Make Your Travel Memories Last for Years to Come
Traveling abroad for a volunteer experience? Visiting a place you’ve never been before? Perhaps this is your first time volunteering overseas, or maybe this trip is one of many. Regardless if you’re new to the scene or a veteran philanthropist, we know your trip is one to remember. Here are seven ways to document your experience abroad and make sure your memories stay alive even after your return trip home.
1. Say “Cheese!”
They say a picture is worth a thousands words, so make sure you take plenty! Snapping pictures is one of the easiest ways to capture your adventure, and it’s a convenient way to share your trip with others. If you want high quality images, you don’t need to risk bringing your expensive camera overseas. Most phones these days take sharp images, and a little filter from Instagram never hurts!
Pro tip: If you use your camera phone, make sure to keep it in airplane mode to avoid unintentional or outrageous international charges.
2. Write It Down
There’s nothing quite like a blank journal and an ink pen. Pack them in your travel bag and, if time allows, jot down a few thoughts every night while the day’s activities are fresh in your mind. You’ll enjoy flipping through the pages long after the plane ride home. Journalling is an easy way to remember details you might otherwise forget, like the name of someone you met or a joke your trip leader said.
Pro tip: Want a more collective experience? Bring a journal to share! This way you’ll get perspectives from each of your team members and maybe even learn about details you didn’t notice while overseas.
3. Type It Up
Handwriting entries too old school for you? That’s ok! You can always type up digital entries on your phone or other device you decide to pack. Keeping a digital record of your travels means you’ll have an easier time posting your thoughts online when you get back.
Pro tip: Whenever you get the chance, make sure to upload your entries to Google Drive or some other online storage program. That way you won’t risk losing anything you’ve written–or typed in this case.
4. Record the Moment
There’s nothing as raw or as immersive as taking videos during your travel experience. Video captures the subtleties a photograph cannot: someone’s laugh, chirping cicadas, etc. Spontaneously recording the little moments will keep your trip alive. The videos will also make for a fun post-viewing experience for you and your loved ones.
Pro tip: Keep a running vlog throughout your trip. Revolve your videos around a theme if you want, or just record whatever’s going on. Post the videos online so others can enjoy.
5. Hashtag Happiness
Keep all your international memories together by creating a unique hashtag for your trip. After posting on social media, your distinct hashtag will make it easier for you to find everything later. Hashtagging your posts will also help those back home wanting to stay in the loop on your activities abroad.
Pro tip: Make sure you use a hashtag no one has used before. You can easily find out if a hashtag has been used by searching for it on the social media platform you decide to use.
6. Pocket Treasures
Want a more tangible way to recollect your trip overseas? Keep all your ticket stubs, brochures, and other unique items you collect along the way. Maybe you stumble across a remarkable rock or an exotic stamp worth pocketing. But leave the plants and perishable foods behind, because they most likely won’t be allowed on your flight home.
Pro tip: If you’re especially crafty, you can compile all the little things you collected into a scrapbook for safekeeping.
7. Sketch It Out
Feeling inspired in the new environment? If time permits, whip out a sketchbook and transcribe the scenery to paper. Use pencils, chalk, paint, crayons–whatever you can pack along. Using art to flesh out your experience will forge a deeper bond between you as the artist and the moment you decide to commit to memory.
Pro tip: Don’t have the time or supplies to sketch while overseas? Not a problem! When you return home, recreate one of your favorite pictures you took abroad. Then you can invest the time you need to design a piece worthy of the fireplace mantel.
8. Listen Later
Sound functions as an emotional memory, which means a song could transport you back to your time abroad. Music sharing programs like Spotify make it easy to search and save songs. Maybe you heard some engaging, traditional music from the country you visited. Browse the genres and create a playlist that stirs the emotions you felt while overseas.
Pro tip: Hear a song you like but don’t know the name? You can use an app like Shazam to record a clip of the song and it will tell you what it’s called. It even works offline, which means you’ll be able to keep a running list of songs to add to your trip playlist when you get home.