Smash Book Travel Album

Last summer I had the great opportunity to travel to South Africa with my extended family.  It was an amazing trip and I’d go back again in a second!  You can read about my trip here, if you’re curious.

Before I left, I knew that I wanted to document my trip as it happened. I find that so many details get lost if you try and remember a trip afterwards.

I’ve done this with most of my big trips, usually I make a small travel scrapbook to take with me, you can see some of the past ones here and here and here.

This time, I ran out of time and didn’t get the chance to make anything before I left.  Instead I purchased a SMASH book for myself and my girls to document our trip while in Africa.  The book pictured is the International Travel edition Smash Book.

While I was in South Africa I sat down each evening and recorded my thoughts for the day, things we did, things I felt etc…  I made my girls do the same thing.  Some nights it was a struggle to get them to sit down and write, but I think in the end they will appreciate having a record of our trip.  My son also journaled while on the trip but I could only convince him to write in a composition notebook, he had no interest in any scrapbookey stuff.

I left spaces in the album to go back and add photos when I got  home.    It worked out well since there seemed to be a page with lines on it every few pages.

When I got home I printed some of our photos and added them to the album with some embellishments.

On a few of the pages I hand lettered some inspirational quotes.

One thing to note.  Once I got all the photos in the Smash book it got TOO thick. I had to pull out a few of the pages so the pages would turn easily.  Also the design of a few of the pages didn’t match well with the mood I had in mind for my album.  So I cut scrapbook paper the same size as the album pages and glued it over the top of the page I didn’t like.

I finished the whole thing a few weeks after I got home, while the trip was fresh in my mind.  I was just going through and reading it the other day and thought that I would share it here.

What about you guys? Does anyone else like to keep a record of their adventures?


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. Laura says

    I have journaled while on trips and it does make a difference with the remembering! Ten years later I can feel and almost hear the sounds and smell the smells of our trip to France, Belgium, Itlay and Switzerland.
    What a wonderful trip to remember. And my husband has asked questions about different places and we have looked them up in that travel journal. Worth taking the time to write. it. down.

  2. says

    My daughter and I have done a couple smash books. She is keeping things from school and pics of her and her friends in hers. I like to keep notes cards or post its from my family in mine. I add pics and comments when I can. They are like a diary only better!

  3. Trena says

    Lovely smash book. So glad I saw this. The tabs on the pages, are they for each day? Thank you for sharing.

  4. Dee says

    I love this style of holiday documenting. I have done it several different ways and it seems to vary based on the activities of the trip. One road trip with just my husband and I gave me the time to get photos printed at chemists along the way and journal each night. Most trips though I can only manage to make notes along the way and assemble it at the end.
    I had been wondering if the smash book leant itself to this as it didn’t seem to have a big enough wire ring to allow much extra to be added to it. I have found it tricky to find books with thick enough paper and a big spiral – they seem to be mostly one or the other.

  5. Julia says

    What a shame you couldn’t let your children enjoy themselves on this trip. What a miserable parent you must be. :( I feel very sorry for them.

    • says

      What a unique take on this post Julia.

      A trip to South Africa? I can’t think of a more enjoyable experience for a family to undertake together. It looks like the simple steps they took to documenting their activities will help to ensure the memories will remain with them through the years and for generations to come.

      My grandmother passed away two years ago and we’ve been working our way through some of her keepsakes. Each piece is a little window into the life she lived and we’re so grateful to have it.

      Bravo for the Mom’s who think ahead, like Melissa, and plan to preserve precious family memories!

      • says

        Thank you Tauni,
        We found a few similar keepsakes after my Grandmother passed away. We had no idea that she was such a fantastic writer until we found some stories from her childhood that she had taken the time to jot down before she passed away. I spoke at her funeral and read some of the stories, it was such a joy to hear her thoughts at such a tough time and they all became such a treasure for our family. Thanks for sharing your story with me and the other readers here…


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