Free Travel With Postcard Fun

By David DeFranza on 21 March 2008 1 comment
Photo: eperales

A strange picture. A quick message filled with glancing references to the exotic. Odd postmarks and stamps in a foreign tongue. At the same time nostalgic and alluring, nothing epitomizes travel so much as the postcard. Unlike letters, magazines, or websites, postcards require flipping and by this actionseparate the picture and message, creating a pause between them, inviting the mind to wander.

For these reasons, having a little fun with postcards is a great way to simulate the experience of travel, get into the spirit, and take a trip for free (or very cheap) albeit in the imagination.

Here are some of my favorite postcard activities:

Make travel inspired wall decorations

If staring at your walls has you down, postcards can make some inspiring new decorations. Though you can find frames that will fit the exact dimensions of most postcards, I prefer the look of the mounted postcard. To do this, affix the card to the center of coloredcard stock or heavy paper before framing. How you acquire a frame is up to you, but I like to reuse frames from cheap pictures bought at thrift shops or liberated from the dump.

Create a travel journal

If you are like me, you have a stack of postcards from various trips that you bought but never got around to filling out and sending. This pile is a great resource for revisiting old travel memories. Take a card and fill out the back as though you were sending it to a friend or even yourself. It will feel silly at first, but after you fill two or three cards your mind will loosen up and the memories will start flowing. Of course, you could do this on the computer or a sheet of paper, but I think the back of a postcard limits the amount of time you can spend on each memory, preventing burnout and overload.

Make your own postcards

If you don't have a pile of postcards lying around, you can make some of your own. A postcard can really be made out of any material. The only limitation is that it must be 5-6" long and 3.5-4.5" wide. You can cut card bases out of card stock or old manila file folders and glue any picture you want to the front. Magazine or catalog pictures are great, or make a collage. You can also cut down the fold of most greeting cards to make two regulation postcards.

Send a postcard puzzle

Making a puzzle is a fun thing to do with homemade postcards. Take a large picture and cut it into four, postcard-sized, pieces. You can start a fun mail game by sending the pieces to a friend over a period of time. For a more complex version, send the pieces to different friends with a message indicating who to contact for the rest.

Turn your photos into postcards

There are many ways to turn your own photos into postcards. I like to print them out myself and, if necessary, glue them onto a piece of card stock. For a more professional finish, get some prints developed from your favorite kiosk or development service.

Send a PostSecret

If you are having fun making postcards, but can't think of anywhere to mail them, you might want to check out the popular PostSecret website. To participate, create an anonymous, confessional, postcard and mail it in. Looking at the postcards can, at the very least, serve as inspiration for your own designs.

Join Postcrossing

If you are not in the confessional mood, but are still looking for a place to mail your postcards, check out Postcrossing. This fun website gives you a random member's address to mail a postcard to. Once the card is received, someone will mail a postcard to you. This is a fun way to get mail from all over the world.

Travel is about so much more than movement. Get in the spirit this weekend with some postcard fun!

Tagged: DIY, Art and Leisure
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rstlne's picture

I've been on Postcrossing for more than a year already. I've gotten postcards from almost everywhere in the developed world. The only thing that could be a problem with this hobby is the cost of postage. The international postcard rate is now 90 cents and will rise to 94 cents in the upcoming postal rate hike.