As I lay on the pool float, I look up at the cloudless blue sky and quietly tell myself “relax”. Almost on cue my mind starts racing to all the things I could or should be doing, listening to the chatter both inside my head and in the world, interrupting this peaceful moment.

Relaxation is not my biggest strength and thus, I might be under-qualified to write this post. However, I’ve worked hard to let go of anxiety and mold my hobby to the life I desire. I’m relaxed about scrapbooking, even if I need to strive for that ease in other areas of my life.

The Memory Keeper's Guide to a Relaxing Vacation

In this post I want to help you feel more mellow about an upcoming adventure by ensuring that the least of your worries is memory keeping. Now I’m not suggesting that you stop capturing moments with your camera, but that you launch into vacation feeling ready.

Avoid these common photo dilemmas with a pre-vacation checklist.

While things can and likely will go wrong, you can use this list of challenges to reduce photo-related anxiety during and after your trip.

1. Your battery dies and you miss the moment. While battery life has always been a concern, the drain on our multi-function devices today makes it all the more important to have a plan.

  • Charge any devices or rechargeable batteries at least two days prior to leaving.
  • Pack needed charging cables and battery chargers, including portable chargers.

2. Your memory card is full. There’s nothing worse than running out of “film” half-way through a trip. Make sure to plan ahead for adequate space so you don’t get stuck.

  • Clear off devices and memory cards to maximize available space.
  • If applicable, bring an additional empty memory card.

3. You forget the names of people and places. Big trips don’t always get scrapbooked right away, but the details that seem so vivid right now will fade.

  • Bring a small notebook to write down key dates and facts to jog your memory later.
  • Use social media or your favorite photo storage site to document some of the details on the fly.

4. You break or lose your camera. The worst is possible, even if not likely, so extra insurance for your memories is worth the effort.

  • Use cloud-based syncing on phones, such as Dropbox Camera Upload or iCloud Photo Sharing, to ensure that a copy is automatically sent elsewhere.
  • If possible, ensure that someone else in your family (even a child) is also taking photos of your vacation with a separate camera.
  • If a laptop is taking the trip, consider making it a habit to offload photos each night.

5. You aren’t in any of the photos. As the family memory keeper, you’re likely taking most of the photos.

  • Consider bringing a tripod, shutter remote, and/or a selfie-stick to help you get into more of the photos.
  • Be conscious of your presence in the visual story, making sure to ask others to snap your picture.

6. You return home with more than 1,000 photos. When the sights are once-in-a-lifetime, it can feel tempting to make your memories from behind the lens.

  • Think about how you want to scrapbook this vacation, if at all. Having a high-level plan will boost your confidence in having “just enough” pictures.
  • Create a habit of taking a few photos and then putting your camera away to more deeply enjoy the experience.

Just an ounce of effort before your trip could prevent a pound of relaxation-interrupting frustration. And if you’re anything like me (i.e. wound a bit tight), you’ll take all the help you can get!