Travel is a great way of broadening the mind, and the exposure to other cultures can enrich our own lives when we return home. All too often, holidays seem to end much too soon and we are left with nothing but a few souvenirs and some photographs to remind us of times gone by.
By planning in advance and taking some time out during your trip, you can not only ensure the memories you have of your trip last longer but also help to embed the experiences more deeply in your mind. This is particularly important if you go traveling with children and want to ensure they can look back and remember as much as possible.
Take a video
Whether you use a smartphone or a dedicated video camera, taking moving images is a wonderful way of preserving family memories while you are on holiday. The huge advantage of video is that it enables you to capture not just the sights but also the sounds around you.
For the ultimate memento, make sure that, periodically throughout your trip, everyone takes a few moments to speak directly to the camera about what they are thinking, what they did that day and their favorite thing about the trip so far. Although this may seem a little overkill at the time, rest assured that when you look back at it a few years down the line, these moments will make everything far more vivid.
It's particularly important for children to find creative and interesting ways to capture their experiences so always encourage them to think outside the box about ways they might want to keep track of their own experiences. Consider buying souvenirs that add play value, or hanging a map or globe in your child's room so they can keep track of all the places they have been.
Write a Journal
Adults and children alike can benefit from writing a journal about their experiences while traveling. Although photographs and film may stir one set of memories, the sheer level of detail you are able to include if you actually write out a record of your experiences is truly astonishing, and more so when collaborated with images.
One problem with digital photographs is that we tend to take a lot of them and then rarely take the time to go back over them and decide which ones we like the best. Turning your holiday snaps into photo postcards means they are no longer just digital but physical and tangible, meaning you can put them on display around your home, send them to friends or members of your family, or stick them into your journal alongside ticket stubs, flyers and similar material.
Make the most of social media
While digital photography means it is possible to multiple photographs of events, you should only allow those of exceptional quality or interest to be featured on your social media feeds. Your followers will appreciate you for it and when you look back, you will thank yourself as well.
Take a little time at the end of each day of your trip to go through all the photographs and videos you have taken. This will not only help establish the events in your mind and ensure they stand a better chance of moving into your long-term memory, but it will also help you to choose your favorites. If you decide not to post all of them to social media, move them into a separate file so that you are able to view them on a regular basis without having to scroll through hundreds of photographs each time.
Adding pictures of your travels to your Instagram page or creating a dedicated Pinterest board are more about sharing the experience with others than they are about preserving the memories for yourself, but there is no reason why they can’t be both. Just remember to look back over your feeds every now and then. If your feeds are public, pay particular attention to any potentially embarrassing photographs you would not want a potential employer or partner to see.
If you're more of a visual person, you could try keeping a travel scrapbook instead of a journal. The two are almost the same except that a journal would be expected to have more writing and a scrapbook more images.
Depending on how creative you feel, you can also add illustrations and drawings of your own to your scrapbook. Instead of diary entries, you can note down funny things that someone said or heard. This helps to provide a rounder, more vivid picture of what your trip was like. Always keep your scrapbook safe as the value of looking through it will increase the longer you have it.