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How to Create Travel Memories That Last

How many of you have looked back on your Facebook to an old travel album and felt somewhat disappointed at the low-quality photos and videos you took?

In your head, they’re crystal clear but the media doesn’t hold up. The thought of having them printed and framed wouldn’t sit well nowadays. It’s a disappointing feeling, to say the least.

Travel is kind of weird because, on the flipside, we also have a bit of remorse for having spent too much time trying to capture a moment with our phones/camera versus just being in the moment.

You can’t help but think you didn’t maximize the trip because too much of it was spent behind the lens, working, or trying to think of the perfect Instagram caption.

Want to know how to create better travel memories (the type you’ll also take home via photos, film, and other ways)? Read on.


It’s almost frightening finding yourself in a new country full of new cultures, traditions, and things to see & do. There is a culture shock and learning curve. Many will seclude themselves to their hotel or follow the pack of other tourists.

Try getting outside your comfort zone:

  • Start conversations with the locals
  • Experience street food and people watch
  • Take the side streets and back alleys

Keep an open mind and dive headfirst into the experience. This will create those unforgettable moments like having locals invite you to events. Or, helping you find places not listed in the guidebooks.


Girl camera

How many of you bought a nice camera right before you hopped on the plane?

That fancy digital single lens reflex camera, or DSLR for short, isn’t quite the point-and-shoot like you’re used to with your phone or basic pocket camera. It takes a bit of learning to get those amazing shots (the type that’ll hold up a more than just a few years after the trip).

So, get the camera/recorder early and practice before you leave. For instance, try taking Sunset Pictures or profile shots to hone your skills.

Learn what makes for great photos and develop a keen eye for great subjects. Basically: Take a photography class!

Curate (and Get Candid)

Here’s the trick to taking great travel photos and video: Take and record a lot!

You’re looking at a curated selection when you’re stunned at the professionalism with someone’s Instagram travel photos or Facebook album. People take a whole bunch of shots but actually sit down to go through and remove any that don’t fit their high level of professionalism.

This is really smart for your travel documenting because it won’t mishmash your memories — it locks a specific thought/experience to a specific photo/video.

Going candid is another thing that sets good travel media apart.

Candid moments like you laughing or capturing an odd moment with the locals will create more memories than trying to snap a picture of a popular tourist spot (without the tourists).

There are history and guidebooks for those shots. Put yourself, your friends, and locals into these natural attractions. This creates a wonderful association with all those experiences you had around the people, not just the places.

Video Over Photos

We have multiple senses. And a photo doesn’t do as much justice as a video can.

Video captures those sights and sounds helping our minds remember the smaller things. Things like what the place smelled like. Or, how the air felt.

A video is great for going back through to pick out the subtle things our brains caught in that moment we no longer remember just from a photo.

You can create these without disrupting you being “in the moment” with simple clip-on cameras. Or, place your phone securely in your pocket or around a lanyard.

Hit record and go on an adventure. Then, come back and edit the video for its best parts and adding little annotations when the memory is still fresh.

Bring Something Back

No, not just touristy souvenirs.

Bring back things like local guides, little gizmos/trinkets, and even store receipts. Be a bit of a hoarder with the items you accumulate during the hustle and bustle of your adventure.

These odd-ball items can collage into something that’ll bring back great memories and experiences, surprisingly.

Now it’s your turn: How do you create lasting memories of your travels + how do you capture those moments?


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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. All great ideas. I sometimes get disappointed as my camera can only capture so little of the beauty my eyes are seeing!

    • Glad you enjyed the post! And absolutely – the camera hardly does an experience the same justice of witnessing something in the moment!

  2. Fantastic ideas. We’re trying to be more in the moment now and less distracted by screens and electronics when we travel.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Toya! Yes, technology is great but it can definitely distract us from the real reason we’re traveling. Happy travels!

  3. Candid photos are our favorite too. Our family has made a pact that we’re not allowed to pose for cheesy tourist photos. Everyone has their own camera, so the goal is to catch each other naturally and unaware.

    • Love that Daniela lol yes I’ve stopped taking the cheesy tourist snaps too. I have a lot of them from my first couple of years traveling and I think that’s enough for a lifetime lol!

  4. I have SO MANY touristy souvenirs. Self confessed hoarder right here. I do like your idea of sourcing out more practical items though.

    • Haha happens to the best of us :D I used to collect shot glasses, and then magnets, and then postcards. Now I don’t buy any of that thankfully, but if there’s beautiful artwork I would actually hang, or nice accessories I would actually wear, I aim for those instead :)

  5. I never made videos. Have lots of clips though and I like other people’s videos on facebook. I have windows movie maker on my computer it must have come with it so might see if it’s easy.

    • I used to use Windows Movie Maker, it’s great if you’re starting out, very simple and easy to learn. Once you’ve mastered that, if you find you enjoy making videos you can probably then look int something with more features for editing :)

  6. Lovely post!

    • Thanks Suhana, glad you enjoyed it. Here’s to making lasting travel memories!

  7. Personally I love a good scrapbook. We make digital photo albums online and have them printed into bound albums, nothing beats physically holding preserved memories and thumbing through the pages!

    • Totally agree with you! I haven’t done this in a while, but really need to sit down and make albums from the last couple of years. I love sitting down with scrapbooks and photo albums!

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