7 Inspirational Travel Videos To Help Inspire Your Next Vacation

There’s just something about a good travel video that makes you want to pack your bags, call in sick to work, and visit a new place that you’ve never been to before. The sights and sounds that a video provides can inspire you like no photo or written article ever could, and a good storyteller can bring you along for a shared escape that lets your mind wander to far away places for those few minutes, and imagine yourself traveling the world and seeing new sites, tasting new foods, and meeting new people.

If you’re in need of some travel inspiration, or just a little extra motivation to plan your next trip, check out these seven videos:

Make It Count – Casey Neistat
When Nike gave Casey Neistat money to make a movie about what it means to #MakeItCount, they probably had no idea that the result would be a travel video that has inspired millions of people to travel more and see the world. If you haven’t seen it yet, Casey Neistat’s Make It Count video will make you want to drop everything, grab your passport, and see as much of the world as you possibly can:

Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives – Prince Ea
Part poem, part music video, part inspirational speech, Prince Ea’s Everybody Dies, But Not Everybody Lives will get you out of your seat, planning how to chase your dreams, ignore doubt, and travel more:

Travel More & Buy Less – Luis Vargas
In his TED Talk, Luis Vargas wants to inspire and enable others to have transformative travel experiences, with the knowledge that travel can be a force for good. He reminds you that before you buy your next item for your “man cave” or “she shed”, remember that adventure and exploration is the best way to learn and expand your horizons. We live in a world of consumption, but a passport full of stamps is better than a house full of stuff:

Watchtower of Turkey – Leonardo Dalessandri
The editing that Leonardo Dalessandri does with his travels through Turkey (3500km in 20 days) create a beautiful and breathtaking travel video that will make you feel like you are right alongside him as he captures the colors, sights, foods, and people of a place that doesn’t always make it to the top of traveler’s bucket lists. After seeing the Watchtower of Turkey however, you may find yourself checking ticket prices and planning a trip:

A Story For Tomorrow – Gnarly Bay
Gnarly Bay spent 5 weeks exploring Chile and Patagonia with his girlfriend, and then took the travel footage and edited it over top of an inspirational narration that will make you want to get out and travel your own adventure:

My Year 2016 – Sam Kolder
In 2016, Sam Kolder decided to spend every day meeting new people, seeing new things, and experiencing new adventures. He created a video to document his year, and if it doesn’t inspire you to travel more, maybe nothing will:

Join The Adventure – Louis Cole
Louis Cole makes daily vlogs about traveling the world with friends, having fun, and inspiring others to travel as well. In his video, Join The Adventure, he shows what you can do and see in a single year if you focus on traveling more, and then invites everyone to live more adventurously:

Ready to travel somewhere new? Check out our list of Travel Destinations, and then give us a call to start planning your next trip: (828) 595-9691

5 Photography Apps That Will Make Your Travel Photos Pop

Photography is a big part of travel, since you’re seeing new sights, eating new foods, exploring new cultures, and meeting new people, so it’s natural that you’d want to document those experiences for your own personal memories, and also to share with friends, family, and the world through social media. We’ve highlighted 14 Instagram Accounts To Follow For Beautiful Travel Photos, but what’s their secret to capturing amazing images that stand out from the crowd? Part of taking good travel photos is having a good eye and knowing what to photograph, but a big part of it is also knowing how to get the most out of your phone’s camera, and make your images pop.

If you’re ready to take your travel photography to the next level, check out these 5 apps that will help you make the most of your next trip:

A Color Story - Travel Photography Smartphone App

A Color Story
The right colors are what make the photos of your favorite Instagram Travel Stars pop, and A Color Story will help you add that pop to your own travel photos with 300+ filters that have been designed by top photographers and influencers, 100+ movable effects you can add to any photo or video, and 20+ advanced tools you can use, like HSL, curves, and selective editing.

Foodie - Travel Photography Smartphone App

A big part of what makes traveling fun and exciting is enjoying new food, and a big part of enjoying new food is sharing that food on social media to make your friends and family jealous! (Don’t worry, we do it too…) Foodie is a camera app that’s designed specifically for taking pictures of food, with over 30 different filters that match the type of food you’re eating, as well as an easy and accurate smart guide feature for taking top-down photos of food! With Foodie, it’s fun and easy to spice up the perfect memory of a perfect meal.

Facetune - Travel Photography Smartphone App

If you like taking selfies when you travel (who doesn’t?) then you’ll love Facetune, which allows you to retouch and add artistic flair to selfies and portraits with ease. Whiten teeth, smooth skin, remove red eye, color gray hairs, add makeup, and more! There’s a reason Facetune is the #1 photo app in the App Store!

VSCO - Travel Photography Smartphone App

VSCO likes to say that its app was made for creators, by creators, and with extremely customizable options for everything from shutters speed to ISO, as well as a wide range of film-inspired presets and filters, VSCO can help take your travel photography to the next level. There’s also a great photo sharing network within the app itself, so you can get inspiration for your next location, or just check out the amazing work of talented photographers from all around the globe.

Pixelmator - Travel Photography Smartphone App

Everyone’s heard of Photoshop, but if you ask us, Pixelmator is the app to use if you’re looking for a full-featured photo editor for your iPhone. With everything you need to create, edit, and enhance images on the go, you can improve image colors with pre-designed color adjustment presets, add breathtaking effects, wipe away unwanted objects (like other tourists that wander into your perfect shot!), reshape areas of an image, clone, blur, sharpen, desaturate, and do so much more. If you can imagine it, you can do it with Pixelmator.

New Year’s Resolutions – Travel

New Year's Resolutions - Travel

For many people, a new year means new goals, and those goals often include traveling to new places. If you’re thinking about traveling this coming year, here are a few New Year’s Resolutions that we recommend:

“I will use my vacation days!”
Did you know that American workers let more than 700 MILLION vacation days go unused every year, according to a study by GfK-Oxford Economics? Not taking time off probably means that your work-life balance is off, and it’s time to re-prioritize! Pick out some times that you want to take a break, put them on the calendar, and then request those days off early! Then you have something to look forward to, and you can make sure everything’s taken care of at work so you can be stress-free while you’re away.

“I will start planning early!”
Sure, there are plenty of ‘last-minute deals’ that can save you some money when you travel, but why risk it? Instead of procrastinating, start planning your next trip early, and it will give you a chance to track prices and jump on any deals that pop up. Planning well ahead of time also means that you can make sure to snag reservations at hard-to-get-into restaurants, your must-see shows won’t be sold out, and you won’t be stressing about how much the trip is going to cost, since you’ll already have everything booked.

(Ready to start planning your next trip? Give us a call and find out about all of the great trips that we have planned for this coming year: (828) 595-9691)

“I will be more spontaneous!”
While it’s great to have a plan, if your schedule is too strict, it can prevent you from the joys of unplanned adventure. It’s fine to have a to-do list with some places that you just have to see, but make sure to leave yourself time to just get out and explore, since you never know what you might find, and those unplanned times are often when the best travel stories happen. Alternatively, like we highlighted in our post about 2019’s Top Travel Trends with Bite-Sized Travel, you can find a fun-looking place to stay that’s close to where you live, and just spend a weekend relaxing somewhere fun. Not every trip needs to be to somewhere far away, and there are unique accommodations that are worth a trip just to try out that different lifestyle for a while.

“I find one of the biggest killers of fun while traveling is forcing yourself to adhere to a strict daily schedule.”
– Kayla Matthews, Productivity and Technology Expert

“I will explore America!”
You might be jealous of your jet-setting friends who always seem to be posting pics from some new country in a far off land, but don’t forget that the U.S.A. is FILLED with amazing places to visit, from big bustling cities and charming little towns to tranquil forests and breathtaking beaches. As road trip experts, we can tell you that it’s amazing how much you can see in a day when you hit the road and travel this great country of ours. Plus domestic travel means you don’t have to worry about passports, jet lag, or learning a new language, and you’ll be supporting the economies of your fellow Americans.

“I will go solo!”
It’s fun to travel with friends and family, but you can learn a lot about yourself when you get out of your comfort zone and travel solo as well. Traveling solo means you can set your own priorities and relax and recharge on your own schedule, and it also makes planning easier since you don’t have to manage multiple calendars. Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean you’ll be traveling alone however, as many solo travelers love how they meet new people on their trip, and often make new friends that last a lifetime.

“I will stop overpacking!”
On your next trip, challenge yourself to pack everything you need into a small carry-on sized bag, or better yet, fit everything into a backpack you can throw over your shoulder as your explore a new destination! Yes, you will need to leave a few of those ‘just-in-case’ items at home, but you’ll probably find that you never needed them anyways, and if you really need something, you can usually find it when you get there. To get started with packing less, check out our list of 10 Travel Accessories To Make Your Next Trip A Breeze.

Bullet Journal For Travel: Getting Started Guide

A Bullet Journal is a way to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future. It’s also super trendy, as you can tell by looking through some of the BEAUTIFUL posts tagged with #BulletJournal or #BuJo on Instagram.

What Is A Bullet Journal?
Bullet Journal (or BuJo for short) is a physical notebook, but it’s also a methodology for organizing your life. Here’s a brief overview of how it works:

Basically, a Bullet Journal is organized around topics, and each topic contains bullets paired with short-form notations.

Bullets can either be Tasks (represented by a dot ‘•’), Events (represented by a circle ‘O’), or Notes (represented by a dash ‘-’).

Each topic page gets a page number, and as you fill up your Bullet Journal, you create an Index to keep track which topics are on which pages.

It sounds simple, but it allows people to create some amazingly beautiful journals that are basically works of art:

Plan Your Next Trip
When planning for an upcoming trip, you can use your Bullet Journal to keep track of destinations, routes to take, possible detours, travel and hotel reservation information, dates, sites to see, inspirational quotes, and much more. Even if you’re not an artist, you can print out a map of the US like Kara (aka Boho Berry) has done, and use that as the starting point for your route planning:

Or just keep things simple, and make a list of places you want to visit, like this list of coffee shops in Portland from Jennifer Reyes:

Make Sure You Pack Everything
Of course no travel journal is complete without a packing checklist, and if you’re creative with how you put yours together, you can reference it for each new trip, and see what you might need to add, or make note of what you can leave behind next time:

Keep A Travel Log
If your next trip has multiple stops along the way, plan out your route, and then make it easy to keep track of where you’ve been, and where you’re going, with a travel log. Becky from @painted_illustrated created an outline of the United States in her Bullet Journal, and then colors in each state as she visits it:

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North America!!

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Entertain The Kids
Hitting the road and need a way to keep the kids entertained? Why not create a few road trip activities for them to do, and then as they fill out each page, it becomes a fun way to remember the trip:

Create Your Own Keepsake
In our post 6 Unique Travel Souvenirs To Remember Your Experience, we talked about collecting postcards as an alternative to yet another forgettable tchotchke, but another great way to remember your travels is to collect little mementos along the way (tickets, stickers, guidebook pages, menus, leaf pressings, etc.) and then incorporate them into a travel diary, along with drawings of what you’ve seen and done, and descriptions of things you want to remember:

What You Need To Get Started
Since you only need a journal and something to write with, it’s pretty easy to get started with Bullet Journaling, but if you want to turn your Travel Bullet Journal into a keepsake that will last, you’ll want to pick up some quality materials. Thankfully you don’t need to spend a lot to get a lot, as you can get started with a Dotted Moleskine Notebook and a set of Colorful Journal Pens and you’ll have everything you need to make an amazing Travel Bullet Journal:

Just remember to look online for inspiration, make it your own, and then have fun! The goal is to make the most of your travels, so a Bullet Journal should be a fun addition to your trip, not a burden that you try to avoid.

6 Tips To Make You A Better Travel Photographer

Travel Photography

If you love taking photos, then traveling to a new place will surely inspire you to bring along your camera and capture the sights. To make the most of your trip, here are a few tips that we think will help take your photography to the next level:

Travel Photography Planning

Have A Plan
Tools like Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Google Image Search, and Unsplash are great ways to gather inspiration about the place you’re going to visit, pick a few ‘must-visit’ spots that you want to photograph, and see what other photographers that visited before you found interesting. Just search for your destination, and save anything that you like or are inspired by. If you want to get even more prepared, you can create a Custom Google Map with the locations that you want to visit, which helps give a general sense for where the hot spots are in that city, and can help you navigate from one place to the next, or see what’s close by if you’re doing some exploring.

Travel Photography Exploration

Get Lost
While a good plan and a shot list are great to have, they can also mean you’ll just end up taking the same photos that everyone else took. To find something truly unique, it can sometimes help to just wander around a city and see what captures your eye. Remember to save a few hours here and there for unplanned exploration, and you may end up discovering something new that everyone else visiting the ‘must see’ lists overlooked.

Travel Photography Golden Hour

Wake Up Early, Stay Late
The early bird gets the worm, and the early photographer gets beautiful photos that aren’t filled with tourists! By getting to a location just as the sun is rising, you’re more likely to beat the crowds, and you’ll also get that ‘golden hour’ light that makes everything look extra dreamy. Not a morning person? You can also stay somewhere a little later than most, and you’ll often catch a location as it empties out, with another golden hour opportunity to capture the perfect light.

Travel Photography Tripod

Support System
A lot of travelers like to pack light, but a good travel tripod, like this one from MeFOTO, can greatly expand your photography options, and doesn’t add a lot of weight to your day pack. If you want to take low light photography, capture video, take super-sharp landscapes, or experiment with more advanced techniques like HDR or panoramas, you’re going to want the ability to lock your camera in place while you adjust settings, take a few different test shots, or pan around from a fixed location. Plus, if you’re traveling solo, a tripod allows you to get inside your shots, which can add some extra flair to whatever you’re trying to capture.

Travel Photography Backup Hard Drive

Have A Backup Plan
When you travel, you should hope for the best, but plan for the worst, which means backing up your photos so that you don’t lose them if your camera gets damaged, lost, or stolen. Unfortunately thieves like to target tourists, and if you’re traveling with camera gear, that makes you a prime target, so bring along a small external hard drive, like this Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro that can read directly from SD cards, that you can back up your camera to each night, and then if something happens to your camera, you’ll only lose the photos that you shot that day, and not everything from your entire trip.

Travel Photography Composition

Master Composition
There’s the Rule of Thirds, leading lines, symmetry, repetition, framing, and more, and for every helpful rule in photography, there’s a great photographer who will tell you that rules are made to be broken! In general though, it can be helpful to get familiar with some of the more classic ways of composing a photograph, since that will increase the likelihood that the image you capture has that “Wow!” factor you’re looking for. Instead of trying to explain every style of composition, here’s a good video that shows examples of some of the most popular:

2019’s Top Travel Trends

Certain locations will always be top tourist destinations, but other places get trendy as travelers search for their next great adventure. In the past, travel trends have included adventure travel that was focused on experiences over destinations, wellness travel that focused on healthy activities, and slow travel that focused on the journey over the destination with transportation methods like sailing, train rides, bicycle tours, and horseback safaris.

So what travel trends are going to be the focus of 2019? Here are a few that might be the inspiration for your next trip:

2019 Travel Trend - Avoiding Overtourism

Avoiding Overtourism
You want to be a traveler, not a tourist, so many people will focus on less-popular destinations, off-season travel, and generally trying to reduce the impact their travels have on the greater world. As famous beaches and island cities take drastic steps to slow down their tourism industries, it’s becoming more important than ever to consider the effect your stay will have on the places that you visit, to make sure they’re available for the next generation as well.

2019 Travel Trend - Augmented Travel

Augmented Travel
Thanks to more affordable virtual reality hardware, and the fact that the smartphone in your pocket can enable some pretty impressive augmented reality experiences, tech-enabled travel is growing in popularity. You can travel to Mars aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover, travel back in time with Paris Timescopes, or bring history to life when you visit Washington, DC‘s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s 1881 Bone Hall with the Skin & Bones App in hand.

2019 Travel Trend - Following Your DNA

Following Your DNA
Services like 23andMe and National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 allow you to test your DNA and find out your ancestry, and shows like Who Do You Think You Are? have popularized the idea of tracking down your ancestors to find out more about where you came from. Together, this will result in travel where people take tests to find out their genetic history, and then plan trips to visit those places in person, to help connect themselves to a little bit of their historic past, and give the places that they visit a special and very personal meaning.

2019 Travel Trend - Bite-Sized Travel

Bite-Sized Travel
It’s hard to get away from work for weeks at a time, so travelers are starting to look at three-day weekend road trips and micro excursions as a way to get away without all of the stress and commitment of a huge trip. Thanks to cheap transportation, on-demand accommodations and car rentals, and curated experiences with locals, you can do a lot without spending a lot of time in one place, and get back to the 9 to 5 before your boss is any wiser. Plus, a quick getaway is a good excuse to explore unique accommodations that can be their own reason for a trip, such as tree houses, mushroom domes, and tiny homes.

2019 Travel Trend - Electric Road Trips

Electric Road Trips
With the increased popularity of electric vehicles, and the fact that charging stations are popping up all along popular road trip destinations, travelers are starting to hit the road in a much more environmentally friendly way, and stopping to see the sights as their vehicles charge up for the next leg in their journey.

2019 Travel Trend - Dark Sky Destinations

Dark Sky Destinations
Our cities are filled with more lights than ever, which means it’s getting harder and harder to really get off the grid and find a spot where you can see more than just the Big Dipper when you look up into the sky. In response, some areas are starting to create designated ‘dark-sky spaces‘ where all lights are forbidden, which allows travelers and stargazers to enjoy the constellations and the vastness of our universe like never before.

The Best Road Trip Gear

We spend A LOT of time on the road, so at this point, we’re pretty much road trip experts. If you’re planning to hit the road and see the sights on your own, here’s a list of the gear that we think will help make your trip safer, more comfortable, and best of all, more fun!

If you’d rather leave the driving up to the experts, give us a call to find out about our upcoming trips, where you can see the sights from a luxury motorcoach, and make your next vacation easier and more enjoyable: (828) 595-9691

Lifeline AAA Excursion Road Kit

Lifeline AAA Excursion Road Kit
Be ready for ANYTHING the road has in store for you with the Lifeline AAA Excursion Road Kit. In addition to a first aid kit, which is always good to have on hand, the kit includes jumper cables to deal with a dead battery, a tire inflator to make sure you’re always topped up, a flashlight, gloves, tools, and even safety triangles that all fit into a nicely designed bag. If you run into any issues, this kit probably has what you need to fix it and get back on the road.

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

Eagles Nest Outfitters – DoubleNest Hammock
Nothing beats a relaxing nap in a picturesque area, and with a travel hammock from ENO, you’ll be ready to lounge just about anywhere. Made of strong yet lightweight material, the DoubleNest Hammock is big enough for two people to relax together, yet it stuffs down into a pack the size of a softball when it’s not in use.

iOttie One Touch Car Mount

iOttie Easy One Touch Qi Wireless Fast Charge Car Mount
Smartphones have become a crucial part of any road trip, as they can give directions, control the soundtrack, help find the closest gas station, take photos, and so much more. If you want to keep your phone front and center so that it’s easy for both the driver and passenger to control, you’re going to want a smartphone mount, and if you have a newer device that can charge wirelessly, why not also get a mount that can charge your phone while you’re using it? This Qi charger from iOttie holds your phone securely in a wide variety of easily-configurable angles and distances, and also includes the latest wireless charging capability so your phone will always be topped up and ready to go when you arrive at your destination.

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Travel Mug

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Mug
Having hot coffee is a great way to start the day when you’re looking to put some miles behind you, and if you don’t want to have to chug down your full cup before it gets cold, you should definitely bring along a travel mug. This mug from Zojirushi is one of the best, and can keep a hot beverage hot (and a cold beverage cold) for hours and hours. It’s actually surprising the first time you go to take a sip a few hours after pouring coffee into it, only to find that your coffee might be still too hot to drink! You can get the mug in 12, 16, or 20-ounce sizes depending on how much coffee you typically drink, and there are a wide range of colors available to match your personal style. There’s even a handy lock on the lid that makes sure you don’t make a mess if you happen to knock it out of the cupholder and onto the floor of your vehicle.

Rumpl Puffy Blanket

Rumpl Puffy Blanket
With a good travel blanket, you’ll always be ready for a spontaneous picnic or an unplanned outdoor concert where you need a little extra warmth. Rumpl is one of the original ‘puffy blankets’ and is designed to provide optimal warmth in a variety of conditions and climates. It’s cozy, lightweight, durable, waterproof, and resistant to odors, stains, and pet hair, and packs down into a water resistant stuff sack that compresses the blanket into a tiny, 2.1lbs package. Best of all, if you’re always arguing with your driving partner about the proper temperature to keep the inside, you can use the Rumpl blanket to stay warm, and keep both people happy at their ideal temperature.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow
This travel pillow is perfect for catching a little shut eye in the passenger seat, and compacts down into a small pack that’s perfect for providing comfort without taking up a lot of space. Inside, foam filling expands to 4-inches of support for your head, neck, and back, and the brushed polyester cover is soft against your skin while still being easy to clean. Pair it with the Rumple blanket, and you’ll be catching some zzz’s in no time!

Tile Mate

Tile Mate with Replaceable Battery
If you’re the type of person who occasionally misplaces your keys (or wallet, or purse, or really anything important that you might bring along on a road trip) then you should definitely check out Tile. These devices help track down any missing item, and can emit a sound if they’re close by, or ping other Tile devices if you’re further away, and need to locate a lost item. Attach one to your keychain, one to your bag, and one to anything else you want to keep track of, and rest assured that you’ll arrive home with everything you left with, and won’t get stuck somewhere looking for your car keys. Best of all, while Tile used to have a fixed battery that required a whole new device every few months, the new Tile uses a replaceable battery that can be easily swapped out when the old battery dies.

Hudly Heads-Up Display

Hudly Wireless Heads-Up Display
While certainly not a necessity, the Hudly Heads-Up Display is a unique way to make your drive easier by providing directions, vehicle info, and more, right in your line of sight but without blocking your view of the road.

Opinel No.10 Stainless Corkscrew Knife

Opinel No.10 Stainless Corkscrew Knife
A pocket knife is a great tool to bring along on a road trip, since it can help you out in a wide variety of situations and doesn’t take up much room in the vehicle, and the Opinel No. 10 Corkscrew knife has the added benefit of being able to open up a bottle of wine if you decide to end the day of driving with a celebratory glass of vino. Opinel has been around for more than 100 years, so it’s a brand you can trust, at an affordable price you can love!

Deck of Cards

Deck Of Cards
A good road trip isn’t complete without a deck of cards, so you can play bridge, poker, go fish, or a thousand different variations of solitaire while you’re stopped for the night, waiting for food, pulled over to enjoy the view, or just making new friends at a rest stop.

Rand McNally Road Atlas

Rand McNally Road Atlas
Sure, your phone is going to work great in most situations for getting directions and providing navigation, but if you’re going to spend a lot of time on the road, it’s a good idea to have a backup method of finding your way that doesn’t rely on batteries that can die in the middle of nowhere! Rand McNally is a trusted source of accurate and easy to use maps, and this Road Atlas covers every U.S. state and Canadian province, an overview map of Mexico, and detailed inset maps of over 350 cities and 20 U.S. national parks!

6 Unique Travel Souvenirs To Remember Your Experience

Step into any gift shop in any city, and you’ll probably see a slightly altered version of the exact same items: Magnets with a city name on them, snow globes with the most popular tourist destination inside, or picture frames that look like they were designed in the ’80s.

Instead of getting another forgettable tchotchke that you’ll stuff into the back of a drawer and never look at again, here are six ideas for unique travel souvenirs, gifts, and keepsakes that will help you remember your travels in a fun way that you’ll actually want to share:

Travel Books - Unique Travel Souvenirs

Instead of bringing a book with you when you travel, make one of your first stops at each new destination a local bookstore, and pick out a new book to read. You can try to find a book that’s set in the destination you’re visiting, or ask the storekeeper for a recommendation and let fate take over.

Not only will this give you something to do while you’re relaxing during your travels, but you can bring each book home to start a collection that will remind you of the places that you’ve visited.

You can also write on the inside cover of each book, to add dates, times, and places that you visited, and memories or experiences that you never want to forget.

Themed Photos
Taking photos while you travel is a no-brainer, but to turn them into a unique travel momento, pick a theme that you’ll always do whenever you visit a new place.

Maybe, like Matt Harding, you pick out a favorite dance move, and video yourself doing that move at every new place that you visit:

Or maybe you have a favorite travel shirt or hat that you always bring with you, and you can wear that in front of your favorite monument. Or maybe you jump up in the air with your arms raised above your head in front of your favorite view. Just pick something fun and unique that you enjoy doing, and you’ll look forward to finding just the right spot to take your photo at.

Travel Postcards - Unique Travel Souvenirs

Many travelers get asked by friends and family to send back postcards from places they visit, but you can also send postcards to yourself as a way of remembering the places you’ve visited and the things you’ve seen and done.

Pick out a postcard that reminds you of your favorite experience, jot down a few of your favorite memories on the back, pick out a unique stamp that reminds you of the place you’re visiting, and then mail it back home. In addition to the postcard itself, the marks that the post office will put on the card when they mail it will become part of the keepsake.

Restaurant Menu - Unique Travel Souvenirs

Remember the favorite meals that you ate while traveling by bringing home the menu from that restaurant. You should always ask before taking a menu, and you can even offer to buy one if you want to increase your odds of the restaurant saying yes, but it’s a great way to remember the places that you visited, and something unique to frame and hang up on your wall back home.

Unique Kit Kat Flavors - Unique Travel Souvenirs

Photo by FlyingToaster

Local Food
Everyone loves to try new restaurants, eat new foods, and sample the local food scene when they travel, so why not bring some of that food home with you?

Whether it’s olive oil from Spain, unique Kit Kat flavors from Japan, chocolates from Belgium, kangaroo jerky from Australia, or a bottle of wine from Italy, edible snacks are a great way to re-live your travels, and it’s something that you can easily share with friends and family back home, which they’ll probably enjoy a lot more than looking through another travel photo album!

(Just make sure you look up any restrictions on what you can bring back to your home country, since you may need to declare certain items, or provide proof of where they were purchased from.)

Beach Sand Collection - Unique Travel Souvenirs

Beach Sand
If you’re the type of person that always seems to vacation at beach destinations, you can bring home a handful of sand from each beach that you visit, and display them in small glass bottles.

Not only will this make for a unique decoration, as each bottle will have different colors and textures based on what the sand is made from, but it makes for a great conversation starter when someone visits your home and notices your new collection.

Unexpected Ways Your Smartphone Camera Is Your Most Important Travel Accessory

Smartphone Camera

You probably think about your smartphone camera as a convenient way to capture travel memories, but there’s a lot more that you can (and should!) do with your smartphone camera than just capture memories.

A smartphone is one of the most powerful tools that any traveler carries with them, and in addition to doing things like looking up directions or calling for reservations, it can be used to keep records of everything related to your travels, to help protect you or make your trip easier in a number of ways.

Here are a few ideas for how you can use the camera in your smartphone, and what to take photos of to improve your next trip:

  • Inside Your House – Before you leave for a trip, take a few photos of everything inside of your home. Unfortunately many criminals target people when they are traveling, and if there’s a break-in, you’ll have a record of all your possessions for an insurance claim. (And if you’re the type of person who always worries that you forgot to unplug your hair dryer or turn off the stove, you’ll have an easy way to reassure yourself that you took care of everything before you left.)
  • Your Luggage – If your bags get lost, it’s a lot easier to track them down when you have an actual photo of what they looked like, including any identifying marketings, instead of a vague description of “black suitcase with wheels”. Make sure to take photos of any tags that are attached to the bags too, just in case.
  • Everything In Your Luggage – If your bags get lost or stolen, it’s a lot easier to file for an insurance claim if you have a photo of exactly what was inside. This is especially true if you travel with expensive technology, cameras, jewelry, or clothing.
  • Everything In Your Wallet – Take a picture of the contents of your wallet, including the front and back of every credit card, identification card, insurance card, and your passport if you’re traveling internationally. That way, if your wallet gets lost or stolen, it will be a lot easier to remember what was inside, and get them cancelled and replaced.
  • Everyone Traveling With You – Start each day with a group photo! Not only is this a great way to capture a daily memory, but it’s also a great way to remember what everyone looks like (“Jimmy’s wearing an orange shirt!”) if you need to scan a large crowd to find someone if you get separated, of you’re asking security to help with the search.
  • Where You’re Staying – When you check in, whether it’s a hotel room, or especially an Airbnb, take a picture of what the room looked like before you moved in. That way you can easily dispute any damage that existed before you got there.
  • Your Room Number – If you’re in a large hotel, it can be easy to forget what floor or room you’re staying in. To make it easy to remember, just snap a quick pic of the room number when you check-in, and you’ll have an easy way to remember.
  • Your Parked Car – The last thing you want to do when you return from vacation is try to remember if you parked in 129 Red or 192 Blue. Instead, take a photo of your car with the aisle or space number visible, so you can immediately tell exactly where it’s parked.
  • Your Rental Car – Even if you do a walk-around before driving off the lot, you might not notice every chip or scratch, so it’s best to have a record of exactly what the vehicle looked like before you took possession, so that you have evidence in case they try to blame any damage on you. In addition, if you have a photo of the license plate, it will make it easier to do things like fill out a parking pass when you check-in to your hotel.
  • Screenshots Of Digital Information – It’s super convenient to keep things like boarding passes and reservation confirmations on your phone, but if they’re in your email or in your phone’s browser and you end up in a place with weak or no internet, you may not be able to access them quickly or easily. Instead, take a screenshot of anything important, including boarding passes, hotel or rental car reservations, phone numbers for anywhere you plan to visit, maps and directions, etc. so you can access them even if you don’t have a good internet connection.

Unfortunately smartphones are also a popular theft target for criminals when you’re traveling, so it’s a good idea to send a copy of the photos you take to someone you trust, like a friend or family member, whose phone number you have memorized, and who you can call at any time to have them send you a copy of your photos.

You can also put your email address or a friend’s phone number on a sticker that you attach to the outside of your smartphone when you travel, so that if you happen to accidentally leave your phone somewhere, a good samaritan who finds it will have an easy way to get it back to you, even if the battery in your phone has died.

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