Make "wish you were here" more personal and fun with a video postcard. Just follow these tips to give your vacation correspondence a fresh twist.
- Know Your Audience Take time to plan a video showing the sights your family and friends will be interested in seeing, like a hike for your outdoors-loving mom.
- Keep It Short and Sweet For quick viewing and easy file uploads, videos should be no more than two to three minutes long. But don't worry, you can fit more than you think in that much time.
- Study Up Good filmmaking isn't just for the big screen. Check out vimeo.com/videoschool  for tutorials on lighting, sound and more that can take vacation videos to the next level.
- Befriend Technology Put the right software on your laptop before you go. Movavi VideoMessage provides an easy video editor and postcard templates. Download it for free at Movavi.com/videomessage .
- Recite the Guidebook No need to list the fish found in the aquarium you visited. Instead, tell a story, like how your daughter had a staring contest with a blowfish—and won.
- Talk While You Shoot "Is it recording?" "Honey, move more to the left!" Is this really what your family wants to hear? Unless you're intentionally talking to your audience, shush once you've hit record.
- Wing It Get familiar with your camera before your trip so you'll have time to learn its features. Be sure to bring an extra memory card if you can, and don't forget the charger.
- Skimp on Footage You might score a memorable shot when you least expect it, so keep your camera at the ready. Just remember to clear off the memory card daily so you have plenty of space for new video.
Please contact your AAA Travel Counselor or go to AAA.com/offices  to find one near you.
This article was first published in September 2012 in Traveler. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.