How to keep travel memories alive
While you don’t want to spend your holiday seeing the sights through a camera lens or writing copious notes, there are many ways you can preserve your happy memories for years to come. Here are six ideas for recording and sharing those special days without sacrificing your precious time.
Jotting down the day’s events in a diary shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes but if that sounds too much, an alternative is to write memories on strips of paper and stuff them in a labelled jar when you get home. In years to come, pulling out random slips will make you smile. Another idea: send yourself a postcard with a brief recap of each day – this will jog your memory, with the added bonus of a great picture and exotic stamps.
Blogs are the digital version of a travel journal, allowing you not just to record your own experiences but also to share them with friends and family in real time during your holiday. Several websites, including the popular WordPress platform, allow you to create free blogs – these can be as simple as text only, or include photos and use more elaborate formatting. Other sites help you arrange digital scrapbooks. Simple notetaking apps such as Evernote or Simplenote can record your impressions while you’re on the move, and you can sync these across your devices for future use.
Scrapbooks offer variety and tactile appeal if writing isn’t your forte, and kids will be eager to help. Don’t just paste in photos, you can also include textile samples, airline and entrance tickets, banknotes, beer mats and restaurant receipts. Collect the scraps in the front pocket of your suitcase or in a zip-lock bag as you go along – but just remember to check in on quarantine requirements before you collect items such as shells or pressed flowers. Want a glue-free easier alternative? Create a scrap box which will also fit brochures and small knick-knacks.
Most people buy the wrong sort of souvenirs: snow globes and batik that end up in the back of the cupboard. It sounds obvious but think about something you’d want about your house for years to come. At the more expensive end, you could purchase a piece of furniture, a painting or a striking decorative piece. Alternatively, buy useful household items that don’t have to be costly but will be constant reminders of holidays because they get daily use: a quality kitchen knife from Japan or a pair of mugs from Sweden, for example. Just remember your checked baggage has weight limits, and don’t forget to check on customs and quarantine regulations.
We all take holiday photos but how often do we look at them? Mostly they’re confined to huge desktop files or dusty photo albums. Pick out your favourites, frame them, or turn them into wall canvasses. More informally, string up a line and decorate it with clothes-pegged photos that you can then rotate every few months. Photos can also be made into fridge magnets, coasters, puzzles and calendars, or even hardcover books.
Holidaymakers have been taking videos of family antics for decades, but now thanks to mobile phones with video recording capabilities and relatively easy-to-use editing software it’s easy to create watchable videos. Tech-savvy teenagers in particular will enjoy adding voiceovers, music and special effects. To make the most of your videos, think outside the box and don’t just record the fun times and tourist sights. You can capture the mundane parts of travel too – suitcase packing, airport waits and hotel rooms can also really add to the story of a trip. Don’t forget to stock up on memory cards before you take off!
When you get home, take the time to record documentary-style interviews and ask family members about their favourite activities, meals and memorable moments.