Organize Your Photos: Vacation Albums

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10


Jesus came that we might have life, and have it to the full.  This is His kind of abundance—not stuff, but life!

A lot of wonderfully abundant life is lived on family vacations. To truly live in God’s abundance and enjoy His blessings, I’ve needed to re-frame how I look at vacations:

  • I want to enjoy anticipating a vacation—to embrace the planning and the exciting feelings about the joy to come.
  • I want to enjoy the vacation as it happens—to let my planning unfold and be flexible, to be in the moment, to relax. (I actually wrote an entirely separate post about vacation planning, and then relaxing.)
  • I need to enjoy remembering the vacation—to keep the joyful memories alive, to remember the good times, to tell the stories.  This is where the Vacation Album comes in.

I have some childhood “memories” that are probably based more on the pictures my parents took than any actual memories I’ve retained. Do you know what I mean? At the very least, these photos have kept those memories more intact. I want my kids to remember the special times we spent together, and I want to remember them, too!  That’s why I love Vacation Albums so much.


In previous posts, I challenged you to create As-They-Grow albums, taking just one or two photos a year from a specific activity or holiday and placing them in an album to enjoy. I also talked about Interest Albums, where you choose one or two photos a year of times when you enjoyed a certain activity with your family. I tried to help you keep it simple, not overwhelming!

This time we’re going to look at a different kind of small, simple project that will help you enjoy your memories of one big event: a vacation.


The simplicity benefit of this album is that you don’t have to search back through your photos for the right holiday or activity. You just need to find your group of photos from a certain trip.

The hard part may be narrowing down the photos you want to use. In this digital age, you may have dozens of photos of any given trip. Hundreds. I know it can be overwhelming.

Don’t let it be.

Of your many photos, some will leap out as being truly special (especially if a little time has passed). Those are the ones you want to print and place in a small album, just like the Interest Album. This project so simple you can get it done in an evening or two.

To be sure you’re representing the trip well, include at least one picture from each part of the trip. You may want to put these in a bigger album with photo corners, like I did with Travis’ grandma’s Portrait Album. You could even include maps, brochures, and other vacation treasures. (This is a great place to include pictures of souvenirs that you’ve decided it’s time to let go.) You can still keep it really simple.

To re-live your trip as you enjoy your Vacation Album, try including journaling. If you enjoy writing, you could think of it as a journal that you’re adding pictures to!

Like the albums in the previous posts, you can chose one basic layout or page idea and just repeat it as you go. That way all of the creative work is in the beginning, and then you’re just enjoying the project as you relax with your family or watch TV.


I’m going to share a couple of examples of Vacation Albums I’ve made, but please keep in mind that I love scrapbooking and so these may be fancier than what you’d like.  (For simpler looks, check out the older posts in the Organize Your Photos series.)

This is an 8.5 x 11 inch beach vacation album. It’s very simple, both in style and in the amount of journaling. I chose one style and repeated it throughout the album. But what joy I’ve had looking at it with the kids and re-telling the stories!


Here’s a small 8×8 inch album of a road trip we took through PA. I used the same design elements throughout (circles, really), and added journaling every few pages. (Hershey’s Chocolate World!!  I’m happily re-living these memories right now. This very moment.  Chocolate…)


Here’s an album of my first and only true vacation out of the United States. (If you’re interested in the reading how my first book, Organizing You, came out of this trip, read on here.) Notice that I still used the same basic design elements throughout—wiggly lines of pretty paper and white pen doodles this time—but I wrote a lot more because there was so much I wanted to remember.


When I go crazy, it’s usually for Disney. If you’re going to pay that much for a vacation you might as well really enjoy it, even after you’re home!  We don’t go often, but how I love it when we do.  I try to theme our Disney albums according to whatever hotel we stayed in.  Here are some pictures from our time at the Polynesian Resort:

There are several photos on each page, and I included a lot of journaling along the bottom:

I used a different background color for each park (like, yellow for EPCOT and orange for Animal Kingdom):

I also double matted one photo on each page to make it stand out (like this one of the kids getting to be junior directors and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show):

I hope that you’ll find some inspiration in here to make your own vacation album! This one project can fill you with joy in Christ’s abundance of blessings!


Take the Challenge:

Choose a favorite vacation, print out some photos, and get them in an album.  It can be that simple!  Remember:

  • You don’t have to feel pressure to do all of your vacations—just start with one you loved.
  • You don’t have to include all of the photos you took, just the best ones.
  • You don’t have to make into a big, hard, project. Make the album as simple, or as detailed, as you’d like.
  • It won’t be perfect. The point is to glorify God by thanking Him for your blessings and enjoying your memories!


For more about organizing things that may be sentimental, checking out Building Your House.


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