Smartphone Photo Tips for the Holidays & How to Use Google Keep

Is it just me or did we all just basically blink and suddenly it’s the end of November? I mean, I don’t have anything against the end of November, especially since it includes my favorite meal of the year and my and my son’s birthday, but wow time has gone by quickly this month. While I’m over here busy dreaming about all the food I plan to devour on Thursday and the birthday cake that will go straight to my belly where it belongs, I have a feeling a lot of other people are coming up with a strategy for their holiday shopping and maybe some travel plans. Regardless of what we’re all up to I bet we all have one thing in common and that’s that we won’t be leaving home without our smartphones. Seriously, my Samsung Galaxy S7 is my favorite accessory and I feel no shame about that whatsoever. How did we ever get by this time of year before we had devices to help us with all our travel needs and party planning? Boy, those were prehistoric times, weren’t they? Okay, enough talk about how old I’ll be on my birthday because it’s time to get serious about how we can be using our smartphones to their fullest potential this holiday season. If you’ve got a to-do list a mile long (who doesn’t?) or you’re planning to hit the road to visit family I’m hoping my tips will help ease some of your stress so you can focus on fun, family, and food. All the food.

4 Tips to Use Your Phone’s Camera & How to Never Forget Where You Park

  1. Take a photo or a screenshot of directions if you’re going on a road trip. Not only will this come in handy if you don’t have GPS in your vehicle, but it will also lengthen the life of your phone’s battery because you won’t need to be using data to search for directions and navigate using your phone.
  2. Snap a picture of the inside your fridge and/or pantry before going to the grocery store. I prefer to walk the aisles with a shopping list, but if you don’t have time to write a list, this is a great way to see what you have on hand and what you need to buy. Don’t you just love technology?!?!
  3. Take a photo of where you parked. This is one of my favorite tips, especially when parking at the airport before boarding a flight for a vacation. We always do this so we don’t have to worry about trying to remember where we parked when we’re tired and just want to get home after a long day of traveling. This is also a good habit when parking at a big shopping center, like a mall, especially during the busy holiday season.
  4. Take pictures of your itinerary, photo ID, and passport, so you’ll have them stored in your phone. You can then email them to yourself, so you’ll always have them handy when you need them.

Smartphone Hacks to Ease Holiday Stress

If there is one time of year we should all be getting the most out of our smartphones, it’s during the holidays. Here are a few more tips to help you stay organized and keep your phone charged so you can focus on getting things done faster and enjoying more time with family and friends.

  • Use the note feature in your phone to keep track of your growing to-do list. I often misplace sticky notes or the scrap pieces of paper I write on, so having everything in my phone means I’ll always have my list with me wherever I go without having to stress about where I put my handwritten list.
  • Did you know that charging your phone in Airplane Mode is a great way to conserve your battery while also speeding your charge time? I didn’t and I think this trick might come in quite handy since my phone seems to die much faster lately. Yay for longer battery life.
  • Set up location-based reminders. I didn’t even know I could this, but I’m thinking it will be a game-changer this holiday season. I don’t know about you, but when I have several stops to make while running errands something as simple as an unexpected phone call could throw me off track so I love the idea of using my phone this way. It’s as easy as using the Reminder feature in iOS or Google Keep on Android to set up reminders that will sound when you’re near someplace you need to stop. Seriously you guys. This is like having a personal assistant in the car with you. Please tell me I’m not the only person who didn’t know this feature existed? I can’t possibly be the only one?!?!

One final and very important bit of advice I have is to make sure you have a Parent Child Cell Phone Contract signed and ready to go, especially if you’re allowing a new driver to do some of the driving this holiday season. You can personalize it to suit your family’s needs so everyone is on the same page where mobile device rules are concerned.

So tell me, do you have any travel plans this holiday season? Aside from visiting family that lives fairly local to us we plan to stay close to home. It feels pretty good to know we won’t be doing a whole lot of driving, but it’s getting quite cold here so I’m certainly dreaming about a vacation (preferably someplace with palm trees).

Disclosure: I’m a compensated member of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.





  1. I love these tips! I always take a photo when I park at the airport but never thought to do it at other busy parking lots (or malls where I might not come out the same door I went in). Also love the charging tip!
    Toni | recently posted..Spicy Black Bean Soup and Visiting JWU Denver!My Profile

    • Seriously, Toni! I don’t know how many times I’ve come of the mall all exhausted from shopping and not able to remember where I parked. How did we ever get by before technology?

  2. These are really great tips. I try to always park in the same section at the grocery store, that way I don’t forget where I parked. Of course, if there isn’t a spot available I can forget! Taking a photo is a great idea.

  3. I love the idea of taking pictures of your refrigerator. I am always forgetting to make a list and this would be a great way to see if I need something. Perfect idea!

  4. I do the photo for my parking spot when I am in a crazy huge parking garage. Holiday shopping is stressful enough without trying to find your car!
    Ashley @irishred02 recently posted..Teachable Mommy 2016 Gift Guide!My Profile

  5. Love all your ideas! I always “miss” my car spot! So hard to get out of the store with bags, not knowing where your car is parked!

  6. Oh, I did not know some of these! I am all for things that will make my life easier, or finding my car during this crazy holiday season at the mall 🙂
    Emily recently posted..DIY glitter snowballsMy Profile

  7. Awesome tips! I especially love the one about taking screenshots of directions for road trips. More than once while driving I have lost GPS signal!

  8. I rely on Google Keep to store recipes I’d like to prepare for my blog, along with ingredient lists. I have a perpetual shopping list as well as a couple TO DO lists. I also keep links to articles I’d like to read later (use the hashtags to keep them organized) as well as use the check list function to store instructions for my knitting projects. I used to use the COZI app but I’m more than satisfied with Google Keep.
    LydiaF recently posted..Lemon Pomegranate Parfaits {#TheRecipeReDux}My Profile

  9. These are such great tips. Whenever my kids and I go to the mall or somewhere that has a ton of parking, we take a picture of where our car is located!
    Bianca Mcneace recently posted..Allure Beauty Box Cyber Monday Deal – $10 for your 1st Box!!My Profile

  10. There is so much in this post that is helpful! It has been a horrible year for my family and while grief has slowed the days, they some how all blurred together and now it is almost December and I must get my act together to make sure the kids have a nice holiday! When running out the door I don’t always have time to make a grocery list, a snap shot would help so much. If I had taken a photo on black friday where I had parked, perhaps I would not have gotten lost so long in the parking lot trying to find my van! Also, I had no idea about the reminder option on my cell phone, I need to figure out how to use that! Thank you! Hope your holidays go smooth!
    Kimberly C recently posted..Hatchimals – Are they worth it?My Profile

  11. I am so glad I visited this post! I love this tip the most: Did you know that charging your phone in Airplane Mode is a great way to conserve your battery while also speeding your charge time. I am totally doing this!
    Carol Bryant recently posted..How to Determine the Quality of Dog Food #WeBelieveinNBMy Profile

  12. Ok these are so simple yet so clever, I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of some of these before. I’m especially going to screenshot directions just in case. So smart.

  13. What a great idea to take a picture of where you’ve parked! I don’t drive yet but I always forget where whoever I’m with has parked so I’ll have to remember this for the next time I go out 🙂

    Louise x
    Louise recently posted..The Ultimate Chocolate Yule LogMy Profile

  14. I never would have thought to take a photo of where i am parked. I do text my the aisle number to myself as a reminder but taking a photo would be way more helpful fro landmarks.

  15. These are great tips! Always looking for ways to make the holidays stress free!
    Kristin recently posted..The Moments the Make the Holidays with Hanna AnderssonMy Profile

  16. Location based features!!!! I am totally trying this. I use all the other ideas constantly, but never thought of using location features for shopping.
    Laura Funk recently posted..Breakfast with Santa & The Rusty BucketMy Profile

  17. These are great ideas! I set my timer on my phone when I park using a parking meter. It helps me from getting tickets! I have never used reminder, but I’m curious now and going to give it a try! Thanks!
    Milena recently posted..mykind Organics Plant Collagen Builder #Review #GiveawayMy Profile

  18. Thank you for sharing your tips! I once wasted 30 minutes at the airport struggling to find my car and it was stressful! I will have your tips kept in mind!

  19. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful tips. With this tip, I’ll never be stress anymore to find where my car is…Set up my phone now 🙂
    Emily@ juicer healthy recently posted..The 8 Morning Secrets of Successful PeopleMy Profile

  20. This are great tips and I am so grateful. I lost my photo ID once during a vacation in Kenya and it was a nightmare. From now on, all I need to do is simply take photos of my documents and send them to my email. Thank you.

  21. Great post! Very informative and helpful. I’ll share this link on my blog.
    Claire Divas recently posted..Best Hot Water Recirculating Pump 2019 – Buyer’s GuideMy Profile

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