27 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 framed canvas ones.
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.
To buy: chatbooks.com, from $10
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, $102
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 $14 on Amazon. It’s not cheating, I promise.
To buy: amazon.com, $17
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, $26 per sheet of 20 stamps
Create your own custom greeting cards
Artifact Uprising has a ton of cool photo products, including customizable greeting cards where you can share your favorite vacation photos in a neat collage.
To buy: artifactuprising.com, from $2 per card
Use them to protect your tech
A custom phone case with a photo of your choosing will bring back vacation memories every time you pick up your phone. Shutterfly makes the process easy and gives you plenty of options so you can find the perfect case.
To buy: shutterfly.com, from $23
Turn them into stickers
Paint them! Or again, maybe hire someone to do a better job
Print your own ceramic tiles
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 $22
Customize a pair of classic kicks
Not only do Vans make great shoes for travel, they also make a great canvas for your travel photos. An “Add Your Own Photo” feature is available for an extra $15 on men’s, women’s, and kid’s Vans in several styles, including the Classic Slip-On and the Authentic style sneaker.
To buy: vans.com, from $90
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, $150
Or, my personal favorite, a shower curtain
Bet you wouldn’t have thought of this one.
To buy: zazzle.com, $60