Monday, July 7, 2014

What To Do Before You Travel ...

By the time you read this, I'll be busy sightseeing in San Francisco, California. I actually came up with the idea for this post as I was packing and thought I would write it up and schedule it to go live while I was away - you know, just in case anyone was missing me or something!

My husband and I travel quite a bit - sometimes we go on quick weekend road trips, sometimes we peruse the internet until we find a great deal on airfare. It doesn't matter if we're traveling near or far, if our trip is long or short, if it was spontaneous or well-planned … there are a few things we always do before departure to make the traveling process as smooth and stress-free as possible. As a scrapbooker, I always have memory keeping in the back of my mind. One of the things I do before heading off on a trip is assemble a "vacation documentation kit" of sorts. I don't scrapbook on the go, but there are three things I always bring along with me (not including my camera) that help make the scrapbooking process easier once I get home.

1. Research the destination + compile a list of potential photo ops, scenic views, etc. 
Once we've booked a trip I immediately go online and begin doing some research. We usually have a very flexible and spontaneous itinerary but it helps to know what we want to see and do, how it long each activity will take, the costs involved, etc. As plan out the details, I also make a Pinterest board of specific things I think might come in helpful when it's time to scapbook my trip - I search for layouts that others have done to gather ideas, I take note of interesting photos that others have taken. I create a vacation mood board, pinning anything and everything I find inspirational about the location we're about to visit. I also make a list of scenic views, the best places to photograph landmarks and I write down the times of sunrise and sunset. Of course I want our trip to be authentic - meaning I don't deliberately plan activities with a layout in mind or anything like that - but knowing what I'm likely to be photographing helps me pack appropriate camera gear and allows me to get the best possible shots. Also, having a general idea of what kind of layouts I *might* want to make when I get home means I rarely have an "awww man, I wish I'd gotten a photo of that!" moment. A little pre-trip research goes a long way and you'll be surprised at the information even a quick "photographing San Francisco" Google search will turn up.

2. Bring a ziplock bag and fill it with paper souvenirs 
This is my number one tip when it comes to scrapbooking vacations! I always bring a large ziplock bag with me and I keep it in my purse at all times. As we vacation, I fill the bag with all kinds of memorabilia and mementos - business cards, pamphlets, ticket stubs, hotel stationary. You just never know what you might want or need for a layout! I love being able to keep everything together, organized in my bag. I also love that when I come home I can pull out the bag and I immediately have everything I need, right there at my fingertips … no searching around in my luggage or digging through my purse to find a business card.

3. Bring a small journal or notebook and record things daily 
I don't scrapbook while I travel but I do journal. It's a trick passed on to me by my mother and it's proven to be sooooooo helpful. Every night when I get back to the hotel I take out my notebook and quickly jot down what we did that day, what I loved best, funny things that happened, etc. Vacations tend to be busy with each day filled to the brim with sights and activities. Often, when I get home the whole trip is a bit of a blur. Did we see the Golden Gate Bridge on day one or day two? What did I order at that Italian restaurant by the pier? Keeping a travel journal (even if you only write a few sentences each day) will make journaling on your layouts a breeze. Your journal will also help cast light on simple, everyday things that might have gone unnoticed if not recorded. For example - if your family ends up eating ice-cream every single day during your trip it might be fun to make a layout about that!

… And that's a wrap. Those three simple tricks save me oodles of time and energy when I get home and help keep the scrapbooking process fun and creative. I challenge you to give them a try before your next trip. Feel free to share your tips in the comments below & we'll chat again soon when I get home from the Bay :)


  1. Well, I know that you had an amazing time in SF so I can't wait to see the layouts!

  2. Excellent travel tips for us scrappers! I did this during our Disney trip in March & it was so helpful!


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