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Why You Should Always Mail Yourself a Postcard When Traveling  

To most, sending postcards is an outmoded way of keeping in touch — what’s the point when you can just post on social media and rake in the likes from everyone you know (and their mother)?

When I send a postcard to a loved one, their (texted) response is usually something along the lines of, “Wow, thanks! I haven’t gotten a postcard in forever!” And when I admit to others that I’m an avid postcard sender, people usually tilt their heads and ask, “They still sell postcards?” But when I add that I also write a postcard to myself and mail it home from wherever I am in the world, as a way to record memories and experiences from my travels, their eyes light up — the most common response I get to that is, “Brilliant! Why have I never thought of that before?”

Here’s why I always mail myself a postcard on my travels — and why you should also adopt this travel ritual.

They help you see another side of your destination.

Finding and mailing a postcard from anywhere I am in the world has led me on some interesting adventures and always provides a taste of the mundane (read: authentic) side of local life.

I’ve bought stamps from a newsstand in Hungary and begged our tour guide in Brazil to mail my postcard for me when I realized I’d forgotten to do so after arriving at the airport. I’ve ventured into post offices in Italy, Hong Kong, and South Korea looking confused enough to make the locals around me chuckle to themselves as I tried to figure out the proper line to stand in.

Postcards are an easy-to-find, super-cheap “souvenir” available pretty much everywhere around the world. By having to figure out the local postal system, you always get to learn a little bit more about foreign countries — for better or worse. Mailing postcards from around the world has certainly deepened my appreciation for the U.S. Postal Service.

Skye Sherman

They help you remember the details.

In today’s digital world, having something that you can hold in your hands imbues the object with tangible meaning. My husband and I have a postcard from our St. Lucia honeymoon in 2014, a collection of fun postcards from backpacking Europe in 2015, and even a postcard from our first post-lockdown trip to St. Croix in June 2020, a watershed period of history. You know that question about what you’d grab in a fire, if your house was burning down? The postcards would be one of the first things I’d save.

Writing down fun trip snippets on a postcard helps you to remember where you went, when, and what you did there. My postcards always contain a few elements for consistency: the location (usually incorporated into the design of the postcard), the dates I visited, and a few standout activities or experiences from the trip.

They don’t take long to write.

While many recommend journaling throughout a trip Sic bo Online, it can be time-consuming to sit down and recount the day’s happenings, and you definitely don’t want to turn down an opportunity to meet up with new friends or squeeze in another tour just to allow enough time to jot down your thoughts and experiences while traveling. Instead, you can sum it up on a tiny square and send it off — kinda like a Tweet, but no Wi-Fi required.

They’re collectible.

Tchotchkes like magnets and T-shirts are cool, but they take up a lot of space and can’t really be considered timeless — they mostly just collect dust. A postcard is a souvenir that not only preserves your memories of a trip, but simultaneously captures a moment in history.

On its way to your home, your postcard will receive stamps and postmarks from around the world, which usually include the date. Half the fun is in buying the postcard, because you can pick a design that captures the spirit of the location for you. If that includes the work of a local artist, even better. When you return home, a postcard is always a fun surprise to find in your mailbox — even if it takes a few weeks to get there. But don’t worry, every postcard I’ve mailed from overseas has eventually got to me — just don’t forget to add USA to the end of your address.

They can be turned into an album.

One of the best parts of traveling is sharing your experiences with the ones you love — but as any serial traveler knows, people who weren’t there with you have a pretty limited attention span as you scroll through photo after photo in your camera roll. Instead, you can display your postcard collection in a photo album. It’s a more engaging way to reminisce about your adventures since interested friends and family members can thumb through it at their leisure. It’s both a keepsake and a great conversation starter.

Best of all, this album becomes a time capsule and an heirloom to pass down. Imagine if your great-grandfather had a 100-year-old collection of postcards preserved from his travels around the world, which you could now peruse. It would probably capture moments in history, like a time when Thailand was called Siam or countries that no longer exist like Sikkim and Yugoslavia. Such a collection would be quite the family treasure — so why not start now on a gift like that for your own descendants?

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