Vacation scrapbooking … on the go

***This is a repost of a guest spot I wrote for Thirty Handmade Days Blog…. It fits in perfectly with the “journey” theme this month!  ****

I am sharing something with you today that I have found works for me. It’s not a sewing tutorial, but something that I’ve been doing for the last 3-4 years that I thought you might like to hear about it.

I’ve been an avid scrapbooker for over 15 years now! Over the years I have had to adjust some of my scrapbook habits based on my time, and demands on me at home. I still scrapbook quite a bit but have changed how I handle a couple of things.

Vacations were always one of the hardest things for me to scrapbook. It seemed that I always came home with over 1000 photos, lots of memorabilia (ticket stubs, hotel keys etc), and a short term memory of what happened while I was gone.

A few years ago the mini album trend really started to take off and I thought that it would be a great way for me to scrapbook many of my vacations. You see vacations are easy to scrapbook in a mini album, they have a start and a stop, you can make and album, finish it, an call it good!
Gradually the mini albums transformed so that I made most of them while ON vacation. It is really not hard at all, it just requires a bit of planning ahead of time and a few minutes each night of your trip to jot down what you did that day.
I like scrapbooking this way because:
-it takes off some of the creative pressure of scrapbooking. This is a literal SCRAP book, it has ticket stubs, doodles, receipts etc. It is also ALL hand written, so it got me over my “I hate my handwriting” issues really quick!
-it’s the perfect place to keep all of those things that you just don’t know what to do with. Like the pretty ribbon that was tied to your favorite souvenir or the stub to the subway that you got lost on.
-you have a DAILY journal of your trip. This is one of my favorite reasons… As much as you think you are going to remember your trip, you will forget A TON! You will be so glad later that you took a few minutes each night to jot down your thoughts.
-when you come home you can finish up the entire book in about an hour.
-even if you are not a scrapbooker you can do this.
Okay, now that hopefully I’ve convinced you to give it a try, let me share with you my “how to’s”
Before I leave I try to make a quick album with blank sheets. I usually take a couple of pieces of chipboard and cover them in some pretty paper. I then fill them with either blank cardstock or lined card stock (easier to journal on).  I really like to use binder rings for my books, that way if you have something large you want to keep (like a map) you can just punch holes in it and stick it in the book.
I also gather a little baggie of supplies I like to take:
-mini stapler
-glue stick
-couple of fine point sharpies
-stickers, rubons, flat embellishments that match (I think it’s fun to embellish with them as I journal).
The above is the book I did for our trip to Paris last year.
Here is a photo of my baggie from a cruise we took.  It’s not put together yet, but I’m not worried, all of the journaling is there, I just have to assemble it.
While you are on vacation, take a few minutes a night and write down what you did that day. If you are really tired, just make a short list of the “highs and lows” of the day.  Use some stickers if you like to dress up the pages.
Since you packed your stapler and glue stick, if you have bits of memorabilia you can stick them in with your journaling pages as you go too. (think about attaching things like, the tags to the souvenirs you bought, or the sticker you got for admission to a museum).
I keep the entire book in a ziploc baggie on my trip. As I collect “fun” things, I throw them in the baggie too. That way when I come home everything is all together.
After you get home, print some of the photos from your trip.  Then just spend an hour or so and glue them into your album. Sometimes as I journal I’ll write on a blank page “insert a photo of the eiffel tower here”.. and stuff like that.
Staple some of your tickets and ribbon into your book, maybe add some more embellishments.
Since it’s bound with binder rings, you can also insert some extra pages if you want to include more photos.
In case you are wondering, most of the time I do go back and create 1 or 2 12×12 layouts of our trips to add to my family scrapbook albums. When I do this it usually goes really quickly since all of my journaling is done for me.  I also take there rest of my vacation photos (the majority of them) and either slip them into a photo album that I bought, or use a service like shutterfly to create a photo book of them. When you realize that you don’t HAVE to scrapbook all 1000 photos from your trip, it takes a TON of pressure off!
Here are a couple of other vacation scrapbooks that I have made in the past, to give you a couple of more ideas.
Watch tomorrow for a couple of more fun ideas for scrapbooking your vacation!!
Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. says

    That is the most practical scrapbooking idea I have ever seen. I am going to have to do that from now on. Thank you sooooo much for your suggestions and for sharing your cute little books.

  2. says

    I usually write down what we did everyday on our trip and save all the stuff in a bag but you’re one step ahead creating your scrapbook while on vacation – very clever!

  3. says

    I LOVE this scrapbook idea! We are planning a trip to Italy next year and I am going to make one while there as well as one for the couple we are going with! WHat a GREAT idea and I am so excited! THANKS FOR SHARING!!!!! Hugs! Jan

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