Thursday 10 August 2023

Different ways that you can document a holiday or vacation

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

I'm fortunate enough to have enjoyed some amazing travel experiences around the world, and I love reliving my holiday memories whether that's looking through photographs or re-reading my old travel journals. Documenting your travel memories is a great way to preserve them, whether for your own personal reminiscences or to share with others, and so I've put together a list of different methods. 

A written travel journal (with ephemera)

This is my personal favourite! A travel journal can either be written as you go along or on your return. I used to keep notes in a temporary notebook and copy them up later, but recently I've been writing straight into my current journal. A lot depends on the type of holiday - if you will be rushing about from place to place then you might just want to take quick notes, if you will have time to sit and write while you are travelling or in the hotel during the evening then you can take more time over it.

I always preferred to write on my return because I didn't want to run the risk of losing it or of anyone else reading it. I also didn't want to be distracted from enjoying the holiday or feeling too much pressure to keep up with writing it. But these days our holidays tend to involve a little more chill out time, and I don't have as much free time at home to catch up with it all!

You can either have a journal just for writing, or go with more of a collage style. I personally love collecting bits and pieces to stick into my journals - leaflets, tickets, maps, food packaging, business cards, coins or paper currency, stamps, stickers, themed washi tape and so on. I like to include practical details in case I want to refer back to them - the addresses of where we stayed, attractions that we visited and prices, what and where we ate, important dates.

Pile of travel journals with ephemera

If you are writing while you are away you might want to include sensory details - sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures. You can also write lists either as you go along or at the end - favourite places, best meals, top beaches, most memorable moments, favourite souvenirs. Also think about whether you are writing a personal journal or one that you want to share with others, because your writing style will likely change depending on your audience.

An illustrated travel journal

An illustrated journal is more like a sketchbook, containing drawings, paintings and perhaps also travel ephemera. It could be scrapbook style with photographs (either polaroids, using a mini photo printer, or added in on your return). Drawings can either be done in situ or else working from photographs when you get back. 

For my next travel journal I'm intending to add some quick sketches and watercolours. We don't often have time to sit still long enough to work on a picture so I'll probably use photographs, hopefully finding some time in the evenings!

A printed photobook using your travel photos

If you enjoy taking photographs, a great way to make sure that you don't forget all about them is to have them printed into a photobook. There are lots of different companies that offer this, and you can usually arrange the photographs how you like, along with captions and larger sections of text. 

It would be nice to include candid photos rather than just staged shots of the main sights. You could also include pictures of your accommodation, meals, photographs taken while travelling for example in the plane. Just make sure to live in the moment and not worry too much about getting the perfect shot!

Photobook showing a couple on the beach
Photo credit Arun Prakash via Unsplash

An online journal or blog

If you want to share your experiences with others then a blog is a great way to do this. You could set it to private for friends and family, or open it up and share it with the world. There are plenty of free blogging platforms, for example Blogger which is what I use, and it's easy to add texts, photos and links to the different places that you've visited.

It's easy to update anywhere as long as you have an internet connection, so you can write it on the go and add in your photos.

A shadow box display

When you get home, a shadow box display is a great way to display bulkier items like small souvenirs, maps, leaflets and tickets. You can buy a readymade frame or look for an online tutorial like this one - Ticket stub memory box tutorial - it's really easy to do.

Vacation memory jar

Either for physical items like seashells, pebbles, coins and so on, or write down memories on slips of paper then take them out to re-read, maybe on New Year's Eve. 

Wall displays and frames

You can display postcards that you've brought back in a hanging pocket postcard pockets (affiliate link) or a hanging postcard display (affiliate link). Or simply collage them into a frame or stick directly to the wall - my student bedrooms always had colourful postcards stuck all over the walls with BluTak! You could choose to display printed photographs or a mixture of photos, postcards, ticket stubs and other ephemera.

Postcard wall display of travel memories
Photo credit Mick Haupt via Unsplash

Personalised travel maps

There are lots of different ways of sharing your travels using a map. For example, I've shared my cross stitch map (affiliate link) before, very much a work in progress but then so are my travel adventures!

Cross stitch map to record travel memories

You can also find other examples, like scratch off maps (affiliate link) or a travel destination bucket list scratch off poster (affiliate link). Alternatively you could just buy a large map and some pins to stick into the places that you have visited!

I hope that this post has given you lots of inspiration for recording those travel memories. My final tip would be to make sure that you actually go back and read through those travel journals and look through those photographs! I'm guilty of keeping all my journals stuffed in a cupboard, even though I wrote them with the intention of revisiting them. It's my intention to set aside some time with a cuppa and a biscuit and enjoy reading back through them.

Pile of old travel journals and notebooks

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