Do You Still Buy and Send Travel Postcards?

Some of my postcards

My blogging buddy, Ozias Sanchez who blogs as First Year of Freedom has me thinking about travel postcards. Ozias, or Mozes as he’s also known, collects them – new.

I’m old enough to remember a time before digital cameras and Facebook, when travel postcards were the primary way people who went on vacation shared their memories of what they saw with their family and friends (though the vacationer typically returned home before the postcards were received!).

I’ve kept most of the postcards I’ve received over the years – from Jamaica, the Ivory Coast, the UK, France, Spain, Gabon and several other countries – in a special album that allows me to see the message on the reverse. Each describes a particular moment in time. Sometimes the sender was pensive, boastful or curt (she was on vacation after all!). But more than anything else, when I look at them now, I remember the exact moment that I received each one and what was happening in my life.

It’s been quite sometime since I received or sent a postcard but whenever I go on vacation, I still buy a few. I tell myself I’m going to send them but I never do. I’m so busy squeezing every minute out of my vacation, I never allow myself time to write or find the post office to send them.

A few days ago, I asked my sister whether she still buys postcards. I was surprised to hear her say she did – but not for the reason I anticipated. She buys postcards that capture a particular scene she wasn’t able to do justice to with her photography skills.

My guess is that most people do.

Based on the number and variety of postcards on sale at souvenir shops, it’s difficult to estimate what effect technology (in particular, digital cameras and email) has had on postcard sales.

Why do you still buy or send travel postcards?

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8 comments on “Do You Still Buy and Send Travel Postcards?

  1. I love this post! What can I say? I love postcards! A lot of people aren’t aware, but you can get a regular 4×6 photo, put a stamp on it, and send it in the mail. Of course, there will be some damage from the mailing process (which I think is one of the best parts), but you can make your own postcards this way. I see postcards as like, proof that you’ve been somewhere, and I like the idea that you can essentially “collect them all” from certain places. Like me for example, and my quest to get all 50 states. But if you search around postcards can be more than just the place they’re from, some can carry a certain emotion, or a funny moment. You sent me a beautiful one with a bird on an impala, it’s not from a specific “place”, but its beauty is captivating. One of my favorite ones I have is a postcard of a woman with a huge smile plastered on her face, and a cat in mid-air next to her. The best part is that the post card says, “Woman and cat dancing” when it’s clear that the cat is doing anything but. And let’s not forget, postcards are day-makers, when somebody receives a postcard, it means a lot to know that somebody was thinking of them while they were traveling. I’ve received many postcards, and my heart still skips a beat when I find one in the mail.

  2. Thanks, Mozes. Now I see how passionate you are about them!
    BTW, I have some more to send when I get back. If I find a post office in my wanderings, I’ll even buy a stamp and mail it to you!
    I like receiving postcards. I remember sending one to myself when I was in Perpignon – just so there’d be something waiting in my mailbox (besides bills!) when I returned.

    The photo is also a great idea. I’ll have to do that next time I take a shot that I really like.
    Glad you love the post,

  3. Now that I look back, I don’t think I’ve gotten into a hobby the same way as I have for postcards. I like buying one of each wherever I go, and it’s hilarious to see the cashier scanning postcards over and over…(there was one occasion where there was more than 15 that I got) and the awkward silence broken by, “So… I take it you like postcards…”.

    I’ve never thought about sending myself one… I guess I wouldn’t know what to write, and since I don’t take trips, I will probably predict it arriving. But, I think that’s a really good idea, Marcia, if I’m gone for more than 3 days, I can send myself one. But, you don’t have to send yourself one thinking you won’t get one from anybody else; you can always ask me, and I can send one your way so you can have something to expect. You should have several waiting for you right now actually, so, hopefully the receiving-effect is tripled, haha.

    Yeah, I actually still have yet to try the photo out, I want it to be a copy of a really good picture, but, I only have the camera on my cell phone, so, it probably won’t work so well. If I get around to it this summer, I’ll definitely send you one, though!

  4. I’m going to try the photo idea. Actually, I really like that.
    Yeah, send me one when you go away. I’ll mail mine when I get back.

  5. I still LOVE postcards and send a few each time I am away, even if I return home before the post card will arrive. There is just some ‘magic’ in the excitement of sharing a journey that way, even if the recipients will see all about it on Facebook etc before the postcard arrives. I also love when I receive a post card and am filled with a childlike wonder because of it. Great post!.

  6. So true, Debbie. There’s magic in those little squares of paper. I buy them too, especially when they capture something better than I did. I have so many, I’m looking for the best way to showcase them. Thanks for visiting!

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