Simple travel scrapbooking

I like travelling. I like, in theory, scrapbooking. But when I look at other people’s pages, I just can’t figure out where they get the time, the embellishments and the imagination. I have an over-huge 12×12 scrapbook downstairs with a page, or occasional double-page spread, on interesting places I’ve been but they’re so so plain.

I’ve looked at travel scrapbooking, at travel journals and minibooks and honestly, a lot of them could go in art galleries. I’m not artistic. I don’t have the mental energy to put in that kind of effort. If you enjoy it, fantastic – I don’t.

But I still want to end up with some kind of travel scrapbook for my trips and at last, I think I’ve figured out how.

Step one – hole-punch all your paper junk
Step two – hole-punch your words
Step three – make a cover
Step four – hole-punch your photos
Step five (entirely optional) – decorate

Or, you know, do the steps in whatever order works for you.


I’m going to attempt to explain this nice and simply because it is a nice and simple scrapbook but the photos are all “after” rather than “during”, so it’s going to look more complex than it actually is.

Travel scrapbook supplies

This is mostly what I used.

Basic pre-existing scrapbook supplies: cutting mat, metal ruler, craft knife (for cutting pages/photos to size), glue dots, glue stick (for sticking things down), hole punch, assorted pens and pencils, one pack binder rings, acetate sheets

Project-specific supplies: 6×6 pad, five-pack of glittery washi tape, a few sparkly embellishments.

Not pictured: one pack of black 12×12 cardstock (pre-existing), one sheet each of 12×12 blue and pink glitter cardstock, various sticky letters (one pack bought specially, the rest pre-existing).

Step one: hole-punch all your paper junk

Leaflets added to my travel scrapbook

Ticket stuck in travel scrapbook

Map stuck in travel scrapbook

Drink bottle label in travel scrapbook

Take two binder rings and a hole punch. I gathered all the paper I’d brought back – boarding passes, tickets, maps, leaflets etc – and hole-punched it all. Then it all goes on the binder rings. I fold leaflets, I don’t mind if tickets stick out a tiny bit and in the case of this big A4 map of Sigulda, I wanted it to be able to fold out so I built it a little bracket using washi tape and then hole-punched that. Unpictured: I did much the same thing with a handful of Instax photos – well, you can’t punch straight through one of them, can you? I even punched and put in a drinks label. We don’t have Coca Cola Lime in the UK (at least, I’ve never seen it) so in it goes.

Step two: hole-punch your words

Journalling added to travel scrapbook

I keep a digital diary while I’m travelling. I wanted to print it directly onto the scrapbook paper but my printer wasn’t having it (and yes, I changed the printer settings everywhere they could possibly be changed) so I printed onto acetate sheets and stuck them onto the paper. Slot these in around the paper paraphernalia.

Step three: make a cover

Latvia travel mini scrapbook

Make a cover to hold it all together. I planned to use the aforementioned pink and blue glitter card but in the end, I used my black card for the outside, lined the inside in glitter and used off-cuts as decoration. Also, those letters really don’t stick to uneven glittery surfaces so I had to hot-glue them down.

The string is another matter. I like having a way of holding it closed so I plaited three strands of Christmas string together, threaded them through two holes punched in the back and tied them in a bow at the front. I wanted something dangling from the string. Amber seemed perfect because that’s the ultimate Baltic souvenir but I didn’t think to buy any while I was there because I have all I want from previous trips to Lithuania and Estonia. So I ordered ten teeny-tiny pieces for about 50p off Etsy and painstakingly sewed them onto the string. I mean, if I’d thought about it in advance, I’d have bought some Latvian ribbon from the tourist shops to tie it all up.

Inside front cover of travel scrapbook

I added the date in glitter letters (again, hot-glued down, stupid things!) on the inside cover.

This is also the point where I realised it would be easier to read if I added chapter titles, so out came more scrapbook paper and unused letters from my stash.

Step four: hole-punch your photos

Full page photo in travel scrapbook

Photo pages in travel scrapbook

Photo pages in travel scrapbook

The reason this is the last step is because I didn’t want to go out and print the photos. I selected the ones I wanted, put them on a USB stick and took them to a local (“local”!) pharmacy with an instant photo print kiosk.

Once I finally had the photos, they went in the scrapbook in one of three ways.

  1. I printed some 8×6 photos, took two inches off the end and stuck them in as full page photos.
  2. Most of them I printed in standard 4×6. A lot of them I stuck back to back and hole-punched to make pages
  3. Some of them I stuck on scrapbook paper – sometimes centred, sometimes top or bottom, occasionally trimmed all round.

Step five (entirely optional) – decorate

Once they’re all in, decorate as you like. I’ve written on a couple of the photos in Sharpie or metallic marker. Some pages are decorated with stripes of glitter washi tape, some have glitter jewels stuck to them. Or don’t decorate. Up to you.

Travel scrapbook inside back cover

So in four largely effort-free steps, how to make a travel scrapbook! As a bonus, it looks really good (and in this case, really sparkly) and that makes it look like a lot more effort went in than really did.

In this case, my local Trefoil Guild can have a look through it and conclude that I have definitely spent forty hours Exploring My World for my Silver Voyage Award – actually, I spent well over forty hours being in Latvia plus a few more making the scrapbook. Effort-free it may be, but it takes a while to put 54 photos in anything.