Travel Journaling 101 – Benefits, Tips, Ideas

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If you’re travelling, but travel journaling isn’t part of your routine – you’re missing out! Why, you may ask?

Just imagine a book, dedicated entirely on you and your unique experiences, memorable stories and favourite places. This is exactly what travel journals are.

We have all made some amazing memories during our travels, which we want to never forget, but somehow this often happens. With time the details start fading away and you are not able to fully recreate certain events in your head.

This is where travel journaling comes in to save the day. Imagine how beautiful it would be to sit down 10 or even 30 years from now and go through your journals, reminiscing about all the places you have visited and memories you’ve created. Imagine showing your grandchildren all the places you visited, photos you took, memories you made, allowing them to take a look at the stories behind those trips.

Benefits of keeping a travel journal

Defeat boredom.
Spending a few hours on a plane/bus/train can be extremely boring sometimes. Use your long trips to do something productive and creative like putting your thoughts on paper. No better time to concentrate and let your creativity flow if you ask me.

Stay organised.
If you are like me, then you love researching everything about your next destination – from what to see, activities to do, traditional food to try out, top restaurants to eat at.. Write all of these things down in your travel journal so you can have everything in hand – this will help you stay organised and it will assure that you don’t forget any of these things. Nothing worse than forgetting to do something you were planning on doing!

Relieve stress.
Did you know that journaling is a highly-recommended stress management tool? There are many studies that prove the effectiveness of journaling for health, happiness and stress relief.

Keep your memories for a lifetime.
So many things happen when we travel. And so many of those things become a long forgotten memory. I am honestly so sad about all those trips I took without documenting them in a journal.

Track your own personal development.
Time goes by and life happens way more quickly than we realise. Journaling is a way to document your journey every step of the way, allowing you to be more self-aware of your own progress. There is no better feeling than self-reflection and seeing how far you’ve come.

Did I catch your attention? Now that we’re in the same boat of travel journaling enthusiasts, let’s talk about finding the perfect travel journal.

Find the perfect travel journal

Creating a travel diary is very customisable and totally up to you. You can buy an empty notebook and customise everything yourself, or you can get a pre-made one, where all the sections are already prepared for you to fill out.

Here is a list of our top choices of travel journals with a brief description of what you should expect from each item.

Vintage Leather Travel Notebook

This travel journal impresses with its retro design and beautiful cover. It’s made out of soft leather and it’s perfectly suitable to bring on the road. The pages are completely blank so you would be free to let your imagination flow and fill them out however you want. The pages are refillable and the notebook comes with card slots and a zipper pouch to store all your dear travel memories.

Vintage Memory Travel Book + Bookmarker-ruler

A very colourful, vintage-looking and durable notebook. The pages have different travel-related designs on them, which is perfect if you’re not confident in your drawing skills (like me). The multi-function pages include blank off white pages, pictured pages, check pages, lined pages and white pages, leaving room for endless creativity. Super affordable as well!

Travel journal Kit

This is a very compact travel kit which contains a mini scratch off maps, as well as a notebook to keep track of everything. There is a section for everything you can think of – documents and necessities list, space for calculating and keeping track of your spendings etc.

Trip planner & Travel Journal for 4 Trips

This travel notebook includes checklists, itinerary, free space to personalise and more. It is designed to store 4 trips – one of up to 21 days, two up to 15 days and one up to 9 days. Perfect option for someone on a budget, as it is very small and affordable.

Refillable Leather Travel Journal

I’ve already mentioned this exact travel journal in my “10 incredibly useful gifts for travellers” blog post. The leather cover makes it look very classy and elegant, and the inside is extremely well made and practical. It has card slots, zipper pockets, lined paper, blank paper and so much space for you to write down your memories. It is also refillable!

Refillable Leather Travel Journal + Pen

The design of this one is indeed something I can see a man using, but who says it can’t be used by women too!? Classy looking, compact, portable and refillable personal diary. It comes with a small pen attached to it, a zipper pouch and a kraft holder. This company also donates part of their profit to Afrinspire charity which helps families in Africa – another great plus!

Embossed Handmade Travel Journal

This must be one of the most beautifully made journals I have ever seen. It’s compact enough to be packed in a handbag, but also big enough to hold all your travel memories. The pages are refillable and there is an elastic band which holds everything in place. Check out this beauty!

P.S. You can find a similar item for half the price here.

P.P.S. Or another one twice as expensive, but extremely good quality here.

Travel Listography

Explore the world in lists! This guided journal features over 70 thought-provoking list topics for you to list all their travel adventures, including past trips and future destinations.

However, if you want to start small and just test the waters for now, check out my free travel journal printable template!

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What to journal about?

Your travel plans.
Start off by creating lists for your next trip – packing list, what to see list, daily plan. Put down every cute restaurant or coffee place you want to visit, all the perfect photo spots you want to see, and the food you want to try out.

The people you meet along the way.
May it be locals or other travellers, stumbling across some interesting individuals when on the go  is inevitable. I love talking to people from different countries, because everyone has a unique story to tell. Describe each of your new acquaintances with a few words, maybe even talk about memories you shared together.

Mistakes to learn from.
We have all been in situations which we wish we handled differently. Put down all sorts of tips for your future self – things that will help you make your experiences better and better every time.

Places you have visited.
Journal about every place you visited that impressed you in some way, may it be good or bad. If something interested happened there – write it down! Learned something new? Talk about it. Every memory is precious.

Tips and tricks for future reference.
Each place comes with its own ‘hacks’ so to say. You wouldn’t want to forget valuable and useful  information like the fact that there is free entry to the Louvre in Paris on each first Saturday of the month, for example. You might happen to go back to this exact place in the future, or maybe you have friends who want to visit there as well. Whatever the case may be, all these tips would be extremely useful

Tips for Travel Journaling

Make time every day. I know how challenging it can be to set aside some time while travelling, but you will thank yourself later. It’s much easier to say you’re going to fill out the blank pages once you get home from your trip, but trust me, a big part of the details and the stories will be lost. Dedicate 5 to 10 minutes of your day to write down everything what has happened throughout the day and you will be sure you’ve captured your whole experience, from start to finish.

Collect mementos. Don’t throw away all those public transport tickets, leaflets, receipts, postcards and so on. Keep them and put them neatly in your travel journal! These objects will serve as a memory of a particular trip that will never come back. It’s great to remember your experience forever, but it’s even better to have something that you can hold, something that can remind you of a particular moment.

Don’t limit yourself to just writing. Draw. Doodle. Tape in postcards, tickets, foreign currency coins, photos. The more diverse your travel journal is, the better. Experiment as much as you can’t and find your personal style.

Use social media for inspiration. There are thousands of different pictures on the Internet where people share what their own journals look like. Steal any idea that you like and make yours look even better! As Picasso once said “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. 😉

Don’t try to be perfect. Journals are amazing just because they are imperfect! They reflect our own thoughts and feelings, which often can be quite messy, and that’s totally fine. Don’t be too hard on yourself and just let your creative juices flow.

And last but not least… Enjoy it!

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- This article contains affiliate links. For every purchase made through one of these links, I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! -        

1 Comment

  1. inbar
    June 7, 2019 / 11:00 am

    thank you, it helped a lot!

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