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How To Preserve Your Summer Memories

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The relaxation and fun of your summer vacation might be behind you, or it could still be on the horizon. Whatever the case may be, we want to help you document your special memories in a format that keeps them safe for a lifetime and beyond. Before we show you ways to incorporate simple preservation strategies for your vacation, consider these statistics: 

The Photo Marketing Association reports that in the past 25 years in the United States, 15 billion rolls of film have been developed. It is estimated that 80% of those photos remain in their original processing envelopes in drawers and boxes. (That’s 12 billion photos sitting in boxes and drawers in this country!). Kodak also released that 80 billion photos were taken in 2015, both film and digital, and that number is only expected to climb! In this digital era, where we have instant-cameras (cellphones) on us almost everywhere we go, there is absolutely no shortage of photography.

When you think about all of the memorable photos that go undocumented and are forgotten in boxes, the question becomes pressing. Are some of those photos yours - or will they become yours? They don’t have to. Follow these easy-to-implement ideas into your vacation plans and you’ll have everything you need to create a simple vacation scrapbook or photo album when you get home.

Prepare For Your Vacation

travelerPack your camera in a padded storage bag with the following:

  1. Identification information (to increase your chances of finding it if lost)
  2. Battery charger and extra memory cards for digital camera, or cellphone charger if your phone will be your primary photography device
  3. Extra batteries and rolls of film for your traditional camera
  4. Notebook and pencil to record the pictures you take and your thoughts and memories along the way

Zip-loc™ bags for memorabilia, which might include:

  • Ticket stubs
  • Take-out menus from favorite restaurants
  • Parking passes
  • Sand from the beach
  • Pressed flowers and leaves
  • Trinkets/souvenirs
  • Other significant objects that will remind you of favorite moments
Note: Some historical sites prohibit visitors from removing rocks, shells, and other items from the premises, be sure to abide by the laws of the country you are visiting.

surfboard photographyConsider the following hints and tips which make travel and future photo preservation (as well as memory keeping) easy and enjoyable! 

Take your camera bag everywhere you go and take pictures. If you use a digital camera you can share the photos with family members along the way or when you return home. If you're using your cellphone, you can easily upload your photos to your favorite social media site or send to your friends and family.

Vacation Photo Ideas

lemonade photography

    • You with those you’re traveling with, close-up and mid-range shots
    • You alone, close-up and mid-range shots
    • Sites, Long-range photos of buildings, landscapes or locations. Long-range photos are more interesting if they include a person or people you know in them. If you come across a breath-taking view and you don’t have a panoramic setting on your camera do the following: Stand in one place. Turn to your left and note the level of your camera. Take a picture. Now moving your upper torso only, move the camera (at the same level) to where you left off with your first picture (actually back up just a little bit and capture some the scenery again). Take another picture. Keep doing this sequence until you get to the right-hand site of the scene. When you develop your photos you’ll be able to splice them together and see the beautiful view in a gorgeous panorama!
    • Food you eat! Get a close up of a plate of food you enjoyed and a picture of you eating the food. 
    • Interesting animals or people
    • Objects unique to where you're vacationing, consider very close-up shots of things you won’t see again
    • Places you stay
    • Sunsets/sunrises
    • Candid photographs of your family members
    • Street signs that capture your attention
    • A bird's eye view of your feet in the sand or on a cobblestone street

Use Your Phone For Quick Photos

cellphone cameraSometimes you're in a situation where you need to snap a quick photo to capture something fleeting, unexpected, or that captures the ambiance or feeling of a place. When this happens, you won't always have your camera bag unzipped, your camera out, and your settings ready to go. 

If this happens, don't worry! With cellphones a societal norm, it's easier than ever to snap a quick shot, even when you weren't quite ready for it!

How to Keep Track of Your Vacation Photos

document Journaling is the best way to keep a detailed record on the photos you have taken! We've all been there: we take amazing photographs and are certain we'll remember everything about that event. But then the next day is just as incredible and full of new memories and experiences that we all but forget the previous one's details!

This doesn't have to happen. Instead, make notes of your thoughts and feelings about each day in your notebook. Remember to date each entry and include a list of photos you took or "group" of photos you took (like "all photos at the zoo"). Even if you are short on time or too exhausted from your travels, even a few short notes can help you later - especially if it's a noteworthy moment and even if you weren't able to capture a photo (i.e. "Saw a wild parrot at lunch today!")

What Notes to Include in Your Journaling

      • Who – Who you traveled with that day, who you met, who you learned about
      • What – What you did, saw, learned, smelled, touched and heard
      • Where – Where you went
      • When – What is the date and time of day?
      • How - How did you travel to each destination? Were travel conditions good?

Memory Keep with Postcards and Maps

postcardsPurchase postcards and maps at each memorable destination. Write in details about the day and your experiences, then, either tuck it into your Zip-Loc bag for safe keeping... or mail it to yourself! When you get home you’ll have pictures, stamps and journaled memories coming to you for weeks. These postcards can be placed in a photo album or you can scrapbook them with the rest of your photos.

The photos on postcards are professional and a bargain for travelers and Scrapbookers. Try to find both postcards that don’t have words around or over the photos and ones that do, naming your destinations! Don't forget to look for postcards in any museums or amusement parks you visit, as they may have special themed cards that regular convenient and general souvenir shops do not have. 

How to Sort Your Photos and Document Your Travels

photos sortFirst off, you'll need to get your photographs off of your camera! If you used a digital camera or cellphone, download your photos from your memory card to your computer and date each group of photos and/or label by specific events or the place of your trip (i.e. San Diego Summer 2018). You'll also want to print your photos out so you can put them in your photo album or scrapbook them! There are many online printing services you can utilize, or you can upload them to a USB drive and bring them to your favorite photo printing service. 

If you used a traditional camera, have your photos processed and write significant information (date, place, event, names of people in the photo and location) on the back of each photo when you get them back from the lab.

Tip: Use an acid-free marker, not a ballpoint pen which can emboss your writing from the back to the front of the photo and could allow ink to migrate from photo to photo when stacked.

How to Share Your Vacation Photos

Purchase a photo album or a scrapbook! No matter your style (traditional or trendy), there is a style out there for you. You can see a wide option of albums here, in a kaleidoscope of sizes, styles, and materials. 

To make organizing your album easier, begin by temporarily placing your printed photos into chronological groups and slide them into page protectors of your new scrapbook or in the sleeves of your photo album. Add your collected memorabilia to each applicable page protector to keep each event or theme in one place. 

After all of your photos are organized, either place them in the order you'd like into your photo album (if you're creating an album) or begin creating layouts based on which photos and memorabilia are in the page protectors! If you need a little inspiration, you can check out our Gallery of layouts as well as our online tutorials that will give you all of the information you need to create the albums, scrapbooks, and memory-keeping projects of your dreams. 

Now you can enjoy your memories and scrapbook them when you make the time to do so, share them with your family and friends, and pass them down for generations to come!

Vacation Scrapbook and Photo Album Ideas

Photo Album

Purchase a photo album and simply slide your photos into the sleeves when you get home. If you collected some goodies like beach sand and small seashells, you can use the fuse to heat-seal your pockets shut and preserve your materials! 

Pocket-Page Scrapbook 

Purchase an album with pocket-page style protectors to create a photo album-scrapbook hybrid. Many brands carry lines specifically dedicated to this style of scrapbooking. It's easy, fun, and can usually be created more quickly than traditional 12" x 12" scrapbook layout pages. Learn more about Pocket-Page Scrapbooking here! 


Purchase an album, cardstock (a coordinating pack of colors will help you differentiate and highlight each destination), page protectors, embellishments, adhesive, pens and anything else you need to create beautiful layouts. Browse an enormous selection of scrapbooking supplies here.

Scrapbook Kit

Purchase a kit a few weeks before you leave and assemble it so you’ll have an idea of what photos to take to fit on each page. Once you get home and print your photos, simply add them and any journaling elements when you get home for a quick, easy, and cohesive scrapbook. Don't forget to purchase an album for your layout pages to fit in - make sure you buy sizes that coordinate. 


This album is ideal to capture the highlights of a vacation in a quick and easy format. Find a small album (chipboard, acrylic, or other wise). Add your own coordinating papers, embellishments, and photos and you have a beautiful treasure to display on a shelf or end table. This album would also make a great gift for those you traveled with too!

Vintage Mini-Album

Create a unique album that will wow your friends and showcase your unique style. This type of album is created by repurposing an old hardcover book. Take a look at this method in our step-by-step article here

No matter the vacation or time of year, you can make photographing and sequentially documenting your travels, occasions, and memories easier with the help of a little pre-planning, some extra organization, and a few fun ideas that speak to YOU!


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