How Do You Remember Your Trips?

Pictures of London from one of the weekend trips I had when I was studying abroad in Paris in the summer of 2000.

Over the years I’ve taken a few vacations both within the U.S. and overseas.  Back in the days when I was still using a film camera, I would get the films developed after each trip and put the photos in a photo album.  Every time I flip through a photo album, it brings back memories of the places visited.

Ever since I started using a digital camera, it seems the photos are just sitting in the computer, and I rarely look through them anymore.  When I do go through the photos, I don’t even remember the places that I’ve visited!

Over the years, I’ve found various way to document my trips and developed some tricks to help remind me of the trip details.  I still have a lot of photos from trips waiting to be organized and documented.  It’s a slow process, and hopefully at some point I’ll get all caught up and will start organizing photos for a trip as long as it’s over.

Travel Plan

For a more anticipated trip (not the ones where my sole purpose is to visit family), I like to put together a travel plan ahead of time.  My travel plan usually includes a rough time schedule of the places I would like to visit for each day, and information on lodging, restaurants, and sightseeing.  Sometimes it might also include a map and additional information of the places.  A travel plan takes a lot of time to prepare beforehand, but it becomes so helpful during the trip because all the planning had been done.  I know where to go at what time, what bus to take, which restaurant I will eat in, and what time a museum closes.  Another benefit of a travel plan is that I can use it as a reference for putting my photo album together after the trip is over.  It helps remind me of the places I visited on a particular day.  I can also easily match up the date/time stamp on the digital photos with the time on my travel plan.

Photos with Location Markers

I always take a photo of the name of the places.  For example, if I eat at a special restaurant during the trip, I will take a photo of the restaurant from the outside with the restaurant name, so that when I look at the pictures of the dishes, I know which restaurant I ate at.  Other examples include street signs, building names, and any places that may not be easily recognizable.

Photo Books


Every year, I get a few free Shutterfly photo book offers and this is a great way to put together a compilation of my short trips.  These trips, on its own, don’t mean a whole lot and are often neglected, but there are always some good photos and memories that I like to preserve.

Travel Journal

I’m bad at this one.  Ideally, I will be writing a travel journal during the trip so everything is fresh in my mind and all the little details will get recorded.  Less ideally, but still good, is I write the travel journal immediately after the trip.  It’s obvious I do neither of those and that’s why I have a hard time remembering the details of my trips.  I see my blog posts as sort of my travel journal, and slowly I’ve been documenting the more memorable trips here (see Pescadero, Napa, Hong KongSLO/SolvangNew Orleans, Hawaii 1 & 2).  I like that it has the day-by-day itinerary, a bit of trip details, and a few photos that document what each day is like.


Photos of eating at Peter Luger and Serendipity 3 in NY when Steve and I were dating.  Included in the Peter Luger page is the chocolate gold coin (I took the chocolate out) they always give you at the end of the meal.

I like scrapbooking for the ability to incorporate memorabilia into them.  For me, this is less about documenting the foods I ate or places I visited, but more about the people I went to these places with and the feelings I had at those moments.

Photo Album

photoalbum01sizedThese are photos I took in Paris when I studied abroad in the summer over 15 years ago!  My face lights up with a smile every time I look at them.

Good old photo albums!  I know they still sell these at craft stores and they are a great way to display photos.  Try to find ones that have empty space for journaling.  I really need to do this for my big trips because I feel that the photo books just don’t show the color of the photos as well as actual photo prints do.

Shadow Box

I made this in a scrapbook class, and because of all the 3-D embellishments, it’s best to be displayed in a shallow shadow box.  It’s more like an art piece for the wall.  Sometimes all you really need is one photo to remind you of a particular trip.


How do you remember your trips?  Do you have any tricks to share?  Are there any other ways to display the photos from the trips?  I’d love to hear!

Photos taken by Vean Chen


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