I’ve been traveling alone and collecting travel memories through world travel for over 10 years now. Some of these travel memories are physical. And the rest are simply in my head.
This week in particular, on a mission to ‘spark joy’ in my life and embrace the minimalist lifestyle, I’ve found myself knee-deep in travel memories! Yes, amongst all those old bank statements, half-used makeup kits and the sparkly disco pants that I’m never gonna wear again…I’ve unearthed some lovely things.
These items include a skull necklace that I bought in Moldova, communist postcards from China, bracelets from Pakistan and many others things. Which got me thinking: If you’re going to travel the world and remember your travel stories, how do you collect your travel memories?
Here’s my 10 fun ideas on how to capture travel memories forever!
Plan or reflect with a travel map
Since having a travel base back in the UK, owning a travel pin map has been one of my most favourite things. It’s prominent on my wall and inspires me daily. When I wake up, I can see where I’ve been, where I want to go and be reminded about what’s actually out there.
Planning your travels for the first time? Use your map as motivation and inspiration and be compelled to make your travel dreams an amazing reality.
Been around the world and want to celebrate how far you’ve come? Having a pin map will help you relive those travel memories and be proud of what you’ve traversed so far.
There’s paper scratch maps and very fancy canvas ones out there.
Write in a travel journal
Writing in a travel journal is something I’ve done on and off over the years. If only it had been consistent up to this point! Yes, there’s the blog but there’s definitely travels I didn’t record and I regret that.
Even if you just write bullet points about the amazing things you saw, experienced and learnt each day, you’ll be winning when you look back on your adventure memories.
Buy a travel journal and treasure it – personally all the better if it’s a physical travelbook and not a digital thing.
Take travel photos
By far the most popular way that travellers capture their travel moments is by taking photos. It’s just such a fun thing to do!
I’ve really been enjoying look through my old travel pictures and seeing what I’ve been up to over the years. From Korean weddings, crazy solo bike adventures in Vietnam and a very fresh-faced me in Thailand for the first time ever, it’s great to see these magical moments in my life.
I use 3 different travel tech devices to capture my travel photos and they are all unique and useful in their own perfect way.
Go back to your old school roots and delve into the wonderful world of polaroid travel photography. Not only will you get an instant memory to keep, but you can also gift this memory to the local people you meet. Me and the girls on The Mongol Rally made the most of our instax cameras.
Our best moment? Snapping away in a dodgy backstreet massage parlour in Kazakhstan with the Thai ladies we met. We were over the moon to be getting a foot massage. They were over the moon that we were actually female and not local males looking for ‘extras’.
Yes, you can do so much with a mobile phone these days and big bulky cameras are not always necessary. Which is why I love the compromise of packing my sony a6000 for travel pics. It’s compact, lightweight and is top notch for filming and photographing close up moments when I’m actually far away. I love the look and feel of it. I recommend checking the next level up, the a6500, for even more groovy features and video filming perks.
It’s small, it’s ridiculously tough and hardy and it is the absolute best when it comes to recording high-adventure moments and on-the-spot vlogs. I have made all of my latest YouTube vlogs with this bad boy and love the image quality and sound that it can capture on the go. Highly recommend this to make a travel video! And it’s so much fun!
Start a travel blog
Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s too late to start a travel blog. Regardless of whether you want to be one of the next best travel blogs, or you’re writing down your thoughts and reflections only for friends and family, having a travel blog is the way to go.
You can be completely you, share your travel stories with your own special quirks and personality, and create something which is completely yours.
I started my blog as a hobby with the intention of sharing my travel tales to inspire and educate others. Now it’s my full time job yay. Waking up every morning to inspire women to face their fears and push their boundaries to reach their full potential through solo adventure travel is pretty sweeeeeet.
Starting a blog is not rocket science and there are plenty of resources to help you get set up, including my own!
Get into creating a travel scrapbook
On my recent hiking trip in Pakistan, it was great to see other fellow travellers opting for the classic scrapbook method to create their very own travel memory book.
Travel scrapbook ideas including using entrance tickets. Bus tickets. Coin rubbings. Sweet wrappers. Information leaflets. Whatever they liked the look of, these travellers kept and made use of in their arty travel diary.
With an empty book and a pencil case full of colours, scissors, tape and glue, I found them becoming immersed in scrapbooking on our nights with no TV and wood fires in the wilderness of the Pakistan mountains.
It was such a pleasure to see them do it, and it reminded me of how much I used to scrapbook as a child. Let’s bring back travel scrapbooking! Leave a comment below if you’re with me!
Cherish your leftover currency
Whilst I was clearing out my belongings, I came across so many different currencies stuffed in envelopes and purses and freezer bags for safekeeping. From North Macedonia, to Japan, to India and beyond – I have so many different notes and coins left over to remind me of my memories of travel.
Here are some ideas of how you can use the leftover cash!
- Why not make small picture frames out of your favourite foreign bank notes?
- Or make fridge magnets out of your favourite coins?
- You could decorate a cute glass jar with all of the change and save up your spare cash for your next trip
Want to convert your old foreign currency back into precious cash? There definitely are a couple of ways to do it.
You can obviously swap it back at the airport.
I’ve also recently discovered that you can use Fourex machines in the UK. Simply drop your coins and notes from over 150 currencies into the coin chute and you can get the converted currency back in British pounds, Euros or US Dollars. Cool huh?
Sending postcards back home is one of the most traditional ways to record traveling memories and it’s still one of my most favourite things to do.
Any why not send postcards to yourself as well as your friends and family? When you get home, you’ll have a pile of memories ready and waiting for you to look over, to put in a special box or hang on your wall. I simply love that you have travel images on one side and then a written story on the other. It’s like you’re creating your very own set of collectible cards. A set that no one else will ever have!
I have postcards from India, Taiwan, Russia and UK music festivals to name just a few. Where will you be collecting your travel postcards from this year?
Treat yourself to handicrafts
I love being creative, embracing other peoples’ talents and supporting local artisans. This makes purchasing little handicrafts along the way whilst travelling a delight!
I’m inclined to travel light, so I tend to opt for the small things. I love buying scarves, earrings, bracelets and necklaces in particular, but you can go the whole hog if you want to. I’m talking about full-on rugs, furniture and delicate glassware if you so wish!
Check out night markets, squares, independent boutique shops and street stalls and you’re bound to find something that you love.
And if you’re back home and wish you had bought something, all hope is not lost. There are plenty of international sellers on Etsy selling traditional handicrafts online as well as in their local areas.
Learn and remember travel phrases
My last suggestion to you is a unique one! When I opened up the idea of travel memories to my housemates, one of them suggested the gift of language.
He has always travelled frugally and been a language buff and says that his best memories are asking locals to teach him their favourite word or sentence. He’ll get them to write the vocabulary and grammar down in their language – which is usually about the moment he has just experienced with them.
He has a book of these phrases written by the local’s own hand – and it’s certainly a lovely way to capture and freeze a moment in time.
Want to learn key phrases in your upcoming destination’s language? I recommend Rype!
How do you capture your travel memories?
I’ve shown you how to preserve travel memories but there may be something I’ve missed! Let me know in the comments below how to keep travel memories and check out my travel inspiration section for more travel gems.
What is your fondest travel memory?
What’s your favourite travel story?
What has been your most memorable memory on international travel?
Do you tend to recall travel memories from the photos you took or do you actually vividly remember them?