Seasoned travelers know that each trip is priceless. Maybe you cherish that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland with your dad to see where he was born. Or maybe you travel to Europe twice a year. Even yet, maybe you backpack through your own country every chance you get.
For any of these, the memories are priceless. Many of us wish to take home keepsakes to remind us of our adventures. Though, doodads stack up. Even if you have enough room in your luggage, you will need to find a place for them in your home.
Here are ten creative ways you can preserve your travel memories. Some items, like postcards and fold-out maps, are waning in popularity. But we think they are tried-and-true travel tools that will keep your clutter down and your spirit of adventure up.
Capture Travel Memories #1
Your Photos: Digital Travel Memories
One of the obvious ways to capture the highlights of a trip is photographs. With cell phones and digital cameras, you can do this without worrying about storing and protecting 35mm film (what’s that?). You can snap thousands of photos during your trip.
Traditional Photo Books
Digital photos also give you a rich resource for getting creative when you return home. One relatively inexpensive project is making a travel photo book. You can do this the old-fashioned way by ordering prints and storing them in a book. You can jot down captions while the memories are still fresh in your mind.
Online Photo Books
You can also make a digital photo book using an online service. The layouts are pretty straightforward. You can fit several photos on each page. You can also crop and caption easily. Whether you have one photo book per year or one per trip, you have a neatly organized documentary of your travel memories.
Turn Your Photos Into Postcards
Some services allow you to upload personal photos and turn them into postcards. You can download an app and do this right from your smartphone. You can write notes and address them through the app. The service will send your postcards to any address around the world. Instant travel memories!
You can tuck your printed photo books neatly away on a bookshelf or display them prominently on the coffee table. Sharing them with friends and family is a way to refresh your memory as well as share your experiences.
Capture Travel Memories #2Create a Travel Pin Map
A travel pin map is exactly what it sounds like. Though, you may not have thought of it as creative decor. If you display the travel map on a bar wall or other strategic spot, it reflects your wandering spirit as well as holds a visual record of your travel memories.
Whenever you return from a trip to a new location, add a pushpin to mark it. You can also add a small label with information such as the dates, length of trip, and who you traveled with.
Ready-Made Pushpin Maps
You can order ready-made pushpin travel maps online on Amazon, for example. These maps can be a bit pricey. On the other hand, some are very elegant and could enhance your decor nicely.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Pushpin Map
If you are crafty, you can make your own DIY travel map. One way is to overlay a large window cling map over a cork bulletin board of the same size.
When you take the window cling off the backing, place it as evenly as you can on the bulletin board. Do your best to avoid air bubbles. Push out any excess bubbles. That is it, other than hanging.
Capture Travel Memories #3Send Yourself Postcards
Along with your travel photos, buy postcards! You can most likely find them in any country or city you visit. They are inexpensive. The stamps will cost more, though the overall cost is pennies compared to what souvenirs will cost you.
A postcard is a visual reminder of the places you went. Though, they are also an excellent opportunity to capture travel memories on the go.
While You Are Traveling
As you gather the postcards, take some time during quiet moments to describe where you are and what you did that day. You will be writing while the memories of the day are still fresh.
Think of the days before Twitter. A postcard contains just enough room for a modern-day tweet. Only with a little more class.
Send it to yourself while you are still on your trip. This way, the postcard is stamped from the country in which it was sent. And, you don’t have to carry them around.
When You Get Home
Finding them when you return home is just plain fun. Gives you a chance to relive the travel memories right away.
You’ll find that postcards take up little space. You can store them in a recipe card box, or incorporate them into your travel photo book or scrapbook (we will get to scrapbooks later).
Capture Travel Memories #4Refrigerator Magnets and Keychains: If You Must, At Least Go Small
Fridge magnets and keychains make great souvenirs. Why? Because they are cheap and small. Some people just like keepsakes. Others don’t want to be crafty and make books or pushpin maps. These little trinkets are good options.
Sometimes, they are even cheaper if you buy them in multiples. So, they are options for family and friend gifts as well.
Finally, magnets and keychains are light and pack well. You can stuff your tiny travel memories in your socks to keep them safe in your suitcase.
Capture Travel Memories #5Make Travel Videos
Now that smartphones mean that everyone has a video camera, why not add video to your photo archives? A trip just isn’t complete anymore without at least one video, goofy or otherwise.
You probably don’t want to experience your entire trip through your camera. But, you can record chosen moments.
Quick Tips for Filming with a Smartphone
You don’t need a fancy camera to capture fun moments on a trip. Here are some simple things you can do to get good shots from your camera’s video app.
Hold Your Phone Horizontally
This is also called landscape mode. You will capture more in the frame if you hold your phone this way.
Film in the Sunshine
Dark or low light results in grainy videos. Smartphone cameras are not intended for professional videography.
Save your video opportunities for outdoors where there is ample sunlight. Or, indoors when the area is well lit and with no shadows.
Check the Noise Level
Since you can’t control the environment, choose quiet places for filming. Of course, there are probably times when the noise is what you want to capture, such as the crowd in a local festival.
You’ll know when still photos would better capture the moment than video due to the ambient noise.
After You Return Home
Once you return home, you can review your footage and relive your travel memories. If you took a lot of videos, you could edit them together into one longer video to document your entire trip.
Your computer or laptop most likely has simple video editing software already installed on it. If it doesn’t, there are freeware versions available that will do the job.
Capture Travel Memories #6Get Free Maps
Maps are a handy, practical, and inexpensive item to gather during a trip. You can ask for a map at your place of lodging. They are often available for free at hotels, inns, and hostels. Feel free to ask for one if they are not on display.
As you travel, you can mark the places on the map as you visit them. You may even want to add notes about your experiences. Now, the maps are keepsakes that help preserve your travel memories.
Capture Travel Memories #7Make a Scrapbook
Scrapbooks are a fun way to turn oddball items into travel memories. Any small thing from your trip can go in a scrapbook. Items include things like plane tickets, bus tokens, paper menus, maps, candy wrappers, and so on.
Of course, your photos and postcards also fit perfectly into a scrapbook. The scrapbook could be a place to bring all three types of mementos together.
Scrapbooking is a creative endeavor that lets you capture travel memories with a little pizzazz. You can design your scrapbook however you want. Supplies are available at any craft store as well as online.
Capture Travel Memories #8Blog Your Travel
If you are a word-nerd and will have internet access during your trip, blogging is a great way to capture the day’s events without loading down your suitcase. You can reach like-minded people in the process.
All the better if you are already familiar with blog writing. To start a travel blog, write about your total experiences. Include your best photos, especially the candid ones. Those make for sincere storytelling.
Capture Travel Memories #9Keep a Travel Journal
If you’re not excited about sharing your travel adventures with the world, then a travel blog isn’t for you. But, perhaps you do want to document your trip in writing.
You can keep a private travel journal during your trip. It’s a travel diary for you to detail your trip as well as your impressions and feelings as you experience it.
You may choose to share your journal with others. Or, you may prefer to keep it to yourself. Either way, journaling is a way to document the emotional part of your travel memories.
Capture Travel Memories #10Take Up the Whole Wall
This last idea is a bit of a synergy of some of the previous suggestions. Perhaps you just want to surround yourself with your travel memories. One way to do this is to dedicate an entire wall in your home as a work-in-progress collage of your travels.
You may have that pushpin map at the center. Around it, you can design as you wish. Add your photos and postcards. Hang your scrapbook pages or other little things that will enhance your wall-collage.
Where to Next?
Now that you have tossed around some unique ways to capture your travel memories, where are you going next?
Check out our travel blog for more inspiration. And maybe send us a postcard! 😉