Saving Travel Keepsakes

Still recovering from jet lag over here but I’m glad to be home. Thanks again to Jessika for keeping my blog alive!

We had an absolutely unforgettable trip. Naturally, when you have a two-week adventure, you are bound to pick up some keepsakes. How do I keep track of everything and not lose an important ticket stub along the way? I’m still traumatized that I lost my Price is Right pricetag name badge in college.

Yup, you guessed it: I have a system. I came up with this idea after the husband and I took our very first trip together.

Meet the Master Envelope


Take a large manila envelope with you on your next trip. They are really cheap and can be found in drugstores and office supply stores.

The Master Envelope has three very important functions.

One: Itineraries and Confirmations

Before the trip, I print out all of our transportation and lodging confirmations and put them in the envelope.

Yes, most of these things can be accessed online these days but you never know when you’ll need to produce a hard copy. I was thankful I did this when I found out that airports in the Middle East require a printed itinerary before they even let you inside to the ticket counter!

Print all confirmations/itineraries and put them in the envelope.

Two: Receipts

From hotels to lunches and shopping, we generate a surprising amount of receipts during our trips. We never know when we will need to refer to something. At the end of each day, all receipts get deposited into the envelope.

All receipts during the trip go in the envelope.

Three: Keepsakes

Most importantly, the envelope is the master repository for all of our keepsakes. At the end of the day, we both empty our pockets and I empty my purse. Every ticket stub, map, boarding pass or similar item is put in the envelope. This way we don’t drop something or let something get crumpled up in my purse.

I err on the side of over-inclusiveness and save purging for when I get home.

Organizing and Purging

Within a couple of days of getting home, I empty the envelope and organize it.

First, we take all the receipts and check them against our online accounts (for ATM and credit card transactions). This is especially important if you are traveling internationally.

Next, I take “big receipts” and file them away. These are things such as hotel our travel agency bills. Other receipts that I checked against our accounts online or were for cash purchases get shredded along with our confirmation pages that I printed at the beginning of the trip.

Finally, I go through our keepsakes and do some light purging. For example, I don’t need two copies of the Air France dinner menu. I’ll keep one and give my niece the other one. Maybe I won’t end up using it in my scrapbook, but I’ll keep it until I actually work on the layouts.

Left: stuff to keep. Right: stuff for the shredder.

I end up with a “keep” and “shred” pile. The “keep” pile goes back into the envelope and is labeled and saved for when it’s time to scrapbook.

Speaking of scrapbooking, what am I going to do with all of these ticket stubs? We quickly found out on our trip that all tourist sites in Egypt are centrally regulated and you get a neat ticket stub/keepsake from each site. I have two of each, it’s a HUGE stack!

These are going to make an interesting layout at some point.

I bet by now you want to see pictures. At least, I hope you want to see pictures. Stay tuned Thursday!

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16 thoughts on “Saving Travel Keepsakes

  1. Welcome home! It looks (from the ticket stubs alone!) like you had an amazing adventure. It will be fun to live vicariously through your pics (I hope you’ll share a few here).

    My husband and I have a similar system for saving bits and pieces from our trips (though we don’t take many)– we use one of the flat pockets on the inside of our suitcase :)

    • Thanks! I went through pictures last night and we ended up taking 7 gigs! I’m picking out my favorites to share!

      We used to not take trips either. We always talked about it but something would always come up. Last year we realized we wouldn’t travel anywhere if we didn’t make it a priority. We took our first big trip last year. The cost of the Middle East trip was defrayed in part by credit card points we’d been saving for a few years. We definitely have the bug now!

  2. I buy things I want to keep, clothes, BEAUTIFUL (not tourist) mugs, handbags, jewllery. I learned a long time ago, the info about where I went is usually on the web.

    Obviously I’m NOT a scrapbooker ;-)

    • Oh trust me, I shopped :) I think it would take a separate post to go over all the shopping we did at bazaars. In terms of souvenirs, we too don’t buy them just to have them, they have to be functional.

      Everywhere we go, we buy something for our Christmas tree and an inexpensive piece of art (often street art) for our wall. We often will try and bring home foodstuffs that we can cook with (it was herbes de provence last year and spices this year). On top of that this year, I brought home a lot of jewelry, clothing and gifts.

  3. I was able to find a large 5 divider envelope at a discount store for $1.00 a few years back before a big family trip. I love using it to organize our travels: itineraries, reservations, receipts, birth certificates (flying with young children) and of course keepsakes. I am excited to dust off the envelope for our summer trip.

  4. love this! i’m a super saver when it comes to memorabilia! i don’t know how big those tickets are, but business card sleeves from the office supply store are great for some… i just slip them into the middle of my regular albums. :)

    thanks for sharing.. found you via house of hepworths! :)

    • They are actually bigger than business cards! At least twice the size! I’m fairly behind in my scrapbooking, so I’ll have some time to think about it. I like the fact that the Egyptian government makes it so you get a souvenir from each site. Thanks for the tip though!

  5. Oh, look at that lovely pile! I love the paper ephemera as much as I love the photos. You’ve got some great stuff! Welcome home – glad you had a great trip! :)

  6. I just got back from Egypt a few months ago and I’ve got my folder full of all the cool Egyptian ticket stubs. I’m curious to see how you make those into a scrapbook because it’s on my “to scrap” list!

    • Please let me know what you end up doing with them! I have to get through the wedding first so I won’t be scrapbooking them for quite a while. I would LOVE to see what you do!

  7. I go to Egypt a couple times a year, and lately have been putting the tickets into the WR Memory Keepers divided pages with the 9 4×4 slots and some nice paper behind them. They usually fit pretty well, though you may have to trim a little if they were torn off badly.

  8. Pingback: Vacation Photobook « Almost Never Clever.

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