1. journal in list form or short declarative sentences
this is the part that would always get me: i couldn't journal during the trip because i was too busy having fun, i couldn't journal when i got home, because there was too much "wrap-up" to do, and by the time i got around to writing things down months later, the details were lost, and once again i'd give up and just put my photos in an album and my souvenirs in a shoebox! now i plan in advance to just capture the facts. typically, my "days of the week" pages read a bit like this: "woke up early, walked on the beach, drove to the botanical gardens, took the "flora & fauna" tour, met the gang for lunch at the bbq place the tourguide recommended..." and so on. if i hear the perfect quote, or suddenly know EXACTLY the right way to tell the funny story of what my two year old niece said to the waitress at denny's, yes OF COURSE i write it down in more detail; but by going into this project with the idea i won't really be "writing"-- just making a list of everything i did-- REALLY frees me up to get these FINISHED! but the most important, and vital aspect is to...
2. write down the day's events before you go to bed
ok, yeah, this part sounds daunting. but i PROMISE it's only going to take 10 to 15 minutes, and it is the crucial factor in really remembering what you did which day and with whom. by doing this you will capture all the facts from which more detailed journaling can be done later. (or not!) plus, this is the only thing you need to accomplish each night, except that it will do your morale a world of good if you also...
3. add your souvenirs to the book each night
i punch a hole in postcards and brochures (amy tangerine has a GREAT tip for tri-folds!) so that they become their own pages; i like to staple ticket stubs right to their accompanying brochure, and if a museum or theme park has given us a badge or sticker for admission, i'll peel it off my jacket at the end of the day and stick it on there too! restaurants often have takeaway menus with the same selections offered on site, this is a great way to remember what everyone had to eat and whether it was a tasty treat or an expensive disappointment. i collect business cards from anywhere we shop, and write what we've bought on the back. putting the stuff in its home right away serves two purposes: for one thing, the fact that your book is ALREADY COMING TOGETHER on day two is a giiiiiiiiiiiiiant morale booster (& totally converts fellow travellers into helping you collect "the stuff") also, it eliminates the intimidating factor of having sort through a giant pile when you get home, deciding what to use and what not to use, and how to construct the "perfect" scrapbook page. if...and only if... you have extra time and energy on a few evenings you can also...
4. (optionally) write separate pages or postcards about specific attractions
when i am preparing my pages before the trip, i like to make one for each place we think we're going to go. sometimes, our plans change when we get there, and they turn out to be superfluous, but since they're only made of plain old index stock from staples, i don't mind wasting them, because the coolness of having an "official" page on which to write about longwood gardens, or the metropolitan museum of art on the same day you've been there, is hard
to beat! if i don't have time to do this "on the road" it is not hard to use my "days of the week" pages to complete them at home. if anything particularly interesting or funny happens which i don't have time to write about, i make a note on a postie, just to remind myself that i wanted to include it.
THAT, my friends, is truly ALL that you need to do during the trip--and this is what you bring home at the end of vacation!