I put together a blurb photo book of our Europe trip and finally received the finished product.
I ordered the book from blurb and used their design it yourself templates for Adobe InDesign. This is the program that I use at work all the time, so I am comfortable with the software and the templates were very easy to use. The album I made is a 12"x12" hardcover book. I set up each page with a 3x3 grid of 4-inch blocks and then added and resized my pictures to fill the blocks. Some photos fill one block and others fill up to 6 blocks of the page. It was a little overwhelming to fit all of the pictures in the book, so coming up with a simple grid to use made the book easy and quick to put together.
I stuck with one color bar for each city that we visited and added some of the text from my blog entries and some of my own additional commentary. Friends and family are having fun playing "spot the typo." Luckily only two have been found so far!
1. Don't pay to upgrade from Standard to Premium paper - it's not much of a quality jump to justify the cost.
2. Don't pay $15 extra to remove the blurb logo from the last page (custom logo option). I was able to tear out the final logo page myself for free (blank white page with a tiny logo at the bottom center).
For past trips, I have just put photos into 2-up or 3-up albums and written captions and information. The scrapbooks and photo albums are starting to take over our house, so getting a photo book like this printed is a great space saver for the amount of pictures that it can include. It fits easily on our bookshelf and is only about 1/2" wide.
A coworker of mine has had great success using Walgreens for photo books, too. She came up with the best idea for creating a yearly album. She started a new book on January 1 and adds pictures to her online album layout throughout the year when she has a chance (once or twice a month). At the end of December, she'll have a complete album with all of the pictures she's taken this year included in it and won't have to scramble around to remember what she did or where she misplaced photos of a certain event. I think I'm going to try this method out for 2010.