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Paper maps are slowly being replaced by maps online, but you can still find a good supply if you know where to look. Do you prefer to have something of quality that you can hold in your hands? You might be wondering where you can find these paper maps. I thought Id share a few ideas for sources for your next road trip, vacation planning, DIY or craft project.
Free or Low-Cost Paper Maps
If you dont have a stash of paper maps already on hand for your next trip or DIY craft project you can find them in a variety of places. Remember that someone (possibly your own tax dollars) pays for the printing of these maps. Please be courteous and dont just grab stacks of them. Be conservative and considerate and only take what you will use right away.
Maps for DIY Crafts
Ive shared a few ideas in the past (like this one) about creating fun DIY crafts and gifts using printed and paper maps or recycling maps as wrapping paper. These make perfect personalized items for yourself or gifts for your favorite travel-lover. You can customize the project with maps from beloved places.
Pick up Free U.S. State, City or Region Maps
Stop by any state, regional or local visitor center in the United States and youll likely find dozens, if not hundreds of free paper maps and brochures. If its the first visitor center you pass after you enter the state, youll often find a huge array of maps and info on every region of the state. Then as you travel throughout the state you can usually find smaller, more specific visitor centers for that region, city or town with more localized information. In nearly every case theyll have maps for free or very reasonable cost.
Remember, their business is to help you have a good time in their area to help the local economy, so theyre usually happy to give them away. Theyll sometimes even have topographical, biking and hiking maps, national and state park maps. Ive also seen paper maps that highlight a specific theme, like historical sites, wineries, farms, artists, or whatever people might like to see in the region.
Have Them Mailed to You
Not on the road and cant get out to a visitor center or tourism office in person? You can find all the U.S. state tourism websites and how to contact them at this U.S.A. government Travel and Tourism page. Oftentimes they have visitor packets that they mail out. Or look for a phone number, email, or web page where you can request items youre interested in receiving. As postal and printing rates go up, the promotion of sending paper maps may not be as easy to find, but it never hurts to ask. Remember not to waste tax-payer money for shipping, printing, and paper. Only request what you know youll be using.
For example: Heres where you can order a Virginia Travel Guide and Map
If youre based in the U.S. and are looking for maps from other countries, many of them have tourism offices in the United States. This link goes to a list of foreign countries/destinations and regions and their tourist information offices within the United States. Where available, the address, phone number, and website of each are included. If the country doesnt have a tourism office in America, the embassy or consulate address and tourism board website are provided (if there is a website).
Check Yard Sales, Thrift Stores, Antique Shops, Libraries, Used Bookstores
Prices will vary greatly in these venues depending on the value of the map. You can sometimes find stacks of road maps at yards sales and theyll pretty much pay you to take them off their hands. Antique shops could be another story as far as price, but you never know what treasures youll find there for a reasonable price if you want to haggle.
Libraries often sell out-dated books for $1 each at their book sales. You could find old atlas books that are no longer accurate with hundreds of pages of maps. Used bookstores are another great source for maps and atlases and their prices are generally very reasonable. Some stores even will allow you to trade or sell some of your own books in exchange for their products.
As a side-note, these are also awesome places to find vintage or antique postcards. These make excellent DIY and craft projects for travel-lovers too.
American Automobile Association AAA
If you or someone you know is a member of AAA you (or they) can pick up a current state map, map of the U.S. or various regional and city maps for FREE. Some international maps are available for free as well. All you have to do is stop by an office and show them your AAA membership card. The selection at each branch will vary and they will generally have more detailed maps from their region. If youre visiting the other side of the country stop in a AAA office and pick up more specific maps for that area. These free maps are part of the benefit of being a paid member. You may also be able to download and print some maps from their website here.
Amazon and Etsy Paper Maps
Of course, Amazon will have a huge variety of maps too. If you still havent been able to find exactly what you want Etsy is filled with all kinds of options for vintage, antique, and modern maps. Some will be authentic and others reproductions. If youre using them for a craft project, a reproduction is probably your most cost-effective option. Theres no need to pay for an original map if youre just going to cut it up.
Mapbox Custom Maps
If you still havent found the perfect printed map for your purposes check out Mapbox Studio online. This map creation tool is available online and through iOS and Android apps for your phone.
As a Mapbox user you can create precisely the map you want, then print out the static map yourself. You can also send it to your local printer for higher quality or large format color printing. The possibilities are endless.
Do you have a great source for free or low-cost maps that Im missing? If so, please let me know in the comments below.
This site may contain affiliate links to products or services. Any commissions for purchases made through these links help to keep Traveling with Purpose going. and they don’t add anything to your purchase price. Thanks for your support!
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Road Trip Where to Buy Paper Maps
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In the digital age, most people have sworn off using paper maps in favor of high-tech, built-in GPS systems. But if youre taking a long road trip, especially by yourself, its important to have a backup plan in case your technology doesnt hold up. It can be difficult to find paper maps in a digitally focused world, but there are a few accessible places for you to look.
While on the more expensive side, your local bookstore will have a variety of maps for you to choose from. You can usually find a selection of states, regions, and even countries if you plan on traveling internationally. When purchasing your map, make sure its a current edition so all of the roads listed are up to date.
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Online stores such as Amazon will likely have the largest selection of maps. You can also purchase map collections such as the Road Atlas that will have a handful of different regions bound together in one book. But unfortunately, as with any online purchase, you cant flip through the map and see if it will truly meet your needs until arrives in the mail.
You wont be able to mark up the maps and books you take home from the library, but theyre an inexpensive (free, in fact) way of navigating during your road trip. You can also find travel guide books at the library, which will point you in the right direction for hotels, restaurants, and sites in the area. If you check out books or map collections from the library, you can always use sticky notes to make notes inside the book (just dont forget to remove them before you return it).
Summer Maintenance:How often should you wash your car?
Print them yourself
We live in the digital age; use it to your advantage. If you have a quality printer (this is important, considering maps are pretty detailed), print out a map of your area. You can find these with a quick Google search but, again, make sure theyre up to date. The U.S. Geological Survey also offers printable state maps with all of the major highways.
The News Wheel
The News Wheel is a digital auto magazine providing readers with a fresh perspective on the latest car news. Were located in the heart of America (Dayton, Ohio) and our goal is to deliver an entertaining and informative perspective on whats trending in the automotive world. See more articles from The News Wheel.
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