You may believe there’s just one way to use a postcard: “Love from this cool place I’m in, okay gotta run, XOX.” But that’s just one way of using these wonderfully cheap souvenirs, which seem to mysteriously collect and multiply in suitcases and drawers. Here’s a few ideas: 

Send full-length letters: If you want to send a few people more than just a few words, you can send full-length letters on postcards. Does anyone even send letters anymore? Just me? Well, postcards are a great way to add interest to a letter. You can cram a surprising amount onto them, especially if you send them in an envelope and just write over the address side. 

Use multiple postcards: You can write a full-length letter on multiple postcards—make sure to number them!—or add a postcard to a paper letter for a picture you don’t have to print yourself. Just remember that you need an envelope that fits. The great thing is you can also get away with sending these after you get back from your trip, as long as you send them within a couple weeks.

Use your postcard stash throughout the year: Despite what I just said above, I’ll let you in on a secret. You can get away with sending people postcards even after you’ve left the place where you got them, if you do it right. I’ve used postcards of cities in the snow and of pretty cathedrals as Christmas cards. They also work really well for someone who was also on the trip with you or who really likes the place where you were. “I was just thinking about our trip to San Francisco and how fun it was! Miss you!” “Happy Birthday! I couldn’t send you to Barcelona, but here’s a little piece of it!” It adds a personal touch, and it also gives you a chance to both reflect on a wonderful place you visited and make a real connection with someone.  

Keep them: The most important photos you take on any trip are the ones that are personal. After all, you can find pretty pictures of the scenery and famous monuments anywhere—and that’s just what postcards are great for. Keep a few of the postcards you get. Put them in your photo album or your scrapbook. Make notes on them of things you want to remember, or just use them for the picture. You can even hang them on your wall or put them on the fridge as a reminder of all the cool places you’ve been!

 

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