How to make a travel scrapbook

how to make a travel scrapbook


Call me old fashioned, but I just can’t buy into the whole photo book craze. Sure they’re rather convenient, but what’s the fun in that? And where the heck do you put all of those mementoes like boarding passes and museum ticket stubs? Along with collecting shot glasses from every new place I visit, my travel traditions include painstakingly documenting my adventures in a scrapbook, to the point where I now have a stack that takes up half of a shelving unit—and I love every minute of it. Here are some tricks I’ve picked up along the way.

What you’ll need

While some may prefer a more compact book, the most common size is 12 x 12, which fits about four or five 4×6 photos per page. Make sure you have the following materials on hand:

  • A sharpie for writing bold titles, and a pen for more detailed captions.
  • A three-ring binder
  • Plastic page protectors
  • 12x 12 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.
  • Stickers
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Photos (duh!)
  • Wine and good music to get you through the hours-worth of scrapbooking!

Call me old fashioned, but I can’t buy into the whole photo book craze. Instead, I scrapbook! Here are some tips for 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 a free online program called PicMonkey to edit all of my photos first, and it’s amazing how much better they look with just 30 seconds of work.

-Decide which photos you want to include, then determine which ones you need for 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 layout, 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 5×7’s, which will affect your layout.


There are many different layouts you can use in your scrapbook.

-After your photos are printed, clear off a large workspace (preferably one where you can leave everything lying around for a few days), then lay out each page on paper. This is the time where you also decide which stickers/cut-outs/memorabilia will go where.

-Get gluing!

How to save money on scrapbooking materials

I’m not going to sugar coat it: scrapbooking 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 to be really 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. That can also apply to sticker or paper packs, which also go on sale occasionally.

If you’re too cheap to buy stickers, raid your magazine collection (travel magazines like 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!


Dollar stores will also become your best friend, and are the perfect place to scoop up those 5 packs of page protectors. I’ve seen scrapbooking stores charge $10 for them (how do they sleep at night?!), but they’re usually only $1-$2 at dollar stores.

In terms of saving on paper, my number one tip is to use both sides. Not only does this mean you’ll need 50 per cent less paper, 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 be sure to 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!

how to make a travel scrapbook
Do you have any tips to pass along when it comes to scrapbooking? Share them in the comments below!


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3 Responses

  1. sue says:

    thanks for the suggestions, especially about being more strategic on how many photos to print out! one thing I do now is keep a daily journal of where I am – what I see and ate, how I felt at the time. this means I can order the photos chronologically and write titles that are more descriptive.

    • That’s awesome! I really struggle with that when I get home, trying to remember exactly where I took each photo (i.e. if I visit three different beaches). That’s where Google Image Search comes in handy 🙂

  1. December 21, 2016

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