In this digital age we have an incredible selection of ways to immortalize a recent trip abroad, yet how often do we find ourselves with a hard (or cloud) drive full of photos that we’ve never printed or done anything with? I'm completely guilty of this myself. Often the only way pictures make it past my own eyes will be if I create a Facebook album or post an image or two on Instagram. Maybe you can relate.
Scrapbooking and photo albums are practically a thing of the past, yet we take more (and better quality) pictures than ever before. Why let those images of your African safari remain unseen in a folder on your computer when you can share them with your family and friends?
Here are 15 wonderful ways to make sure those images see the light of day like they deserve.
Maybe I’m a little old-fashioned, but I still love snail mail. There is still something so special about checking the mailbox and finding something you weren’t expecting, especially a postcard from a friend’s travels. Postagram is an app designed to make this process even easier and more personal, with an image that you actually took! The process is simple. After you download the app and sign up for an account, you start by entering the address of your first Postagram recipient. Once that is done, you’ll select a picture from your phone’s camera roll, Facebook or Instagram that you want to be printed and mailed to that recipient. Add a personalized message and voila! You’re all done! Once your order is complete, you’ll get a notification of when your postcards will be delivered. Don’t forget to add yourself to the mailing list!
2. Photo book
This is a classic way of getting your images out of the cloud and onto good ol' paper. If you miss that feeling of flipping through pages by hand, then this is still an absolute must! From Shutterfly and Snapfish (some of the first online cloud storage options to turn digital into physical memories) to some of the newer applications on the block like Mixbook and Blurb, you’ll never be short on selection. It may be a little tedious to research which one is right for you, but it all depends on what kind of quality you’re looking for, how much text you want to add, themes, etc. Set a goal for yourself to create a new photo book within 30 days of getting home from your trip, otherwise, you may forget completely.
For the bold travelers out there, custom wallpaper may be the most permanent and daring way to display your travel photos. From a giant mural to a collage of your favorite images, you can have wallpaper designed and printed just for you! Online resources like Spoonflower, Design Your Wall, PicMe and Totally Custom Wallpaper will help you do just that!
A large number of photo hosting websites will allow you to create not only photo books but also a wide variety of other products. The calendar is one of my favorite options because let's be honest, the calendars you find at the store are mediocre at best, right? For those of you that want to look at more than cute puppies month after month, a calendar of your travel photos is a great way to display and appreciate your travel pictures.
5. Canvas Print
Did you take an incredibly professional looking photograph that you’re still not entirely sure how you captured something so stunning? Don’t let it be reduced to mere megabytes for eternity. Have it printed onto a canvas! When you display it on your wall at home, guests may ask about the beautiful image and you can proudly say that it's your own original work.
Simple photo magnets can turn a boring refrigerator into an exciting collage of your travel experiences. If you prefer a clean fridge, you can also buy a magnetic board and display your custom magnets on there and hang it on your wall. You can create your own magnets easily on Shutterfly or a multitude of different websites.
I don’t know about you, but I end up saving far too many pamphlets, tickets, and other memorabilia from my trips and constantly forget to do something with them. They either end up in in a file gathering dust or in the trash when I forget what their significance was in the first place.
If you’re a bit old school, a scrapbook may still be the best option for you. Paste your train tickets, pictures, receipts, or anything you’ve collected from your travels and treat it like a journal. Adding details like the menu from the restaurant where you had the best meal of your life will be ever more meaningful when you look back years later. A lot of this information is bound to be lost from memory within a couple of months of your trip so best to start scrapbooking as soon as you get back. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just grab some glue and some nice pens to jot some notes and get to work!
8. Time Capsules
If scrapbooking seems too time-consuming, but you still want to keep all those little mementos, store them in a simple wooden box and display them with your books. You can open them up at any time like a tiny time capsule. Many companies sell these "destination boxes" too if you don't want to make one yourself.
9. Shadow Box
If neither scrapbooking or time capsule boxes seem right for you, a happy medium is the shadow box. Your mementos will see the light of day, and it won’t take you days (or weeks) like creating a scrapbook may take. Buy a shadow box at your local craft store and fill it with anything from sand from the beaches of the Maldives or any other keepsake that you’ve collected along the way. If you’ve ended up with a bunch of coins that you can’t exchange, you can make a shadow box of all the different currency you've collected over the years. Maybe you love beer and you collect bottlecaps from every country. All of these can be great things to display in a shadow box.
10. Add to a Collection
A lot of people I know, including myself, try to find souvenirs from every place they go. For some, that may mean a pop metal sculpture of a famous landmark like the Eiffel tower, and others may collect a shot glass or keychain from every destination. I opted for something small and easily packable, a pin. My good friend collects Christmas ornaments. Find something that makes you happy and that can be found in most places that you travel. As your collection grows, you can display them in your home for all to see.
If there is one thing I wish I did more when I travel it would be videoing the experience. The few videos I've edited together are great sources of joy for me, and I look back on those authentic moments fondly. Chances are high that your phone and computer came with a basic editing program on it, so you really don’t have an excuse NOT to edit a few videos together from your travels. Photos say a lot, but videos say much more. When you’re done editing, upload them to youtube or another video sharing site, and share with your loved ones.
Perhaps the easiest way to preserve your memory of the fantastic trip you took will be writing about it. Start a personal (or professional) blog about the details of your trip. You’ll not only be able to re-read these in years to come and look back on that memory fondly, but you can also share it with your friends, family, and the rest of the world.
Maybe photography isn’t your thing, but you still want to show off where you’ve been. Buy a nice world map to display in your home and add a pin or color in the countries you’ve visited. I’m also a big fan of the scratch off maps that you simply scratch off the the countries you’ve visited.
When a single photo in a frame is just too standard, create a collage from your best travel photographs. From your plane tickets to metro ticket, you can create a collage of all the tickets from your trip and place them in a frame.
If you want to get extra creative, piece together collages of pictures that feature similar subject matter. For example, you may find yourself taking pictures of all types of doorways, ceilings, floors, etc. Add them all together into one artistic piece for a dramatic effect.
15. Other Custom Products
From blankets and pillows, to cell phone cases and drink coasters, you can pretty much customize anything these days. Sites like Zazzle have just about everything you could possibly think of, and if they don’t I’m sure a quick google search will turn up a match for what you’re looking for. Want custom tiles? Check out ImageSnap. Stickers? Try Sticky9. This is your chance to get creative so you’ll remember your trip forever!
What do you do to memorialize a trip?
What do you save from your travels?