Best Scratch-Off Maps
Before the invention of the scratch-off map in just 2009, travelers had a myriad of ways that they kept track of all of the places they had visited. Some used the classic push pin method, while others simply scribbled the names of places in a trusty notebook to recount to guests the places that they have seen. What users love about these products is that it allows them to track the places that they have seen in a visually appealing way. Plus, they can make for a really great gift for those that are just impossible to shop for! In this guide, you will find some of our favorite styles of scratch-off maps to stylishly document all of the places that you have traveled. Check out our guide to the best of the best!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
Comes with a pack of travel stickers
Separate United States map included
Top 10 Picks
1. Wanderlust Maps
Comes with a pack of travel stickers
Separate United States map included
Some found that the details of countries under the foil to be a little sparse
This option by Wanderlust Maps was our favorite selection. Firstly, it has a stylish look that will look great hanging on a wall. Also, it comes with a lot of fun accessories, and it is set to be one of the most affordable options out there on the market.Read more
The backdrop of this design is a matte black, and the unvisited countries are covered in a gold foil. Once you have visited the country, a bright and cheery color will be revealed once the foil is removed.
Ease of Use
From what we have found, the thick foil on top of the countries is quite simple and easy to remove, and it can be removed from the paper very smoothly. This way, you don’t run the risk of tearing the paper underneath.
Users will receive a foil remover that looks like a guitar pick for more precise foil removal for those small countries, as well as a pack of stickers that will allow you to mark special places that you visited. Plus, users will also receive an additional United States map for all of that stateside adventures.
The larger world option measures in at 23 inches long and 17.3 inches high. The United States map bonus measures to be 17 inches long and 13 inches high.
What we liked most about this option is that it comes in at a really affordable price point. When you take into consideration all of the extra features that you get with your purchase, you really cannot beat this value.
For those that are looking for something that is sleek and comes with lots of extras, this is going to be one of your best options. With this price point, you could purchase one for all of the travelers in your life.
Comes with a lot of additional accessories
Smaller print makes revealing the smaller countries a little tricky
We really liked this option from Notablon because it has a sharp blackout design that comes to life when you start traveling to different countries around the world. It offers users a few fun additions to really help bring your product to life, and it is offered at an affordable price point.Read more
What makes this design a little bit different is that the foil on top is as black as the rest of the paper. Once you start traveling and revealing countries, the paper underneath is color-coordinated in very bright colors that will bring it to life.
Ease of Use
There were few complaints from past users that felt that this design was difficult to remove the foil on the top. The countries on the surface are a little bit smaller than other designs, so you may run into a few difficulties getting into those really small spaces.
Users will receive a few extra features when they purchase this product. Users will receive a guitar pick that is great for outlining jagged country borders, and a long eraser is going to be very helpful in removing smudges. This unit also comes with a small magnifying glass to really be able to get into detail on those smaller spaces. Plus, it comes with an extra map of the United States.
The world option measures to be 24 inches long and 17 inches high, while the United States measures to be 17 inches long and 11 inches high.
What users really like most about this design is that it comes in at a really affordable price point. When you take into consideration all of the additional features you will receive, you cannot beat this value.
What we liked most about this option from Notablon is that the entire paper is dark, and it really starts to come to life as you begin to reveal all of the places that you have seen.
Printed on heavy-duty cardstock
Comes with many helpful accessories
Some found that the print is too small
If you are looking for something that is going to have a little more weight and structure to it, this is going to be one of your better options. It is made from a heavier cardstock that gives it a more finished and polished look, but it comes in at a much higher price point than many of the others.Read more
This design offers the classic black background that is accented with matte gold foil over unvisited countries. It also has a set of world flags at the bottom that you can reveal as well. Traveled countries, once revealed, are presented in bright colors that really bring it to life.
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that this unit is printed on thicker cardstock, it is going to be a little bit easier and more pleasant to use the guitar pick (included) to reveal the countries beneath the gold foil.
Users will receive a guitar pick that is going to make revealing smaller countries with jagged borders a little bit easier and cleaner. This product also comes with a set of travel stickers to mark your favorite spots, an eraser to clean smudges, and a magnifying glass.
This unit measures to be 24 inches long and 17 inches wide- which is pretty standard in comparison to other options out there on the market.
The downside about this more structured and higher quality design is that it also comes at a price point that is almost double of some of the others that we have seen. However, if you want something that is going to be of higher quality for displaying purposes, this is going to be well worth the added cost.
Users like this design due to the higher quality of materials that it is printed upon. This cardstock is not only going to too better when displayed, but it is also going to make it much easier to remove the gold foil.
4. Scratch Story Maps
Soft watercolor pattern under golden foil
Comes with a pick, stickers, and an eraser
A little more expensive than some of the other larger options
Some found certain areas of the paper were difficult to clear
If you are just planning to travel within the United States, this design from Scratch Story Maps is going to be a better option for you. What we liked about this design is that the finished product revealed underneath is unlike many of the designs out there on the market.Read more
The background of this option is white, and the states are coated in a gold foil. What we liked most about this design is that as you travel to the different states, the color underneath is a soft watercolor.
Ease of Use
One of the downsides to this stylish design is that we noticed that there were a few users that felt there were sections of the paper that did not strip away as easy as some of the others. This isn’t going to be a deal-breaker, but it may mean that some states will have marks on the paper from where you struggled.
Users will receive a guitar pick to make it easier to create clean lines between borders, and it also comes with an eraser that will remove smudges. Plus, it comes with a set of stickers to help personalize your various trips to all of the states.
This unit measures in to be 18 inches long, and 12 inches wide- which is just a little bit smaller than the global designs that we have seen out there on the market.
The cost of this unit runs about the same cost as many of the affordable global options. Considering that you only receive the United States, the cost of this is just a little bit higher than most.
If you are looking for something that offers a little bit more style and character for all of your stateside adventures, this is a great choice that is different from anything else that you may find out there.
5. MyMap Gold
Made from high-quality glossy cardstock
Larger than most
Easy to clear countries
For most, they are looking for something simple and affordable that is function. However, if you plan on buying this as a gift (or you just want a high-quality for yourself), this is going to be one of your better options that is offered at a much higher price point.Read more
This design is something that is made to be hung on a wall and admired. It offered a sharp glossy black finish on the background, and the untraveled countries are also covered in a glossy gold finish.
Ease of Use
Due to the fact that this design is constructed from incredibly thick cardstock, removing the gold foil is going to be incredibly simple and easy. There were virtually no complaints from previous users about the foil being difficult to remove.
Users will receive a heavy-duty pick, a pack of stickers, push pins, a felt cloth for cleaning smudges and a greeting card.
What we liked most about this design is that it is far bigger than many of the other designs that we have seen. It measures in at 35 inches long and 25 inches wide. This not only means that it is going to take up a lot of space on a wall, but it also means that the countries are going to be a lot bigger which will make them easier to clear.
The downside to this option is that it is one of the most expensive designs out there on the market. However, if you take into consideration the high-quality materials used to make this option as well as the larger size, this is actually a pretty good deal.
For those that are in the market for something that is made from high-quality materials and measure to be quite a bit larger than many of the other standard sizes, this is going to be well worth the slightly padded price tag.
6. 1DEA.me Deluxe
Made from flexible plastic
More durable than most
Included erasable marker
The silver shavings can make a mess
No way to undo an error of scratching the wrong country
This deluxe map from 1DEA.me is one of our most durable picks. It is made from flexible plastic, meaning that it is nearly impossible to over-scratch. It also comes with an erasable marker that makes taking notes and planning your next trip easier!Read more
It’s easy to appreciate the overall look of this map. The ocean is cool blue with drawn-in waves, boats, and sea-animals. The foil is silver with distinct lines distinguishing each country. The country, capital, and (when possible) a small animation. Once scratched, a beautiful mix of colors is revealed.
Ease of Use
Unlike many other options, this map is made from flexible plastic. This makes it incredibly durable, shiny, and attractive. The metal scratcher that is included is in the shape of a guitar pick and makes it simple to cleanly scratch-off new countries, big or small. Reviewers say that it takes concentration to be precise, but the scratching is easy to do with no worries of harming the map.
The map and accessories all come in a cardboard tube. Inside, you’ll find the map, an erasable marker, fastening pins, a felt cloth, and a guitar pick-shaped metal scratcher. The marker is a great accessory to write notes about a certain place or plan your next route. The oceans are clearly marked and there is also a large compass printed on the map. Each state of the U.S is clearly marked and divided for individual scratching.
This is a decent-sized option. It measures 31.5” by 23.6”. It’s larger size allows for easier trip planning and clearer borders between countries.
While still not expensive, this option does cost a bit more than others. However, with its great look, included accessories, and durability, it is well worth it. It even comes with a 100% guarantee.
This plastic-based map is a durable and beautiful option. We appreciate the extra accessories that are included and the small drawings added into the ocean and countries.
7. Marvel Us Maps
Photos of each state under the foil
Comes with a detailing pen for precise foil removal
A little more expensive than most
Does not come with a lot of additional tools
For stateside travels, this design from Marvel Us Maps is going to be really fun and unique. It has a very matte and basic design when it arrives, yet the image that is revealed under the basic white backdrop is going to make you want to get in your car and clear as many state borders as you can!Read more
As we mentioned, this design has a white background with white foil over all of the states. When you travel to a state, under the foil is a photograph that best depicts one of the big features of that state. For instance, once you undercover New York state, you will reveal a picture of the New York City skyline.
Ease of Use
From what we have read from previous users, they didn’t seem to have a lot of trouble removing the foil. Some of the smaller states, such as Massachusetts, are going to be a little tricky to get into, but luckily Marvel Us Maps provides you will the tools to make it a little easier.
Instead of providing a basic guitar pick to clear away foil, Marvel Us Maps provides users a very precise pen that will allow you to get into all of those tiny New England states. It also comes with a sheet of protective plastic to prevent the foil from being accidentally removed when bumped.
Even though it only depicts the United States, this design is a lot larger than even some of the global options. It measures to be 32 inches long and 24 inches wide.
One of the downsides to this design is that is priced to be much more expensive than some of the more affordable global options out there on the market. However, we feel that the clever design makes it well worth the slightly higher price point.
If you want something a little bit different in your stateside design, this is going to be one of your better options. Users love to reveal what photograph lies just under the surface, and it makes a very stunning final product once you have seen it all!
8. Maps International
Larger options available
Easy to remove foil without scratching
Some users feel the colors are a little bland
A little expensive
Most global designs that we have seen often only have a black backdrop with gold foil. This design from Maps International offers users a clean white backdrop, and it offered in larger options than your standard sizes.Read more
As we mentioned earlier, the styling of this global design is just a little bit different from the norm. It has a white backdrop with gold for black borders. When you reveal countries under the foil, they are revealed to be a more muted color and are shaded to expose the higher and lower elevations as you would find on a globe.
Ease of Use
From what we have gathered from previous users, there wasn’t much trouble removing the foil from this feature. It is offered in a large enough size that makes the smaller countries a little bit easier to clear.
The downside to this model is that it doesn’t come with a lot of the fun extras that many of the other designs come with. A photo shows a user removing foil with a pick, but there is no indication on the product description that this unit comes with any additional accessories.
What we liked about this design is that users are going to have two sizes to select from. The smaller option measures to be 22 inches by 17 inches (which is slightly smaller than your standard option), and the larger design measures to be 33 inches by 22 inches.
Naturally, the smaller design is going to be more affordable than the larger option. However, the smaller design is still priced to be more expensive than many of the affordable options out there, and this brand doesn’t offer as many accessories.
For those that want something that uses subtle colors and isn’t as flashy as some of the more colorful designs out there, this is going to be one of your better choices.
Comes with a lot of helpful accessories
A little more expensive than most
Some found certain areas were a little difficult to remove foil
If you are serious about your traveling, this fancy design is going to be a must-have. It comes in at a much higher price point than many of the others that we have seen, but is it also made from really high-quality materials and comes with a lot of helpful accessories.Read more
This global style has a white backdrop with matte gold foil and black borders. As you travel to different parts of the world, the countries will expose glossy neutral colors with depictions of mountains and cities.
Ease of Use
Users found that removing the foil on this design that is made from high-quality cardstock is simple and easy and won’t leave scuff marks on the surface.
We love that this option comes with a lot of different accessories to help keep it clean and also customize it to detail your trips. It comes with a guitar pick, a pen with an eraser, a felt cloth to wipe it down, push pins and buttons.
This unit is just a little bit bigger than your standard size. It measures to be 35 inches long and 25 inches wide.
The downside about this unit is that it comes in at one of the most expensive price points out there on the market. However, MyMap is so certain that you will be pleased with their product that if you don’t like it you can return it for a refund with no questions asked.
If you are in the market for something that offers neutral colors and is made from high-quality materials that will look fantastic hanging on your wall, this design is going to be well worth the slightly higher price point.
10. Discovery Map
Flags of each country revealed underneath the foil
Great educational tool
Made from a durable laminate
A bit smaller than most
No way to fix a mistake scratch
Coin scratcher makes it difficult to scratch small countries
Our next option is a brightly colored map that can be used in many different ways. It stands out to children, making it a great educational tool, but can also be used by adults. We especially like that the capitals are listed above and below the foil and the brightness of the flags that are revealed after scratching.Read more
This vibrantly colored map is a great choice for adults, students, and children. The ocean is a bright and attractive color and the flags that are revealed and bright and contrasting. The countries are gray until you scratch them off, which can be a little bland, but maybe that will help kickstart your vacation planning.
Ease of Use
There is a coin included to use as a scratcher. You do not need to use much force to remove the foil. The round shape of the coin does make it difficult to cleanly scratch small countries. Reviewers have noted that the product is made from thick laminated paper and feels durable. When scratching, it is recommended to keep a vacuum or towel nearby to clean up the silver scrapings quickly, they can be messy and sticky.
Along with the world map, you will also receive a coin scratcher, a greeting card, felt, pins, and a cardboard tube. The pins are great for planning a new adventure and the tube allows you to safely store or travel with your poster. Another feature that we like about this product is that the capitals and country names are listed above and under the foil. Once you reveal a country, you will also reveal its brightly colored flag. For eighty-eight of the smaller countries, their flags are listed below.
This item is smaller than some of our other options. It measures 26.8” by 18.9”. It is a great size for a child’s bedroom, an office, or a classroom.
The Discovery Map is priced affordably and has a good reputation for its durability. It doesn’t come with quite as many accessories like some of our other options, but it has enough.
This educational map can be used in many different ways and places and is a great way to mark your travels. We would have liked to see a better scratching tool implemented, but that is easily fixable.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
You have a lot of pride in the places you have seen, so you want this display to be sleek and stylish to reflect that pride.
From what we could gather, there are two types of styles out there on the market: the colorful fun options and the designs that use more muted tones. We wanted to make sure that we selected designs that reflected both of these for those that want something that is a little bit different. The colorful options are typically a little bare when it comes to the information that they offer. They typically do not have any cities or landmarks noted within the country, and they do not show rivers or mountain ranges. If you want something that is going to look like your standard globe or atlas, you are going to want to select one of the more neutral color options. While the tones may be muted, they often reveal markings of mountain ranges, cities, rivers, and lakes. There are also two basic backdrops to select from, black and white. We discovered that the black options are typically more popular because when countries are revealed it is a bit more impactful than a simple white backdrop.
Ease of Use
Once you remove that foil there is no going back, so we wanted to select designs that were going to be easy to use.
There is nothing worse than coming home to reveal a new country only to find that the foil is stuck to the paper like glue, and in your struggle to remove it, you also remove some of the colorful paper underneath. One way we determined if a product is going to give you trouble is by reading what past users had to say about how easy the foil was to remove. Users will not hold back when they found that the foil was proving to be difficult. While it is something that may happen from time to time, if we found that there was an overwhelming number of users complaining about difficult foil, we would move on to another product. Another good indicator of how difficult it would be to remove is based upon the type of paper used. Generally, thicker cardstock is going to provide an easier surface for removal over your standard paper.
Each journey is going to be different, so we liked products that offered a lot of different accessories that will allow you to personalize your product.
Users seemed to really respond well to things like packs of stickers and buttons that would allow them to highlight areas to emphasize a really great (or really terrible) trip. One important tool that came standard with most designs was the guitar pick. Some countries or states are going to be incredibly small, and even the smallest denomination of the coin isn’t going to work in those incredibly small spaces. The guitar pick is going to be the perfect size to fit comfortably in your fingers, and it is going to be able to really carve out jagged border lines. Some companies went one step farther and offered users a carving pen that has an incredibly sharp tip for precise work.
Size is going to dictate how much room it is going to take up when you hang it on the wall to proudly display, and it is also going to dictate how hard it will be to carve out those smaller countries.
From our research, we found that the standard size measures to be about 24 inches long and 17 inches wide. If you are looking for something that is going to be a bit larger, 35 inches by 24 inches is going to be the way to go. These styles are great because they are going to be able to be clearly visible when hanging on your wall, and they are also going to be a lot easier to check out details and carve out those smaller places. On the smaller end is the designs that measure to be around 16 inches wide and 11 inches long. When you think of these, imagine a slightly wider sheet of legal printer paper.
We know- you want to spend more money on your vacations and less money documenting your vacations.
We took the price into consideration because traveling the world can be expensive! There were two very distinct price points when it came to these types of products. Designs that are printed on thin glossy paper often come at a much more reasonable price point that will likely set you back the same amount you would spend on a book to read at the airport. While these designs may be more affordable, they often don’t have the same polished look as their cardstock counterparts, and sometimes removing the foil is going to be a little more difficult. If cost is of no concern, cardstock options are typically priced to be double the amount of thinner glossy paper but are well worth the added cost. Not only do these designs look better when mounted on a wall, but users report that the foil is often a lot easier to remove.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Sure, these products serve a practical function for showing you where you have been, but they can also be a really nice centerpiece in your living space. We suggest that you invest in a nice frame with a glass face that will protect the surface but will also make for a very nice display.
If you want to keep scratch-off maps looking nice and hate the idea of struggling with stubborn foil, cardstock is the way to go. It may be a little bit more expensive, but it is going to give you less hassle than glossy paper.
To personalize your product, additional features such as sticker packs and push pins are going to be a great tool to help make it look special.
Other Factors to Consider
As you may have noticed in many of the pros and cons of each product, some of these items are easily scratched, hard to scratch, or just straight up flimsy. This paper that holds your memories is something that you will want to keep safe and in pristine condition. For that reason, it is important to take a look at the overall durability of each item. Almost every product listed can roll up into a protective tube, making it easy to pack up and bring with you. Many of these are made from Art Paper, poster board, or thin plastic. The plastic seems to be the most durable contender because you can’t scratch a hole through it, but it is actually the rarest of the bunch.
With all types of materials, it is important to be sure that your cat jumping up on the paper won’t scratch off all of Africa by accident. For the paper products, you’ll be able to see in the reviews if the product has a tendency for ripping while scratching. Some reviewers just can’t seem to scratch the little bits of gold (or other colors) off to show off the country they just knocked off their bucket list without leaving an ugly mark on the map. Another way to hope for longer durability is to only use an approved scratching mechanism. Many of these products come as a set and include a type of guitar pick for scratching. If that is what is recommended, don’t try using coins.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are scratch-off maps used for?
Bragging to your friends about all of the places that you have visited is almost as much fun as actually visiting them. You could take the less than ideal approach of listing off all of the places you have traveled at every dinner party you attend, but that’s a surefire way of being ‘accidentally’ left off of the guest list of many future parties. Buying one of these products is a great way to display all of the places that you have been in a sleek and modest way. Plus, they are offered in a myriad of different styles that is sure to match your modern or rustic decor in your home.
q: What do I do if I accidently scratched off the wrong country?
You have been on an airplane for what seems like an eternity, but you have been eager to check off another country traveled before you even left. You drop off your luggage in the doorway, make a beeline to your framed atlas, and you accidentally check off Austria instead of Australia! It’s such an embarrassing mistake that you wouldn’t have made if you ate more than peanuts and coffee on your flight home. What do you do now? How do you explain such an embarrassing mistake to your friends? Luckily, there is a gold marker that comes with most designs (although you can purchase it separately for a reasonable price) that is going to be able to recover any areas that were uncovered that you haven’t actually traveled to. The best part about it is that it can be removed when you actually do manage to visit that country.
q: Do scratch-off maps come with mounting materials or frame?
Unfortunately, most of the designs out there on the market will only offer the basic paper or cardstock without any of the mounting tools. The good news, however, is that many of the sizes out there are going to fit perfectly in most standard size frames. To mount these products on the wall in your home, you will need to purchase a frame that will be big enough to hold it. Luckily, most frames often come with the hardware that you will need to mount it. If you want to take a more casual approach to display it, you can always pin it to a board or a wall buys using simple or decorative push pins. By freeing it from a frame, it is going to make it a lot easier to check off more countries without the need of removing it from the back of a frame.
q: Will they make a good gift?
What we noticed about these products is that they are designed for gift giving. Almost all of the designs that we saw come in a compact rectangular box (for easy wrapping!), and even come with things such as gift cards and other unique accessories. If you have a friend or family member that loves to travel, they have probably received their fair share of neck pillows and luggage as gifts- but they may have never heard of one of these products and you may run the risk of actually buying them a gift that they will love and treasure!
q: Is the foil going to be difficult to get off?
Anyone that loves to play instant lottery tickets knows that every once in a while you get one that had a foil that seems to be impenetrable, and this can sometimes be true for these products as well. The trouble with foil that doesn’t want to come off is that the harder that you press, the more you run the risk of damaging the print underneath- and that is something that you want to be clean and clear for your display. There are a few methods that we have found that can help prevent this potentially frustrating situation. The first thing that you can do is you can invest in one of the more expensive designs. The more expensive designs use a higher quality cardstock, which means that the foil is going to come off easier rather than with glossy paper. The second thing that you can do is you can invest in a special pen with a pointed tip that will allow you to remove the foil with a surgeon's precision. These pens are not only going to allow you to remove some really stubborn foil, but they are also going to help you get into the crevices of some jagged borders of some of the smaller countries.
q: If I don’t mount it or frame it on a wall- where is the best place to store scratch-off maps?
Not everyone is going to want to hang these types of maps in their house for display. Some users simply like to have them around so that they can easily see all of the places that they have traveled, as well as all of the places they have yet to see. The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to storing these products is you want to make sure that they don’t get scuffed. Storing them in a highly trafficked drawer may seem like a safe place, but you are going to run the risk of it becoming chipped or scuffed. We suggest that you invest in s simple plastic sheet to keep over top of it to protect the surface. Plastic sleeves are generally inexpensive, and they can be something that you can make yourself. In fact, there are some brands out there that include protective sleeves with purchase, or you can buy one at a very affordable price.