Today is an exciting today. Last year, I went on an incredible four-week trip around Spain — and today, over a year later, I finally received my travel photo book. (As a girl who takes on average six weeks to fully unpack an overseas suitcase, I actually don’t think this is a bad effort).
I used Blurb Bookify to turn my travel journal and photos into a beautiful, magazine-style photo book. The “beautiful” part is probably what dragged me the longest, because I wanted it to be perfect, but now I’m so glad I invested the time because I have this awesome keepsake of my time in Spain.
And, because I’m like a proud five-year-old holding up their finished finger-painting in front of the family (if I could pin my travel book to the fridge, I totally would), I thought I would share with you all my tips on turning your travel memories into a beautiful photo book.
Keep it up to date
My secret weapon for keeping my travel journal up to date? Dot points. When you’re traveling you get plenty of free moments – long train rides, sitting at the bus station, waiting for your travel partner to finish showering… Whenever I found myself with a free moment, I’d pull out Google Docs on my phone and jot down some simple dot points detailing what I’d seen and done that day.
On longer journeys traveling between cities, I would flesh these dot points out with more details using my iPad and Logitech folio keypad (super handy for allowing you to type quickly without having to lug an actual laptop around). I wouldn’t just focus on the big ticket items, like seeing the Sagrada Família, but the small details that I would be likely to forget later — like how being inside Gaudi’s masterpiece made me think of my beloved Nanna Ring, how hot it was outside, how despite the heat we still bought a bag of freshly cooked Nutella donuts and ate them in the park behind the Cathedral.
Now, when I read these paragraphs, I’m instantly transported to that moment in time, and I remember it so much better. It’s funny how we often travel to see “big” sights, like the Eiffel Tower or Mount Fuji, but it’s the little moments that happen around these things that make travel so enjoyable. Writing a journal helps you capture these little moments.
Make it your own
Everyone has a different style when it comes to creative projects, depending on whether you’re more of a visual or verbal person. I’m definitely more inclined towards words than visuals — I’m big on long, rambling paragraphs about the complex flavours of paella. Seriously, I could write 500 words on how a plate of paella made me feel (and if you read my Spain book, you’d know that’s true). So my style is to write about anything and everything on my travels that made me feel something, and supplement my journal with photos using a program like Bookify.
I’ve been traveling with other friends who have a different approach to documenting the journey. One friend was a graphic designer who preferred to write her journal straight into InDesign on her laptop as we travelled, and another friend preferred the scrapbook approach of writing in an actual journal and sticking in physical mementos, like ticket stubs and penny presses. Another friend loves photography and isn’t big on words, so he remembers his story through photos neatly filed on his computer. Find what works for you.
Bringing it home
The 15 hour plane trip back to Australia was a great opportunity to finish my dot points, but I still had a lot of work to do when I got home. There was sorting through photos, researching the proper Spanish names for the places I’d visited, and editing my journal rid of about a million typos.
I loved how easy Blurb made it for me to take these raw materials and transform them into something beautiful. I found the program quite similar to InDesign, but slightly more user-friendly for a newcomer to the software. Blurb also has a range of templates to choose from, making it possible for any graphic design novice (like myself) to make a professional looking photo book.
Best of all, it’s free! You just pay for printing and delivering the final product (you can also use Blurb to upload a file from InDesign or other design programs, if that’s more your thing). I bought one photo book for myself and also the high resolution PDF (only $4.99), so that I could share it electronically with family and friends.
One of the best things about travelling is that it’s full of incredible experiences, and creating a photo book of your trip turns those experiences into something physical that you can keep forever.
What’s your way of eternalising all of your travel memories? Do you use a journal, travel app, old-school photo album? I’d love to know!