31 Brilliant Ways to Actually Use Your Travel Photos
If you travel and own a camera or smartphone, it’s safe to say you return home from vacation with hundreds of snapshots. Or thousands. Some destinations are just really, really ridiculously good-looking.
As for the fate of these travel photos? You’ll probably continue to Instagram them for the next couple of days while you can still get away with pretending your trip isn’t over. Maybe you’ll set aside a few for #tbt posts on particularly dreary future Thursdays. Maybe, if you have a penchant for evoking envy in friends and acquaintances, you’ll make a Facebook album, too.
But after that, all of those precious pixelated moments from family vacations, weekend getaways, and epic adventures will sit, forgotten, in a digital folder or on a hard drive. No longer.
When it comes to travel photo projects, the Internet is full of smart ideas — like paper lanterns or a photo-wrapped pencil set — and these kinds of things are lovely for when you’re feeling (very, very ambitiously) inspired. For the knowingly craft-challenged set, simple prints are the way to go.
Parabo Press is a good site for beginner photo printers as it’s super easy-to-use — though it’s actually the sister site to both of those not-as-easy DIY tutorials. They have simple and affordable printing options and some more unique styles like black and white engineer prints or velvety matte glass ones. For your first order, you can actually get a set of 25 square-shaped prints for free, just paying for shipping.
There’s also a world of options dotting the middle of the creative enthusiasm spectrum, and you’ll find my favorites below. (P.S. a lot of them make great gift ideas for jet-setting friends and family.)
Turn your Instagram feed into an actual book
Photo books can be a lot of work, but Chatbooks makes it simple. It syncs with your Instagram or Facebook account for an effortless import. I just loaded in 138 photos in about three seconds, and they automatically arranged chronologically — one per page — with the ability to add captions and locations if I want. They also recently teamed up with illustrators to launch a collection of limited-edition, travel-themed covers.
To buy: chatbooks.com, from $14
Print photos directly from your smartphone
Traveling with my Fujifilm Instax Mini is fun, but I too often found myself retaking the exact same photo on my phone because I am a visual hoarder. Enter the Prynt Pocket, a printer that plugs directly into the iPhone to print photos instantly, or you know, after a few edits and the 13 test shots it might take to find just the right angle.
To buy: amazon.com, $150
Hang them on a cute clothespin display
So now you’ve got a stack of three-dimensional travel memories and an empty wall. Pinterest would tell you the only logical next step involves a spool of string, clothespins, and if you’re very motivated, some twinkle lights. On the other hand, this five-tiered frame is $20 at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. It’s not cheating, I promise.
To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, $20
Pin them to a cork map bulletin board
Fill in a map-shaped photo frame
Or have someone artsy do it for you
Make a new luggage tag
Or a passport holder
Keep your most important travel document safe from harm by wrapping it with a photographic masterpiece.
To buy: zazzle.com, $20
Turn your photos into a puzzle
Create your very own stamps
No, custom stamps are not just for wedding invitations.
To buy: stamps.com, $.49 per stamp
To put on your very own postcards
Use them to protect your tech
Turn them into stickers
Paint them! Or again, maybe hire someone to do a better job
Print your own ceramic tiles
Put them on your nails; yes, really
The NailSnaps app lets you turn your travel photos into nail wraps, and now I’ll probably never get a manicure or apply polish with a brush again.
To buy: itunes.com, app is free; $19 for a set
Make your desk less sad with a daily travel photo calendar
Upgrade your dopp kit
What use would you even have for a travel accessory or toiletry bag without one of your beautiful photos on it?
To buy: bagsoflove.com, $43
And your go-to tote bag
Get nostalgic with a Retroviewer
Ever find yourself wishing you could be visually transported back to both your vacation and the ’90s simultaneously? Image3D.com lets you make a custom seven-photo reel to use with your dusty, old stereoscope goggles — or you can buy a new pair. There’s also an option to add 3D captions to your photos.
To buy: image3d.com, from $30
Get futuristic with tech wraps
Pair your memories with a scent
With fragrances like Beach Walk and Balsam & Cedar, Yankee Candles can often bring the scent of your favorite place home with you. The custom label just takes it up another notch, and makes for a thoughtful gift.
To buy: yankeecandle.com, from $21
Customize a pair of classic kicks
Or a T-shirt
You’ll be so excited when someone asks you where you got such a cool-looking travel T-shirt.
To buy: jakprints.com, from $14
Or a pair of leggings
At this point, you could potentially wear a head-to-toe outfit designed by your photographic eye. I just want to be sure that possibility is very clear.
To buy: zazzle.com, $60
Or an entire wall
If the views out your windows are lackluster, turn to the walls. The tool that Murals Your Way uses to help you create custom wall images checks the resolution, and they have an easy one-sheet for other photo requirements to ensure your new living room scenery comes out the way you intend it to.
To buy: muralsyourway.com
Or, my personal favorite, a shower curtain
Bet you wouldn’t have thought of this one.
To buy: zazzle.com, $65