Instant Photo Travel Journals

One of the things we have come to love over our years of travel is keeping journals.  We love to make lists of our favorite things, remember funny moments that happened, record what we learned, and even attach mementos like ticket stubs and foreign currency. 

With another adventure on our horizon, I’ve been working on the details for an Instant Photo Travel Journal for my 11 year old son.  I’ve written about photo journals before and provided free pages on this site for recording the memories while traveling and then adding the picture when you get home.  But this plan is slightly different.  I want him to be able to print the photo while traveling and attach it in the journal right away when the memory is fresh and to help inspire the best writing.

I started on Amazon to see what the options were and I narrowed it down to three different choices: the Fujifilm Instax Wide, the Fujifilm Instax Mini and the Canon Selphy CP1200 Black Photo Printer.   In this post you’ll find what we liked and didn’t like about each one, free printable pages for each one (with the specific picture boxes ready to attach your photo to) and which one we personally liked the best and have decided to take with us.

Fujifilm Instax Instant Wide Photo Camera


What we liked:

  • The instant photo feature is very convenient.  With a single device you have a camera and printer in one. 
  • The size of the WIDE Fujimax photo print is 4.25” x 3.5“ and it’s great.  It feels slightly smaller than the size of the old Polaroid instant photos.
  • There were simple features that made it really easy to use.  Loading the film was easy too.

What we didn’t like:

  • When it arrived, my son was surprised by the size.  Although the dimensions were clearly stated on Amazon, it still took us by surprise when it came out of the box.  My son thought it looked like a toy and also that it would be too big to lug around castles and museums on our upcoming trip.
  • I didn’t like that every picture you take automatically gives you a picture.  At approximately $1 per print, you certainly want to be selective on which photos you take.  At first, I didn’t anticipate this as a problem since the whole point of this Instant Photo Travel Journal is to capture one picture from a particular site, then attach it in the journal and write about it.  That being said, we realized for us, the size of the camera really was too big to just capture one picture per day or location.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera

What we liked:

  • Again, the instant camera and printer in one device is so incredibly convenient!
  • This camera is smaller, making it easier to store and carry around.
  • They come in a bunch of different colors, including plain black.

What we didn’t like:

  • The size of the photo is only 2” x 2.5” making for a very small snapshot.
  • Again, every picture taken results in a printed photo.  You have to be very selective on what you choose to snap a photo of.
  • Again, the cost of each print is about $1.

We didn’t actually purchase this camera and try it out.  My seven year old niece has had this camera about a year now and absolutely loves it.

Canon Selphy CP1200 Black Wireless Color Photo Printer


What we liked:

  • Obviously, this isn’t a camera at all.  My son has become accustomed to taking photos with his iPod, so choosing a printer instead of a camera seemed like a good option to consider.
  • The color photos are really great quality.
  • The size is 4” x 6” for a standard photo.  There is also the option to print smaller photos depending on the paper you purchase.  The choices are label size, square, and even 8 small little stickers at a time. There is also the option to “dress up your photos” with fun borders and effects.
  • The paper cost per 4” x 6” photo is about 25 cents each.
  • There are many different ways to connect to this printer.  There is a wireless option, a USB cable or even a spot to insert a camera card.  That means that each member of my family can print a photo from this printer whether they are using an iPod, a phone, or a traditional camera.

What we didn’t like:

  • Although it is portable and small, the size and weight still took me by surprise when it arrived.  At nearly two pounds and a product dimension size of 7.1” x 5.4” x 2.5” it was bigger and heavier than I thought it would be.

And of course there are plenty of other options.  A quick search on Amazon will reveal plenty more than just these three options to choose from.  We didn’t consider any of the Polaroid cameras or printers simply because they cost more and the Fujifilm Instax cameras had many positive reviews.  HP and a few others are also making mini portable printers.


So what did we choose?  In the end, we picked the Canon Selphy mainly because my son enjoys using his iPod for pictures.  He wanted to be able to have his iPod in his pocket, take lots of pictures and then choose his best photos to print for his photo journal. 


But I do think that each camera has it’s benefits and it comes down to personal preference.  Below you will find free printable pdf pages for each of the cameras and/or printer to make your own Instant Photo Travel Journal.  Enjoy!

FREE pdf Journal Pages

Tips for how to assemble your own Instant Photo Travel Journal
1. Choose how you will take photos and print them while traveling
2. Choose a slim 3-ring  or 3-prong binder
3. Print plenty pdf pages to place in your journal before leaving home
4. Include blank pages for collecting mementos along the way
5. Include other journal pages to create your own custom journal
6. Bring along double-sided tape to attach your photos

Check out other types of travel journals we’ve taken on the road with us:
Perspective Journals
Postcard Journals
Design Your Own

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Debbie says... (Reply)
"Let the adventures begin Joseph, can't wait to see what pictures you take ♥" (5/9/17)