Clever Collections and Displays to Show off Your Travels

vacation photo collage

Long awaited vacations seem to take forever to get here and then they never last as long as we want, do they? We spend months, sometimes years, talking about them and planning them, and when they finally arrive, the time seems to fly by! We have to return to jobs, school, and the responsibilities of life and leave our amazing journey behind us. It’s always hard returning to everyday life, knowing that our next vacation isn’t even on the horizon, but that’s where photos and mementos of our travels come to the rescue. If you’re like me, you collect trinkets from your travels that have meaning and hold memories of your time away. Whether you hit the open road in your home state or hop on a plane for an overseas trip, there are always opportunities to grab things along the way that will serve as great reminders of your journey. Grab a take-out menu from a restaurant you loved, keep ticket stubs from a play or symphony you attended, buy postcards from towns or cities you’re in, or scoop up some sand from a gorgeous beach you built sandcastles on. Mementos come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be displayed in so many fun, unique ways. Here we’ll look at some clever collections and displays that show off your travels using your travel mementos and photos. Don’t sentence your pictures and souvenirs to a life confined in a shoebox or bin. Instead, create a timepiece that will instantly take you back to that sunny beach in Mexico or that New Year’s Eve in Paris. Who knows, maybe your shadow box or jar of memories will inspire those who see it to venture out of their comfort zones and plan an epic road trip or a once-in-a-lifetime excursion abroad.

Ocean Paradise in a Jar:

Show off your last beach vacation by collecting random items and displaying in a mason jar!

This super easy idea lends itself perfectly for beach memories. If you’re heading off to a sunny destination where your itinerary is filled with time spent splashing in turquoise-blue waters and relaxing on a warm, sandy beach, then this idea is for you! While at the beach, scoop up some of that warm, wonderful sand and pack it away in your luggage in a plastic container or baggie. Grab some shells, small pieces of driftwood, sea sponges, and other ocean souvenirs too, if possible. When you get home, transfer the sand and other items into a Mason jar or decorative candle jar. Then, if you have a great beach photo from your trip, slip it into the back of the jar with the photo facing forward so it becomes the background scenery. Every time you walk by it displayed on your mantle, side table, or desk, you’ll be reminded of the tropical breezes and ocean views that made your beach vacation spectacular!

Shadow Box of Memories:

Collect items from your last vacation and display in a shadow box.

A shadow box is a great way to display items you’ve brought home from a vacation. Collect your train and airplane tickets, maps, postcards, menus, buttons, key chains, napkins, tour stubs, and anything else that you’ve acquired on your journey and arrange it all together in a shadow box to display. Create a title for your shadow box by cutting out the name of your destination, such as Maui or Yellowstone, from a map and pinning it to the back of your box. Then neatly arrange your items in front of the title. Hang your shadow box on a wall or set it on a table. No matter where it ends up, it’ll be sure to grab everyone’s attention, so be ready to answer lots of questions and tell everyone about your awesome journey.

Maps-to-Menus Collage:

Display photos, maps and other various paper items from your last vacation in a picture collage to hang on the wall.

If you collect paper on your vacations, meaning maps, tickets, brochures, currency, menus, tour information, and more, then you can easily create a paper collage out of your souvenirs. Lay out your items in a rectangular or square design to determine how large of a frame you will need for your collage. Overlap your paper items so that nothing of importance is covered up. Purchase a frame that everything can easily fit into, and grab some decorative pushpins too. Secure your items with the pushpins and then find the perfect place in your home to hang your collage. This will be a fun reminder of the rodeo your kids loved or the Broadway play your husband took you to.

Coast-to-Coast Coasters:

Turn your photos into picture coasters.

This is probably my favorite way of displaying travel memories! Coasters are not only decorative, but they’re useful too! Put away those cheap, meaningless coasters you bought out of necessity and create your own that display images of places you’ve visited! The next time you have friends over, hand them one of these coasters and get ready to reminisce about your exciting journey. This craft is easy, but it takes a few materials and some patience to do it right. First, buy some 4” x 4” white tiles from the flooring section at a home improvement store. Next, choose between using travel photos or map sections for your coasters. These should measure 4” x 4” also. You’ll also need Mod Podge, a foam brush, scissors, clear spray sealant, and felt circles. For each coaster, coat the front of the tile with a thin layer of Mod Podge, center the photo or map section, and press it onto the tile. Smooth it out with a credit card or something similar. Let it dry for about 30 minutes. Once dry, coat the top of the photo or map with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Use horizontal brush strokes and try not to leave many visible streaks. It will go on white but it will dry clear. When it’s completely dry, apply one more thin coat to seal the coaster and ensure that the photo or map is entirely adhered to the tile. Affix a felt circle to each corner on the back of the tile. Spray the dry coasters with a quick coat of clear spray sealant to create a waterproof exterior. You’re done! Now display them on your coffee table as travel-inspired decor!

Travel-Inspired Tree Bulbs:

Decorate your Christmas tree with DIY picture bulbs.

Next Christmas, decorate your tree with bulbs that contain memories of last year’s getaways! Purchase some plastic or glass bulbs from a craft store. Pop off the top of each one and fill them part way with sand, shells, rocks, and other small trinkets that you’ve picked up on your journeys. Using a Sharpie permanent marker, write the name of your destination or year of travel on the front of it if you desire. You can also wrap a bulb in a map that displays one of your destinations. For this project you affix map sections to the bulb using Mod Podge. While one section of map won’t completely cover the bulb, you can cut out different sections and position them next to each other. Every year you’ll look forward to unboxing your travel-inspired bulbs and being reminded of your unforgettable vacations!

Hand-Stitched Route:

Remember your last road trip by hand stitching your path on a map to display for everyone to see.

Get your needle and thread out for this fun, easy project! Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an avid sewer to make this destination display. You’ll need a map that shows your route to and from your destination, embroidery thread, and an embroidery needle. You’re going to use a backstitch to trace your way from home to your destination, and back again. Make sure you include all the cities and towns you traveled through along the way (because the journey is just as important as the destination!). Make a note of your destination with an X to mark its spot. Cut the map to fit a frame you’ve chosen, and mount your new hand-stitched vacation route in the frame. Find somewhere highly visible to hang it so you can show off your handy work!

Wheel of Memories:

Bike lovers will love this creative way to display their last biking trip!

If you’ve returned from a vacation where you spent most of your time on two wheels, then this display idea is for you! Find an old bicycle wheel at a thrift store or online (the older, the better!). Grab some clips from which you can hang your photos, postcards, key chains, trail maps, and other vacation paraphernalia. Then display your wheel of memories prominently in your home for all to see. They’ll get a kick out of how you turned a discarded tire into an awesome way to put your mementos on display! So creative!

Do you have a clever way to display your vacation mementos? Inspire us by sharing your ideas below!

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