underscored photo book travels lead

There’s a whole lot of planning that goes into a big vacation. From researching locales and best times to visit to digging for promotional prices on hotel stays, we invest dozens of hours into our pre-travel prep to make sure everything is just right when we finally arrive at our dream destination.

And then — in the blink of an eye — the vacation is over. Whether it was a family reunion on Lake Michigan or a honeymoon in St. Barts, the trip was something you not only looked forward to and experienced, but something you’re also going to want to remember forever. Our favorite way to memorialize beautiful travel memories is with a photo album book.

Perfect for displaying on a coffee table or bookshelf for years to come, photo books are the best way to encapsulate all the picture-perfect (and not so picture-perfect!) adventures, laughs and discoveries made on your trip. Freeze all your favorite vacation moments in time with a tangible photo book, because, well, it’s the ultimate keepsake — and proof of all the hard work you put into the trip! These are our 10 favorite services for creating photo books online, ranging from luxe linen- and leather-covered options to more budget-friendly, same-day selections.

From $19.99 at Mpix

What we love about Mpix is the vast number of options the site offers when it comes to photo books. With three grades to choose from — Economy Hard Cover, Premium (both soft and hard) and Signature albums — the books run the gamut pricing-wise, starting at $19.99 and going up to $184.99 for a leather-bound book with debossing. The Economy Hard Cover option is the best bang for your buck, whether you opt for an art cloth cover (from $19.99) or the custom cover with a photo emblazoned on it (from $34.99). Building books on the Mpix site is a cinch, as it offers dozens of templates. Photos are easy to both upload, drag, drop on the page and edit within the layout. We built a 40-page book in about 45 minutes and the final product featured crisp, bright imagery throughout. Mpix books are made in the US, they have thousands of positive customer reviews and most orders ship within 48 hours.

From $17 at Artifact Uprising

Artifact Uprising
A source for myriad photo book options, Artifact Uprising is beloved for all sorts of photo-related items — from holiday cards and calendars to framed prints — mainly because the quality of everything it churns out is just that good. Our favorite options include the ultra-affordable Color Series Photo Books, which start at just $22 and are soft-covered and made from 100% recycled paper, and the Hardcover Photo Books, which are pricier at $72, but trust us, they’re worth every penny. Artifact Uprising also recently launched the Hardcover Travel Photo Book, which specifically hones in on creating vacation albums with curated layouts and a linen cover with a customizable dust jacket. Another great option: The petite, linen-covered Everyday Photo Book ($62) comes in one size and six colors and is perfect if you’re trying to knock out a few vacation photo album books at once. Seriously, lining a few of these up along a shelf or on a coffee table would be an immediate conversation starter.

$19.98 From $14.99 at Shutterfly

An online photo printing stalwart, Shutterfly first launched back in 1999 and the company has been churning out digital photo products to the masses ever since, including a slew of book options. Offering a variety of sizes and covers including soft, hard and leather-bound, Shutterfly’s custom book options are rife, as are the book-building services. The new Make My Book Service, for instance, allows you to upload all your photos, select a book size and style and a Shutterfly designer will format the entire book for you! (Fear not, you have final editing privileges.) All of the brand’s book pages can be fully customized with text, fonts and colors, and for a seamless view of your photos, opt to upgrade to the lay-flat page style.

From $14.99 at Printique

If you’re looking for luxe, heirloom-quality albums to commemorate your travels, Printique is a great option. Offering a variety of soft-, fabric- and hard-cover books, the online photo shop’s fanciest option is the handcrafted, leather-bound book that starts at $153.99. Available in eight sizes, with vegan or genuine leather, in 13 colorways and with five professional archival paper types, the leather books also have lay-flat binding. Printique’s built-in desktop editor makes uploading and arranging your photos super easy, and we appreciated the “hide used photo” feature during layout. Plus, the brand has nearly 4,000 positive reviews on Trustpilot.

From $9.59 at Mixbook

Boasting some of the best customizability out there, Mixbook is consistently an editor- and consumer-favorite — it has more than 27,000 5-star reviews on Trustpilot — because building (and editing) the brand’s photo books is just plain easy. For one, you can upload photos from anywhere (from your phone, computer, Google photos or even social media), and when it comes to designing a layout, the digital editor allows you to customize images by implementing text, stickers, layouts and more. Once you’ve built your album, Mixbook then lets you choose the book size, cover type and paper grade. All in all, the process is intuitive, the product quality is superb and the Mixbook app is one of the best we've used.

$39.99 From $27.99 at Paper Culture

Paper Culture
With sustainability at its core, Paper Culture is a digital photo company that is not only creating beautiful, design-minded products, but it's doing so while actively working to solve the climate crisis. Paper Culture plants a tree for every order it receives and it also prints its products on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. Offering three tiers of books (printed hardcover, printed lay-flat hardcover and Kraft hardcover with dust jacket), the brand also has two sizes and dozens of themes to choose from. From there, you can personalize your photo book by adjusting layouts, fonts, text and colors. Yes, you’re going to pay an upcharge for Paper Culture’s sustainability efforts, but having tested the goods, we can vouch for the brand's quality and craftsmanship.

From $10.96 at Walmart

Want to create a vacation keepsake for family and friends? Walmart is a great option for doing so, mainly because the big-box retailer has affordable pricing and ultra-quick turnaround times. Offering soft-, hard-, linen- and leather-covered books in six sizes and with the optional lay-flat upgrade, Walmart produces decent-quality books that can either be delivered to your home in a few days or picked up in your nearest store the same day — or even within an hour depending on your book choice! The site is easy to use and offers all the customization you could expect elsewhere (including captions and image editing). Just beware that in our experience, the quality is on par with the price — the book paper is a bit thinner and photos are slightly duller than competitors.

From $12.99 at Snapfish

Building photo books is a breeze with Snapfish’s easy-to-use templates that include more than 200 designer layouts. Or, you have the option to create your own. Customize the captions, fonts, embellishments and more in your very own book. Offering hard-, soft-, matte-, linen- and leather-covered books in six sizes — and with a new upgrade option for glossy interior pages — Snapfish also allows you to save your project and continue editing it at a later date, a great feature for those of us who can’t bang it all out in one session!


From $6.99 at CVS

Another solid option for quick-turnaround photo books is CVS. Offering soft-, hard-, linen- and leather-covered books in seven sizes, CVS’s biggest selling point is that four book types (including hardcovers) are available for same-day pickup at your local store. Simply upload images from your computer, social media accounts or phone; choose one of the several dozen themed templates; and either drag-and-drop (and tilt!) images into the layout or choose the fast-paced auto-fill option that will have your book — which can accommodate up to 150 pages — ready to go in mutes.

$13 From $9.10 at Vista Print

Digital marketing company Vista is known for churning out business cards and banners for small businesses, but given its printing prowess, the brand is equally adept at photo album books. Offering a streamlined set of options, Vista’s books come in two covers (linen or photo-embossed hardcover), seven sizes and two paper stock choices (glossy and matte). Professionally bound, the books can accommodate up to 120 pages, can even be produced from your phone on the Vista app and will ship within five to eight business days.

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