Holidays are changing. The days of disappearing for two weeks, only to return with a rubbish fridge magnet and the promise to show your neighbour all 500 of your newly developed holiday snaps are gone.
Near omnipresent Wi-Fi and data roaming services have turned vacations into shareable, social experiences, and ones that your friends and family back home can enjoy in real time.
One day, Mark Zuckerberg wants us all to be sharing 360 videos in real time, with your parents able to put on a VR headset and follow you skipping down the beach at sunset. But for now, it’s the humble holiday photo that still needs to be liberated.
We’re not talking about bulk-uploading dozens of rubbish snaps to Facebook in an effort to show off either. If you really want to share your holiday snaps, with people who actually want to see them, then we’ve got a number of great ways to do so with the minimum of fuss.
Hold up – before we get started, if you insist on spending half your holiday glued to your phone, sharing snaps, at least make sure they look the part.
Flat, grainy images of some random rocks aren’t going to impress anyone, so it’s time for a bit of judicious editing.
There are hundreds of apps out there to help you with this, and one of our favourites is Snapseed. Free for both iOS and Android, it offers dozens of filters and tools to help you tweak your snaps quickly and effectively.
Daunted by all the options? Don’t worry, tutorials will guide you through what to do, and which effects it’s better to go easy on. Once edited, images can be shared directly from the app, either with specific friends and family through email and MMS, or with the wider world through all the usual social channels.
2. The WhatsApp group
Sometimes the simple answer is the best. If you’re going away, and know you’re going to want to share snaps with a certain set of people who all know each other, just bundle them together into one big, happy WhatsApp group family.
Yes, WhatsApp compresses the images you send, but sometimes people really don’t need to see the excruciating details of your Speedos-clad body lounging on the beach.
It also has the benefit of letting you share images with exactly who you want, without spamming your hundreds of other other Facebook ‘friends’ who wouldn’t really care if you were riding a jet ski or being struck by one.
If your only decent holiday connection comes from the free Wi-Fi you get in the hotel lobby, you want a service that lets you bulk-share your snaps with minimal fuss.
That’s where Dropbox comes in. The free Dropbox Basic plan gives you a solid 2GB of cloud storage without cost, letting you upload hundreds of holiday snaps and freeing up space on your phone.
Spreading the love couldn’t be easier, either. Folders can be instantly and effortlessly shared, with friends and family also able to sign up for free. (For another easy method that does pretty much the same thing, you could try Google Drive, which also comes with a free storage option.)
Just remember to jot down your Great Aunt Elsie’s email address before jetting off on your travels…
4. Paperless Post
– Price: From free on iOS
Just because your photos are on your phone doesn’t mean they have to stay there. Paperless Post lets you create digital (and physical) postcards direct from the free-to-download iOS app.
There are dozens of pre-designed templates to choose from, enabling you to customise your frames with single or multiple holiday snaps.
The templates are themed around different seasons and events, so it’s easy to get the message across whether you’re wishing someone a Merry Christmas from the other side of the world, or just wanting to share your day diving with turtles off some sun-kissed beach.
The best part is you’ll never have to hunt out a foreign post office, or wonder what the phrase for “what’s your cheapest stamp?” is again.
Still prefer physical prints to digital downloads? No problem, Grandad, there are still a few places that offer them, and you don’t need to venture to the high street, SD card in hand, to sort them out either. Thanks to services like Snapfish you can do the whole process online, from the other side of the world if you wish.
There are loads of print options and sizes to choose from, and for the real holiday vibe you can create and send collage prints, and embellish them with text and graphics.
What’s more, they should get to their intended recipients before you even set foot on home soil again.
Having your holiday snaps delivered as standard 6 x 4-inch prints is one thing; splashing them on the back of a phone case, is something else entirely (although it’s a gamble ordering such a thing for another person – they may have been lying about how hilarious they thought that photo of you on top of a banana boat actually was).
Perfect for family holidays, Christmas gatherings and big birthdays, Photobox lets you customise iPhone, iPad and Samsung Galaxy cases with your own photos for a lasting memento that will get plenty of viewing.
Again, single images or collage prints can be created, with all cases able to be finished in a gloss or matt print – and express delivery ensures they’ll be delivered before you’ve finished your holiday.
– Price: £134.95 / $129.95 (around AU$225)
Okay, so this method needs a few tech extras, and it’s hard for us to say whether you’ll think the results are worth it.
What’s so special about the prints kicked out by the Lifeprint pocket printer? Well, aside from their solid quality, and the fact that they can double as stickers (c’mon, who doesn’t love stickers?), they also hide a cool, tech-savvy surprise.
Thanks to augmented reality, they come alive through your smartphone. Once you’ve captured and printed a Live Photo, you can hover your handset over the snap to bring the image to life, Harry Potter-style.
Standard snaps can be customised in the app to offer fun, friendly animations too. And if someone back home has a Lifeprint printer, you can simply send them a snap that’s been run through the free-to-download app, and let them marvel as the image comes out of their printer and your holiday adventures come to life before their very eyes.
We do have a few thoughts on this one though. Why would you need to print out the photo just to see it moving through your phone screen? If you can send it wirelessly already, why not just send them the video?
There’s also the fact that you’ll need to gift your friend a Lifeprint printer to make the service work well.
Get past all that though, and you can imagine sending someone an album’s worth of images that are completely transformed with a flick of a phone – and you’ll be saving all that money by no longer having to buy rubbish souvenirs.
This article is brought to you in association with Tesco Mobile