Read the whole Trip Bits series.
Departing my last three international excursions, I’ve carried home a particular present: illness. I seem to have a knack for it.
Usually it comes to me on the last day, right before I’m about to get on a long, overnight, international flight from which there is no escape for 6+ hours. And at high altitudes in a cramped space with 300 other people is just where you want to be with an achy body and a stuffy head.
But it’s (sort of) my own fault. I pick vacations where I’m going to run hard and hardly sleep. No lollygagging on a tropical beach — there’s too much to see! to buy! to eat!
So, when I get home, after it’s all over, I sleep.
I also, after many days (okay, months), rifle through hundreds (okay, thousands) of photos. Back in the day, I printed them all out and pasted them into photo albums alongside the litter of brochures and other scraps of mementos I’d saved along the way. Then a strange thing happened.
We entered the digital age.
These days, photo share sites let us display our photos online for the amusement of friends, family and our other traveling companions. I’ve used Shutterfly to great success, but I’m sure there are many, many others. I stick with Shutterfly over sites like Snapfish because the picture quality when you want to print is superior.
You can certainly build your own virtual album and send it around, but a shared site gives your whole traveling group one central place to upload, view and even purchase each other’s work. It’s so easy and convenient.
I also love to make photo books of my trips. I was never a scrapbooker, but I’ve always made travel albums. Online, it’s still time-consuming to catalogue and organize your photos, but so much less than it is to do it manually. Once your photos are uploaded to the site, you can easily drop them in and give each page all the flair you can muster. I often can’t muster a lot, but I like that Shutterfly — and likely any site of your choice — provides tools and ideas to help me try.
The 831 photos from my week in London distributed themselves beautifully into an enormously thick, heavy, glossy reminder of my entire trip.
I confess that I still save a stack of precious detritus from every trip — I just know I’m going to be glad I kept that torn ticket stub someday! — but Shutterfly even makes adhesive pockets you can insert inside the front or back cover of your book. To store just such a collection. Genius.
Now, in the days of digital everything, I hardly ever print, frame or display personal pictures anymore. So there are whole eras of my life that only exist on a chip or server somewhere. Or, they sit in a box. Like the stack of photos, etc. from my 2006 trip to Germany, still in a corner awaiting “a rainy day.” I’ve moved with that box four times since then. Ireland in 2008? Ditto. Digital is not only easy and quick to organize, but it also leaves a lot less clutter around your house.
It may be old fashioned to keep a hard copy album, but I find it refreshing. I want to be able to touch it, to see it on my shelf and know that years from now I can flip through it and reminisce. Without having to plug or log in.
If you — like me — are also into writing travelogues about your trips, I hear excellent things about Blurb for book-making. It will import your blog site, photos and all, so you can organize your words and pictures on the page. I love that idea. I’ve been meaning to catalog my blog site by annuals, but I think a book by trip would also be a fantastic way to memorialize my experiences. Maybe for Israel, which will be coming sometime soon…
Well, that’s all I got. These are my tips and go-to sites, but please let me know if you have any other ideas for capturing your travel memories.
This also concludes my set of Trip Bits — I hope you’ve found a new idea, or my experiences have sparked a thought or drummed up some excitement about your travel plans this summer.
Bon voyages, mes amis — wherever you are headed!