Do Something with Those Vacation Photos!

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READING TIME: 3 min.

travelbooksMy family loves to travel.  We try to take an interesting trip every summer, and sometimes we travel over Spring Break or the week of Thanksgiving vacation.  Some years it’s just a beach trip on the Texas coast.  Other years we have gone all the way to Maine or Montana.  I take tons of photos on these family vacations which would typically become lost in the vast ocean of images on my computer.

Many years ago, I decided the best way to get those photos into some sort of useful display was to create a photo book online.  It has been a wonderful tradition for our family.  Every time we take a major trip I spend a chunk of time arranging the photos into a book that will sit on our coffee table for years to come.  My kids can pick up a book and relive any vacation any time they feel like it.  I like how these special times our family shares are documented and within easy reach.

This clever layout was available on the photo website. I just plugged in the images and text.
This clever layout was available on the photo website. I just plugged in the images and text.

It isn’t very difficult or expensive.  I have used both Snapfish and Mixbook to create our books, and there are almost always coupons online that make each book cost around $20 total with shipping.  I think it’s the best souvenir possible from a family vacation!  Now we have a big pile of books dating back a decade which are so much fun to look through together.

Over the years I’ve become proficient at creating these books fairly quickly, and I have a few tips to share to make it easier for the first time photo book creator.

  • Create a folder of your favorite (edited) vacation photos first, then upload them into whichever website you will use to create your book
  • Plan a rough timeline of events from the trip and devote 1-2 pages to each
  • Use a mixture of photo heavy pages and pages with only 1 or 2 larger photos; some of my favorite photos get an entire page to themselves
  • Use text to document facts about the events in the photos to help tell the story of the vacation with as much or as little detail wanted
  • Use the layouts provided by the website but don’t be afraid to tweak them to suit your needs
  • Spend the extra money for hardcover.  Softcover won’t hold up as well over the years.
  • Consider if you prefer every book you create to be the same size.  I have a mix of sizes, but sometimes wish they were all the same for easier stacking/storage.
  • Try not to get caught up in making it perfect or it will take forever to finish.  You’ll get better and faster with each book and at least those photos are out and available for your family!
In my oldest photo book from 2005, my now 11 year old son is eating sand at Surfside Beach, TX.
In my oldest photo book from 2005, my now 11 year old son is eating sand at Surfside Beach, TX.
I put many Yellowstone photos together on one page. I decided against text here because it would interfere with the beauty of the images.
I put many Yellowstone photos together on one page. I decided against text here because it would interfere with the beauty of the images.

Other photo heavy memorable family events can also be documented with photo books.  I made one with the photos from my mother-in-law’s surprise birthday party.  Baby’s first birthday and family reunions are other good candidates for photo books.

I’ve always been good at taking lots of pictures, but finally I started arranging them in an accessible way for my family to enjoy.  Cuddling together on the couch and reliving travel memories is one of my favorite things to do with my kids.

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