I've been on quite a few trips over the last couple of years. In other words, I've spent a lot of money on study abroad. :) Everywhere I go I buy tons of postcards. They are probably my favorite souvenir because most of the time the pictures are certainly better than the ones I take myself. Because I have soo many, I've been trying to come up with some ideas on how to use them as opposed to them just sitting in box in a closet.
1. The reason why I started buying so many is because they are by far the cheapest and easiest souvenir you can buy. You might be able to find something like a pencil or plastic keychain that might be cheaper but it will be cheap quality and might not survive the suitcase home. Put postcards in a plastic bag and lay them flat at the bottom of your suitcase or in the front zip pockets. In the plastic almost no harm can come to them!
The sad part is that this is barely a fraction of all that I have.
2. For students traveling, really for any reason, if there are people who gave you money or support of any kind for your travels, a fun way to send your thank you notes is on postcards within the first week of your leaving. Don't wait any longer than that because chances are the person has noticed that you have not sent a thank you note, this will just be a pleasant surprise to them! (If going to a country where you don't speak the language, do some research on the kind of stamps you will need, it's different in every country and if your not careful your note will just be lost).
3. We've all been there, fully charged battery and brand new memory card but we are unable to take photos because of the rules of whatever museum we are in. Or, better yet, we can take pictures, but not with flash and with the darker lighting in most museums that just means you won't be able to see the picture when you inevitably try to take the picture.
Sometimes it's easier and considerably less painful to buy postcards of your favorite parts of the exhibit and use those to scrapbook.
I wish I had been able to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, but understandably you can't, the paint has not weathered the years well. *The paper is DCWV Old World and the Alpha Stickers are Recollections Alpha Stax
4. For those special people you bring gifts home for, use a postcard from the place where you bought the gift and a gift tag. On the back write when you were there and what you did and the significance of what you brought back for them.
5. Lots of times, you will be able to find postcards with pictures of what the place/building/monument looked like when it was built. These vintage photos are fun to do side-by-side comparisons with your pictures of what it looks like now.
The picture on the left is what it looked like during the 40s I believe, however, the tower is significantly older than that. The picture in the middle is a cork postcard (Portugal is famous for cork), and the picture on the right is mine! *The paper is DCWV World Traveler, the Alpha Stickers are a ColorBok Alpha Stax I colored with a blue Gelly Roll Stardust pen, the rick rack is K&Company Travel Borders, and the Wave Stickers are Jolee.
6. Shadow boxes are a good way to display your travels, however, I prefer my scrapbooks. So, I found, seeing as postcards are about the same size as photos, they make great collages. You can do haphazard ones on a cork board with staples or you can put them in frames and make an arrangement with them. Your photos with you in them are wonderful, but making an arrangement of postcards is kind of like creating your own art.
7. A super cute, borderline kitschy, way to use your postcards is to find 52 that are about the same size and make your own custom deck of cards!
For the background I used my new favorite cartridge, Ornamental Iron 2. I used it again for the letters and numbers. For the suits I printed out a picture of each using the symbols function in MS Word, then I used them as stencils for cardstock.
8. An easy quick use it to turn them in to bookmarks. You can edge them with fun scissors or mount them on cardstock. You can add ribbons, borders, glitter, anything you want!! And then, every time you read a book you will look at that postcard and remember all the fun you had at that place!!
9. On Pinterest last week I saw several repins of this idea of using scrapbook paper for custom coasters. They were soo cute and then it hit me, what if I used my postcards instead of scrapbook paper?! It turned out fantastic! Because I used tiles, my sister has decided that she's going to make some to and then keep making them as she goes on her travels. Then, when someday she is ready to settle down in a home she can use the tiles as a back splash in her kitchen! Here is the tutorial I followed on The Cottage Mama. If you have never been to her blog you need to check out the rest of her posts, amazing!!
The tiles were $0.13 at Home Depot, I used the Rustoleum equivalent of the Krylon spray, and I used homemade mod podge. I've already tested them out with really condesated glasses and they work fantastic!! I had to cut down my post cards a little but I picked ones with pictures that looked almost better in tile size!
10. Some people keep travel journals, while others find it hard to sit still long enough to write about what they did every day. I fall somewhere in the middle. I found it easier to take one postcard from everything I did and everywhere I went that day and just jotted down quick thoughts about the day and the things we did. Then as I go through them to scrapbook, it doesn't matter how many months or even years it's been, I can read what I wrote and it's like that day happened yesterday.
I hope these inspire you to bring home more postcards!! If you have any other ideas or anything you do with postcards you want to share let me know!! I would love some more ideas so I can use up all the ones I have!