins all over the world to the places we have traveled together, the places we have plans to visit soon and even the places we dream of visiting together. We have both traveled the world separately, but for this gift, I wanted to focus on our travels together. 

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I am so excited to give this to my husband on our anniversary and to have something that we can continually add to throughout our years of marriage together. After we have some more trips marked on our map, I think it would be so fun to make a book that includes pictures and memories from those travels just like this one that Erika’s husband made for her!

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And there you have it! Your very own travel map for under $25.00! Perfect for the couple who loves to travel!

About the Author: Sarina

I met my Prince Charming when I was 15 years old and 12 years later we created our own happily ever after. Together we enjoy traveling the world, and, of course, going on creative dates! I am a former theatre teacher who now stays at home with a handsome baby boy. I love dancing, photography & chocolate!

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44 Responses to DIY Travel Map

  1. What a BEAUTIFUL idea!! I wish we had traveled a little more so ours would have more HEARTS on them! lol Gosh, I love the aged look as well! It turned out so neat!

  2. Wow! I have looked at travel maps before but they can be so expensive! This is great. I can’t wait to make it. Looks like i’ll be stopping at the hobby store on my way home! 🙂

    1. Elizabeth –

      So glad that you want to make it! The files for the labels are included in the post. Above, when listing the materials that I needed for my map you can find “Legend and Quote printable made by the amazing designer Leah Aldous. Cost: FREE ” If you click on the pink part it will take you to the PDF and you can print it off yourself and have the exact thing!
      Enjoy!

    1. Glad you like it! The frame that I purchased did not have a plastic covering on top so that wasn’t a problem. If you have one that does – you would most likely have to remove it!

  3. This is the cutest idea! I do have one question…with the backing of the poster you had mentioned using just cardboard…could u explain how you did this in more detail for me. Thanks!

  4. I ADORE this! I am making one for my boyfriend now, we met in another country and are finally settling into own home together very soon 🙂

    Do you happen to have a version of the printable with places you have traveled desperately?

    We are a new couple, so I am afraid it will be a bit sparse haha!

    You totally nailed this one, this is beautiful and so thoughtful.

    1. Cherie –
      Your boyfriend will love this! There are so many ways that you can personalize it and that is really fun. If you are interested in having our same printable customized for you – contact Lead Aldous at la-sync.com she is amazing and she should be able to customize something for you for a minimal cost.
      I hope that helps!

  5. This is such a fantastic idea! I just ordered the supplies {thanks to your super helpful links,} but I was wondering what type of paper you printed your templates on? Thanks so much for sharing such a great project! I am counting down till Christmas to give this to my love!

    1. I am glad you like the gift. My husband LOVED it! For printing I just went to Office Depot and they printed it. They gave me options of card stock and there was one that had some texture to it and I chose that. I definitely recommend card stock!

  6. I am in the process of making this as a gift but the “Legend and Quote” pdf is not loading properly. “is with you” on the first label is scrambled. Anyone else have any trouble with it?

  7. Love this idea and saw it at a friends house over the weekend. Although, hers was expensive. Is there a version that does not say ‘we”? I am single and travel solo. Again, great idea!!!

  8. I’m so glad I found this! I’ve been wanting to make one of these as a gift for a friend of mine but all the tutorials I have seen ending up costing close to $80. This one is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love it 🙂 Such a great gift!!! I am making one for my husband too, i have already ordered the map. :)))
    Thanks for the great idea and manual!

  10. Thanks for sharing this–I’ve been trying to do something just like this so I’m glad I searched for it and found your blog! Do you think it would be better to get the map laminated (double sided glare-reducing matte finish)? Or just regular? Thanks in advance!!

  11. I just finished my map for my husband! I did spend a little over $30 on it though because I stupidly bought the frame from k-mart. I ended up gluing the map to the back of the cardboard along with the sheet of paper it came with because I wanted it thicker and sturdier. I had a moment of terror when I realized I didn’t check which way the frame hung before I glued it but thank goodness I put it on right! It’s so beautiful though. I hope he likes it as much as I do!

  12. The PDF printable now costs $18 for the legends, does anyone still have the pdf saved? 🙂 I have already ordered the map and am so excited to complete the look!

    1. Alexandra – I am not sure where you are seeing a charge for $18. Our printable legend is completely free! Just click on the word “Legend and Quote printable” where all the items are listed. It should open up a PDF and you can print or download – no cost! If you are still having trouble, email me at sarina@thedatingdivas and I can attach the pdf via email form!

  13. What a cute idea! Did you glue the map to the cardboard backing using spray adhesive? How did you attach the legends to the map? Using the spray adhesive?

    Thank you for your help! 🙂

  14. Hi! I am trying to make this for boyfriend his birthday coming up in a few weeks! I bought all the supplies, but then as I was trying to put in place some of the pins, I realized the back of the frame was too hard for me to push the pins through! Any suggestions other than to buy a new frame??
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Danielle!

      The frame that I purchased has a piece of cardboard in there. The pins slide nicely into the cardboard! If yours doesn’t that would be really easy to cut a piece that size! I don’t think you need to go buy an entirely new frame! Good luck!

  15. I love this idea and am going to make it for my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary coming up. I was wondering if the frame you used was plastic and if so, did the Rust-o-leum spray work well on it? Any tips would be helpful! Thank you.

    1. Michele – What a wonderful anniversary gift! I LOVE it! The frame I got WAS plastic (super cheap!) and the Rust-O-Leum spray worked! It still looks great! I hope that helps!

  16. I know you posted this a long time ago but I’m trying to do this for my husband for Christmas. I went to the website you posted and I can’t find the specific map you have. Do you know of anywhere else I could find it?

    1. Good Evening,

      I ordered the poster but haven’t received it yet, I also got the printables from Leah. Can you tell me what the dimensions are of each other them so I can get them printed out before the poster gets here?

      Thank you,

  17. Im making this for my Fiance for Christmas and I am having a really hard time finding the gold pins. I have looked every where online (all out of stock) and no stores around me have gold.

  18. I LOVE this idea! I’m making one of these for our 7 year marriage anniversary!

    I found almost all the stuff needed for map, only not sure about Confetti size. I have ordered everything online. So wanted to make sure about the size of Heart Confetti . If you could reply me about that that would be great.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. What a great gift idea! I hope your sweetheart loves it! I just whipped out my measuring tape to get the measurements for you. It is approximately 3/4″ at the widest part. I hope that helps! Enjoy!