We love to travel, and somewhere along the line, during past journeys, we've always made it a point to stop and grab some postcards and stamps and whip out quick greetings to loved ones back home. After recently ordering some photos online, via a local drugstore website, I got to wondering about the feasibility of sending personal photos as postcards.
For better or worse, there are drug stores and big box stores almost everywhere these days, and it takes all of 5 minutes to upload and order photos, and often less than an hour for them to be ready. If you don't have Internet access at a hotel or lodging, you can order right at the counter.
So we gave the DIY Postcard a shot - and have decided this is how we'll do it from now on! What better greeting to send folks, than one featuring you or the family in the place where you're traveling?!
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Step 1: Be Standard or Be Special
Sure, you can send a standard "Wish you were here" postcard, but isn't a "We are Here!" postcard more special?
A standard postcard will run you about 75 cents to a dollar or more at a local store, and it looks like all the other postcards for that area. As a matter of fact, you can buy almost any postcard you see at a gift shop online at any number of postcard websites.
But your own travel photo? No one's got that but you!
Step 2: DIY Photo Postcards Meet USPS Regulations
First of all, rest assured that sending a photograph through the mail is perfectly fine with the post office! According to the USPS , to qualify for mailing at the First-Class Mail postcard price (currently 35 cents) , it must be:
- At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
- No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick
By golly, that's a standard 4x6 inch photo!
Step 3: Materials Needed
Step 4: Order Your Photos
I used Walgreens here in Tampa. You can actually order your photos as postcards at Walgreens , for a dollar more than a single 4x6 print, but there's no real reason to spend the extra money, especially when you're traveling and could put that buck towards an appetizer or a park ticket.
I ordered a couple of photos via the online drug store photo service, and got a confirmation that they would be ready within the hour. I picked them up while I was out, along with some postcard stamps for 35 cents each.
Step 5: Prep Your Postcard
You don't need to do this, but I customized the back of my photo to look more like a standard postcard, running a vertical off-centered line to set off the address area from the greeting area.
Step 6: Send Your Sentiment
Then I wrote a cheery greeting, addressed it, stamped it and tossed it in the mail. Without all the extra printing that's on the back of a store bought postcard, there's plenty of space to write, too
Step 7: Receive Accolades on Keepsake Postcards!
No complaints from the postal service when they picked it up, and two days later it was back, showing a little wear and tear but no more than a standard postcard.
I know I'd love to receive a personal photo postcard from friends and relatives on travels. I'd keep those!
Participated in the
Photography Tips and Tricks Contest