Documenting and sharing your travels has become a favourite pastime for many and currently it comes in many forms. Some formats are hardcopy other new means are digital.
They all have pros and cons depending on how you wish to communicate your travel experience. Here are the main types of travelogue formats that we have to choose from:
You have what I call hardcopy, you can hold it in your hands, it’s low tech, portable, no sound, your audience has to be present in the room to experience your trip. This comes in a book format or as individual prints. Sharing is local, your home, office, a pub, where you typically would be present and can narrate and build a story around it, answer inquisitive questions.
This could be desired as it is personal, given a different narration every time, is a great opportunity to meet up with friends and the feedback is immediate.
When you go digital in your output format, you can still keep it personal and show your trip as a slideshow or home movie privately on a flat screen, tablet, or phone. There is also the option to broadcast it to others beyond your home base at various level of privacy.
Typically websites have a means of controlling your audience access — from visitors you invite, to making it unrestricted and public, with levels in between. This reaches a larger audience of friends and the general public interested in where you have been.
This is truly a wonderful age, where we no longer have to lick a stamp and mail postcards.
The main drawbacks to sharing far and wide, is little control on the show quality and presentation. Users could play your video in a noisy mall under bright lights on a tiny phone screen with audio coming out of that lousy speaker thingy and you have to accept that.
Also, as the author of the show you will get fewer questions and feedback from the audience then an intimate setting in your living room, which is a feel good experience.
- 4×6 Prints
- Wall Art
- Photo Books
- Digital Slideshows
- Digital Videos
- Social Network sites
- Blog sites
This was the original means that a traveler would write and document their trip. It was done hundreds of years ago. It was very fashionable in the 1900’s when well-to-do people went on grand trips.
I’ve done them as a souvenir and it is personal and fun. Being the no-tech way (doesn’t require batteries) you can write anytime in your journal your trip in a daily diary format or whenever something of interest comes about. You can tape or glue little souvenirs on the pages between the text, such as ticket stubs from trains, galleries, events. It’s a form of scrapbooking but hard to share around and edit later. (This site is more about the digital way of making a travelogue.)
Another older means of sharing one’s trip is the classic 4×6 prints in an envelope you carry around in your coat pocket or purse. At a given moment you pull them out and talk about your trip as you flip through the little prints.
This still works as a very simple low-tech way, with uploading favourite pictures to an online printing service as the added step. Showing your trip as a stack of loose prints can get them jumbled up passing them around. Better to put them in a photo album. It is great to hand out as gifts.
Wall art is very dramatic and is reserved for your most outstanding travel photography. The more memorable moments, personal highlights of the trip that you can decorate in your home. It requires some photo editing skills to improve the quality of the photography. It will need some form of frame for display. Grouping your trip in themes on the walls and updating prints is a pleasant reminder that you do indeed get away from the daily grind.
The next way of sharing your travelogue is as a photo book, similar to getting 4×6 prints but you build your album with computer software and have it printed by an online service. This method gives you page templates and features to add text and effects to images. Once printed out as a small portable album or large coffee table it offers the same low tech means of sharing with your friends. No need to start up TV’s or tablets and fish around for photo files.
If you want to keep things portable and easy to store, going digital is the way. And, we’ve all become accustomed to not necessarily printing out what we shoot.
A slideshow can be presented in many forms. The most rudimentary travel slideshow is just a group of single images in a folder. You would show them one after another on a screen while narrating as you hit the Next key to forward the slides. This works and you control the pace for the occasion.
If you want a little bit of polish to it, you would use a Slideshow Program to set the order, timing and add perhaps titles, transitions and drop in a little bit of background music. When you play the show file you get predictable results and a more refined, interesting rendition of your holidays and not just straight cuts.
The next level up would be digital video or a “home movie” of your trip. This is where you build on the slideshow elements and add video clips to your still images. It could also be just video footage only of your holiday. The scope of this type of travelogue could be very simple right up to a professional looking big production.
Social Network Sites
Now back to a more simple level, often travelers will like to post as they go along on their world treks. In the moment, while it’s fresh any photos taken and comments on social network sites – Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest …This is an excellent way to interact with your friends and get feedback.
Your trip could also be wait and post at the end when you get home and you have a chance to put the best images together.
Another way of recording your travelogue as it happens is to manage your own travel website. This is a little bit more controlled and structured and enables you to create a more personal touch using free blogging services like Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress. Or use a paid service that simplifies and manages the many boring details involved in setup and helps you along.
You can design and group your trips how you please and add photos, video and maps. There are ways to control access to visitors and friends on the trip who could add to the site if you wish. Yes this can be more advanced to set up, but this travelogue format has endless possibilities if you manage your own site.
I should also mention that emailing your travels as you go, or later at home still works. It is more of a private select experience to a few friends at a time that are interested. Email services have limits on file sizes attached and at times it is better to send a link to a site that hosts your trip pix or videos. This is like sending a modern day letter or postcard.
This should get you thinking what you may do on your next outing. Doing a travelogue on the go will take some time away from your holiday time and requires finding a good internet connection which is not always easy to do in a foreign country. Also take note of your data phone plan limits so you don’t max out your bill.
And be aware that posting you trip while you are away could tell thieves you are not home.
I enjoy photographing as I travel; it is not a distraction for me as some may experience. I should shoot more video but try to keep a balance for everyone so it does not turn into a time sucking job.
Personally I prefer enjoying my trip and leave the editing /sharing part to when I get home and can use my faster computer with two screens and suite of software tools.
Now you have a better idea of what you might do with all those thousands of holiday photos and video languishing on drives and memory cards.
Overwhelmed? Likely, so take small steps to get something done.
Have a plan, act on it, take baby steps, eventually you will get to the other side of town.
If you want more insight, listen to the podcast, as I mention other details. Can you think of any other ways to share your trip?