Preserving Vacation Memories

Unfortunately, vacations only last so long.  A week or two – more if you’re lucky – but at some point we all have to go back to reality.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  After all, if vacations lasted forever, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate them fully, now would we?  (Don’t answer that.)

When we get home, and get back into the swing of ordinary life, there is so much to do that thoughts of vacation often fly right out of our minds.  We have to take steps to keep those memories intact.  If you’re like me – camera-happy – and you’ve taken hundreds or even thousands of pictures over the course of your trip, organizing those photos and turning them into a keepsake can be a fabulous way to relive the vacation – and bonus, you’ll have them to look back on after every rainy day or crushing work deadline.

My favorite way to preserve my vacation pictures is in a hardbound photo book.  I make mine on Shutterfly, simply because I’ve been storing my pictures there for years and I find it to be one of the more user-friendly sites (at least, it seems to make sense in my brain). There are many other photo processing websites to explore, though – Kodak, Snapfish, MyPublisher and others all allow users to store and display their pictures in many ways.

I made a Shutterfly book after my trip to France in 2010 and was thrilled with the result.  The process was simple (and I imagine it’s much the same on other photo-processing sites).  First I uploaded the photos I wanted to use from my computer onto Shutterfly.  I then chose which pictures I wanted to go on each page of the book, as well as the front and back covers.  The site allowed me to play with the layout of each page until the pictures were set out exactly as I wanted them.  I was able to choose from several color themes for the book, each of which came with a number of background page options.


When the pages were laid out, I typed in my own custom captions for each page, describing the pictures and my experiences in detail.

I loved my France book so much that I made another one for my 2011 trip to England:

The books arrive a few weeks after you create them, and – I can’t speak for every photo site, but at least the Shutterfly versions – they’re gorgeous.  The covers are excellent quality and the pages are glossy and professionally printed.  I love to sit on my couch and flip through these books for hours, tasting the flaky croissants and cafe au lait from France or the scones and tea I had in England all over again.

Making books is my favorite way of preserving vacation memories, but there are others:

  • Blog about your trip!  Take your readers on the journey with you.
  • Make a video slideshow, and set it to music.  (My parents and brother do this.  It’s on my agenda to figure out how to do it with my own computer software.)
  • Keep a trip journal while you’re away, writing down your impressions as you go, and turn it into a scrapbook with ephemera you pick up at each stop.
  • Print your photos and hang them on your walls or display them around your house.
  • Make a traditional photo album with 4×6 prints.
  • Collect small souvenirs along the way and turn them into a shadowbox when you get home.  (I’d love to try this sometime!)

(Please note, this post has not been paid for or perked by Shutterfly.  Use whatever photo site you durn well please, or don’t use any of them.  I no curr.  That’s just who I use, and I like them.)

How do you preserve vacation memories when you get home?

6 thoughts on “Preserving Vacation Memories

    • They would definitely make great personalized wedding or anniversary albums, or even yearbooks of daily life! The Shutterfly versions aren’t cheap, especially if you do the big hardbound copies as I do, but they have discounts all the time. Enjoy!

    • It had never occurred to me to make one until a family friend showed us hers after an Italy vacation. Now making these books is one of my favorite things to do after a vacation – like taking the vacation all over again, in a way.

      I’m planning to make one for the baby, too!

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