It’s not my ideal way to begin a blog post by making reference to my age, but there was once a time where you would head out into the world with your camera, and a roll of film which had 24 exposures. This meant you had the opportunity to take 24 photos total (obviously you could travel with more than one roll of film though).
You would arrive home, have them developed, and add them to a photo album which you would have handy to pull out every now and then. But these days, find me someone who doesn’t return home with hundreds, if not thousands, of photos.
With the ability to take such a vast amount of photos these days, even our great photos end up suffering a pretty sad fate. You might Instagram or Facebook them, but for the most part, they sit quietly forgotten in a digital folder or harddrive. They fade away.
So we’ve come up with some ideas for bringing your photos to life in this modern age, and actually using them in the everyday.
Fabulous Ways to Actually Use Your Travel Photos
One of the best ways to actually use your travel photos is to print them! There are a huge range of websites these days which will put your photos on just about anything; T-shirts, mugs, passport holders, even toilet paper – if you can think it, there’s likely to be a company who will print it!
But without getting too carried away, something as simple as printing your photos to put in an old school photo album, to hang on the wall, or maybe even become the wall (you can blow your photos up to buy as wallpaper) are all fabulous ways to use your photos in the everyday.
Travel Shots Printed on Canvas
Social Media Covers / Channel Art
Sure, you’ve probably shared your favorite travel photos to Facebook, but as time goes by they get lost and buried among the rest of your moments and posts.
But a Facebook cover is something you’ll see everyday, and something others will see every-time they stalk you! So why not pick one of your favorite travel photos to display.
If you’re trying to figure out the optimal size, free photo design sites have stunning templates for social media posts, and has already sized Facebook Covers, Youtube Channel Art, twitter covers, instagram posts etc for you. It makes it super easy to customize a design in the correct size.
Creating your own cards can be an awesome way to use your travel photos, and it makes it a lot more personal for the person on the recieving end than a faceless $5 card you’ve pulled from the newsagency.
Maybe you visited Santa Claus in the Arctic circle when you were last in Finland. Or perhaps you have photos of the ball dropping in Times Square on New Years. Whether it’s a thankyou card, or something for an anniversary of birthday, make something genuine, and add your own flair.
Don’t be intimidated by creating a card; you can make it look just as awesome as the gift shop versions with the free templates and easy design / photo effects from online photo editing services. Drag and drop your own photos, and personalize your text. It’s cinch!
The awesome thing to is that the templates on free design sites are constantly changing to be relevant to the time of year. There are Valentines Day templates in February, Christmas templates in December, and a great search bar to find the occasion you need.
We created our own wedding invitations, and it was actually a huge hit! We were having a destination wedding in Hawaii, so the travel theme really fit.
We were able to make the invitations look really professional using free templates already designed, and it was a lot cheaper going the route of DIY.
But maybe you’re having a birthday party, sending a save the date, or even a game night. Use your travel photos to create unique invitations; it’s such a cool feeling to say “yes”, when some-one asks “did you take this?”.
Everyone loves receiving postcards, but better yet if your photo is on it! Sending postcards is an incredibly personal thing, and unlike posting a faceless photo to Facebook or Instagram, receiving a postcard tells someone that you’re genuinely thinking about them.
And this is a great way to use your photos, because they really last! Think about it; when you send a Facebook message or email, do people save and treasure it? Do they print out your tweet and stick it to the front of their fridge? Do they pass it around their friends and family? No. But they do that with a postcard. Because it’s more exciting. More thoughtful. More interesting.
There are many sites now which let you upload your photo and a personalized message, and will then print and mail them for you, and these can be a really great souvenir. Design something awesome and then upload it to send via an online postcard site.
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INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓
Brilliant read with some great ideas!
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post :)
Ha ha I feel you. I literally have boxes of photos from when I was a teenager and in my twenties. I remember how disappointing it was when the pictures arrived and you discovered they were all rubbish, or of course how happy you were if a photo was good. I much prefer digital though as I can take more many and hopefully have a chance of a lush image. I like these ideas for keeping them alive though and may we’ll be doing Christmas cards with our photos this year
I know, me too! Those two days it took for photos to process were killer, waiting and wanting to know if the shots were any good or not! Totally on preferring digital – it’s opened up some amazing opportunities in terms of the everyday person taking beautiful quality photos. My problem now is that I return home with too many lol!
Glad we could give you some ideas for keeping them alive :)
I found you someone, myself. Not dissing the article, I love all the ideas. I just have a strong personal desire to avoid cameras. (I wouldn’t call it a phobia, but it’d be hard to argue.)
I’m starting to change that because while I can remember it all, it’s impossible to describe the sights with the same ease as a 4×6
Definitely something to be said for living in the moment and not experiencing travel all the time through a camera lens. I find that photos are a great way to recall a memory though and take you straight back to the moment :) And you’re right, it’s a lot easier to help describe an experience to someone else with visuals :)
Great tips Megan! I always try to print out a selection of photos from each trip we make, but even making a selection of a 100 or so per trip has become complicated since we take too many photos (or travel too often?)! lol So now we’ve decided to take a minimum of pictures when we travel (just like in the good old days, eh?!), so that we won’t have to sort through thousands of photos everytime we return from a trip. Using some of our pics for our blog posts or on social media covers is something that we like doing too. We also keep sending postcards or Christmas cards to our friends and family (yep, we’ve never stopped doing this actually, and are probably one of the very few who still do haha…), but I must admit that we’re always late so we usually end up buying cards instead of designing and printing our own photos. I guess we should try out MyPostcard next time!
Thanks Mei! I’m right there with you on taking too many photos!! I’ve started trying to delete the bad shots, or duplicates at the end of each day, so I don’t get home and have to sort through a couple of thousand! I find that usually I take 100 of the same thing, which you obviously don’t ever need!
Glad to hear you’ve never stopped sending postcards! It’s something which is so fun to both send and receive! Can highly recommend MyPostcard, it’s super quick and easy and if you set yourself reminders you shouldn’t have to worry about missing a holiday post deadline :)
Glad you enjoyed the post!
Fantastic tips here and I got a habbit now of printing my best captures on to canvas. Much better than photo albums for me. :) Just love to wake up every morning in the apartment and look at places I have been to.
Thanks Danik, glad you enjoyed the post! Canvas prints are the best – we’ve hung quite a few around the house, an it’s great for both a pop of color on the walls, and for constant reminders of your favorite trips :) Totally agree that they’re better than alums in that sense!
I’ve been using Fotor for years and it really helps me a lot in photo editing. Just like most people, I also have tons of pictures just sleeping in my harddrive. Thanks so much for coming up with a bunch of brilliant ideas, Megan! I’ll start making personalized postcards soon on MyPostcard. Also so tempted to print a travel photo collage as wallpaper, ha! ?
Awesome Debbie – how fab is Fotor! I love that it’s so easy – the drag and drop feature is amazing!
Glad we could inspire a couple of ideas for you – photo wallpaper is the best! I’m redoing a couple of the rooms in our place atm and just have to choose which shots to print (which is of course the hardest part!!) :D
I have a strange desire to start giving people personalized toilet paper now. We have been travelling hard for the last couple of years and just bought our own place. We made the choice to put up our artwork throughout the house. In fact, we went so far as to NOT purchase art from our last home in San Diego because we wanted our own creation. These are great ways to save your memories. At then end of the day, isn’t creating memories what travel is all about?
Bahaha – I heard about this a couple of weeks ago, my friend said that she had ordered Donald Trump toilet paper lol I didn’t know that was even a thing! But apparently if you can think it, they can print it!!
Congrats on buying a place! We’ve recently done the same, and it’s been quite fun picking out travel prints to hang. It’s great knowing that it’s your own work too, makes it extra special, and as you said, a fabulous way to preserve your best memories :) Happy travels! Here’s to even more! (memories!)
Some great ideas to keep your photos alive. One of the things I usually do is create a slideshow video with my photos, store them on a thumb-drive, plug that into my TV and watch it when I am feeling nostalgic, which is a lot of the times. I have never heard about Fotor, so I just took a quick browse and it looks like it could come in handy. Definitely gonna check it out in detail later.
Thanks Simon! Glad you enjoyed the post :) A slideshow video of your photos is a great idea, and I think you can actually do the same thumb drive thing with digital photo frames these days, set one up and it plays through the photos on a constant loop :)
Glad we could introduce you to Fotor – it’s a fabulous tool, I love it!
Thanks Meg. Yep! I’ve seen the digital photo frames. Yet another way to make use of photos.
I too remember the days of 36 picture rolls and the pain of having one lost in developing (!) With so many digital photos I wonder about losing them in the ether. I haven’t used Fotor yet but recently had a bunch printed with Mixtiles and love the small squares set up in a collage that can be moved around easily. Thanks for the other cool ideas on using our vast collections
Losing a whole roll of film in developing was the worst – we were actually wondering this about digital images the other day when we found out that harddrives apparently have a lifespan on them of around 5 years (external harddrives). So we’ve backed everything up on two separate harddrives as back ups. I guess nothing is ever secure whether it’s paper or digital!
Glad we could introduce you to Fotor. I haven’t heard of Mixtiles so I’ll check them out. Thanks for the tip!
I recently started my photography journey and have a few nice pictures that I’m pretty proud of. I’m been thinking of having them printed and framed and after reading this I’ve decided to finally do it!
Awesome Brian! It’s so nice to have those that you’re proudest of on display. And an awesome icebreaker when people come over and you can say that you took it!
Glad you enjoyed the post – happy travels!
Such an Interesting post, Meg. I completely enjoyed going through it. You are so right we just use few pictures, others keep on lying somewhere in the system. So, The Fotor app can perfectly help me put them to use and it sounds really interesting too. I am surely going to explore it soon. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Suruchi, glad you enjoyed it! Enjoy playing around with Fotor – it’s fabulously fun!
These are fabulous ideas to treasure your photos. It is so true that our photos go on Facebook, never to be seen again! I wish I had thought about printing our travel photos as wedding invitations, that would of been so nice. I will register with Fotor and start printing.
Glad you enjoyed the post Lucy! Something to keep in mind if you decide to renew your vows maybe at some point – it seems like destination celebrations to renew vows are becoming a big trend atm!
Enjoy Fotor – it’s such a fabulous tool for cool design :)
It’s so funny, I was just thinking about this the other day: When I went to Central America end of last century, I took ten rolls of film with me (by the way, mine were 36 and sometimes when you were lucky, you could squeeze a 37th one that had some glue smear on one third of the pic) – 360 pix for six months. Coming back from Brazil after one month, I have about 2,500 pix. And besides those that are published on my blog, a couple on instagram and facebook, they are waiting in my google drive till I retire and have time to look at them. Oh no, wait, when I retire, I’ll start hard core travelling, just coming home to….upload my pix.
Your ideas how to use your favorite pictures are great – thanx for sharing.
Lol you can’t even imagine only taking 360 photos in 6 months nowdays!! Though at least back then we really appreciated each and every shot, and went through them, kept them, loved them – much more difficult with 2,500!
Glad you enjoyed the ideas we put together – it’s a difficult balance trying to take as many as possible to capture the moment but then preserve those thousands we take!
Just loved your post. I played a lot with Fotor in the past, made a lot of designs and other stuff. Recently, I moved to Pixtller. Great all-rounder for posters, social media etc.
Thanks Vald, so glad you enjoyed the post :) Thanks for the heads up on Pixtller – I’m still loving Fotor, but will check this out also :)