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The 8 Best Ways to Display Your Travel Memories, Experts Say

Make the best parts of vacation last forever at home with these creative ideas.

Anytime you travel, you tend to bring back more than you left with. Whether you're a tchotchke collector, a photo connoisseur, or something else entirely, figuring out how to display your memories can become a challenge. Shelves can get overcrowded and photo albums collect dust.

So, what's a better way to make sure your travel memories don't end up in an oft-forgotten box in the back of the closet?

Some frequent travelers and travel experts weighed in on their favorite ways to keep travel memories top of mind. Keep reading to learn their top decor tips for displaying meaningful keepsakes and photos from your vacations. And next, don't miss 10 U.S. Islands to Add to Your Bucket List—No Passport Required.

Make a gallery wall.

Wall Covered in Travel Photos
Anton Watman/Shutterstock

In the age of Instagram-worthy traveling, taking photos while on vacation seems like a no-brainer. Yet, what happens to those photos when you get home? Do they live on your phone in perpetuity with some making a short appearance on social media? Travel writer Samantha Hamilton of New England Wanderlust hires local photographers on her trips to capture moments with style.

"I really value photos from my travels so I can look back on them when I'm older, and be reminded of all the amazing adventures I had," she says. "My husband and I created a gallery wall in our bedroom, and each trip we take, we add another photo to it. As we get older and continue to travel, we can't wait to fill up our entire wall, and we love having tangible memories we can look at before bed each night."

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Rotate travel photos with the seasons.

Woman Hanging Photo on the Wall

Just like with other seasonal decorations, travel memories can be rotated out of your home decor as well. That's what content creator Giovanna Di Biccari does! Besides saving tickets or other passes to use as bookmarks, she rotates travel photos around throughout the year to remind her family of their global adventures.

"Those 4×7, 5×10, and 8x10s are replaced with a memory of something we did in that season," Di Baccari says. "For example, I may have the picture of me and my daughter on the carousel in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was Christmas time when that picture was taken. It serves as a good reminder of how much we've done around the world, and it makes my daughter think to ask where exactly the place might have been."

Make your display festive.

Decorative Holiday Items
Evgeny Karandaev/Shutterstock

Along a similar seasonal line, some travelers decide to decorate their holiday trees with travel trinkets. Little objects or ornaments are easy enough to bring home, so having a special travel-focused tree can be a great way to remember past trips.

"While on each holiday, I always buy a trinket to decorate the tree," says Leila Gear of Discovery Campervans. "I have a few 'real' decorations from these vacations (like glass baubles from Switzerland), but also makeshift ones—like a small souvenir beer stein from Oktoberfest or the little wooden elephant I bought from a monk in Thailand."

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Get artsy… by buying art during your travels.

Art Display in a Home

Finding a pretty way to display travel memories gets a lot easier if those memories are captured in art. Collecting art pieces from a place gives you an insightful souvenir while also necessitating a way to display those memories. By bringing home art, travel writer Douglas Weissman can relive his memories time and time again.

"​​I have been to over 45 countries and each time I buy a form of art to either hang or display in my home," he explained. "The art is generally from a local artist and can come in any artistic form, like a painting, photo, or jewelry. [C]hanging the medium also helps me find different spaces [in] which I can display the work. Place a photo on a dresser, hang a painting on a wall, or dangle a necklace from a trinket in an armoire. I find these treasures all around my house and each one sparks the memory of my time in that place."

Practice the art of shadowboxing.

Box of Various Knick Knacks
Kat Mack/Shutterstock

Collecting memories in a variety of forms means needing a unique way to display them. That's where shadowboxes can really come in handy.

Alanna Koritzke, travel blogger at Periodic Adventures, loves to curate a shadowbox or two to commemorate her journeys. Koritzke hangs on to small things like ticket stubs and other trinkets along with her photos to put together later. "Instead of having these memories tucked away in a book, they're on display to remind me of all my favorite travels and to stay on top of my finances so I can go somewhere else to make more memories!" she says.

Send yourself postcards.

International Postcard

Gallery walls of travel photos are one way to display memories, but what about another kind of collage? Travel blogger Katie Treharne of Escape Artist Katie likes to have a small memento that won't take up precious bag space—so she sends her future self a postcard.

"I grab a cheap postcard from every destination I visit and write a message to myself with a small detail that I'm sure to forget upon my return," Treharne says. "Then, I track down the nearest post office. Stamps cost as little as 30p (or 50 cents) and postcards are also extremely cheap. Since the postcard is already on its way back to [my] home address, I don't have to carry around any extra weight, and when I return, there's a collection of [colorful], stamped postcards that I can craft into a collage or hang from my wall, each with a personal message and memory that's special to me."

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Pin places and souvenirs on a map.

Pinned Travel Destinations

You've probably heard of or seen those travel maps where you pin or scratch off locations as you travel to them. Have you seen a variation that includes a little trinket from these spots as well? That's what Jeremy Hulls, senior editor at Family Destinations Guide, has dreamt up. Despite his penchant for minimalism, he can't resist that sentimental side that craves even the tiniest of souvenirs… and he wants a unique way to show them off.

Hulls says his plan is "​​to make a huge frame with the map of the world, and 'pin' or place a small souvenir on the location of the map. For me, it represents the accumulation of everything you've been through on a global scale…[it will] need a huge blank wall and some customization know-how, but to me, it's a life project, so I know it's something I'd be proud of making."

Turn your souvenirs into functional furniture.

Travel Scrapbook

Chloe Scorgie had collected a bunch of airline boarding passes, train tickets, ferry passes, and more through her travels as a blogger at Passport Down Under. So, she transformed them into something both artistic as well as functional: a collage tabletop.

"I made a collage from them and had them sealed in clear resin and made a tabletop for my coffee table," Scorgie says. "This acts as fantastic inspiration when I'm planning my next trip. I love the fact that visitors come to my house and see this unique and personal piece of art, which immediately sparks conversation about my travels."

For more great travel tips and advice, check out The 7 Best Glamping Destinations in the U.S.

Amanda Finn
Amanda Finn is an award-winning theater, travel, and lifestyle writer. Read more
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