Making a Vacation Mini Album

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a trip of a lifetime to a foreign country, vacation albums are probably one of the most popular scrapbooks to make. And whether you’re planning this year’s summer trip, or you still have last year’s vacation photos in a box, never fear— I’ve got tried-and-true tips and ideas for organizing and scrapbooking your vacation.

Choose a Size
I recommend you scrapbook your vacations in a separate album from your general family photos. Making a separate vacation album is a bit more organized and makes it easier to find those pages years later.

You have a couple of choices for album size. You can go with a traditional 12”x12” album, which is perfect for “big” trips—the three week vacation to Europe, for example. I like scrapbooking my vacation photos in an 8”x8” format—it’s a manageable project and I don’t get overwhelmed. I have enough room for one or two photos on a page, and I can write my journaling on the facing page. Even better, my album is faster to complete, which means I can enjoy it sooner!

Edit Your Photos
Start by laying out all your photos. This is where you can edit them—meaning, picking out the best photos from your selection.

You might feel you have to use ALL of those photos you took, and that’s simply not true. Weed out the photos that simply didn’t turn out—you know, the blurry shots, or the ones where people have their eyes closed.

Organize Your Photos
First, decide what order you want to scrapbook your vacation. The easiest way is to do it chronologically. This doesn’t mean you have to dedicate a page to every day of your trip. Instead, you could simply scrapbook the highlights of your vacation—and put them in the general order they occurred. You could also divide the book by chapter: say, “At the Beach” or “Scenes from San Francisco” or “Places we Ate”.

Once you’ve grouped your photos in order, slip them inside the sheet protector bound into the album. The first page in the book will face the inside front cover of the album, making it ideal for a title (2004 Gerig Family Vacation) and a photo that really captures the essence of your experience.

Select Your Papers
After you sort through your photos, you can choose background papers to go with them. I usually look for paper that matches the colors in the photos. For example, I’ll pick blue and green papers to match beach or lake photos or brown and green for camping photos. For photos of buildings or monuments, I often choose a paper that matches the tone of the photo—maybe a classic black-and-gray paper to highlight an old church or a paper patterned with script writing for a European monument.

As you choose your papers, slip them inside the sheet protector along with the photos.

I write my journaling before I do any cutting or gluing. And because I do it all on the computer, I can simply enter it into a word document, then return to it as I’m working. That’s when I play with different fonts, re-read the text to make sure I don’t have errors, or simply move a few words around.

Written journaling is so important in scrapbooking—especially in a vacation album. When will you have this experience again? I include everything in my journaling, right down to the name and room number of our hotel. These are the little details you’ll forget the quickest. Years from now, you’ll be trying to remember the name of that charming hotel you stayed in—or the one you never want to visit again!

It helps to take a small notebook along with you on vacation, so you can jot down all the details you’ll want to remember later: the name of that restaurant, the temperature, your impressions of the sights, sounds and experiences.

Combining Journaling and Photos
When you’re journaling, be sure to include the “whys”: Why you went on vacation and why you chose this destination. Include the “hows” too: How did it affect you? Was it relaxing to sit on the beach, or stressful trying to get the whole family from one sight to another? How did you feel at the beginning, the middle and the end of your trip? How are you different?

Not all of this journaling will have the perfect photo to go with it. That’s okay. You might choose to illustrate these points with a photo of yourself, your family or scenery.

Print out your journaling onto scrap paper. This is just so you can see how much journaling you have to work with in relation to your photos. Now place the journaling with the photos and paper inside the sheet protector.

Adding Memorabilia
Most of us come home from trips with all sorts of memorabilia: tickets, brochures, business cards, receipts, postcards and so on. You’ll want to sort your memorabilia the same way you did your photos. Larger items can be reduced on a color copier to fit your page.

Once they’re sorted, place them in the sheet protector with their corresponding photos and/or journaling.

Now It’s Time to Cut!
Working page by page, arrange your elements on your background paper. Mat your photos, print your journaling and have fun! You can dedicate a two-page spread to a certain day or event, or give the same day a couple of pages. You can fill a page entirely with journaling, or with just one photo—there’s no right or wrong and it’s up to you.

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