Travel Scrapbooking Made Painless

a couple of people looking at a map

Last year I asked Are Traditional Travel Scrapbooks a Thing of the Past? and got great input from readers. In fact, from the comments, I was inspired to give photobooks on Shutterfly another try. My previous complaint had been the excessive amount of time it took to build and design each page, but in the years that had passed they’d made big improvements.

a book of a couple of peopleThe first photo book I made, a Mother’s Day gift for a friend, took about 20 hours, subsequent books took 10 hours or less. And there were other books–the Mother’s Day book was such a hit with friends and family, that photo books of shared trips became the preferred holiday gift!

If you don’t have the time to do a traditional scrapbook but want a more tangible souvenir of your travel than social media, consider photo books. I went with Shutterfly and there were a few things I wish I had known the first time around:

  1. Pick out your photos first! Especially if you’re going to use automated design services. The first time around I uploaded my trip pictures to an album, and used Simple Path. They put together a suggested 60 page layout using all the photos. Oops. Making judgment calls before you upload your pictures will simplify the process.
  2. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Most pages are small and look best with just a few large images, so pick out the best of your photos and avoid clutter.

Full disclosure: I don’t receive any affiliate credit from Shutterfly, they’re the first company I tried and I had a good experience. 

Shutterfly-specific tips

If you only want to do a little editing and like minimalist layouts, try Simple Path. Pages are automatically created with photos in chronological order and they tend to default to only a few photos per page.

If you want more control over when the photos appear, try Storyboard. You choose the photos to appear on each page and they create the layouts.

If you’re short on time or prefer the finished product to the process, try Shutterfly’s Make My Book Service for $9.99. In three days a designer will create the book for you and you only pay the fee if you buy the book.

One of the great things about Shutterfly is the frequent promos that offer the first 20 pages free. Depending on how many you need, you could wind up just paying the $7.99 for shipping.

Free Shutterfly photo book promos I’ve seen recently:

  • Free 8×8 hardcover photo book with code: BOOK4SPRING expires 3/11 
  • Free 8×11 photo book (up to $39.99) with 5 Coke product codes expires 4/2
  • New customers: free 8×8 photo book with code: PHOTOBK expires 3/31

Don’t forget cashback. Go through a cashback portal like TopCashback, BeFrugal, and Ebates to get up to cashback on every purchase.

Would love to know if anyone has had a great experience with other sites.

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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One Comment

  1. Hi Keri – thanks for your photo tips – we’ve had a lot of luck with a company called Social Print Studio – presumably their layout/templates were even easier – as my husband was able to make several different books in a short amount of time – the shipping is fast – the prices reasonable and the products exceptional – they make a style that prints almost a paperback art magazine of your pictures – which is a really nice format for what we wanted – I would assume they make hardcover books as well. It was so easy it made us want to make some extra books to give as gifts too!

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