How to Organize Travel Photos (5 Easy Tips)

How to Organize Travel Photos (5 Easy Tips)

Here’s how to organize travel photos with 5 tips that make the whole process easier…

When traveling, you want to immortalize the experience through photographs and videos. Then you realize it will take a lifetime to sort through all of them! 

These snapshots are pieces of your personal history, but these pieces end up jumbled in a mass of not-so-great photos. How do you narrow them down? How do you organize them?

There are apps and online storage you can pay for, but in most cases, free versions will be more than enough IF you don’t have an excess of photos. 

With that in mind, there are 5 easy (and free) things you can do to organize your photos better…

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How to Organize Travel Photos in 5 Easy Steps

These days, our phones, apps, and other smart devices automatically organize them to one degree or another (usually by date). Plus, they make it easy to compile photos into folders with a simple click of “add to folder.”

So, narrowing down which images to keep becomes the real challenge.

That’s the challenge I’m mainly going to help you with today. Because organization always begins with paring down! 

**By the way, if using a traditional camera, you should check out this photographer’s travel backpack.

How to Organize Travel Photos

Tip 1: Delete Duplicate & Subpar Photos Regularly

The first step to organizing travel photos is to get rid of them!! Well, to get rid of a lot of them. With digital photos, it’s so easy to snap a bunch of photos that we overindulge in clicking. 

We end up with several nearly-identical photos. That’s great for capturing the best image but not so great for organization. 

If you have a spare 30 seconds after snapping the photos, quickly flip through them and delete all but one. Keep two at most if you capture different emotions in each! 

If you don’t have time at the moment, make a habit of flipping through your day’s travel photos every evening or the next morning when you sip your coffee. If you don’t, they’ll pile up and you’ll put off doing it until you give up on the mass of photos. 

If you use Google Photos, they have a great feature for deleting duplicates. Some other apps have this feature as well– check to see if the one you use does!

How to Organize Travel Photos
Which one adds to your story?

Tip 2: Only Keep Photos That Add to Your Story

Step 1 is to delete photos, and step 2 is to… delete more photos. Yes, more!

You don’t need to keep a picture of every detail of your trip. Try to narrow them down in the same way you would if filling a small photo album. Which pictures tell the story of your trip?

After all, is that pretty flower you took a picture of really going to matter in 20 years? Is that snapshot of your dessert going to make you yearn for another visit 10 years from now? If so, keep it! But likely, the answer is no, and you might as well delete it now.

If you keep those kinds of photos, they’ll lose meaning over time, and you won’t even remember why you took them in the first place.

You should keep the pictures and videos that capture the special moments you can’t wait to tell people about. Those moments deserve to be front and center… not mixed in with a bunch of ultimately meaningless pictures.

So, delete photos that don’t add to YOUR story, UNLESS they meet the next criteria…

Tip 3: Keep Pictures that Spark Joy

Chances are, you’ve heard of the organization guru Marie Kondo. Her whole philosophy of paring down belongings is based on “sparking joy.”

If a picture doesn’t “spark joy” for you or others when you look at it, discard it. It doesn’t matter if the photo is magazine worthy (although, if it is, I’m guessing it sparks joy… but you get my point.)

Not that I italicized “or others” in the previous paragraph. There’s a very good reason for that, which I’m going to cover now…

How to Organize Travel Photos - don't delete yourself

Tip 4: Don’t Delete Yourself From Your History

People don’t often like pictures of themselves. It’s too easy to notice some flaw… a flaw that stands out to you but not to anyone else. 

In fact, that flaw may be why someone else likes the picture…

That weird smile you made may actually be your husband’s favorite smile of yours. Or that messy hair is how your kids remember you whenever you played with them. 

Don’t delete pictures just because you don’t like how YOU look. You’ll end up a ghost in your vacation photo album. 

That’s not fair to you or your family. They’ll want pictures of YOU (good or bad) to cherish long after you’re gone. Don’t make it hard for them to scrounge up pictures of you!

Tip 5: Don’t “Store” Photos on Social Media

My last tip is an important one! Always backup your photos and don’t “store” your photos on social media. 

Facebook and Instagram are for sharing photos, not storing them. You don’t have control over those platforms and, thus, risk losing pictures and videos if not stored elsewhere. 

Cloud services are a better photo storage option, but that can be problematic, too. For instance, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can backup your photos on Amazon Photos. However, if you cancel your Prime account, you’ll lose your photos.

The best way to store photos, in my opinion, is on a portable external hard drive. That way, you actually have complete control over your photos. As long as you don’t lose it and keep it in a safe place, you’re golden. 

You can also print your favorite photos, which is easy as can be with  Snapfish, Shutterfly, and even Google Photos*. Usually, you get a certain number of free prints every month, and you just pay for shipping. 

These print options can automatically organize your photos into an album, making organization much easier!

*Learn how to make the most of Google Photos with this Learn Google Photos book. It’s written by Google Photos experts and friends of ours, GeeksOnTour.

The New Tech Part of all of this

Magic eraser, filters, and the Sky Tool were used in this image.

Let’s look a little deeper into Google Photos because so many new tools have been released in the last year. Not all editing tools for Google Photos are accessible to free accounts, though. Some Google Photos editing features have a vibrant circle icon and need for a Google One subscription that is currently active. To gain access to extra storage and editing features, you must subscribe to one of the Google One plans.

New tools to explore:

  • Portrait light adjusts the position and strength of the light for portraiture.
  • Blur gives your photographs a backdrop blur. The depth and blur intensity can be changed.
  • Magic eraser removes photobombs and other unsightly things from pictures using your finger.
  • Color focus desaturates the backdrop while maintaining color in the foreground, creating a color focus in the photo.
  • Sky changes the hue and contrast of the sky, and you can choose from various palettes.

These new tools can make your travel photos much better, no matter your skill in taking them.

Go Take More Pictures!

Now that you know how to organize travel photos, it’s time to go take some more! Follow the above tips, and you’ll have a much easier time organizing, storing, and printing your trip pics.

Here are Your Quick Links to all the New Travel Tech

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