Making the Travel Memories Last

It has been a month since you came home. Photos are stuffed in a shoebox in the closet. Your trip seems like a dream. The memories are fading. Use these tips from a creative travel expert to capture special travel moments and make your memories last.
Making Memories Begins with a Plan
Planning is a necessary part of travel. Planning is also one of the first keys to creating and capturing special travel memories. Make travel planning a joint project. Hold a family meeting or pre-trip planning party with friends and develop travel “wish lists.” Who wants to see what? You don’t have to be together every minute. Plan some separate activities and look forward to sharing your adventures. Participation encourages “buy-in,” adds excitement and gets everyone off to a positive start. Pour over guidebooks and highlight must-see attractions and activities. Give Internet research assignments. Hold a contest for discovering the most unusual travel activity or the best travel deals. Create a three-ring binder of travel ideas.

The Best Souvenir to Bring Home
Writing a travel journal allows you to retrace, relive and share your journey for months and years to come. Make your first pre-travel purchase a travel journal and start capturing your memories before you leave. Write an introduction for your trip. Discuss preparations, expectations and excitement about the journey.

During travel keep your journal and pen close at hand so you don’t miss memorable moments on tours and outings. Record interesting facts and resources you want to remember. Take a lesson from journalists. Catch who, what, when, where, why, and how of daily adventures. But, don’t get so focused on details that your journal becomes a “Got up. Had breakfast. Tour bus was late. Steak was tough.” mundane list.

Capture impressions and emotions of the world around you. Write about interesting people you encounter. Use your five senses to get the most out of experiences. Colorful adjectives describing what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel make your journal come alive. Encourage family members to add comments. Record funny or not so funny things that happen along the way. Your travel journal could become a travel book!

Seek Out Memorable Travel Moments
Travel pleasure and education come from immersing yourself in the flavor of your destination whether it is the Coliseum, the Parthenon, ruins of Pompeii, the Great Wall of China, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal or Grand Canyon. Trouble is, many travelers rush frantically from tour to tour, madly snapping photos and video as scenery flashes by. Later, they ask, “Was this Barcelona or Brussels?” Visit famous attractions and must-sees and capture those important travel moments. Then, slow down. There are many special travel moments that will stay in your heart and mind long after castles and cathedrals merge and blur. Spend some time off the beaten path. Relax at a sidewalk cafĂ© and watch the world go by. Savor a sunset or sunrise over the harbor. Talk to locals and learn what they like best about their world.

Take New Knowledge Home with You
Research the Internet for educational opportunities at your destination. Attend local festivals, exhibits, performances or a lecture at a local university. Book a cooking class, golf lessons or spend a morning doing Tai Chi with a local expert. Each time you practice your new skill, you’ll remember where you learned it. I recently took a Photographic Safari in Washington DC. Spending a morning with a recognized professional photographer provided new insights to our nation’s Capital and greatly improved my photography techniques.

Be open to new experiences. Stay in a local bed-and-breakfast and get to know your hosts. Get off the tourist restaurant path and eat where locals eat. Order a regional dish you’ve never tasted.

Capture Travel Images
Digital cameras make capturing travel images a breeze. You can point and click to your heart’s content. Later, review and discard the rejects. Combined with your travel journal, photographs tell the story of your trip. Plan ahead to capture the best images. Purchase a book on photography or take a basic photography class. Don’t see the world only through the camera’s lens. Take time to appreciate the beauty and grandeur around you and discover intriguing photographic perspectives

While digital cameras are great, don’t underestimate the memory capturing value of simple disposable cameras. Give a disposable camera to each family member. After a few basic point-and-shoot lessons, you’ll find travel photos from your five-year-old, teen or eighty-year-old grandmother will add interesting perspectives to your travel memories.

Travel Souvenirs Should Be Special.
Buy local artwork that stirs your soul and evokes warm memories each time you look at it. Start a collection. Select a memento of your trip for a holiday ornament. We relive wonderful travel memories as we hang mementoes from around the world on our “memory tree” each year. I smile each time I drive into my garage where the walls are decorated with posters from around the world. The unusual and unique will last long after the t-shirt wears out or you sell the souvenir drink glass at a garage sale.

Preserve Travel Memories
Purchase a good quality scrapbook or album and fill it with your photographs, postcards, and travel information. Get creative! Collect brochures, postcards, ticket stubs, take-out menus, maps and other travel related information. Clip and crop them to use in your travel scrapbook or create a things-to-do-next-time file. Use a menu as the background for photos of family members learning to eat steamed crab or feasting on fantastic pasta. Clip relevant facts and figures from brochures to supplement photographs of local sights and attractions. Copy excerpts from your travel journal as captions. Treasure and share your travel memories!

Lynne Christen is a freelance travel journalist and author of Travel Wisdom – Tips, Tools and Tactics for All Travelers. Visit her website at www.travel-wisdom.com.

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