5 Fun Ways To Document Your Travels

October 5, 2015

Perspective shot taken at the salt flats in Bolivia

Silly perspective photos are always good fun

When you’re travelling abroad you will undoubtedly have many unforgettable experiences. But the details—the sights, smells, the random people you met, the little bits of colour you experience every day—those can actually fade with memory. That’s why it’s great to come up with some travel journal ideas ahead of time, so that can better re-live your experience later. Here are 5 creative ways to document your travels:

1. Keep a paper journal

Writing a paper journal may be a little old-school to some, but it’s a whole different experience from typing on your laptop or in an internet cafe somewhere in the world. A journal lets you scribble, doodle, and write in a more fun and personal way.

If you really want to feel like Marco Polo himself, get a nice notebook such as a Moleskine travel journal or a similar brand. Some people complain that these are pretentious (as these were the notebook used by such legends like Picasso and Hemingway), but they are absolutely lovely to write in. Instead of the usual spiral-bound notebook, you’ll have a durable leather cover and lovely high-quality paper. Get a decent rollerball pen instead of a disposable BIC  pen and your words will just be rolling onto the paper. It’s a great way to kill some time when you’re in transit to your next destination…

Usually the best idea is to keep your travel journal simple, so that you will actually keep up with it during your trip. Don’t think you have to write literature, after all it’s probably just you who’s going to read it again.

Example of a Moleskine travel journal

Credit: whatleydude

2. Do a fun photo series

Pretty much everyone takes photos during their travels. But why not take it one step further and come up with a little photo project?

(See Also: Best Cameras For Travel Photography)

For example, take a photo of yourself in the same pose in front of every landmark you visit. Or take a picture of every person you meet, or every meal you eat. Or make a sequence of selfies, gradually showing your travel beard growing with every day of your trip.

Bringing a little toy along can be fun to take perspective shots with. I recently met someone who had a Godzilla toy and was taking pictures framed in such a way that the plastic Godzilla was seemingly attacking every building. Another wonderful example of this are the LEGO travellers, who you can follow on Facebook and Instagram:

3. Create a video montage

If you’re packing a GoPro camera or a smartphone or photo camera with video capabilities, you can record videos and turn them into one big sizzle reel at the end of your trip. Don’t move the camera around in every direction as though it’s your eyes; point it at one thing at a time, and move it slowly and steadily. Hold shots for at least 4 seconds (but longer is better).

A cool thing to do is to take the same shots repeatedly at different stages of your trip. If your camera has a selfie stick (monopod) you can take a video of yourself while slowly swivelling around to show the environment in the background, then mash up many of these in a row for a great montage effect.

The video below (YouTube link) is by Jonny from Germany who I recently met while travelling in Indonesia (if you look very closely, you can see me in a couple of shots). It’s a great example of a cool travel montage:

4. Create your own postcards

If you’re looking for a way to share your experiences with friends and family at home, but which doesn’t take much time, creating your own postcards is just the thing!

The PostSnap app lets you turn any of your travel photos into a real printed postcard that can be sent anywhere in the world. I am normally not a huge fan of the kind of postcards you can buy in souvenir shows, as they are usually pretty cheesy or standard, but making your own postcards is a whole different story. It’s obviously fun to surprise people at home with a physical postcard that feels so much more personal than a message on Facebook. You can even send yourself a postcard of a particularly memorable moment, so that by the time you get home, you have a great memory to stick onto your fridge or pin board.

Postsnap tells me that if you use the promo code “INDIETRAVELLER”, they’ll give you 50% off your first postcard. Thanks Postsnap!

Credit: Postsnap

Credit: Postsnap

5. Start a blog

Setting up a travel blog doesn’t have to be difficult or require much technical knowledge; you can set one up now so that you can share the link with friends and family before you head off. (See also: How To Start A Travel Blog In 10 Minutes). The great thing about travel blogging is that you can use every tool at your disposal, whether that’s text, photos or video. For some, travel blogging can eventually start making money, and for others it’s the ultimate portfolio piece for getting a job in writing, SEO, or social media.

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6 comments

  1. Tanvi Mathur Reply June 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    We found another fun way to document travel!
    Check it out here!

  2. Adam @ Round the World we go Reply October 21, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Love these ideas – funny perspective photos are always great to look back on your travels. I have to say, we’ve never thought of creating our own postcards – maybe we’ll have to send one to ourselves home the next time we are on our travels.
    Adam @ Round the World we go recently posted…Golden Circle Super Jeep Tour & SnowmobilingMy Profile

  3. Kenny Reply October 6, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Great stuff..
    Any recommendations for windows software to create the video montage? I took 40+ GoPro videos while in Southern Africa and would love to join these along with some pics I took in a nice montage, with some music in the background.

    • Marek Reply October 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

      I’ve used GoPro’s own software (GoPro Studio) which is OK. If you just want to put some clips together, it works well enough. The software is limited in some ways though, for instance separating the audio track from the video is not possible (which surprised me as it seems like a very basic feature).

      Windows Movie Maker is a free video editing program that also isn’t too bad. You’ll either already have it installed with Windows or you can download it from Microsoft’s website. Good luck… editing can be a lot of fun 🙂

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