404 Memory Keeping

X Marks the Spot

If you’re doing an A-Z Challenge and your focus is family travel, it’s almost impossible to find a term more fitting for the letter “x” than “X marks the spot”.

Treasure maps and quest maps seem to be made for children and the adventurous at heart. I love them. I even made my son’s first birthday a pirate theme with a map to get to our living room to celebrate the day.

So here it is, a simple way to give your trips a little more excitement for the little ones. Turn it into a quest. How do you do it?

  1. Find an end goal (treasure) that will appeal to the whole family. Whether this is a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or a cupcake at the city’s best cupcake place is up to you.
  2. Decide if the quest is going to be for just a part of your trip (a few hours or one day) or extend longer (over the course of several days or throughout the whole trip). The rest of the instructions will be based on making the quest a part of a day, but can be used to 
  3. Plot the sites you already wanted to see on a map (google is great for this).
  4.  See if any of these spots would make a good natural progression for your treasure map. Depending on how detailed you want to be, and the time you have, you may have to get creative and zoom in really close to find the perfect arrangement.
  5. Pick a few spots, including the starting point.  When picking your stops decide if you’re going to spend time inside, or if you are just going to stay outside. How much time will you need?
    • Just stopping to look, maybe take a few photos? Allow 10-15 minutes
    • Going to stop for a snack? Allow 30 minutes to an hour
    • Spending sometime inside the attraction? You’ll likely need between 1-3 hours – this type of itinerary is better suited for an all day or several day treasure hunt
  6. List these out. What kind of treasure map do you want it to be?
    • A map only
    • Map and clues
    • Clues only
  7. I think the clues are the fun part, so I would keep that in. Now decide how you want the clues given. Go with your strengths here
    • A rhyme
    • Street signs
    • A story
  8. Write something for each spot until they’re all down, make sure they’re in the right order, and keep the answers with you so you don’t forget once your on your trip.
  9. Package up the clues with the map.
  10. Have a great trip.

As you notice, most of these steps are true for any itinerary planning. The added features are a specific map and/or clues. It’s having an end goal that is intentionally highlighted. It’s a little more work for a bigger punch.

A sample map

I wanted to try it out, so I imagined a simple walk from the Eiffel Tower’s nearest metro stop to the top of the tower. A very typical trip people will make when they visit Paris. Will it win me any writing awards? No. Was it fun and easy? Mostly. Would my kids enjoy it? I hope so!

This would be the full map with the first clue:

X Marks the Spot

And here are the subsequent clues. Simple rhymes that aren’t really clues, but fun. Not really too researched because I just wanted to get it done. You can spend as much time or as little time on something like this. I think it’s cool.


The biggest feature, we have here to see,
Is the big old fountain between the small trees,
It is named the Fountain of Warsaw – that’s true,
There’s a bunch of different fountains, putting on a show for you,
Let’s count them together, how many could there be?
Let’s walk to the end – come on follow me!

Ah the Eiffel, it’s getting close now,
There’s one little stop, a ride on a cow.
No, no, I’m kidding of course.
We’ll not ride a cow. Instead just a horse.
We’ll wait in a line, not talk on our cell.
To ride what I think’s the world’s greatest carousel.
That was fun!
We’re almost done.
But before we go up.
I want a drink in a cup.
With a side of a crepe.
Doesn’t that sound great?

We made it.
We made it.
All the way to the top!
We even managed, with more than one stop!
Let’s look out below, at the whole of the lot.
And be happy we played “X marks the spot”.

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Expat Liv writes about her life in India and is participating in this year’s A-Z Challenge. Though the challenge is almost over, you can still check out what she did and follow her as she completes the final letters.

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Scavenger hunt


One of my favorite activities to do on a trip – a photo scavenger hunt. The rules are simple:

  • Create a list of must-take photos
  • Decide if you want to do the hunt in teams (parents v. children, male v. female, or whatever combination suits you) or as a family (and all work together in taking these shots)
  • Grab a camera – and go

Here’s a sample of some must-take photos our family has had in the past. I think it works best when you stick to the same 5-15 photos on every trip so that you can see how the same prompt compares from place to place.

  • In front of public transportation
  • Stand in front of a statue and pose like the statue
  • A sign that is very “that place”
  • Something that has made you laugh
  • A landscape shot
  • A meal or drink
  • A paparazzi shot
  • In front of a famous attraction
  • A reflection of yourself
  • A selfie
  • Something looking straight down
  • Something looking straight up
  • Wildlife

Photo Scavenger Hunt Guide

What photos are your must-dos when you travel?
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Please take a moment to check out fellow A-Z Challenge paricipant, Black Frog Publishing.jessie jane analTF-125 Blackgopro white edition reviewfiat 500 car cover reviews

Jokes while traveling

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***


One of the many reasons I love to travel with my husband and kids is because of the uninterrupted, mostly undistracted time we spend together. This always results in some inside jokes. The you-had-to-be-there variety that solidifies our family, our history, and our future.

And as a keeper of our families memories, I like to write these down.

My A-to-Z of Family Traveling tip for J is JOKES. Keep it fun.

A Passion and a Passport is another A-to-Z travel blogger. She’s focusing on a wanderlust series and her posts are beautiful. Please be sure to check them out.GoPro Hero

Instagram Travel Thursday

***I’m out of town and have limited access to my computer, but I wanted to make sure I still had some posts in the A-Z challenge. I’m keeping these simple until I come back. I’m going to expand on these later, but I’d love your thoughts and opinions in the meantime. Thanks for stopping by, and if you’re also participating in the challenge let me know and I’ll be around to check our your blog in less than a week.***


If you are not a travel blogger you may or may not have heard of the Instagram Travel Thursday link-up. Travel bloggers link up their favorite Instagram-related posts and share it with their community. It is so inspirational to read about the different places people travel. It’s also easy to see how you can use Instagram to plan your own travel.

Today, since “I” fell on a Thursday, I’m going to write about ways you can use Instagram in your travel before, during, and after your trip. And add photos from my own IG account throughout.

Using Instagram before your trip

Do a hashtag search of the city you are traveling to. Click on something that looks interesting, then follow the hashtag trail to find other things to do on your trip.

If you find something that interests you, ask the IGer about it.

Using Instagram during your trip

Of course you can still do the hashtag search to find fun things to do near you. You can also pinpoint a hashtag to be more specific. Instead of #london, maybe #bigben.

Another fun thing here is you can get ideas for how other people captured this area and use that inspiration in your own photos.

You can also create your own hashtag, #travelturtlegoestolondon for example, and upload your own IGs. This lets your friends and family know where you’ve been, and makes it easier for you to find the photos from this specific trip later.

Added bonus: people may start to ask you questions about that destination.

Tip: For safety, be careful of your upload timing. I try to upload pictures slightly after I’ve been to a certain place, that way it’s harder for stalkers to find me.

Using Instagram after your trip

Well, now you can be the go-to person for the specific destination. Answer people’s questions if they have any for you. Keep Instagram the friendly community is and offer support.

I’m a strong believer in taking the photo off the computer (or phone) and print it out. There are a lot of Instagram-friendly printing companies that will turn your images into bound books. Simple memory keeping technique.

My featured A-to-Z Challenge Travel Blogger of today is the Travelling Book Junkie. She has some pretty cool Alternative City Destinations that she’s featuring.


This post is part of the Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco Lifestyle

Follow me on Instagram to see what’s taking me away from the blog. Leave your IG link in the comments and I’ll follow you when I get back!translator english to germanhow to find keyword search volumeProxes C1Sobd2goption review

Favorites – a free download for trips

F copy

Memory keeping is important to me.

Memory keeping while traveling is one of my favorite things to do.

Getting my kids to record their thoughts of our trips is almost my idea of perfection.

But it’s not easy.

When I started this blog, I created a free one-page travel journal printable that I figured would be a simple way for kids to record their memories in a fun way. I still love it, but sometimes we need something even simpler.

Before kids, I kept journals of our trips. So many journals – with insights, details, conversations, haikus, and sketches. At the end of each trip I did a summary of our favorites. I would ask my husband what his favorites were and add his answers next to my own. It’s one of my favorite (there’s that word again!) things to look at when I glimpse back at past trips. (And other than the sketches, it’s usually the only thing I look at).

So, this is my word for my day – favorite. And this is my encouragement of the day – find simple ways, other than photos, to record everyone’s thoughts while your travel. Even if it’s just by answering a few prompts.

My gift to you

To get you started, I’ve created a 4×6 printable with four “favorite” prompts. Use one per person, put several responses on each, or use one just for the general consensus. The 4×6 size means it will easily fit into most standard photo albums – you do print your photos don’t you? If not, store it separately. Perhaps an old photo box that now only houses travel favorites 4×6 cards created by yours truly. 🙂

Click on the image below to download.

Trip Favorites - Free Download


Travel Favourites - Free Download


Your gift to me

This post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge. I would love for you to take a moment (after downloading one of the “favorites” prompts) to visit another challenge participant, Contented Traveller. Their theme for this challenge is: a Weird and Zany World. I’ve had fun reading their posts, and I think you will, too.moshi iglaze macbook pro 15 retina reviewsous vetements sexywebsite optimization testsocial networks websitegopro hero 3 silver edition specs