Postcard Letters Tea Desk Concept

In an era dominated by instant messaging and social media, the charm of sending a physical letter or postcard while on vacation might seem like a relic of the past. Yet, for many, this tradition remains a delightful part of their travel experience. This article explores the fading yet fascinating practice of mailing postcards and letters from exotic locales, pondering why some travelers cling to this old-school habit while others prefer the immediacy of digital communication.

The Allure of the Written Word

There’s something undeniably romantic about scribbling a postcard amidst the ruins of ancient civilizations or the bustling streets of a foreign city. “Whenever I travel, I make it a point to send postcards to my family. It feels like sharing a piece of my journey in a very tangible way,” shares Jane Doe, an avid traveler and blogger. Her sentiment captures the essence of why sending postcards and letters continues to appeal to certain travelers. They offer a personal touch, a physical memento that digital images cannot replicate.

The Digital Detractors

On the flip side, the convenience of digital communication cannot be overstated. With smartphones in almost every tourist’s hand, sharing vacation experiences in real-time has never been easier. Why wait days or weeks for a postcard to arrive when you can send a photo via text or post it on social media within seconds? This immediacy not only keeps friends and family constantly updated but also saves the hassle and expense of finding stamps and postboxes.

A Historical Perspective

Historically, sending postcards and letters was one of the few ways to share travel experiences with those back home. This practice became popular in the early 20th century, a golden era of postcards, when colorful scenes from far-off places would flood the mailboxes of eager recipients. A survey showed that in the 1920s, the average American household received over 200 postcards a year, a testament to their popularity.

The Collector’s Item

For some, postcards are more than just a means of communication—they are collectibles. Rare and vintage postcards from bygone eras can fetch hefty sums among collectors. Even contemporary postcards are cherished for their artistic value, often featuring works by local artists or iconic photography of the destination.

Philosophical Musings

The act of sending a postcard or letter while vacationing touches upon deeper, philosophical themes of presence and memory. French philosopher Gaston Bachelard once wrote about the poetics of space, suggesting that certain places can evoke a profound sense of nostalgia and longing. Perhaps sending a postcard is a way to bridge the gap between the present experience and the eventual nostalgia one will feel for a place.

The Environmental Consideration

It’s also worth considering the environmental impact of sending letters and postcards. While digital communications are largely energy-intensive due to data storage and server use, physical mail has a carbon footprint linked to paper production and transportation. For the environmentally conscious traveler, this might tip the scale towards digital communication.

The Joy of Receiving Mail

Despite the dominance of digital communication, receiving physical mail has a unique joy associated with it. “There’s an excitement in getting a postcard from a friend traveling in Italy—it’s like receiving a tiny piece of their adventure,” says John Smith, a postcard enthusiast. This sentiment underscores the continued relevance of this practice for both sender and receiver.


Whether you’re a staunch supporter of snail mail or a proponent of digital updates, the choice between sending postcards or instant messages while vacationing reflects broader themes of connection, memory, and personal preference. As we navigate the complexities of modern communication, perhaps there’s room for both in our travel rituals. After all, in the end, it’s not about the medium, but the message and the thought behind it that truly count.

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