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What to Do with Your Old Travel Photos

There’s nothing like old travel photos. Whether from that anniversary trip you took ten years ago or last summer’s Walking Adventure, they transport us back to a time and place where our spirit of discovery was at full throttle. Flipping through snapshots on our phones or turning pages of albums we’ve assembled, we might think to ourselves, “What a thrill it was! How free we felt! I can’t believe I made it to my dream destination!”

What to Do with Your Old Travel Photos 2

Photos from our travels also remind us how much of the world we’ve yet to explore. They sing the siren song of possibilities and future explorations. So they’re good to keep around in our day to day lives—up front and visible—for some travel inspiration.

Sure, you can create personalized calendars and photo books, mugs and mouse pads, from most any online photo developer. These are terrific keepsakes. But if you’re looking for ideas that are a little more beautiful, display-worthy, and even fun, read on.

(Before you get started: if you have a shoebox full of old travel photos, you can have them digitized so you can throw them into the mix!)

Keep Your Photos Front and Center

Create a photo clothesline. String a sturdy length of twine or fishing line horizontally along a wall. Hang photos on it with simple office clips (the smaller the better) or clothes pins. Or you can tie various lengths of twine from the horizontal frame and attach photos to the ends. Photos can be evenly spaced or not, hanging loosely from the wall or attached. Be creative and have fun with it!

Assemble a montage with ticket stubs. If you’re the sentimental type who saves airline boarding passes, museum ticket stubs, paper currency, and the like, incorporate these items into a photo montage. After all, a train ticket can conjure in your mind the mood and atmosphere of an entire journey.

Hang a travel wall. Gather similarly sized photo frames for your favorite shots (maybe the frames are all the same color and style, maybe not) and hang them in a grid. It can be a 3×3 grid, 4×3, 5×5 … whatever you’d like. The photos can all be from the same trip, or they can span many adventures. Either way, you’re bound to smile when you walk by your travel wall.

Show photos off as fine art. Depending on the pixels of your pics, some photo services can transform them into larger wall hangings. Take your pick of the printing medium. Maybe you like the classic framed and matted style. Or perhaps something less conventional speaks to you: Print your favorite portrait on a metal plate or on a canvas that wraps around the edge of the frame. Or have a printing service split your photo into three or four panels and hang them alongside each other, creating a triptych effect.

Pair your photos with keepsakes. If you especially love a vase that you found in a Venetian glassblowing studio, display your photo of Venice’s Grand Canal alongside it. If your fellow traveler snapped a shot of you wearing the fez you just bought in a Moroccan medina, place the photo next to the cap so you can always be reminded exactly where the purchase came from.

Produce a framed digital slide show. Download your favorite photos onto a USB, plug them into a digital photo frame, and—voila!—you have a slideshow that will run 24/7. You never know which photo you’ll see when you glance over, so any number of travel memories could brighten your day.

Try These Fun and Fleeting Options

Create an edible photo. Just for fun, you can print your photo images on some sweet treats. Maybe your shot of Machu Picchu would look delicious on a marshmallow. Congratulate yourself for walking the Camino del Santiago with a cake that’s topped off with an image of you raising your walking poles in victory. Or wrap a chocolate bar in foil that’s printed with your photo of (where else?) Switzerland.

Bring photos from your last trip on your next trip. Transform your photos into sturdy luggage tags. It’s a great way to personalize your bags, remind you that you’re an awesome world traveler, and be certain you’re grabbing the right bag off the carousel!

Send unique postcards to friends. Sure, you can grab any number of postcards off a souvenir shop’s rack and send them to family and friends. Or, you can create your own postcards from your photos—whether to send holiday greetings, birthday wishes, or to tell them you wish they’d been there!

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