Your best tips for planning/scrapping a vacation album?

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Posted 10/5/2012 by jennyap in General Scrappin'


PeaNut 379,453
June 2008
Posts: 4,364
Layouts: 59
Loc: UK

Posted: 10/5/2012 10:13:13 AM
I'm sure this must have been posted lots before, but I couldn't find anything when I searched.

DH and I took a long road trip vacation this summer, and I have a veritable ton of photos. A four-figure ton, no less.

I'm in the early stages of planning the resulting album. Lots to do - for one thing I need to have a thorough cull of the photos before I even start picking which ones I'll scrap.

I've got a rough outline of what I think I want to scrap - days, places, stories. As I sort the photos and re-read my daily notes I'll probably find a few things I've forgotten about. I figure I'm going to end up with around 100 LOs. I mostly scrap single pages, but there will be some doubles in this album for sure.

I've also got all the memorabilia I picked up on the way sorted - I got a regular sugar paper scrapbook and used washi tape to paste everything in there in order. Anything I want to use in my main album I can just take out again

So I've made a good start, but now what? I'm usually a haphazard non-chrono scrapper, so all this planning is a bit alien to me

I'd love to hear all your best tips for doing an album this way, please Peas!


PeaNut 13,202
March 2001
Posts: 4,266
Layouts: 33
Loc: an Aussie in Germany

Posted: 10/5/2012 10:26:20 AM
When I do Travel albums, the first thing I do is make a list of the LOs I want to include. Then I chose the photos for each LO. Sometimes, I end up adding a few more LOs to the list, because of the number of photos, or because there are some that need a special LO (like the photo of the cafe in Vienna, that was my family name - more a 'ha, how funny' page than anything really to do with the vacation)

Once I have my big stack of photos back, I sort them into LO groups and store them - either in divided PP or a photo box - ready to scrap.

I then scrap whatever I feel like doing at the time - I don't worry about the order. Once the LOs are done, I worry about sorting them into the album. Because of the inital LO list, I have some idea of the order they need to go in, so I can leave space for pages yet to come. I don't stress too much about strict chrono order - sometimes I even use photos from 2 different days on the same page - but for a Road Trip chrono order might be more important.


PeaNut 526,634
November 2011
Posts: 443
Layouts: 11
Loc: Elk River, MN

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:17:07 AM
I work one day at a time. Each day we download the pictures that we took and put them into their days folder with a little journaling on work of what happened that day.
Once I start on my albums, I do the cover, content page and then a page of who the photographers are and put any dedications. I then start on day one, I don't worry about how many layouts for each day, I just do them as I go. I do however look at my thinking notebook for any special LO I thought of, but once the first day is scrapped, then I move onto the next. I only print pictures for the day that I'm working on and the next day just in case I finish the day I was working on. I do this until the album is complete. Then I dance around the house!
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PeaNut 295,246
February 2007
Posts: 1,157
Layouts: 27
Loc: Honolulu, HI

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:22:08 AM
Ditto what Twinkiejo said.

Vacation scrapbooks are like a diary of the day's activities. At the end of each vacation day I will do a one (usually) or two page journal of what we did (this way I am not journaling on each page).


PeaNut 260,218
May 2006
Posts: 2,153
Layouts: 31
Loc: Missouri

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:26:16 AM
I was going to suggest doing a mini album for your vacation, which is what I do, but 100 layouts. Wow. That is a lot. I would probably really take a discerning eye to my pics and chop that number down. I usually do 1-2 pages per each day. For example, I don't think a beach layout for each day of your trip is necessary. I will normally do a collage and include the pics on one layout, etc. 2Peas has two classes here that are good if you are working on a vacation album. The class by Nancy and the mini album class by Marcy has a lot of organization and planning information. Good luck with your project.


PeaNut 300,616
March 2007
Posts: 95
Layouts: 3
Loc: Canada

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:27:41 AM
Sounds like I work the way you do. I keep my notes and memorabilia organized as the trip happens and the I start organizing photos when I get home.

For actually making the pages I just start by making a short list of the most important stories I need to tell. I'll make the layouts for those stories, then I'll make another list of the second most important stories I need to tell. Rinse and repeat.

I like it that way because if I happen to get burnt out before I get all of the pictures scrapped, at least I've got an album of the most important memories. I can always come back to the album later on and fill in the gaps if I really want to.
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PeaNut 479,819
August 2010
Posts: 812
Layouts: 15
Loc: PTC, GA

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:30:17 AM
2Peas offers a class (for purchase) aobut scrapping family vacations.

Scrapbooking Family Vacations

I haven't taken it yet but I really want to.


PeaNut 446,722
November 2009
Posts: 2,649
Layouts: 5

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:42:45 AM
I would choose a paper collection and use it for the entire album. It will make it go much faster if you don't have to select paper for 100 separate layouts and the album will feel more cohesive.


PeaNut 547,027
March 2012
Posts: 1,428
Layouts: 49
Loc: Vancouver, BC - Canada

Posted: 10/5/2012 11:52:33 AM
If you check out my blog, in the archives you'll find 2 massive scrapbooks from my 6 week trip to Central America. That may help you...

I do chronological order for all my my trips. Dates, places, foods, smells... Memories!
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PeaNut 379,453
June 2008
Posts: 4,364
Layouts: 59
Loc: UK

Posted: 10/5/2012 2:50:24 PM

100 layouts. Wow. That is a lot. I would probably really take a discerning eye to my pics and chop that number down. I usually do 1-2 pages per each day.

That's without even looking at the photos, just from memory of the places/things I want to scrap I probably will condense some more down into single LOs, but that will mean going from single to double pages mostly, so I don't know how much it will actually reduce the overall # of pages.

We travelled from Vancouver BC to San Francisco over the course of 3 weeks, and we packed a LOT in! It's not as though we had days and days of beach photos etc, every day was totally different. I have about 2400 photos...

I'll be honest, I can't bear the though of using just a single collection for the whole album. I think I'd be sick of it by the end. What we did/saw was so varied I can't imagine one collection working with all the photos. Plus I really need to use my stash But I will definitely limit it to maybe 4 collections at most, and try spread them out across the album.

For actually making the pages I just start by making a short list of the most important stories I need to tell. I'll make the layouts for those stories, then I'll make another list of the second most important stories I need to tell. Rinse and repeat.

I like it that way because if I happen to get burnt out before I get all of the pictures scrapped, at least I've got an album of the most important memories. I can always come back to the album later on and fill in the gaps if I really want to.

That is a GREAT tip! I really like the sound of that approach.

If you check out my blog, in the archives you'll find 2 massive scrapbooks from my 6 week trip to Central America.

I just had a peek, they are awesome, thanks for sharing!

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 35,782
April 2002
Posts: 5,098
Layouts: 1

Posted: 10/5/2012 3:43:35 PM
I think in this case you shouldn't limit yourself as to how many layouts you want to make for this album. I took a trip to Japan recently and even though I now know all of these layouts won't fit in one album, so what? I just add volume 2 and so on. If it's a long or incredible trip who cares how many layouts you end up with-isn't that the point of scrapping?

First of all I would go through your photos, look at them and then compare like photo to like photo, choose the best to print and move on to the next two or three. Obviously cull out those that are out of focus, or just didn't come out right. Next what I do is send those photos to somewhere (all that are left) to be printed.

When I scrap the photos are the focus for me, so I like to put around 3-4 4x6 photos per page. If you are scrapping more in the trendy style of one photo per page, you might want to cull your photos even further.

Once I get the photos back I can flip through them all and see what I have. Much easier to me than looking on a screen and planning. I keep them in the order I took them (day by day on the trip-they come back that way from the printer because they are already numbered that way on the memory card, which makes it so much easier on my brain. So, I'll start on photos taken while on the plane and include the plane tickets and then journaling about the trip. (An example). If the next group of photos are shots of the hotel and hotel room I'll include a business card from the hotel and journal on the hotel's free stationary. The next group of photos will be the ones from day one of the trip usually so I'll go on picking photos in my stack from that day to include in a layout and add in memorabilia, journaling, and whatever else I want.

Whew that was a lot! I don't know why I do it this way, it's just always worked for me. A great tip is to journal (not perfect journaling, just notes of what, where and so on) for each group of photos as soon as you see them on the screen. Shutterfly gives you the option to print this on the back of their photos, but they have a limit per photo so it usually doesn't work for me. I can be long-winded as you can see. I just make the notes and keep them with the photos and memorabilia. Then when I do get around to making that particular layout I already have the notes I need to do the journaling.

And really consider using your memorabilia as embellishments. Years from now would you rather see the actual plane ticket with all of the info from your flight on it, or a pre made look alike plane ticket embellishment? I'd rather have the real thing.

Debbie in MD.


PeaNut 268,110
July 2006
Posts: 3,699
Layouts: 37
Loc: New Braunfels, TX

Posted: 10/5/2012 4:50:28 PM
I don't limit layouts either. I have had multiple albums for a trip. It's more important for me to tell the story.

I plan out every single vacation album before I even pick paper. It's a total lifesaver for me, and enables me to work on any layout I want at any time without losing my place! I LOVE it!

My process:

First I get all my photos for the album printed. Then I date stamp the back and divide them into their appropriate days along with any memorabilia.

Then I take each pile from each day and decide on groupings, layouts and titles. I sketch the layout and see if any photo needs to be resized. I put a sticky note on the back of each - new size if needed, and if I need to convert it to b&w. Then I stick the "layout" (photos with the sketch) in a ziploc baggie.

I then spend a few evenings a week resizing the pics and printing them out. I put the newly sized pics back in the ziploc and take out the originals (I usually trash them). Then I decide the order that all the baggies will go in, which depends on single vs double page layouts. I set all that up and then start plugging in the titles onto an album planning worksheet. Each layout then gets a number (in order, starting on the intro page) and a sticky note with that number is then placed into the ziploc bag. I then put all the baggies into page protectors in a 3-ring binder (1-2 bags per protector). The page planner sheet also goes in there.

So...when I feel like doing a layout, I grab the binder, pull a baggie, do the layout, and know EXACTLY where it goes in my album based on it's number! It took me 2 years to finish a spring break album once, but not a page was out of place and it all flowed smoothly due to this system!

BTW - I use the album planner pages here - I print out multiples.


PeaNut 503,801
March 2011
Posts: 1,874
Layouts: 270
Loc: West Texas

Posted: 10/5/2012 5:44:59 PM
About 90% of my scrapping is vacation pictures. I recently completed a Road Trip to New Mexico. I try to find sketches and layout in which there are multi photos on one page. I love the 12 x 12 overlays at

I do basically what sueg stated. I also stopped putting all my pages in albums as there are just way too many page and I scrap heavily embellished, so I replaced my albums with IRIS boxes.

When I did my Alaska cruise album I did use the divided page protectors just because I have over 900 photos. I did not like it in the end and I would not do it again.

If your interested, check out my gallery. I have several vacation layouts in it.


PeaNut 198,192
March 2005
Posts: 2,301
Layouts: 22
Loc: Ohio

Posted: 10/5/2012 7:31:29 PM
I love vacation scrapping!!

I do nearly exactly what Wookiemouse said. I have tried to print pics as I go along to avoid multiple prints. But for me it doesn't work. I need to be able to see the originals first, then order other sizes as needed as I go along.

Something to think about- decide whether you like or want to do pages in order of dates or mix things up or both. I like doing both within the same trip/album. I usually do a review by day and then add pages with more depth for big travel stops/events, some pages comparing/contrasting different stops within the trip, and some general stories (like the food, the weather, the scenery, etc.).

Have fun! Sound like a great project to keep you busy!
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Mama 2b&j

PeaNut 302,574
March 2007
Posts: 469
Layouts: 5

Posted: 10/5/2012 9:02:53 PM
Lots of great advise on albums. Don't worry about number of LOs we went to Europe 2 years ago for 3 weeks and I have tons for that trip.

When I do a vacation album I usually pick out 1 set of pp and then use white/Kraft/black for the background with the pp and matching embellishments.

But when we do a vacation with multiple stops, I use a different pp for each stop. So I have one pp for London, another one for Oslo, etc. that's why I like, to use the same color for the backgrounds because that keeps the flow.

Oh and I love pictures so I have also included several of those divided page protectors that fit 12 of the 4x6 pix if there are more that I want to include but not on LOs


PeaNut 218,999
August 2005
Posts: 3,546
Layouts: 36
Loc: Ontario, Canada

Posted: 10/6/2012 8:25:46 AM

I would choose a paper collection and use it for the entire album. It will make it go much faster if you don't have to select paper for 100 separate layouts and the album will feel more cohesive.

I do this sortof. I'm working on our Disney album from 2009 - first BIG family trip we took. I kept with the theme of (mainly)black, red and yellow pages. So whether the topic was princesses or pumpkins or Mickey, the pages all go.

I also did the list of topics, stories and places I wanted to scrap and just crossed them off as i went. I didn't work on them in order, and I've even worked on other stuff in between, but I know I won't forget anything because it's on the list.

Paisleys Garden

PeaNut 464,263
April 2010
Posts: 2,872
Layouts: 8
Loc: MinneSNOWta

Posted: 10/6/2012 8:50:16 AM
I'm almost done with my Yellowstone vacation albums--2 weeks, 700 photos (300 printed), 18--2 page layouts so far, and 8 more to go. I've been getting 5-11 photos on each page (some are severely cropped). Figure an average of 8 photos per layout is 140 photos so far.

Sorted my photos by event/day.

Started with the 1st day; moved the pictures around on 12x12 card stock to get a basic layout and figure out what fits and what looks best. (The ones that don't work out go in pockets in the back of the book)

Then pick out pp and sketch my layout. Sometimes I have a sketch in mind.

I started out using the same collection but was so sick of it after 2 layouts I moved on I have actually been using a lot of paper from a paper pad I never thought I'd use.

I found maps on the internet, made copies of Yellowstone map, and the states that we went through. Trimmed them up and marked location with a brad. They are about 2"x2". Nice embellishment.

It's been a fun project!


PeaNut 198,489
March 2005
Posts: 3,254
Layouts: 8
Loc: Sunny Orlando, FL

Posted: 10/6/2012 9:55:30 AM
I was in a similar situation with my honeymoon album. My DH and I spent a month in Thailand and Australia and I ended up with about 4500 photos. I am a slow scrapper by nature and I knew that I would never be able to scrap the entire album.

I did something similar to what Janet did, ordered tons of the WRMK divided page protectors and put my album together that way. It still took me about 6 weeks to plan, print, and assemble. It's one of my favorite albums.

I do plan on going back and scrapping a few 12x12 pages. It should be a breeze since all my journaling is finished and I don't have to worry about losing any of those precious memories.
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That's my island!

PeaNut 174,226
October 2004
Posts: 7,829
Layouts: 0
Loc: Central Texas/Port Aransas

Posted: 10/6/2012 9:59:16 AM
I have had vacation photos stacking up for years and it was so overwhelming. I knew I could never get caught up! I decided to do like Cherrypicker. I bought Project Life for them. I'm using Clementine for all of our cruises and Cobalt for all of our trips to the mountains plus a lot of other digital PL supplies I've gathered over the years. I am loving it! I get the photos and memorabilia in an album for us to see and then I can concentrate on making the layouts for the stories I really want to tell. I love the different sizes and formats in an album, so it all just really works well for me. And it goes so much faster!

I just got home from Hawaii. I took over 2000 pictures, which I still need to weed out a little. DH took 744. And then there are iPhone pics. No way I can scrap all of that, but I do have a few special stories I want to tell. Those will get layouts. The rest, I will use PL.

Jennifer L

PeaNut 333,597
August 2007
Posts: 599
Layouts: 264
Loc: Minnesota

Posted: 10/6/2012 11:48:44 AM
I agree with making a list of page ideas to organize my photos in before I print them. (Can be done after printing too.) To make the whole process easier, I use one coordinated line and the same design each year. If you scroll through my gallery, you can find my album from Olympic National Park to see what I mean.

Photo HapPEA!

PeaNut 110,614
October 2003
Posts: 9,115
Layouts: 326
Loc: Ã…rhus, Denmark

Posted: 10/6/2012 12:20:53 PM
I don't limit my number of layouts, either. When I get my photos printed, I organize them by the day they were taken (or the location, whichever makes more sense). I then scrap whatever inspires me. At the end of it, I've scrapped my favourite memories and places. Whatever is leftover that I still want to include gets put on either a collage style layout or in divided page protectors.

Stuck In The Bucket

PeaNut 494,372
January 2011
Posts: 703
Layouts: 173
Loc: Wisconsin

Posted: 10/6/2012 1:31:25 PM
Nancy Damiano's Scrapping your Vacation workshop has some great tips and such. I know someone mentioned it already. I did order it. She has a lot of great ideas on organizing everything, page ideas, making pages with all of your memorabilia, etc. She covered it all!! Lot of good stuff on there.


PeaNut 379,453
June 2008
Posts: 4,364
Layouts: 59
Loc: UK

Posted: 10/6/2012 4:47:54 PM
Thanks for all the great tips ladies! I'm definitely considering Nancy's class, looks good.

If you scroll through my gallery, you can find my album from Olympic National Park to see what I mean.

The ONP was one of the places we visited, so it's fun to see someone else's photos of lots of the same places! I really like your LOs, bookmarked you


PeaNut 422,247
May 2009
Posts: 4,784
Layouts: 316
Loc: Queens NYC

Posted: 10/9/2012 12:37:34 PM
i went to cali, arizona and vega in a week and took way to many pages so i did lots of flip flap page protector sheet lo and it worked out great

Why, YES!, I am a princess.

PeaNut 417,049
March 2009
Posts: 12,906
Layouts: 0

Posted: 10/9/2012 12:50:45 PM
I had about 1500 pictures when we came back from Hawaii.

I started by sorting by day.
Then within the day by the subjects
I took those pics and put them in individual small envelopes. If I had additional stuff for the pages (tickets, etc.) I put them with the evelope for that subject and put everything in a zip lock.

Then I took my Scrapbook Generations sketch books and matched layouts to the pics and tabbed each page.

I bought about 3 paper lines and starting scrapping. I'm about half way through and will probably end up with 3 albums from it. With everything sorted this way, I can jump around or walk away for a while and come back.


PeaNut 997
July 1999
Posts: 4,441
Layouts: 12
Loc: Kansas City, MO

Posted: 10/9/2012 2:58:36 PM
I do them a couple of ways.
1) Deluxe Designs template and a line of paper (usually with some coordinates thrown in for punch). The template will give me 8 layouts all balanced - the line of paper gives me continuity. I can go daily, place/event, or ABC style very easily within that framework

2) Pocket page style -- again I'll use a line of paper with coordinates thrown in. I can essentially prepare an album ahead of time - titles for events or places; journaling cards; 4x6 "decor" pieces or just 4x6 pattern paper -- and fill in as needs require when I start inserting/cropping photos. That way, I'll generally also know if I want a larger size picture for a specific page -- for example: I knew I'd want a portrait style 5x7 photo of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. When I went to have photos printed, I could choose the image I wanted for that particular pre-made page.

Frankly, it is the single line of paper (with a few coordinates) that makes it all work more easily for me.


PeaNut 93,552
June 2003
Posts: 3,136
Layouts: 64
Loc: Canada

Posted: 10/9/2012 3:01:31 PM
Another vote for Project Life and/or other divided page protectors. We spent two weeks in Utah and Arizona this summer, and it's how I'm doing my album. I do a title page for each section (Zion, Grand Canyon etc.) that's an 8.5x11 full page photo with the destination name added in Photoshop. Back side of that page is a park map. Then I use a combo of the different page and pocket sizes depending on what the day or activities were like. For example - scenery is mostly landscape shots; the day we spent rock climbing I took mostly vertical shots, etc. My ticket stubs/memorabilia are generally going in the smaller 3x4 pockets. When I have a story to tell that won't fit on a 4x6 card, I use a 6x12 insert. I took a couple thousand pics and am including maybe 300 of them this way. It's not everything, but it's plenty to tell the story. In the last page protector I put the journal I wrote in each day of the trip. I also burned a DVD with a highlight video that we put together (culled from all of our video footage and set to music) so that all my trip-related stuff is kept in one spot.

I am getting a little burnt out now though... next trip (a simpler beach vacation) I am going to do a photo book with a single page of journalling for each day of the trip and call it done!


PeaNut 325,126
June 2007
Posts: 228
Layouts: 1
Loc: Orange, CA

Posted: 10/9/2012 10:01:18 PM
I also scrap almost exclusively vacation photos. And we travel a lot! So, what do you do when you've spent three weeks in Japan and have TONS of photos!? I have taken both Nancy Damiano's Scrapbook Family Vacations and Lisa Truesdale's "Divide and Conquer" class and they were SO HELPFUL. They totally changed the way I approach vacation scrapping now. I used to only use CM albums (which I still love) but I would run out of steam half way through - the album became like a chore, rather than a pleasure.

Now, after taking these two classes, I am getting more done, faster, and feel like I can finally "catch up"! I am finishing an album of our trip to Paris in March (will probably end up in two albums - it's huge) and am just about to start one of our yearly trip to Orlando/Disneyworld.

Try those two classes. You will not be sorry you spent the money and they will help you get organized.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 34,233
March 2002
Posts: 5,640
Layouts: 100
Loc: MN

Posted: 10/10/2012 12:32:49 AM
I have a couple approaches that I use depending on the legnth of the trip.

If it's a short trip, I do a mini album with 1 or 2 pictures per page that show just the highlights of the trip. I don't do more than 18 pages plus title page and ending wrap up page. I just pick the things that are most important to me.

For a trip of about a week or a little more, I make a list of things I want to include. I usually go by date/event. Then I make sticky notes for each event and stick them to page protectors. I pick pictures and drop them in each page protector. I also include any sketches, cs, pp, embellies in the the page protector. I just finished an album of a trip to Texas and it went together very quickly.

For a longer trip with lots of photos, I take the project life approach. Spent 3 weeks in Europe in 2011. I did mostly divided page protectors with room for some journaling. I did a few 12x12 LOs like my youngest DD making friends with animals in every country and some other funny moments. It was just way too overwhelming to do traditional LOs for all of it. I also followed this approach for my DD's orchestra trip to Germany and Austria. She had 400 photos and I wasn't with her for the trip.


PeaNut 527,882
November 2011
Posts: 48
Layouts: 0

Posted: 10/10/2012 8:10:24 AM
Another option I've used for long weekends or other trips with fewer photos (~150) is to use photo albums with 2 4x6 photos to the page and just use some of the pockets for journaling or memorabilia. This is based on Stacy Julian's idea of Photo Album Scrapbooks - she has more on her blog or in her books.
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