How to Document Your Upcoming Road Trip

Clark Griswold Family Vacation Quote

Road trips-an affair long practiced since the automobile became reliable. People have always loved packing up the car and cramming everyone in to make a memorable trip.

Sure, air travel can be quicker but can also come with chaos and stress. Road trips, while perhaps a bit more work, provide a much more relaxed, eye-opening way to venture to your destination. Air travel must be very structured and relies on time sensitivity. On road trips it’s all up to you, the traveler on who, what, when, where, why.

Want to go check out the world’s largest ball of yarn you’ve seen advertised on billboards for the last 100 miles? Go for it.

Driving through the cutest little town and decide to stop for lunch? Why not?

Elvis Presley Plane

One road trip unexpectedly led me to Graceland to check out Elvis Presley’s Estate.

Road trips provide a way to see so much more on a trip than just what’s at the end of the road. Make sure to properly capture and document the journey so you can always remember and share stories.

Be Trigger Happy With Your Camera

In today’s world, everyone seems to have some kind of picture taking device on their person at all times. While I encourage you to try to step away from the distractions these devices can provide, I also encourage you to utilize the cameras on them. If you’re like me and don’t think you can practice self-control of avoiding surfing the web, put your phone on airplane mode. This will save battery as well as keep you from staring at your phone instead of the world around you.

Take as many pictures and videos as your device will allow. I’ve never gotten home from a trip and thought, “why did I take all of these pictures?” Visually capturing your experiences is a fool-proof way to document all of the good, the bad and the crazy your trip may have entailed. Make sure to make it in a few pictures yourself by asking someone else to take a turn snapping the photos. It can be disappointing when you review your pictures later and realize you never made it in a single one. For all anyone not on the trip knows, you weren’t even there!

Using the timer on cameras is also a way to make sure you make it into some pictures like this one taken on a road trip in Iceland.

Using the timer on cameras is also a way to make sure you make it into some pictures like this one taken on a road trip in Iceland.

There are endless uses for these pictures after your trip. You can create a photo book, blow them up for gifts or make Christmas ornaments. The possibilities are infinite.

And make sure to read our tips on backing up photos so you never lose your pictures to the awful demise that can happen to electronics.

Jot it All Down

Spending just a few minutes at the end of each day to write at least one thing about the day’s events can really help when looking back on a trip. I was fortunate enough to travel to Belize in high school with my family. We met so many wonderful people who I have pictures of but with my poor memory, I couldn’t tell you what their names were, where they were from or even where exactly the picture was taken. I now have a designated travel journal that has been all over the country and the world that is so fun to revisit.

Travel Journal

Blogs are also a great way to document a trip with both words and pictures. Take some time to occasionally do a quick recap post throughout the trip or just wait until the end and create one big review. And it gives others a chance to see what you’ve been up to.


We’ve all seen the cutesy hashtags created to document weddings well, create one for your trip! Come up with a fun, original hashtag related to your trip. Ask everyone on the trip to use it when they post on social media. It’s a way to see everyone’s experiences and views on the trip. It’s also a great way for those who couldn’t make the trip and have to live vicariously through you by taking a peek at your endeavors.

Become a Collector

As a kid, my dad tried to get me into collecting novelty spoons. He would get me one at each town we would visit on our many road trips. I ultimately thought it was lame but played along to humor him. Well, it stuck with me and I’ve kept the tradition by tailoring it to my interests. My specific collections have changed over the years from rocks, to shot glasses and other various things. I eventually found that I was just gathering more ‘stuff’ to clutter my house with. Yes, the memories were great but how many decks of cards does one really need?

The past few years my collection has evolved to a more practical compilation. Now, each new place I visit I try to find something I can actually use that is unique to that area. Some examples are earrings hand-made from local metal in a tiny town in Iceland we stopped for lunch, and a cutting board made from wood outside of Government Camp, Oregon.

Another great idea for ski road trips, keep a trail map from each mountain you visit. I’ve framed a few to adorn my walls. Whatever you choose to collect, it’s a fun way to remember special places!

CB Trail Map

Crested Butte Resort Trail Map hanging in my office.

As part of your road trip prep, along with making sure you have the right luggage to bring, include a plan on how you’d like to best document your trip. Your future self will thank you for it.

Bailey Valian

Bailey was born and raised in a small Colorado mountain town called Crested Butte. This is where her love for the outdoors started. She has now found herself in Denver, CO where the mountains aren't too far away. When she's not hiking, camping or skiing in the mountains she enjoys traveling, volunteering, going to sporting events (Go Broncos and Avs!) and making friends with any animal she meets.

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