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10 Tips For Starting and Keeping A Travel Journal

Turn your dream trip into your reality by starting a travel journal.

Why Is Travel So Enticing?

Why is ‘Workcation’ – the travel trend blending work and vacation – the hottest trend of the day?  

It’s a popular item on people’s bucket lists for life: travel more – anytime, anywhere. Many of us yearn for authentic travel experiences; there is something different about real travel, and we’re happy to combine it with work. And when we’re not off on an adventure, chances are we’re dreaming of it.

Travel Is Popular

Travel has become a staple of special occasions like honeymoons, holidays, spring break and summer vacation. To most people, travel is about more than just ticking destinations off their list; it is about the thrill of an epic mountaintop view; it’s the taste of that foreign cuisine; it’s the beauty of new cultures and cities and countrysides.

Travel Is Easy

Today’s technology places scenes from across the globe right at our fingertips. 

Do you hope to one day become a travel blogger or make a career travelling? Do you feel the pull of wanderlust watching travelers’ reels on Instagram? Maybe you feel the itch to travel as you surf the internet late at night for the ‘Best waterfalls in the world’ or ‘Top sights to see in Paris.’ You’re not alone. Dotted with breathtaking mountain scenes and swimming holes, towering castles and rose covered cottages, these Pinterest boards have over 18,000 followers!

There is a whole world out there just waiting to be discovered. Whether you prefer hillside Spanish villas, a charming treetop bungalow or a road-ready airstream, Airbnb’s latest getaways offer it all. Looking for something crazier? New ‘glamping’ properties are springing up all over California wine country offering the chance to sleep in luxury in a wagon under the stars.

If you want to travel more, whether for vacation, study abroad, a career break, or a gap-year program, this post is for you.

Enter The Travel Journal

Whether you are an aspiring traveler or an avid adventurer, a travel journal is your best friend, a tool that will help you before, during and after your travels. Your journal will help you share the joy of your travels, instantly letting friends and family have a taste of your travels.

Make the most of your next trip by letting yourself loose in a travel notebook. Brainstorm bucket-list ideas and other ideas as you dream up your next excursion. You don’t have to have travel anxiety to find comfort in planning things out! During your trip, collect little moments and mementos to add meaning your days. After you return home, play with the content of your travel journal: fill in the second half of that story, flush out the details of your itinerary, look back on take-away tips you jotted down for future travel.

A Travel Journal Has Added Benefits

While many people think of a travel journal as way to document personal travels, a well-made travel journal offer countless additional benefits!

If you love to travel, there are many great ways to record your trip. Video reels, photo albums, Instagram posts and notebook entries each have their own advantage, but nothing beats a travel journal when it comes to ease, versatility, and the ability to make a trip come alive – whether a future idea or a trip just around the corner. Scroll down to find the unique perks of keeping a travel journal!

The Best Ways to Use your Travel Journal

Before Your Trip

Pick a journal that suits your style.

  • Choosing a journal that appeals to you is the first step. Pick a color that matches your style or destination: if you’re flying to the tropics, pick a mint or pink journal. If you’re headed to Italy, perhaps the butter yellow fits the theme.
  • Don’t forget to consider the size! Will you have lots of luggage space? Go for a larger journal such as the Pacific Blue Leatherpress Notebook. If you’re traveling light, opt for a smaller notebook like the Coral Red Pocket Notebook to fit in your bag or personal tote.

Choose some themes that will focus your trip.

  • Make a list of themes that speak to you, personally. These can include a wide range of things such as hiking, fashion, food, lodging, and more.
  • Do you have a passion for good food or exotic eats? Jot it down as something you’d like to explore in your trip. This is especially great if you are traveling abroad and have access to fresh, local fruit or exciting new dishes.
  • Do you love a unique hotel? Put ‘Lodging’ on the list and make time to describe and rate the Airbnbs, hotels or hostels you stay at along your trip.
  • Are you someone who likes to hit all the sights? List ‘Attractions and Historic Sites’ on your page so that you remember to search them out at every stop.

Think big: write your general goals for the trip.

  • This tip focuses on perspective. If you have ever travelled before, you know that much of the journey is about managing and maintaining expectations. Take a minute to think it through. What are you hoping to accomplish through this trip? Do you want to relax, learn, or get to know your travel companions better?
  • Keep one or two of these goals in mind; but give yourself the flexibility to veer away if the trip calls for it.

Come supplied.

  • Add some key travelers notebook accessories to your packing list and set yourself up to enjoy your journal:
  • Bring several pens for multiple colors or backup writing instruments.
  • If you plan to tape in special mementos, bring tape, a glue stick, etc.
  • Bring a couple of plastic bags if you are going somewhere wet. This way you won’t have to worry about the pages bleeding or wrinkling with water.

During Your Trip

Embrace “notes to self”

This is a favorite tip for many travelers. The best lessons are learned by experience, right? As you travel, write little notes to yourself that contain practical tips, funny moments, or highlights of your day.

Some examples: “Remember not to wear ballet slippers when we’re walking a lot” and “Remember to bring face sunscreen even on cloudy days.

Get scrappy

Embrace the scrapbook style and save tickets, business cards, and postcards for a more vivid, colorful memoir. Just glue or tape them into the pages! Play around with ideas for your travel notebook cover. You can even include dried leaves and flowers if you’re the crafty type.

Just scribble something!

Writing one line about your day is an accomplishment you’ll be grateful to have done later. Just jot down where you went or something you saw that day. Plus, you’ll be surprised – once you start writing, sometimes more inspiration follows and you’ll write more than you thought.

After Your Trip

Note your post-travel takeaways

At the end of the trip, compile your “Notes to self” in a master list on the last page. This way you can easily reference your reminders when the time comes to plan your next trip. Then, take a couple of minutes to scribble down other notes. Write down the sights that are worth seeing again and those that are not. What were your top 3 highlights from the trip? Would you return again or not? If so, with who?

Add photos

Nowadays it is easy to snap photos on your phone and purchase physical prints. Both CVS and Staples offer print-on-demand services, while online companies such as Shutterfly and Snapfish regularly offer 100 4 x 6 full-color photo prints free of charge to first time customers – just pay the small shipping fee to have them arrive at your door! Insert these prints into your journal as well.  You’ll love looking back at special experiences of your life in full color.

Store your travel journal somewhere practical

Keep your travel journal near (or in) your suitcase or on a special shelf for journals and notebooks so that you’ll know where to find it. It will be easy to pull out your journal to revisit your trip with friends or plan your next destination!

Ready to get planning for your next trip? Shop our leather journals and notebooks.

If you need more ideas to get you started on a travel notebook, download our travel journal template.

Or check out 10 creative travel journal ideas you can add to your list.