Sending postcards is old-fashioned. With the hassle of finding a stamp, a post office or a mailbox, many travelers have stopped sending postcards entirely. Emails, Facebook messages and immediate, free phone calls and chats via Skype have replaced this quaint, traditional postal method.

But there is still a charm to sending (and receiving) one of those old-fashioned cards. Here are five reasons why writing a postcard is still worth it.

#1: You’ll Stand Out from the Crowd

As your fellow travelers are busy hammering away at their keyboards or “virtually” typing on their iPhones, you can take out a pen with style. Sit in the sun at a cafe, or even at the beach, and simply start writing. Unlike your computer, you won’t even have to worry about getting the postcard wet. Also, thieves are likely to follow you for expensive technological devices, but probably not for a postcard.

Moreover, you will stand out from the crowd on the receiving end. With everyone sending emails and instant messages, the receiver will value your personal and handwritten effort. Especially if you are writing a message to your loved ones, they will feel the love emanating from the postcard. It’s also a way to show a crush of yours that you really like them (insert emoticon here). Probably going to be more successful than just poking the person in question on Facebook, no?

© angus mcdiarmid

#2: You Don’t Need To Fight for an Electricity Plug

Airports are notorious for having travelers fighting over the only electricity plug. Similarly, in buses and trains you often have to pick your spot depending on where the nearest outlet is.

With a postcard, you won’t have any of these hassles. Again, you just take out your pen, start writing and simply pen down what comes to mind. You can be as informal as you like, and even begin drawing if you’re so inspired. With an email message, that would be a little more difficult. Write in the form of a heart, for example, to someone that you really care about. Again, something else that is really difficult to do if you are using email.

#3: It Won’t Get Erased When Your Computer Crashes

If you are typing a message in Microsoft Word or in your browser, it often happens that either the window stops responding, the internet connection breaks down, or you run out of battery. Especially when traveling, technology is not always stable.

With a postcard, there isn’t much that can happen in this regard. After buying the postcard, you do need to make sure that you don’t lose it, obviously. In the worst case, you could even buy a new one, they aren’t that expensive. In fact, most stores offer a protective sleeve so that they don’t get dirty. Stamps, too, are easily available and you can drop the cards off at most hotels.

Abstract photo within a postcardPostcard from the Edge © Abby Lanes

#4: Hackers Won’t Be Able To Read It

Sure, during World War II, for example, the postcards and letters were read by adversaries. In the modern world, however, this tendency has quieted down, and as long as you don’t write anything incriminating, you shouldn’t have a problem.

On the Internet, in contrast, you run the risk of someone hacking into your email or Facebook account. Identity theft due to the Internet is becoming more and more common, and credit card frauds occur by the minute. With a postcard, you run very little risk of having someone find out all about you and use your postcard to take advantage of your personal data.

#5: Your Card Might Decorate Someone’s Home

Several times, I’ve returned home and my postcards from abroad have decorated my friends’ and family’s homes. Not only did that make me feel special and appreciated, but it also served as a vicarious transport back to my trip.

Through a postcard, both you and the receiver can connect and remember the place in question. Have you heard of someone printing out an email and hanging it up on their wall? Probably not.

Emails aren’t pretty, whereas postcards are. The messages they contain resonate on a personal note, and show a degree of effort on the part of the receiver. Not only did he or she go out and buy the card, send it, but they also knew the address of the receiver. In the modern world, this is less and less common.

When people ask me (by email, usually) for my mail address, I usually wonder why? Then I receive a letter or postcard shortly after. Now I understand. There are still a few out there who like traditional methods of communication, and sending a postcard is among them. With so many different styles to choose from, every person should be able to find a card that suits them.

If not, you can always craft your own postcards. Whether that means using your own creative talent, or ordering personal postcards, for example at moo.com, is up to you. Be inspired by your travels and enjoy!

11 Responses

  1. Nick Hawkins

    I write my 300 postcards abroad a year. You can’t hang a tweet or a Facebook status on your fridge.

    Reply
  2. Nora Lynch (fittravelgirl)

    Plus, don’t forget the amazing foreign stamps! Out of sight, out of mind… if you don’t send a postcard, you won’t think about or buy those cheap miniature works of art (otherwise known as stamps). I remember Turkish stamps as particularly awesome years ago.

    Reply
  3. Chelsea

    #5. is so true. I found a back of unique postcards in Montreal last summer and sent them to all my friends, who loved the 50’s Lesbian Comic theme so much they put them on fridges, in frames and on peg boards. Now I get to relive the 5 weeks I spent in Montreal whenever I go to my friend’s homes! Rarely does an email sent a year ago brings a smile to my face quite like these postcards.

    Reply
  4. Margaret

    I love postcards! My mother collected them and even friends of friends went out of their way to find distinctive cards from out of the way places around the world. I always send them whenever I travel–and even when I don’t–a great way to say “I’m thinking of you” anytime and from anywhere.
    I even have a virtual postcard section on my blog!

    Reply
  5. LandingStanding

    I never thought of sending postcards during my RTW trip next year but I think this is a great idea. I personally think that we have become too attached to modern marvels with technology and we have forgotten about the, more quirky and meaningful methods of communication. Great read!

    Reply
  6. Renevic

    Thanks for this post. Opened up my mind to send postcards to my love ones and friends. I’ll be doing this in my next and future destinations, cheers! :D

    Reply
  7. erica

    I collect postcards people send in to the Postcards Project Website

    http://www.thepostcardsproject.com/

    It is so neat for me to see places all over the world. I can learn a lot about history of different times and places even if I have not been there. If you would like to send one please send one to

    The Postcards Project
    c/o Erica StJohn
    4802 Meadowlark Lane
    Apt A
    Columbia MO 65201

    Reply
  8. Alex Chen

    It’s addictive. I’ve been writing and collecting for years. Onetime 30 postcards in one trip and had to keep my hands from cramping. But there is nothing better than writing a postcard on the beach with a coconut… it’s more than a cliche, it’s perfect. Check out my stories http://www.igotyourpostcard.com and send me a postcard if you’re up for it. thanks,
    a

    Reply
  9. lynne

    For me, one of the highlights of taking any trip is keeping an eye open for postcards to send to family and friends. Airports always have them and it passes the time while I’m waiting at a gate. I have a basket full of cards I’ve received over the years sitting on my coffee table and I love going through them and re-reading them, and admiring the pictures. Postcrossing.com is an ongoing way of getting them from everywhere. Whenever my friends travel, I tell them to “send me a postcard!” I love getting them from their hometowns. Sometimes hard to find them for small town America!

    Reply
  10. Dona

    I’m not traveling as much as I’d like currently, but I love love love getting postcards! Nobody sends mail anymore and it’s so much fun getting something in the mailbox! Keep them coming!

    Reply

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