October 20th, 2015

How to Store and Organize Your Travel Photos and Videos

Any modern-day globetrotter has heaps of photos and videos. Learn how to tame your collection and make it easier to enjoy. 

For those who always carry a camera while exploring a new place, photos and videos are some of the greatest treasures that exist. Memories aren’t perfect, and there’s no better way to capture a Parisian sunset, that breathtaking view of the pyramids, or your summer abroad in Australia than with a trusty camera. In this way, the things that you see and do can live forever.

The problem is, as your photos and videos add up, sooner or later you are going to run into an organization problem. This is a big task, and one that you've likely been putting off, but it's worth conquering. There’s nothing like having your pictures and videos sorted by time and event, making it easier for you to find and enjoy them. Why spend hours looking for a video from five years ago when you could locate it within seconds? Take advantage of this advice, below, so you can get your albums under control.

Loose, Printed Photos

If you have loose, printed photos lying around, now is the time to gather them and put them all in one place. Track down all those pictures that you have scattered in drawers, in between books, and in shoeboxes, and pull them out.

Take some time to sort the photos in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you might organize them chronologically by year or by event (your trip to Europe, your summer cross-country road trip, etc.).

Once you have sorted the pictures, give them a new home. Photo boxes are available just about everywhere that containers are sold and they come in all sorts of colors and sizes. The downside of storing your photos in boxes is that they aren’t as easy to rifle through. If you have the free time, consider purchasing some albums and putting your pictures in these, instead. If you are crafty, go a step further and make scrapbooks. Either way, a little work will yield a lifetime of enjoyment as you look through your photos again and again.

Digital Photos and Video

Organizing your digital photos and videos is a little more complicated, but even more important. In today’s era of camera phones and inexpensive digital cameras, it's all too easy to take thousands of pictures and record hours of footage. It's hard to look through all of those images and videos if they're not sorted—plus, if your device gets damaged, hacked, or simply dies on you, you risk losing all of your data if it's not backed up appropriately. In addition, since photo files and video files are large, you will probably reach a point at which your phone's hard drive or your camera's memory card becomes full, and unless you're backing up your data elsewhere, you won't be able to capture more photos or videos. 

So, first of all, make sure that the date and time are set correctly on your camera. That way, your photos will always be tagged with the correct date and this will make them easier to sort.

Then go through your photos and videos and delete all the ones that are dark and blurry (as well as the ones where your thumb is covering the frame!). This step is hugely important as it will keep your collection down to a manageable size.

Next, decide how you want to back up your photos and videos. Explore free options, such as Google Photos, or shell out a few bucks a month for an app like Dropbox, Google Drive, Shoebox, or Mylio that will ensure that your pictures stay backed up—even if your hard drive or phone fails.

Another option is to invest in a photo printer, which would allow you to have paper copies of every photo and display them in an album for your coffee table. 

Going forward, make things easier on yourself by organizing photos as you take them or soon after you take them. (The next time you're early to an appointment or you're waiting on a friend to show up to a restaurant, take a few minutes to go through your photos and videos.) Keep only the “keepers," delete the rest, and back up your devices regularly.

By following these simple tips, you'll have easy access to your data and peace of mind. And before you grab your backpack and head out on your next adventure, you’ll know that you have a plan for keeping all your future memories safe and sound. Wherever you go, make sure that your phone/camera, cords, and chargers are safe by packing them in an eTools Organizer Pro that will help keep them protected from dirt, water, and damage while you travel.

Shannon O’Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008; she travels slowly and supports grassroots tourism along the way. She is an acclaimed travel speaker and works with universities and businesses all over the U.S. to talk about the role travel can play in helping support developing countries and increasing global connection. 

by Shannon ODonnell

Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term traveler who has been on the road since 2008; she travels slowly and supports grassroots tourism along the way. She is an acclaimed travel speaker and works with universities and businesses all over the U.S. to talk about supporting developing countries.

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