Backpacking across Europe is something most people are lucky enough to do only once in a lifetime, if that. Whether your sojourn across the pond is through school, an exchange program, study abroad, or just a post graduation trip with a group of friends, make sure you document your adventure as you go. After your backpacking trip, it’s easy to create your own shoestring guide to Europe—authored by none other than you and your friends—using Mixbook’s online editor. All it takes while you’re there is snapping lots of photos. And when you’re back, just pretend you’re a small press and assign small tasks to those in the group with a natural proclivity for specific skills. Six simple steps and you have a memento far more valuable than any trinket or souvenir you might pick up along the way.
1. Book Design
Once you’re back stateside, choose a Mixbook photo book trim size and theme and designate one person to act as Editor in Chief. We recommend the Europe Backpacking Trip theme, naturally. Your Editor should then create a rough framework for your photo book. A natural way to organize it is by city, allocating a page or two for each day. The Editor can also insert a few pages at the beginning to introduce the adventure, and a few pages at the end of the book to reflect and summarize recurring themes. Once a rough scaffolding for the book is in place, name your project and invite everyone who was a part of the adventure to be contributors. The Editor can ask someone from the group to act as the Art Director, someone else to act as the Copywriter, and another person to be the Fact Checker.
2. Photo Review
Once the invitation to collaborate in the book has been circulated, everyone should be prompted to upload their very best photos only. The Editor can gently remind contributors to weed out any blurry shots of stray Greek cats or improperly exposed group photos on the Spanish Steps in Rome. One of the benefits of having many people come together to share photography is that you can usually assume that if your pictures from a certain event suck, someone else is bound to have a couple of gems.
3. Art Direction
Once everyone has uploaded his or her pictures, the Art Director can go in and use the very handy “sort by date” tool at the bottom left of the photo editing tab. With all pictures placed in order, it should be easy to start playing around with layouts and dropping photos into place. Your Art Director is the person in your group who has a “good eye,” seeing when several photos shown together create a nice series—and knowing when to skip a photo that doesn’t quite work with the composition.
4. Caption Writing
The Art Director can then pass the baton to the Copywriter, who will go through the book and place labels, quotes and captions where appropriate. Your Copywriter should be good at writing short captions that pack a lot of meaning and memories into a few words. He or she should also have a good sense of humor, which is key to creating a book that will tap into the fun you had when you’re paging through your photo books a couple of decades down the line.
5. Fact Checking
Invariably there’s a history buff or trivia nut in every group, and this person is perfect for the role of fact checking. He or she can comb through your photo book making sure that images are in the right order, names are spelled correctly, and stories involving history and geography are accurate.
6. Press Time!
Once photos and stories are in place, have everyone in the group go into the online editor to flip through your book one last time before printing. Make sure you scan for any yellow triangles that indicate a photograph isn’t high enough resolution to be print worthy. Clicking that button to print your homemade travel guide is incredibly gratifying now, and that value will only grow over time. Happy travels!