Wander Often. Wonder Always. Tips, Tricks, & More For Journaling Travel Skip to main content

Out of all the journaling types, travel journals are a gift that keeps on giving. You’ll definitely look at them years or decades after you’ve traveled. Why? Travel journaling is a way for you to jot down all the interesting things you saw. Remember the people you’ve met. Even keep the train ticket you bought to get to Istanbul. If you’re a jet setter or just know someone who is, this is THE best thing you could do.

If you love journaling or have just started your writing journey, read our page Journaling… In All Its Shapes, Forms, and Fun for lots more ideas and benefits.

Scrapbooking on Steroids

Compared to other styles of journals, like bullet or dream journals, a travel one is more interactive and can be in-the-action-packed-moment. Think of it almost as a scrapbook, but while it’s happening. You won’t just write in it. You’ll also use your creative self to make something inspiring that helps you remember your trip to Europe, Disney World, or even a beach weekend to Lake Tahoe with your friends. Whether you make it while you travel or after the fact, it’s a memoir worth making. With that said, here’s a few basics you should think about picking up to start your travel journal.

travel journalTravel Diary

This one is pretty straight forward. You need to pick a cool, funky journal with plenty of blank pages in it. Since there’s a good chance you’ll be doing a bit of decoupage, you’ll want one that opens up flat. I never like when I have to struggle to keep my journal open. That’s why all of our nluv Studio journals easily open up flat. You can even add pages if you need more room!

“Color”-Ful Pens, Pencils, And Crayons

You could just use or bring a black pen and call it a day… but why? This is YOUR chance to express yourself. To make a keepsake that will be worth its weight in gold. Get a fun container to hold colorful pens, pencils, and even crayons. These tools will then allow you to really showcase what each day was like.

Glue, Baby Glue!

Along with those colorful pens, you’ll probably collect little keepsakes along the way such as a piece of a map or a segment of a postcard that you want to keep. To make sure it doesn’t slide out, have a glue stick and/or decorative tape, like washi tape, to securely attach it in your journal.

Scissors and Ruler

Life isn’t about living within the lines so why even have any inside your travel journal. Having crafting supplies to help you create eye-catching pages is crucial. Instead of putting an entire map or brochure within it, you can cut out the parts you want with a quality pair of craft scissors (or even travel size if it’s safe to carry them with you). And if you have a little ruler, you can make sure it’s a straight line too!

File Organizer

Sometimes on your travels, you’ll just be having too much fun to get crafty while in the moment. On those days, having something to store the important stuff you’re collecting is a good idea. That way nothing gets bent, spilled on, or worse – lost.

Why You Should Journal On A Trip

No matter how slow of a traveler you are, days go by incredibly fast on a trip. You may have hundreds of digital photos from it, but most likely they’ll just clutter up your phone, and you’ll forget about them. Pictures are like dessert. Without a great meal to go with it, you’ll find them lacking. When you journal about your travels, you get a chance to add more to those photos. What happened on that day? Did you see a celebrity? Eat the greatest pizza ever? Or maybe you missed the ferry and met the most handsome travel-mate ever. The more detail, context, and flair you can add to a picture, the more rich the memory.
journaling travel journal

Tips To Make It Awesome

Now that you have a reason to do some travel journaling, let’s talk tips on how to make it the best darn book of memories you’ll ever see.

Start Ahead Of Time

This is something you may have never even considered when journaling travel – start ahead of time. If this is a trip that you’ll be spending a week or more on the road, there’s nothing better than doing some research ahead of time. Create a wish-list for each day of what you want to see, do, or eat. For example, NYC is home to A LOT of great pizza spots but why not find the OLDEST one in the city (it’s Lombardi’s). This will create a sense of excitement for the trip ahead of time and even help you not miss things while in the moment.

Focus On Senses

When you’re journaling travel, the focus is less about being perfect and more on jotting down things you experience. As my mother in-law says, “Focus on the five senses… and maybe even a bit of a sixth sense.” Don’t just write the soup was “great.” Did it taste lemony? Have chunks of crimson potatoes? Was a hint of rosemary in the air? Describe it in a way that will re-trigger those memories and take you back to that moment in time.

A Good “Layover” Option

No matter how good your planning is, there’s going to be down time where nothing is happening. Either you’re waiting for a plane, sitting in traffic (as a passenger, of course) or maybe just enjoying an evening out. Instead of having your head stuck in your phone, use that time to write in your journal about the day.

journaling your travelRemember WHAT You Want To Remember

If you don’t have a free moment on your jam-packed trip, look for opportunities to take a break and just think about the day. What was special about it? Something like you spoke to a bellhop that told you this is the same hotel Winston Churchill stayed at on his way to make his famous speech. Or that you enjoyed a Dōner Kebab in Berlin for the very first time which was like a twist on a classic gyro sandwich. The little things of the day will easily get lost over time so capturing them as close to when they happened, the better. It’s the littlest moments that can have the greatest impact.

Keepsakes, Trinkets, And Tickets

The goal of this whole travel journal idea is to spark memories when you look at it in a year or decades later. Besides the classic items like plane, train, or bus tickets, remember to look for less obvious candidates to put in your journal. It could be a cutout from a local newspaper. Coasters from your favorite bar. Candy wrappers you’ve never seen before. Stamps that personify the place. Stickers and postcards are a good option too. Even if you don’t smoke, matchbooks are an interesting piece of memorabilia.

Taglines, Phrases, & Foreign Words

Besides seeing iconic attractions, travel is an opportunity to learn new things that you would never know about unless you were there. Even in a place that speaks English, it can have a HUGE variety of different phrases that you may never heard of. Like in the Northeast, they call chocolate sprinkles “Jimmies.” Or that you learned how to say “What’s Up?” in Italian. Even if it was just a friend’s trip to the beach, there might be a funny phrase that kept coming up.

Souvenir Stamps?!?

Everyone loves a scavenger hunt so why not include that idea in your travels. A lot of tourist destinations throughout the world provide souvenir stamps that you can get stamped right into your travel journal. For example, on US-50 in Nevada, you can hunt down stamps in eight towns across this stretch of road dubbed the “loneliest road in America.”

Regardless if you choose to embark on journaling travel in the moment or after you get home, in the end, think of a travel journal as a priceless gift to yourself. Instead of spending money on kitschy things you’ll probably throw into your junk drawer, this is something that will give you (and others you share it with) enjoyment for years into the future.