Beyond scrapbooking: 5 creative ways to document your travels

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You’re off to see the world — snapping photos, collecting mementos and making memories to last a lifetime. Don’t keep all that fun to yourself.

Whether you are taking a California road trip or backpacking through Europe, documenting your trip in one way or another will leave you with a lasting souvenir from your once-in-a-lifetime adventure. From sending yourself simple postcards to creating a mini museum, there are as many ways to document your travels as there are types of travelers.

From do-it-yourself scrapbooking aficionados to even the most creatively challenged of globetrotters, we’re offering up some of the most effective, engaging and exciting ways to document your journey and make the most of your experiences on the road.

The social media maven

social media
Vacay show and tell. (Image: Jason Howie, Instagram and other Social Media Apps via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Social media is an efficient way to share updates with family and friends while on the road. Use these savvy social media tips:

  • Don’t over share. You might be tempted to ‘check in’ everywhere you go, but consider your destination and who may be seeing your status updates. Consider disabling geo-tagging on Facebook and location-based apps.
  • Privacy, please. Review your privacy settings on each social media platform. If you only want your family and friends to see your updates, ensure you change your settings accordingly.
  • Moderation is key. Don’t spend your entire vacation glued to your phone. Share what is most important and meaningful, but be sure you are also present in the moment.
  • Use a hashtag. Come up with a trip hashtag and use it across channels to keep track of your photos and conveniently centralize photos to share among friends. Make it unique to your trip so your photos don’t get lost in the social shuffle.

Expand your digital footprint by starting a travel blog. Here are some tips to get started with travel blogging.

  • It’s free! There are many free platforms like WordPress and Blogger that allow anyone to easily set up a blog for free. Before you depart, set up your blog and write your first post. This way, you can practice using the platform and troubleshoot any technical issues.
  • Blog regularly. Whether you write daily, weekly, or each time you reach a new destination, be sure your blog is updated.
  • Take photos. Invest in a good camera and practice using it before you leave. Take photos in natural light and experiment with angles and perspectives. Share your photos with family and friends, who can provide feedback. Aim to include at least one photo with each blog post.
  • Be social. Consider enabling the comments section on your blog, so readers can add their advice, whether that is tips on what to pack or favorite restaurants to try along the way.

The DIY diva

Elizabeth M, San Francisco via Flickr CC BY 2.0
Elizabeth M, San Francisco via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Documenting travels is an ideal task for the DIY diva. Here are some great DIY projects to try.

  • Make it personal. Create Pinterest-worthy personalized travel souvenirs like a holiday ornament filled with beach sand and seashells from your beach vacay or make a mini museum by buying a cubby and filling each square with knickknacks, photos, postcards and other assorted treasures from each city or country you have visited.
  • Frame it. Make shadow boxes with mementos from your travels or craft collages of postcards, ticket stubs, maps, currency and other treasures from the road. You’re only limited by your creativity and your efforts will yield bragworthy wall art and an impressive passport!
  • Write a travel journal. Before your trip, buy a quality journal and commit to writing in it each day.
    • Buy a hardback journal to protect against humidity and water.
    • Look for journals with a pocket and elastic closure to keep ticket stubs, postcards and other items securely in place.
    • Buy a glue stick and paste in tickets and other paper mementos as you accumulate them.
    • Be sure to date your journal and note the location when you write each new entry.
    • It might seem like a chore to continually update your travel journal, but set aside 10 minutes each day to write – whether that’s waiting for a train or after you’ve checked in for the night – you will be grateful for all the little details you recorded years after the trip.
  • Make a scrapbook. An oldie but a goodie for a reason, scrapbooking is the ultimate DIY way to document your travels. Here are some tips to keeping it simple and easy.
    • Buy coordinated products to ensure continuity in size, colour and theme.
    • Take photos of signs or museum placards to help you remember details post-trip.
    • Collect business cards from restaurants, hotels and shops you visit along the way as this will help keep you organized with the trip’s chronology and, who knows, you might want to recommend them to friends or return if you make a repeat visit.
    • Scan and print pages from your travel journal to incorporate into your scrapbook.
    • Write down your daily itinerary – where you went, what you ate, etc. – so you can recall these details post-trip.
    • Go through your photos and delete any blurry images and other shots you don’t want to keep.
    • Before you do any photo editing, save copies of the photos you want to use and place them in a new folder on your computer.
    • Process and upload your photos on the road. Doing this each day, if possible, makes it less overwhelming when you get home. It’s easier to sort through 200 photos a day rather than 2,000 when you get home.
    • Before you start cutting and gluing scrapbook pages, make an outline for your scrapbook. Determine what order you will tell the story of your trip, which photos will go on which pages, and how many pages the book will be.
    • Prep your scrapbook before you leave on vacation. Build excitement in the days leading up to your trip by creating scrapbook page layout with travel brochures and maps.

The tech-savvy jetsetter

travel video
Ready, aim, shoot vacation videos. (image: Mark Sebastian, Sneak a Preview (#64992) via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

For the tech-savvy jetsetter, only the best, most impressive multimedia presentations of your journeys will do.

  • Multimedia journal: Travel World Passport accomplishes three things at once – harnessing your creativity, documenting your journey and presenting it in a tangible, old-school way. Here’s how it works: download the Travel World Passport App and then upload pictures and add details like captions and overlays; tag your friends and location. The company then turns your photos into printed stamps, which are placed in a booklet delivered in a steel case.
  • Voyage Videos: Want to share videos, but don’t have time to edit them? Automatic online video editors like Magisto allow users to download an app, tap the photos and video clips they would like to feature, select a theme and music and viola! In a few seconds, you have a professionally edited video set to music that can be shared on social media or downloaded.

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The VIP globetrotter

Wish you were here! (Image: Evan Bench, postcards for you! via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Discerning VIP travelers expect to document their travels in extraordinary ways. Here are some options that are as unique and creative as you.

  • Digital scrapbook: Make a custom photo book with the few clicks of a mouse. Shutterfly lets you pick a “custom path,” where you can choose backgrounds and add, move and resize photos, or a “simple path,” where photos are automatically arranged and can be rearranged and backgrounds and embellishments swapped in and out.
  • Write postcards: There is nothing like receiving an old-school postcard in the mail. Make it a habit to send yourself a postcard from each city you visit. When you get home, you will have an instant scrapbook and mementos of your trip.
  • Customized Map: When grabbing a Sharpie and tracing your journeys on a map around the world simply won’t do, call on college geography professor Scott Lussier to create a Passport Map. Using your itinerary, notes and photos, Lussier will create a full colour map of the itinerary that highlights places visited and a legend with brief notes describing why you enjoyed each place so much.

The lazy traveler

Guian Bolisay, The modern social way via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
Guian Bolisay, The modern social way via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

No need to spend hours meticulously writing down your observations and innermost thoughts. If you have some spare cash after your travels, there are plenty of ways to document your travel memories – for a price.

  • Insta-travel blog and album: Off Exploring is a free app that will create a blog that includes a map, trip homepage, blog entries and photo and video albums with just a few clicks. Even better, once you arrive home, Off Exploring can take your entire travel blog and turn it into a hardbound book.
  • Multitasking travel journal: If you find it difficult to be organized, pick up a Scratch Travel Journal. This journal acts as travel planner, checklist, diary, translator and interactive scratch-off-where-you’ve-been map.

(Main image: Michael Coghlan, Postcards of the Past via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beyond scrapbooking: 5 creative ways to document your travels was last modified: April 10th, 2019 by Lauren Mack
Author: Lauren Mack (163 posts)

Lauren Mack has traveled to 40 countries on five continents, including Cuba, New Zealand, Peru and Tanzania. For many years, she called China, and then Taiwan, home. Countries at the beginning of the alphabet, particularly Antarctica, Argentina and Australia are on her travel bucket list. Lauren is a multimedia travel and food journalist and explorer based in New York City.