Today, we have Leslie Gonce guest posting. You may remember her as the author of How To: Make a Vacation Photo Book. She is also the talented artist behind the I Love NY photo book winner in our Two Weeks of Love Contest.

Here she is again to help you start your next vacation photo book!

My family and I love to travel. Our motto has become, “collecting memories, not things”. We are on a pursuit to collect memories in all fifty states. The last state we visited was Alaska. There were endless photography opportunities in this beautiful state. Some may say I am a bit obsessive about capturing all my travel memories, but I choose to think of it as ‘extreme documentation.’ When I turn my huge amount of photos into Picaboo photo books, they take on new form. I love opening up my photo books whenever I want to relive my travel adventures – the funny stories, the cultures, the climate, and the priceless moments spent with my family!

Creating travel photo books can be intimidating. This is especially true if you take as many photos as I do.  Just call me your travel photo book guru! I hope my book inspires you and helps you create your own travel memory books.

alaska - front cover

Here are five things that I make sure to include in all my travel books:

#1  Scenery

I know this may seem like an obvious part of a travel photo book. Of course you’ll want shots of the snowy mountains, beach sunrise, local architecture, unique animals, or city skylines. However, many people forget to enjoy the smaller details. These are the photos that will complete your unique travel story. Include shots of what you had to wear on your feet in interesting places, street signs (maybe in a different language), leaves on the ground or flowers in bloom to show the season, and so forth. In Alaska, a huge part of our travel story was the highways we were driving on.

alaska - feet

alaska - highway

#2 People

I love talking to the locals wherever we travel. I’ve heard some of the most interesting stories and met some of the most intriguing folks on my trips. I always try to get a shot of the people we meet, our tour guides, or people that have been helpful to us, and, of course, pictures of my family and me in all the interesting places we end up!

alaska - people (santa)

#3 The Nitty-Gritties

This may be where I DO become obsessive. I tend to include more details in my travel books than most people would. Even though it is a tedious step in my process, trust me, the results are worth the time!

Here is a list of some of the nitty-gritties I love to include in my travel books.


Sometimes I get really detailed with my itinerary, but other times, it’s just an overview of the trip. I use captions with my photos to document each day and what the major highlights were.

alaska - itinerary

Getting there

I love using shots of our excitement as we head toward our destination. If we fly, I include pictures of the view from the airplane window. When we drive, I add photos of the rental car and shots of us along the way. These can be some of the funniest photos too. Because of my travel obsession, my kids have gotten used to long car rides and cramped flights. However, if your kids are not accustomed to trips, traveling can be a bit, well, hectic. You still want to capture these moments. When you look back at those hilarious photos of them kicking and screaming, you will laugh. Being a mother is such a gift.

alaska - getting there pics & map


Many of the places we go have historical significance. I snap pictures of signs in a lot of historical places. Interesting signs help tell our travel story. I loved the sign at the Chena Hot Springs. “May Peace Prevail on the Earth” – this message is so important to me!

alaska - interesting signs

The Grub

The food we eat on our travels is an important detail that I like to capture. Sometimes, it’s picnicking in a national park or a beautiful dinner cooked with local flavors I’ve never tasted before. At the Chena Hot Springs Resort, we enjoyed salads that were prepared using ingredients grown in greenhouses on the premises! The salads were not only delicious, but also beautiful!

alaska - food (first class)

Ticket Stubs

I usually scan or take a picture of ticket stubs. They really add another layer to the details. When I see these mementos in my photo books it brings me back to the memories of that particular day and activity and I get to relive all the good times again!

alaska - flags

#4 The Out-of-the-Ordinary

One thing that makes road trips so fun is stopping on the fly at quirky, out-of-the-ordinary roadside finds. During our travels, we have seen things like The World’s Largest Pistachio (in New Mexico), “Foam Henge” (in Virginia), and the Fresno County Fruit Trail (in California).

I also love to include shots that I call the “moments between the moments.” I love getting candid shots like the one below where my girls were horsing around in front of the giant Santa at Wal-Mikes. I use photos and captions to document all the hysterical parts of the trip.

alaska - goofy

alaska - quirky

#5  Poems/Quotes/Lyrics

And, finally, I love to scatter poems, quotes, and song lyrics throughout my travel books. I write some of the poetry myself. Other times there are appropriate quotes or song lyrics that work perfectly for the page I am putting together. My opinion is that having these sentiments in the book helps incorporate emotion to the story. Don’t you agree?

alaska - quote

Create a beautiful travel book like Leslie’s to relive your favorite trips and to share with family and friends. You never know, you may just inspire them to start creating their very own travel memory books too!


Here are even more helpful links to help you create your book along the way.

How to create beautiful two-page spreads

How to add embellishments to your book

These travel photography tips

New uses for Picaboo backgrounds

Tips on best practices for making a Picaboo project.

These 14 amazing Picaboo photo books.