‘How many countries have you visited?’ can be a very tough question to answer, maybe you have never made a list or simply cannot remember. There is also the age-old argument of should we even count countries in the first place? A country can be massive, so by visiting just one city or town within it for a short period of time, does that mean you can count it? I am a massive fan of slow deep travel and if you can spend a long time somewhere truly exploring it then go for it. However, it is very unlikely that people have the time/money/opportunity to explore every square inch of a country, I know we don’t. Therefore, there has to be some criteria as to when you can viable say you have ‘been’ somewhere and count it. Obviously, there are no official criteria, but as travellers Mr ESLT and I have set our own:
- Spend at least 1 night there (not at an airport hotel)
- Eat at least 1 authentic local meal (no McDonalds)
- Drink one local drink, except in ‘dry’ countries where it is not possible (usually beer or wine for us)
- Take a selfie (of course)
Based on our criteria, we as a couple have visited 70 of the 196 countries in the world and we have course been to some countries more than once i.e. we have been to The Netherlands in excess of 20 times. For us, we do not have the countries written down anywhere, we used to but then we were introduced to scratch off maps, they allow us to scratch off the countries we have visited, which looks great and it’s fun to do! We were recently sent a scratch off map from Voyage Mapper, a great new map which has been designed by Rachelle and Chad who are travellers themselves.
Our previous scratch off map was relatively small, whereas the Voyage Mapper map is a great size making scratching off the smaller counties in the world a whole lot easier, especially in Europe, where they are quite bunched up. It is 35 x 21 inches making it a great size for putting up on a wall so you can see easily where you have been. I plan to frame ours and put it up in our home office (when we get round to decorating it……but that’s another story).
Underneath the foil, when scratched off, you will find bright vivid colours which make the map look great, especially the more you scratch off. Our previous map was the same colour underneath every country making it not as visually pleasing. Also, the water is blue on the Voyage Mapper not black like on many other scratch off maps….I am a detail person and this pleases me no end!
Flags of the countries
I’d like to think I am quite good at recognising the flags of countries but if you’re not then the Voyage Mapper is not only fun but educational too as at the bottom of it is the flag of each country, so much so you could give Sheldon a run for his money (if you watch The Big Bang Theory you will understand, if you don’t – you should!). Do you have a favourite flag? Mine is the Seychelles.
US States included
Visiting individual States fits in with what I mentioned above i.e. ‘I once visited New York for 3 days, therefore I’ve been to the United States’. Well, yes you have based on our criteria, however one state does not a country make. The Voyage Mapper allows you to scratch off a state at a time not the whole US like on other maps. The US part of our map looks a tad sorry for itself as we have only scratched off 7 states….so far!
So in order to count countries, or not if you don’t believe in doing it, a scratch map is ideal for keeping track of where you have been and it’s really fun doing it. Surely one of the main points of travelling is for it to be fun, right?!
Voyage Mapper is currently only available to buy on Amazon in the US marketplace but if you live in the UK how would you like to win your own map? Why not enter our competition below?
Closing Date : Midnight 30th July 2017
Terms and conditions
1. The promotion is open to UK Residents ONLY aged 18 or over
2. To enter, simply enter via link in post – Rafflecopter
3. No purchase necessary, however internet access is required.
4. The Prize: 1 x Voyage Mapper
5. By entering the promotion entrants confirm that they have read and agree to be bound by these terms & conditions and by the decisions of the Promoter, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of the prize. No correspondence will be entered into.