Call me old fashioned, but I just can’t buy into the whole photo book craze. Sure they’re a rather convenient way to document your travel memories, but where the heck do you put all of those mementoes like boarding passes and museum ticket stubs? And how would you show off that cool travel-themed scrapbook paper you sourced, or get to bust out some cute Eiffel-tower shaped stickers?
Along with collecting shot glasses from every new place I visit, my other travel tradition is to document my adventures by travel scrapbooking, to the point where I now have a stack of them that takes up half a shelving unit—and I love every minute of it. Here are some tricks I’ve picked up along the way about how to make a good travel scrapbook.
Scrapbooking tools: What you’ll need
While some may prefer a more compact photo scrapbook, the most common size is 12 x 12 which fits four or five 4×6 photos per page. Make sure you have the following scrapbooking tools on hand before you get crafting:
- A sharpie for writing bold titles, and a pen for more detailed captions.
- A three-ring binder
- Plastic page protectors
- 12x 12 scrapbook paper– I like to do each place in the same colour so it’s obvious when you’re moving on to a new place. For example, do all of my Switzerland pictures on red paper, then change to yellow for the Netherlands section of the scrapbook.
- Travel stickers
- Photos (duh!)
- Wine and good music to get you through the hours-worth of scrapbooking
Here are my all-time favourite travel scrapbooking accessories:
How to make a travel scrapbook: Organization is key
If you only learn one thing from this article let it be this: it pays to plan ahead. I used to just scroll through my photos, pick my favourites, then run and print them off. Want to know why that’s a terrible idea? Because you end up printing more than you need (hence wasting money) and spend way too much time trying to figure out how to group them. Oh, and you’ll probably end up with holes to fill which means more time and money spent printing them off.
Instead, get the hard stuff out of the way first.
- Edit. I use Lightroom to edit all of my photos, and it’s amazing how much better they look with just a little bit of tweaking. If that’s above your skill set, there’s a free online program called PicMonkey that works well for basic edits.
- Decide which photos you want to include in your vacation scrapbook, then determine which ones you’ll use on each page. I usually do four per page, or two/three if I’m also including a brochure or ticket stubs. It’s also important to consider scrapbook layouts, as a 12×12 page using 4×6 photos can only hold the following:
- 4 or 5 horizontal
- 3 horizontal, 1 vertical
- 2 horizontal, 2 vertical
- 1 horizontal, 2 vertical
Keep in mind you may want to print some amazing photos off as larger 5x7s, which will affect your layout.
3) After your photos are printed (I find Costco has the best prices for that), clear off a large workspace where you can leave everything lying around for a few days, then lay out each page on the scrapbooking paper. This is the time where you also decide which stickers/cut-outs/memorabilia will go where.
4) Get gluing!
Travel scrapbook accessories: How to save money
Making a travel scrapbook can be surprisingly expensive once you pay to develop all the photos and get materials. Fortunately, there are a few ways to save money. The best way? Couponing! Personally, I find Michael’s is typically overpriced, but they do seem to always have a ‘40% off one item coupon’ floating around which can mean big savings if you buy your $40 binder there.
- Raid your magazine collection (travel magazines like AFAR or Conde Nast Traveler are best) and cut out words or pictures that apply to your scrapbook. This is another reason I save all of the brochures I pick up along my trip, as I regularly end up hacking them up.
- Amazon is the perfect place to scoop up packages of page protectors, as well as travel themed scrapbook paper and stickers.
- To save paper, my top tip is to use both sides. Not only does this mean you’ll need half as much, but it also allows you to cram more pages into each book which saves money on binders.
- Finally, printing off the photos themselves will be your biggest expense, so put your Costco membership to use or sign up for e-mails from companies like Shutterfly. They give 50 free prints to new subscribers, regularly offer steep discounts and even send out bonuses such as 101 prints free.
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