I have a confession. Scrapbooking and travel might be my passion, but I am NOT always very efficient at getting my trips documented. I always start out with the best of intentions, but after buying all the pretty travel kits with coordinating papers, my photos and memorabilia always seem to wind up in a box somewhere in my already over-crowded craft room. And that’s where it stays.
A few years ago while hosting a scrapbooking cruise, I had the opportunity to watch two very talented ladies in our group as they created a scrapbook of our cruise — documenting the very cruise we were on! They were even able to print their photos right there on the ship using a thumb drive and the photo kiosk! I was so amazed by their project that I decided right then and there that I had to document my next cruise the same way.
Since then, I’ve documented several trips in this manner, and I get a little smarter and more efficient each time. It’s really all about planning ahead and knowing what you will need to get the results you want. Here are some of my tips for documenting travels on the go:
- Choose your format. It doesn’t really matter what format you use, but some things to keep in mind are the size of the album (how much space will it take up in your luggage) and the style of pages (are the pages plain, patterned paper, or do you have to make them?). I have used Smash Books, travelers notebooks, pre-made travel journals, and even wallet calendars. I’ve even used the Project Life app to make digital pages on the go.
- Choose your supplies. I have traveled with as little as a pair of scissors, pencil, colored pens, adhesive, and some washi tape. If I want to embellish more, I might bring some die cuts or ephemera in a travel theme, stickers, and a few journaling cards or labels. If I’m feeling really crafty, I’ll bring a few themed stamps, maybe a set of alpha stamps, and some coordinating paper for matting, etc. It’s really up to you what you want to bring and how you like to document.
- Decide how you will print your photos. As I mentioned, the two ladies on the cruise used the photo kiosks on the cruise ship to print their photos on the fly, but what if you aren’t on a cruise? Small printer technology has improved greatly over the past few years. My first micro-printer was my HP Sprocket, which prints 2”x3” photos on an adhesive-backed paper. The quality isn’t all that great, but it’s very easy to use and inexpensive to operate. I still use it for small prints. My next printer was the Canon Selphy, which prints 4”x6” full-color photos. I love the quality of the photos on the Selphy, but it sometimes annoys me that it’s not true 4”x6” and creating custom sizes or collages can be challenging. Epson also makes a small portable photo printer that is capable of printing up to 5”x7” photos, but it’s quite a bit larger and also more expensive.
- Map out your use of the album. Determine how many pages you will use for each day or activity. This is especially important if you are using a travelers notebook or other format that has a fixed number of pages. Do you want to fill the whole album? Or do you plan to add other trips to the book? I often use a pencil to lightly note what each page will be used for, or to allocate a set number of pages for each day.
- Keep a notepad handy. I usually carry a small spiral or notepad in my purse to jot down notes about the trip on the fly. It’s a good way to keep track of where you ate dinner, what you did after lunch, that random fact about the hotel or the tour you were on. You’ll want to remember all those things when you sit down to start documenting.
- Keep it simple. Don’t spend too much time trying to embellish or decorate your pages. As you sit down to work on your album each day, try to get the photos inserted and captioned while trying to capture the over-all feel of the activity. The idea is to capture as much of the day into the album as possible.You can always come back and embellish more later.
- Relax, enjoy the process, and have fun on your vacation! Don’t stress over getting it all done, and don’t worry if you don’t have time to document. I never finish my travel albums while I’m on my trip, and that’s okay. It really is all about capturing your memories as quickly as possible before the feeling fades, but a lot of the joy comes from reliving those memories when you come back later to embellish and finish your album. It’s okay if you get behind, skip a day, or don’t document anything at all…it’s more important to enjoy your trip!
Learning to document on the go has been a tremendous game changer for me. I get my trips scrapbooked so much faster now because of it, and the albums and travel journals that I create are so much better at capturing the experience because they are created while they are still fresh in my mind. It’s a lot easier than you think, and with a little bit of planning, you can document your trips on the fly, too.
Want to see more travel journaling? Check out these flip-throughs of two of my travel journals:
Tell us how you document your trips: