Boxes, albums, books, oh my! I think I’ve tried it all by now, and I still haven’t decided what the best way is to document a trip. In my OCD sort of way, I’d love to pick ONE method and use it every time. The photo albums would line up beautifully, or the boxes perfectly matched and labeled. But it hasn’t worked that way.
One trip, I come home with tons of paper goods and oddly-shaped souvenirs, another trip I use only my phone and have hundreds of pictures and videos on it. Perhaps I’m not meant to have a shelf lined with photo books all in the same binding style.
But while I’m here debating whether or not I want to redo all of my past trips into one style, perhaps one of the methods I’ve tried will be just what you need to get your travel memories sorted.
I got a few boxes from Michaels years ago. It’s one of the easiest ways I’ve found to stash away souvenirs. They hold maps, guides, ticket stubs and more.
I must admit though, I don’t have a single photo in these boxes because I never got around to printing them (for some reason I find printing photos to be an extremely difficult task). When I blog about a location and need to remember what we did there, it’s so easy to pull out a box and find my old itineraries or journal notes. I love the hands-on feeling of sifting through these boxes. However, they can also feel a little cluttered and take up a lot of space.
Did you see what I said about printing photos? For some reason, it kills me. I take way too many pictures in the first place, so I spend hours sorting them to make sure I pick the perfect ones. Then there’s the actual printing and paying for them. (Tip: I recently started using the FreePrints app. If you have photos on your phone, you get up to 85 prints every month for free, just pay shipping.)
I still love the classic feeling of a photo album though. My mom was always excellent at making albums, and we pulled them out every so often to look back. Flipping through a photo album is a feel-good ritual for me.
I also can’t scrapbook at all (I lack the creativity or patience), so a photo album feels like an easy alternative. I can still put in notes here and there—sort of like my journal pages from the memory boxes, but condensed—as well as ticket stubs and local currency or a map. My main cons about photo albums are the size and the work it takes.
My current kick is photo books. After finding the FreeBooks app (yep, related to FreePrints, and no this is not sponsored!), I fell for it. You can print a 20-page, 5×7” softcover photo book for free, you just pay for extra pages and shipping. There are a lot of options for photo books, but this one is my favorite so far—it’s so easy. It’s an app only, so you can’t use a desktop version. However, it works for me because I hate desktop photo book sites; uploading pictures takes forever. Then again, I also don’t have all of my travel photos on my phone, so this app would only work for certain trips.
Having to go through and pick out photos only once (and not sort them again into an album) makes it easier. Plus, it’s so compact and has a professional feel to it. Although, a few captions can’t tell the whole story. Maybe I could tuck a few notes or ticket stubs in between the pages. But my crazy side does wonder if I’m cheating my photos by crowding them onto the pages when perhaps they each want to be their own 4×6” print…
This is one that I’ve recently started to experiment with, thanks to the new iPhone iOS. There’s now a “Memories” function within the photos app. It automatically sorts your photos and videos from specific dates into a fun slideshow/video (like the video on Latitude’s 36 Hours in Copenhagen post). You have some basic controls you can adjust, but since the work is done for you, it’s meant to let you sit back and enjoy. It’s probably the easiest of them all, though you have to have all of the photos on your phone.
I love that this can incorporate your videos, while none of the other options can. However, you can’t add notes, so it might be hard to look back and remember exactly what that one place was called or how much it cost. Also, my main goal with these “memory savers” is to get things OFF of the phone and into my hands. I would need to find a way to put these videos onto DVDs in order to consider it a good option.
Those have been my top options so far. I’m obviously undecided on which one is the best though. So tell me on our Facebook page—how do you preserve your travel memories?