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8 Best Hacks for Organizing Your Travel Photos, According to Experts

Relive your favorite trips by using these pro tips that will keep your vacation pics front and center.

That old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" really is true. Frequent travelers might know this best. A picture can do more than transport us back to a moment in time—it brings us back to the place as well. Especially now that we have easier access to quality photos thanks to advanced smartphone cameras, our lives are more photographed than ever.

But what happens when you get home? Whether the photos are digital or printed, you need a way to organize them. The best handful of photos might make it onto the wall, yet there are dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands more that need somewhere to live. Here are some ways to ensure your travel photos aren't lost or forgotten from travel experts who've amassed quite the collection. And next, don't miss 10 U.S. Islands You Need to Add to Your Bucket List—No Passport Required.

Create a photobook.

travel photos photobook

Curating a photobook with your travel memories by location, event, or vacation year is a great way to keep your photos in tip-top shape. Almost like a less intricate scrapbook, though digital elements can replicate some of those scrapbook qualities, photobooks are a fun way to commemorate your travels. Jenny Ly, the founder of Go Wanderly, loves this method of organizing her travel photos.

"Photo books are a modern take on classic albums, but they don't come with the burden of putting one together in the first place," Ly said. "You may even order these prints from your phone or computer, eliminating the need to visit a printing business or store! This means you're only a few clicks away from creating professional-quality photo books to display in your home, share with guests, or give as a unique and meaningful present to friends and family. However, you should learn how to shoot better holiday prints on your smartphone ahead of time so that the pictures match the quality of the book."

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Make a proper scrapbook.

Woman DIY scrapbooking

Scrapbooks have long been a favorite activity for crafters everywhere. Everyone is unique, captures something about that individual's aesthetic, and touching all of your photos gives you a special moment to relive your favorite memories. Jane Spurin, travel blogger at Jane's Midlife Journey, has been scrapbooking her travel photos for nearly 50 years. Those books don't stop at travel either, they commemorate many big events in her life.

"All my tickets, brochures, postcards, wristbands, beer mats, etc go into my scrapbooks," she explained." My first one dates back to when I was ten years old…I have case upon case of scrapbooks now. They're not really displayed as such, but they are all uniformly bound and labeled – thanks to the pandemic!"

Pick your favorites to keep out on display or rotate them.

travel picture frames

Organizing your travel photos can be as simple as choosing your favorites to put on display and keeping the others together in boxes or other storage. This way you can swap photos out as needed too. Rick Wong, editor-in-chief of Cameras Trends, suggests putting your favorites out for everyone to see. There is "nothing better than printing your photos on high-quality paper or canvas and arranging them on a special photo mini-shelf [or picture rail at Ikea]," he said. "It's very simple to achieve."

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Make use of a digital frame.

digital photo frame

Digital frames are an incredible way to display a lot of your travel photos at once. The frames rotate through whatever photos you have set to them so you can organize a bunch of images together into a slideshow. You can even have multiple digital frames with each one dedicated to a different location, trip, or event. For those of us (like myself) who live in smaller spaces, this is the perfect way to show off all of your favorite travel photos without taking up valuable space.

Back them up.

Backing up documents obsolete home items

This isn't so much a hack as it is an important reminder: always back up your photos. Especially if you are a diehard phone camera photographer, it is crucial to back your photos up to a hard drive or another digital storage system. Phones can easily be lost, stolen, or broken. If that were to happen to you, your photos would disappear too. Even if space in your phone's storage isn't an issue, you want to keep those digital images safe.

My partner is a professional photographer and he diligently backs up his photos. Whether he is taking photos with his camera or his phone, he recognizes the importance of protecting his work.

Grab those photo albums.

couple looking through photo album over coffee, things husband should notice

Different than the modern photobook that literally prints your photos to the page, photo albums have always been the main method of organizing photos. You again can divide photo albums by location, vacation year, or another filing method. Photo albums are often made in a way that protects your images for the long term. Whether that is through acid-free paper or the sleeves that protect them from dust, photo albums are always a great option. If my grandmother's nearly 100-year-old photos are still holding on after all these decades in an album, I'm sure my images will fare just fine.

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Embrace the box aesthetic.

photo box travel

The more aesthetic cousin of the photo album, photo boxes are another excellent way to organize your photos. These boxes can have a variety of patterns, colors, and other visual elements that help them blend into whatever space you place them in. Plus there are sometimes built-in dividers or dividers you can put in to further organize your images. You can label the outside of the boxes to divvy up your photos however you want, similarly to the photo book or albums. The difference is that photo boxes can stack and are easier to store on shelves than albums which can be cumbersome on bookshelves.

Delete as you go.

travel camera roll phone

Taking a dozen photos of the same thing to get just the right shot–many of us are guilty of this. Organizing an entire trip with do-over photos or multiples inevitably includes deleting the ones you don't need. The easiest way to do this is to delete photos as you go. My trick is to dedicate some time at the end of each day on a trip to going through my photos from that day and deleting ones I don't need.

Doing this as you go is a much simpler process than trying to do them all at once. Waiting to delete photos can make the task overwhelming. I highly recommend, as a chronic over-photographer, doing this day-by-day method. You'll thank me later when you aren't wading through 600 photos from your week at Disney. Because I've been there.

For more travel photo tips, check out The 8 Best Ways to Display Your Travel Memories, According to Experts.

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