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10 Creative Travel Journal Ideas

Before you embark on your next trip, skim through this post to discover easy ways to jazz up your travel journal and personalize your memories. While handwritten stories will make you smile, you’ll find even more pleasure in flipping back through a dynamic, 3-D travel notebook full of tokens and tidbits from your trip!

You have probably thought of including travel tickets, such as your airplane, bus or train tickets. These are perfect elements to include at the beginning of your travel journal entry. They stand out on the page and mark the beginning of your trip in your notebook.

Photos are another fantastic addition to your travel diary if you can remember to print them out at the end of your trip – unless you’ve got a polaroid camera which can be a traveler’s dream! But what else can you do to preserve special moments from your trip? 

Read on for the full list of 10 things you might not think of including in your journal!

1. Foreign Bills And Coins

Foreign currency bills are an easy addition to your travel notebook. Bills often contain a blend of history, and symbolic images or influential figures; they may have a shimmering reflective pattern or unusual color.  You could even tape or glue small coins onto your pages for a dimensional addition.  

2. Hotel Room Key Cards

If you are staying at a unique lodge or hotel, or visiting multiple hotels on one trip, keeping a hotel key card can be a fun way of organizing the record of your stays in your travel diary. Many hotels will also have business cards or other materials that can be substituted for a similar effect, if you happen to be in an older traditional hotel that still uses real keys.

3. Flowers, Sprigs And Leaves

If you have an eye for the beauty of nature and love travel time spent outdoors, find ways to capture that in your journal. A colorful maple leaf brings back the cool air of your fall trip to Vermont.  Pressed lavender brings back scent of Aix-on-Provence. You can press your specimens right into your journal, or, when you return home, slip your pieces into a folded sheet of wax paper and put them under a book to flatten and dry. After just a few weeks, glue your specimens right into your pages, and instantly upgrade your journal page into an Instagrammable, Pinterest-worthy piece of art.

Note: Some national parks, forests or preserves may not want you to take any of their foliage away, so make sure to read any signs posted.

Pocket Pacific Blue journal with red maple leaf on open page

4. Stickers

Stickers are a fantastic way to spice up your travel notebook entries. Many bakeries, trendy boutiques and restaurants will offer stickers for free. In less than a second, give your page a pop of color that will make it stand out.

Bonus idea: Stick the sticker in the middle of the page and wrap your writing around it so that it flows in a unique way. Don’t forget to leave space for a little caption that notes where and when you got the sticker!

5. Business Cards

When you go into art studios, flower stores, little shops, etc.  grab a business card. The cards are often on display and the owners are usually more than happy to give you one.

Bonus idea: If you want to go back on your next trip, you’ll have the address and contact information right there in your travel journal!

6. Stamps

Stamps can be a bit trickier to find but the classic, timeless look of a stamp instantly gives your page the look of an experienced traveler’s collection. Buy them from a local post office, pharmacy or convenience store. Most places that sell cards or postcards will carry stamps.

7. Receipts And Handwritten Prices

This is especially fun for food as meals can make a trip – aperitivo in Perugia, steak in Las Pampas. Food provides a time to slow down and talk about your day, to reflect with travel companions, to relax with good food and even explore new dishes. If you are a foodie (or are someone who generally loves a good meal), save receipts to remember when and where you ate. Describe your companions and the topics of conversation.

Even just writing down some  prices –  a baguette you bought from a Parisian market or ornaments at a Christkindlmarkt is an interesting record to look back on. Something about the dollar amount next to your note makes the memory crystalize – and maybe one day you’ll laugh about the differences in exchange rates.

8. Maps

It’s the age of Google maps, but paper maps have a certain charm that no app can replicate. Maps provide a clear diagram of the area that you are exploring. They will picture the road systems, famous landmarks, and natural geographic features of the region. What’s more, you can draw on them in pen. Draw lines to track your day trip, circle your favorite places, and star the best of them all!

You can often find free maps at the information booth of an airport or train station, as well as at the front desk of hotels. Most of the time, Airbnb’s and Bed & Breakfasts will also have maps handy for you to use as you travel. Simply unfold the map, cut out the portion that speaks to your individual experiences, and glue it into your journal for a colorful diagram of your day’s adventures.

9. Postcards

Postcards are an affordable way to capture that beautiful harbor sunset or stunning mountain scene that you couldn’t capture on your phone. Affix those to a page in your traveler’s journal, and describe the rest of the scene – who you were with, the conversations around you, the aspects you want to remember.

The journals in Leatherpress’ Inspire collection offer helpful options for larger paper memorabilia such as photos and postcards. Each Inspire journal is intentionally designed with a slim back pocket. While you are traveling, slip things into the pocket so that you can glue them into your journal when you return home.

Postcards on a rack

10. Foreign Chocolate Or Candy Wrappers

What candies did you stumble upon when you traveled? Whether supermarket standards or luxury bespoke chocolate, save a wrapper, and glue or tape it into your travel journal for a 3-dimensional reminder of a special treat from another place. Clean, of course.

Try One Or Try Them All

This kind of travel journal makes a thoughtful, creative gift for your travel companion(s). Little things from your journey are great reminders. Just a glance at a receipt or a ticket stub and you’ll be reliving your trip together.

Let us know if you try any of these inventive ideas in your travel journal. Better yet, send us a photo or post a photo on Instagram using #leatherpressonlocation.  Or, email us with additional ideas at

Let the brightly colored journals in our Inspire collection take you to new heights – literally! Even if you can’t drop everything and go right away, pick up a journal and start planning. After all:

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Chinese Proverb