6 Ways To Document Your Travels Without A Scrapbook

Do you want to document travel without a scrapbook? You like capturing memories but you don't want to spend 10+ hours pasting them into a scrapbook? These tips for capturing travel memories are easy and sweet!  #usatravel #usaroadtrip #travelusa #ustravel #ustraveldestinations #americatravel #travelamerica #vacationusa #usatrip
I spent most of my childhood cutting things out, gluing them to other things, and then dumping glitter on top of the whole thing. So it seems like I’d be The World’s Most Serious Scrapbooker. I’m sentimental and I (obviously) like keeping track of exciting, interesting things that happen in my life.

But I just can’t seem to get into scrapbooking. I don’t really want to buy special products to chronicle my memories and that fancy paper is expensive!

How to Document Your Travels Without Scrapbooking

I do a lot of solo travel, and it can sometimes feel like my memories exist in a vacuum.There’s no one to create inside jokes with, no one who’s going to know what I’m talking about when I reference “tiny wonder the super cat.” But there are heaps of different ways to document travel, so you won’t forget everything once you return to home to ‘real life’ and all of your friends.

Document travel by taking 5 pictures every day

I have a tendency to only take pictures of Outings and Very Noteworthy Things, but sometimes the things worth remembering are the different types of transport you took or what you ate for breakfast.
Make a commitment to take five pictures every day. No matter how mundane those photos seem at the time, once you get home those same things will seem exotic and amazing.

Document travel with a non-overwhelming travel journal

Of course. Of course! I like slim journals with water-resistant covers. But you don’t just have to write paragraph after paragraph of your doings. Why not:
– write one sentence a day?
– write the phrases you’ve learned?
– keep track of the foods you liked and hunt down the recipes?
– learn to write a few things in the script of the local language?
– keep a glue stick with you and paste all your paper bits into your journal?
– keep track of how much a meal, a room, and a beer costs in each country you visit?
– bring a pack of tiny colored pencils and sketch every day?

Document travel via social media 

If you’re incredibly lazy (or just addicted to the internet) you can put together a pretty telling outline of your trip through sent emails, Facebook’s status updates and tweets. Use the ‘My Year In Status‘ app to collect your status from Facebook or scroll through your twitter timeline.

If you’re posting your travel photos to Instagram, print out your photos in these adorable, tiny books. Cuuuute!

Document travel with mini accordion folders

All those ticket stubs and money that seem so ordinary when you’re three weeks into a trip, become fascinating once you get home and a few months have passed.  I like to bring a mini accordion folder on my trip and label each section with a city that I’ve visited.

Then I tuck various pieces of detritus into each folder – and maybe write their significance on them if I’m feeling ambitious. “Dinner with Amanda and Daniel under a giant tree. Ate too much peanut satay and learned to say scandalous things in Thai.” You get the idea.

Document travel with a ‘100 memories list’

If you’re traveling with someone else this is – hands down – the best way to spend your flight home. Passing a notebook between you, take turns writing down memories from your trip until you reach 100. The first 50 are pretty easy and then you start writing things like “That dog that was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the taxi, with his elbow hanging out the window.”

Then! Six months later, you make copies of the list and send it to your friend and you both feel all mushy inside.

Document travel by ‘setting’ your memories with scent + sound

It probably sounds silly, but I like to wear a different perfume for each trip. (I love these $8 solid perfume sticks.) Scent is directly related to memory, so it’s a great way to ‘set’ the memory of your trip – every time you wear that perfume, you’re back in Mexico eating ice cream while you ogle the tumble-down mansions in Merida. I also like to create country-specific playlists and hunt down local music while I’m traveling.

(This was my jam while I was in India and I was OBSESSED with this song while I was in Sweden. Hell, I’m still obsessed.) Then I can listen to them anytime I need some travel inspiration.

How do you preserve memories – travel or otherwise? 

photo by rawpixel // cc

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  1. Alli Lizer

    Yes! Scrapbooking is so much time (and money). With online journals and blogs being free it just doesn't measure up. I'm so glad you posted this today because I'm leaving for Florida tomorrow and I LOVE your scent idea. Now I need to pick one out. Exciting!

  2. Kaisa M.

    Those tiny books are to die for! SO cute! For what it's worth I always take too many photos, of everything! Like breakfast food and dirt on street. 😀

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yes! I had to force myself to take those 'mundane' photos but I'm so glad I did!

  3. Karen de Leon

    Great ideas! I'm studying abroad right now and I keep sending post cards to my address back home of all the places I go. At first I was buying a lot of the generic panorama type postcards but now I've been sending myself slightly more sentimental postcards like postcards of my favorite paintings at museums, the view from my favorite writer's window, and I even found a postcard that features my favorite sandwich shop from while I've been here. I know that when I get home and look at the big pile of postcards it's going to get teary.

  4. Kristen Greene

    I wish I had done some of these things when I traveled through Europe! But I did keep a journal that still makes me laugh when I read it these days. I bought a scrapbook and then never did anything with it! lol…oh well…

  5. iris

    Instead of scrapbooking, I take photos + blog, and then create photo albums on Picaboo with some of my photos and some of my blog entries, like so. This way you get a coffee table book without all the fuss/muss of scrapbooking, although it can cost a pretty coin.

  6. Manisha

    I try to pick up a greeting card (or several + envelopes) right when I begin a trip. Then I fill the card with great memories and collect little things in the envelope like receipts, brochures, maps, etc. I mail these off before leaving for home. That way I get a nice gift in the mail complete with stamps from where I visited. I've been doing this for a few years now but have yet to open the letters. I don't know what I'm waiting for but I do know it's going to be good time when I finally open them!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Genius! And lots of other countries (I'm looking at you, Taiwan) have a really specific aesthetic to their paper goods which adds a fun touch!

    • Bree

      How cool! love this idea.

  7. Bree

    These are great ideas. Thanks for sharing. I'm horrible at remembering to take photos.

  8. Michelle

    I do the whole scent thing too! Every time I travel somewhere new (especially if it's overseas), I make sure to get a nice roll-on perfume to help recapture those fun times and moments! I'm glad I'm not the only one that does that. I was starting to think it was only me….in a crazy way… 😉

  9. Erika @ VA Creatively.com

    I do love to scrapbook my travel adventures but these are great, too! I especially like the travel journal idea. We think we're going to always remember those little things . . . but we don't.

  10. Raquel Moss

    When we were in India, the movie Aashiqui 2 was HUGE and everywhere we went the soundtrack was playing. One of our lingering memories is of speeding around Jaipur with this 18 year old tuk tuk driver blasting Aashiqui 2. We actually kept listening to the songs after we got home, they were pretty great!

  11. Lisa

    When my sisters and I went on holiday to Nashville and New York (our first trip sans parents) I took a travel journal with me – which I now fondly refer to as 'the memory' book – which I made sure to write in every evening so I didn't forget the random details which I like reading back now. I packed a little pencil case with pens, scissors and a glue stick so that I could stick leaflets and receipts (to remember all the food!) in straight away to avoid loosing those things.
    I blogged about the book here http://alwaysarty.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/the-memory-book_16.html

    I also like to buy clothes on holiday so whenever I wear them I remember the trip. I also like being able to say, 'you like my shirt? Oh it's from New Zealand. My skirt? Nashville'

  12. *ashleigh

    I'm a pretty tactile person, so I actually love scrapbooking my travel adventures when I get home. That being said, I love these ideas! Especially the 100 memories idea. I'm going to do this on my trip back from NYC in a week.

  13. Ashley

    I love these ideas! I'm horrible with taking photos, so forcing myself to commit to five could be a very good thing for me. The 100 things is also a great idea.
    When I studied abroad not only did I skype my mom regularly, but I also wrote my family MASSIVE e-mails. I only had internet during certain hours of the day, so I'd start them in Word and they'd just grow from there. I remember one of them was 12 pages before I ended up sending it.
    As for the scrapbook of that trip… I never started it.

  14. Treble Maker

    Love, love, LOVE!
    I also want to run away on an adventure right now :D:D:D

  15. Amanda

    I love the scent idea! It's so true! Every time I use Pantene shampoo… I'm in high school again. Lady Speed Stick in Wild Freesia… I'm back in middle school crushing on the boy next door.

  16. Anonymous

    OMG – that Sheila song was my freshman roommate's alarm/ ringtone (she's Indian-American), and I swear by the end of the year my other roommate and I knew all the words, even though neither of us speak a word of Hindi. I can STILL sing it today, haha. Great post btw!

  17. Sanibel Gal

    I love these ideas. I am heading to Africa later this year and needed some ideas for light travel and journals – and those little image books are awesome.

  18. highman123

    Instagram has changed the way I travel – especially where I go in a city. The Foursquare API has the best city recommendations hands down in most places I have been. Torsten @ MightyTravels.

  19. Carina | journi

    Aah, I love the "100 Memories" list! That's very similar to my own way of trying to write down about 3 happy moments a day 🙂
    Without reminders we just don't pay enough attention to details!

  20. Catherine

    I love the idea of jotting down a hundred memories! We're currently exploring Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, and totally going to be doing this on the way home!

  21. Debbie

    my husband and i sent postcards to ourselves, documenting our favorite parts of the day. you can’t write too much on a postcard but sometimes we write one a day and just mail them home. he writes to me, i to him, they are fun to read when you get home. i made mine into a book, with binder rings, so i can always add to it!!!

  22. tilausajo

    I mail these off before leaving for home. That way I get a nice gift in the mail complete with stamps from where I visited. I’ve been doing this for a few years now but have yet to open the letters.

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