Most of us have thousands of gorgeous photos, just sitting in “the Cloud,” wasted visual representations of our best travel memories. We might share a few on social media, but then what? How do you display travel photos without covering your walls in pictures? There are so many, and there is only so much wall space! Plus, who wants to dust all those picture frames? There has to be a better way, and we are going to find it! Thanks to some seriously creative folks out there, you can have your photos made into just about anything these days, and the internet is filled with awesome DIY ideas too! Let’s take a look at some of the most unique ways to display travel photos and get them out of the digital abyss.
Make memories that last forever!
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Don’t be afraid to try something new.
Preserving your photos doesn’t have to be a daunting task! It should be a fun project, a creative outlet for you. Just like every traveler is unique and enjoys a different type of vacation, every homeowner has their own individual style. Some of these photo displays may sound amazing to you. Some may sound ridiculous and dorky. Think of each of these ideas as more of a starting point, a seed that you can grow and manipulate into your own masterpiece. Have fun with it! If you ruin a few photos, who cares? You have digital backups. You can try again. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
The Most Unique Ways to Display Your Travel Photos
1. Make your own travel mugs.
Starbucks collector mugs are a big deal amongst some travelers. They stop by the popular coffee chain and grab a destination mug on all their trips. We guess it makes sense since Starbucks is literally everywhere! However, for a much more unique take on the travel mug, pick out a few of your favorite pictures and have a collage printed onto a mug. It’s easy to do. Just upload your photos onto a website like Shutterfly or VistaPrint, and they will make and send you the product! Now you can enjoy your pre-work coffee while you wanderlust about the dreamy destination on your coffee cup.
2. Turn them into a blankie!
Photo frames are a common home decor item, but there are so many other creative ways to utilize the items you already have in your home to show off your vacation photos. Photo blankets are a fun way to keep your travel memories alive and visible while getting some practical use out of them. Etsy has hundreds of small business owners who can transform your photos into something worthy of display! There are thousands of options to choose from too. Get a traditional patchwork quilt, a fuzzy, sherpa-lined throw, or a woolen beauty. The options are limitless! Check out this one by IMPREZZIMO!
3. Bathe in your memories.
Still on the home decor train, how about turning your shower curtain into a trip down memory lane? Collect a few of your favorite travel photos. Send them to KindaYoung, and they will create a work-of-art shower curtain that you definitely won’t see in anyone else’s house. Bonus! There is no dusting necessary. Your travel photos will be machine washable! However, choose your photos carefully. A landscape of cityscape would be nice. If you choose family shots, when you get naked each night, your child will likely be staring at you. Never mind. Let’s be real, that is probably happening anyway.
The home decor options for displaying photos are truly limitless, especially when it comes to textiles. Popular options include doormats, placemats, and runners for your dining table, indoor or outdoor throw pillows, rugs, and curtains. You could really go overboard with this trend though, and it will start to look contrived. A few strategically placed objects are the way to go!
4. Make DIY travel journals.
Many travelers love to keep a written journal during their trips. Instead of buying that expensive one from a souvenir shop. Take a plain leather journal with you. Once you get home, use Mod Podge and a 5×7 print of your favorite photo from the trip to update the cover of your journal. This will personalize it in a way that souvenir journals can’t, and with several black and white journals, artistically displayed on your shelves, it makes for a beautiful photo wall too. These soft-cover leather journals are available at Amazon and are perfect for stuffing in a suitcase and have a nice flat surface for your DIY photo project!
5. Turn your TV into a digital scrapbook.
Do these ideas sound exhausting to you? It’s ok. We know not everyone is crafty. The good news is, you don’t have to print a single thing to bring your photos to life. Instead, use your digital photos as a screensaver on your TV. If you’re like most of us, your television is the biggest and highest resolution screen in your house, and it’s likely in a prominent position. Take advantage of it!
Amazon Firestick and Roku (as well as most other popular streaming sticks) have a “Create your own screensaver” option. Here you can upload all your gorgeous photos and have them cycle on your TV. When you aren’t on a Netflix binge, your screensaver serves as a photo display. If you’re looking for a solution that doesn’t take a lot of craftiness and won’t break the budget, then this is your go-to. It requires no craft supplies, and it’s totally free!
6. Decorate your ride.
If you’re a bumper sticker lover, trade in a few of your mobile political statements for some beautiful travel photos! Have your favorite memories turned into bumper stickers and display them on your ride. They will brighten your day at the soul-sucking gas pump. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter. You’re sure to get into the interesting story exchanges on your next road trip when other envious travelers catch a glimpse of this baby!
7. Wear them around.
What better way to keep your memories close than to wear them? Did you know you can have tiny versions of your favorite photos turned into adorable stud earrings, a watch face, or a pendant? Photo jewelry sounds super tacky, but there are actually some really nice designs out there!
When choosing a photo for a small piece of jewelry, it looks best to pick something with a large focus object, with little else in the picture. For instance, a nice shot of the Great Pyramid of Giza, a good selfie with your favorite foreign snack, or a picture of your child in traditional dress. Pictures with a lot going on get lost when they are miniaturized.
8. Wallpaper your home with memories.
Let JMcustomdesignprints turn your favorite photo into a showpiece! This custom wallpaper is a statement for sure. Transform your boring master bedroom into a luscious beachscape. Remember that awesome snap you got of the sunbeams peaking through the Costa Rican Cloud Forest? Turn it into a ceiling tray mural. Create a collage of your favorite photos in that awkward kitchen nook without the work of arranging and adhering to each individual photo. Anywhere you can plaster wallpaper, you can plaster your new masterpiece!
9. Create a black-and-white gallery wall.
Go through your hard drive and print off some black and white copies of your favorites. Make them all different sizes and choose images with bold focal points. Carefully arrange your photos to slightly overlap. It should look random, but not sloppy. Once you have adhered your photos to the wall and you like the layout. Coat the entire space in a matte, clear coating, for unification and protection of your photos. This kind of photo wall works great in a thin, vertical space like the end of your hallway or a nook in the entryway.
Author note: I once stayed in a home in Washington state where an elderly man had collected important newspaper clippings from his lifetime. He had arranged and decorated an entire wall of his kitchen with the clippings, and it was so well done that it has stuck with me for years. It could have been very tacky, but the way he had arranged it, so thoughtfully, and the striking visual of the yellowish-white clippings and the bold black font, made the space mesmerizing. I spent over an hour looking at them, and your wall art can have the same visual appeal!
10. Use ceramic tiles in a different way.
Custom photo ceramic tiles are popular as coasters or even as backsplashes in bathrooms and kitchens. If done right, they can look amazing. They can also look a bit cheesy, and tiling your kitchen is a fairly permanent thing. It takes a lot of work!
If that sounds like more than your want to bite off, consider installing your custom ceramic photo tiles outside in a less permanent way. Use them as decorative pieces in your flower bed or along a gravel path. When you’re mad at your husband or wife, you can just stomp on their face, and they won’t even know it. No harm done. Once you’re sick of them (the tiles, not your spouse) just pick them up and move them somewhere else.
11. Create your own flower arrangement.
This is another fun DIY craft that is really amazing if you have polaroid photos. Buy a cute, wide bucket or vase. Cut a styrofoam pot insert to fit your vase. Adhere your polaroids to square, wooden dowels, and insert the dowels into the styrofoam at varying heights and angles. The finished product is a one-of-a-kind “flower” arrangement that celebrates your favorite travel moments. If you plan to display your arrangement out in the open, don’t forget that you’ll need to put polaroids on both sides, sandwiching the dowel rods. Otherwise, the back of your arrangement will be less than visually appealing
12. Create a unique office space.
Home offices should be inspiring! Turn your boring work desk into something amazing. If you have a few extra bucks to spend on your project, make it look ultra-professional by sending your photos to White Wall. They take your awesome grabs and convert them into large-scale prints sandwiched between protective acrylic coating that can be made in custom sizes to fit any worktop.
If you need your project to be done on a budget, you can have your favorite photo blown up on any photo website, then cover it with a sheet of Plexiglass from the local hardware store, or try your hand at an epoxy pour! This technique could also work well for a coffee table or end table in the living room.
13. Turn your photos into a storybook.
The great thing about photo book websites like Shutterfly or Snapfish is that you can add your own text to your custom photo albums. For a unique family keepsake, tell the story of your vacation as just that, a story! Get inventive. Embellish the plot a bit and tell it in a way that will make good bedtime material.
Use your photos from the trip as illustrations, but make all the family members superheroes or farm animals. Let your imagination run free, or better yet, let your kids write the story! Kids’ stories are the most amazing, and with this memento, you can look back years later and see your favorite vacation through your child’s eyes!
14. Send them as a gift.
You really don’t need to spend money on an expensive photo shoot for your Christmas photo this year. Share your favorite travel memories with your friends and family instead. Take your favorite vacation photos and turn them into your Christmas cards. If you plan ahead, you can all wear a Santa hat in your beach photo this year, or you can always photoshop some in!
Photos also make a wonderful gift for grandma and auntie. Have a few printed on canvas and voila, Christmas for those hard-to-buy-for family members is accomplished.
15. Decorate your Christmas tree.
Christmas is a time to fill your home with gorgeous, sparkly things and reminisce on your favorite family memories. Decorating the Christmas tree together is a tradition for families the world over. The best Christmas trees are covered in personal keepsakes that remind us of holidays past, but they don’t always exude the luxury vibe we are going for.
If you need your tree to have a uniform appearance and not be covered in kindergarten paper mache, you can find a beautiful compromise with custom-made ornaments. These simple glass ornaments are not only beautiful when mixed with a few metallic accents, but they are also filled with your favorite memories. That sounds like a perfect compromise to us!
16. Create a timeline wall art.
Remember those boring history timelines you had to fill in Jr. High? It’s time to take revenge with a timeline that is actually fun to create! Track all your epic journeys from your very first trip to today. There are many ways you can do it. Have each photo framed with a thick mat where you can calligraphy in the date. For a more rustic look, hang your blown-up photos from twine with clothespins and use vinyl wall letters to document the location and date underneath each photo. You could also hang your photos randomly and use black dashes to create a map-like path between your destinations. You could also have several photos arranged into a poster-sized collage with the designated locations and dates. There are so many options to make this one your own!
17. Turn your photos into a game.
Why not have a little fun while reminiscing over your favorite trip? Use one of the amazing photo websites we’ve already talked about and have your Disney vacation photos turned into cards for a memory-matching game. Have your New York trip pics turned into a giant family puzzle! You can even have an entire deck of playing cards made with your snorkel-masked faces plastered all over them. Why not?
18. Don’t forget the kids.
We have never met a child who wasn’t fascinated with photos of themselves. They love to flip through your phone and hear the same story over and over. It’s a thing. Give your kiddos the gift of their favorite travel photos on their school supplies this year. Shutterfly has customizable lunchboxes, water bottles, folders, clipboards, pencil cases, and backpack tags that they will love! You have to buy this stuff anyway, might as well make it special. Plus, your kid won’t be getting his lunchbox mixed up with the twelve other superheroes ones if it has his face on it!
19. Update your travel accessories.
Use your travel photos to make your next trip more stylish. Think custom beach towels, passport holders, luggage tags, matching t-shirts, or even individualized carry-on totes for each family member. They can print high-quality photos on just about anything these days.
At Bags of Love, you can even have your photos turned into customized, hard-shell suitcases! How fun is that? Each family member with their own face gracing their new rolling bag? We promise you’ll be the envy of the terminal! Plus, your littles will think it’s awesome, and your bags will be easy to find on the carousel.
20. Make truly unique jammies
If your family does matching pajamas every Christmas, then make this holiday season a cut above the rest. Have your favorite travel memory turned into a new set of pajamas! Photo Pajamas are the masters at turning pictures into adorable sets of jammies. Just send in your favorite photo. Pick the style of pajama you want, and they will do the rest!
They don’t just do pajamas either. You can get customized t-shirts, leggings, and even those weird face swimsuits (if that is your jam). Hey, no judgment here. Go all out ya weirdos!
Get to crafting!
That’s it, folks! There are twenty unique ways to display your travel photos. We hope you found something new that you like! If so, let us know in the comments.
Remember, at the end of the day, it’s your home, and nobody has to like it but you! Display your photos in any way that makes you happy, fits your budget and matches the aesthetic of your home. And, don’t forget to have fun with it!
Photos aren’t the only mementos that we bring home from a trip. What do you do with all your travel goodies? For some creative ideas, check out “Collecting and Displaying Travel Souvenirs”
Frequently Asked Questions
To display travel photos in a unique way, have them turned into wallpaper, create your own photo “flower” arrangements, or use your TV screensaver as a digital photo album!
Get those photos out of the cloud by having new them displayed on new travel gear like luggage tags, your suitcase, or toiletries totes.