8 Ways to Document Your Family Travels

8 Ways to Document Your Family Travels

Check out these 8 creative tips for documenting your family travels!


By: Vera H.

Some of the best parts of family travels are memories, experiences that stay with us long after we have returned home. Sometimes it is a photo, other times a certain object from our trip that brings it all back, sparking a lively discussion about past adventures, reminding us to laugh about mishaps we encountered along the way or inspiring us to plan our next vacation together.

There are countless ways and styles to document, preserve and, dare I say, flaunt your family’s travel memories. Simple or more involved, classic or more contemporary, free and paid, here are some of my favorite ideas:

1. Travel Journal and Scrapbook: 2 Classics in One
Creating a scrapbook is a popular, classic way to organize countless mementos from family trips: photos, postcards, itineraries, ticket stubs, restaurant menus, hotel keys, local currency, boarding passes, the list goes on. I like the idea of taking it a step further and making a journal scrapbook: a combination of a scrapbook and a travel journal.

This is a great way to involve your kids. Give them an envelope at the beginning of your trip to collect fun items you come across during your adventures, encourage them to take pictures (disposable cameras are great for this), and ask them to jot down a few thoughts at the end of each day. Putting it all together in a scrapbook after your trip can be a fun family project and a way to relive your experiences together.

2. Photo Book: A Great Way to Organize Your Vacation Photos
Looking for a great way to document your travels as well as organize and display all your photos? Photo books are your answer. You can go as basic or as sophisticated as you want, and there are many companies to choose from. I use Shutterfly, which offers hundreds of different themes, fonts, stickers and other design elements for you to play with and create stunning personalized photo books. I love using their examples of finished books from other customers to inspire my own creations.

Designing a photo book is fun, but it can take a lot of time. Shutterfly’s Make My Book service lets you upload your photos, select a size and style, and then sit back while a design team creates an amazing photo book for you. Print a hard copy to leaf through and reminisce about your adventures any time you feel like it or share digitally with friends and family.

3. Family Travel Photo Series: Same Pose, Different Place
You have seen them before: four sets of feet on a beautiful beach, same four feet dangling from the rim of the Grand Canyon or relaxing on a lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower. It does not have to be feet. The idea is that you take a picture of the same family pose everywhere you go, ideally, in front of a major landmark, so everyone can tell where you have been. The more creative, the better. Maybe go with a family selfie? The possibilities to come up with fun ways to capture the places your family has visited are endless and so are the ways to display these photos at home to enjoy your fun vacation memories.

4. A Vacation Video Mash Up: A Mini Documentary of Your Trip
For those who want to take it a step further, consider a video, and fear not, no sophisticated equipment is needed. If you own a GoPro, great, if not, your smart phone will do just fine. Just have fun with it, your skills will definitely improve with practice. Capture the places you’ve been to along with your family’s narrative or your kids’ reactions to famous attractions. At the end of your travels, you can bring it all together with simple tools such as iMovie. Who doesn’t love watching family vacation videos years after your adventures took place? You might even become inspired to start your own YouTube channel.

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5. “Gram” It: Everybody Else Does
There is a reason that Instagram has 600 million users. What’s not to like about an app that helps you make your pics look better (or even stunning) with a few simple touches? Plus, it serves as a handy album and makes sharing your special moments with friends, family and even strangers, super easy.

Many travelers consider Instagram the best social media platform to document their trips. The app’s latest feature allows you to post up to 10 photos as a swipeable carousel to tell a story in an expanded way, like a mini photo album. These Instagram Stories are a fun way to share daily updates from your trip, without worrying about over-posting since they disappear after 24 hours.

6. Travel Blog: Document Your Travels Online
You don’t need to be a techy to start a blog. Products like WordPress and Blogger allow you to set up a basic blog site in just a few steps and they are free! Many established travel blogs originally started out as a way to share travel adventures with friends and family, especially for people that travel extensively. A blog allows you to easily upload and share simple posts, more elaborate stories, pictures and videos. For families, blogging can be another great way to involve kids in documenting your travels by having them contribute content they have created themselves.

7. A Family Travel Collection: Bring Something Back from Every Trip
A great way to string years of vacation memories together is to start a family travel collection. Go as basic as collecting key chains, refrigerator magnets or coffee mugs, or you can get really creative. The key is to keep a common theme and add items from each place your family visits. For example, our family collects photos of unique road signs we encounter on our worldly travels such as Watch Out for Kangaroos from Australia, Nene (local geese) Crossing from Hawaii or Iguana Habitat from Curaçao. Your collection can be even more special if you tie it to a personal passion: our soccer-obsessed son always brings back a soccer jersey from every place we visit, and his Mom, who is a big fan of cooking, likes to find a unique apron from each destination we have visited.

8. World Map with Pins: See the Big Picture
Even though you won’t capture individual moments from your travels, this idea is a fun way to track your journeys around the globe, especially for families who are serious world travelers. (Though it also works with the map of the U.S. if you are mostly focusing on domestic travel.) We started this project as a way to document our family travels when our kids were very young, but now, several years later, we have a teen and a tween who are still very excited when we put a new pin on the world map hanging on our basement wall!

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A native of Slovenia, Vera moved to the U.S. 20+ years ago after meeting her American husband. A writer for Hilton Mom Voyage, Vera has always loved travel and learning about new places and cultures.

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