Family vacations have so many memorable moments: laughter, tears, sandy toes, silly songs in the car. Keep these memories alive with the following projects.
1. Frame your memories.
Extend your annual summer vacation by displaying cherished memories from your trip—favorite meals, silly souvenirs, mishaps and sunsets. Print enlargements through your favorite store or online print service, and select collage- or gallery-style frames from Hobby Lobby or Michaels that complement your home decor.
2. Re-stage old photos.
Bring the past into the present by snapping a modern-day version of an old photo. Before your trip, choose pictures of places you plan to visit. Make a quick photocopy to use as reference, then leave the original at home for safekeeping. Re-create the photo to the best of your ability once you arrive, using the same people, props and setting. It’s fun to see how people, homes and landscaped have changed. You could even pose your kids where their great-great-grandparents once stood, and print both old and new images for your vacation photo album. See more examples of “then and now” photos at The Family Curator.
3. Convert vacation photos into greeting cards.
If your vacation is the only time the whole family will be together, snap a photo to use in your annual Christmas card. Don’t worry too much about coordinating red-and-green outfits—authentic vacation garb will add charm to the photo. You can find well-designed cards in almost every style and color at online services such as Costco Photo Center or Shutterfly. Consider converting the photo to black and white for a classic photo style.
4. Create photo postcards.
You don’t have to buy generic postcards “off the rack” anymore. Use a smartphone app like TouchNote for iOS and Android to convert a photo into a mail-ready postcard. Simply choose a photo, add a message and address, order the print and send. Use postcards to share your vacation with friends and relatives, or send one to yourself as a souvenir.
5. Get a snapshot of your lodging.
When that special vacation spot becomes a family tradition, create an heirloom artwork to display during the off-season. Snap a photo of the favorite cabin, beach house, camping spot or town with your smartphone or digital camera. Plan ahead for the best lighting and perspective—use a tripod or handy fencepost to steady your camera and make sure the light source is at your back shining toward the subject. Avoid harsh shadows, unsightly poles or other objects, and use photo-editing software to touch-up lighting and re-crop. Take several pictures from slightly different angles. Choose the best shot, crop and edit. You can even order a special print on aluminum, wood or wrapped canvas from online photo services such as MPix.
6. Tell your vacation’s story.
With some foresight, you can make a narrative out of your vacation photos, from beginning to end. Take a picture of the car loaded with suitcases and gear. Then snap photos from inside looking out the window at the endless holiday traffic or long desert views. Include pictures of anything that represents your vacation: sunburned shoulders, the local mile-high ice cream cone and bonfires at the beach. After all, family memories aren’t always about the “perfect” trip. Pictures that remind us of the flat tire and the nice cowboy who helped us fix it are often the ones that bring the biggest smiles and the richest memories.
A version of this article appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Family Tree Magazine. The issue also includes helpful tips for creating a research log, plus guides to four can’t-miss genealogy websites.