Whether its a travel bullet journal, travelers notebook or travel journal, find out why keeping a travel diary is a must for your next trip and get some inspiration with the best travel journal examples.
A travel journal is more than a way to remember what you did on a trip.
If you put a little time and effort into a personalized travel journal, it will be something you can look back on and treasure long after your adventure has ended.
Keep reading to get some ideas on how to create the best travel notebook, then get some inspiration from other travelers with beautiful travel journal examples.
Why Write A Travel Journal?
In an age when more and more of our lives are online, you may be wondering why bother with a diary?
You can do pretty much everything for your trip online these days, from booking to downloading boarding passes and taking photos on your smartphone. While all this is super convenient it means we no longer have momentoes to keep, or really reflect on our journey with.
Being a little old fashioned and putting pen to paper is a wonderful way to get creative, make lasting memories and to also do some self-reflection. And did you know that writing by hand actually helps you to remember things better?
I don’t keep a diary when I am at home but ever since my first overseas trip I have kept a travel diary. These take pride of place next to my photo albums. When I look back on a trip in these books, it can be amazing what things I have forgotten.
When we take travel photos they tend to be of the big sites and the amazing experiences. A travel diary is where you can write all those small details that may not be photo-worthy, the things that didn’t quite go right and more importantly, how you are feeling during your adventure.
What Do You Write In a Travel Journal?
Staring at a blank journal can be a little overwhelming. There are so many things you can add!
So, how do you start a travel journal?
A great idea before you put pen to paper in your new journal is to jot down a rough idea of what you would like to include. This way you can decide on the order of your journal.
For example, you may want to have different sections for trip planning, while you are on your adventure and then post-trip reflections.
To best decide what you would like to have in your travel diary have a think about why you want to write? Is it to remember your adventure? or maybe to keep you organized while you are planning a trip? or to learn as much as you can about a destination. It could, of course, be all of these reasons.
Travel Journal Ideas
Here are some ideas for how to make a travel journal. Pick and choose the things that suit your style and trip!
Make sure you don’t forget anything with a handy packing list. If you are doing long term travel or staying in various accommodation, this list will be a great checklist every time you pack so you don’t leave behind any belongings.
This can be as detailed or as vague as you like. I like to note down things like opening days for museums and other attractions so I can work around them ( there is nothing worse than only have one day in a location and finding out the place you wanted to visit is closed that day!).
Travel bucket list
I like to do this as part of my travel research. It is always one of the first pages in my travel diary. Then I work my itinerary around what I would love to see or experience at a destination.
Important things to remember
This could be phone numbers, a hotel address or maybe something important you need to remember to do while you are away like a bill or friends birthday.
Travel journal prompts
If you struggle to start writing a journal it can be great to read a prompt. You will often find that starting is the hardest part and the words will flow once you begin writing.
Notes from your travel research online
I can spend hours researching before I travel. It can be easy to forget things or to get mixed up with what there is to see in different towns or places. You can make your research part of your diary as a memory jogger, keepsake and even help you plan future trips if you decide to return to a destination.
Travel literature to read about your destination
I love reading, and getting lost in someone else’s words about a destination is a wonderful way to get immersed in a place. You could read travel diaries from the past like Freya Stark or more modern diaries like Bill Bryson. If you prefer fiction there will always be lots of books to choose from too. Outlander for example has inspired so many people to visit Scotland.
Travel savings goals and tracking
Seeing those savings add up is the best way to make your travel funds goals a reality.
Tickets, maps and other keepsakes
I love sticking in all the tickets, stamps and leaflets in my travel journal.
Coin rubbings of the local currency
I actually first got my kids to do this in their diaries but loved it so much I started doing it in my own too. I also stick in lower denomination notes too.
Words and phrases
Learning a few keywords and phrases such as thank you in the local language of your destination is a wonderful way to connect with the locals. They can be hard to remember though so jot them down in your journal ( don’t forget to add how they are pronounced too).
A daily diary of your trip
Perhaps the most common thing to have in any travel journal. Try to get in the habit of writing daily, even if it is just notes or bullet points. It can be amazing how much you forget or days blur together when you are on an adventure.
Drawings and travel doodles
If you are creative then be sure to add some drawings to your journal. It can be a fun way to pass time while you are traveling too. You can take along a travel watercolor set if you love to use color.
Things you find interesting
Maybe food stickers or funny sayings you come across.
Keep travel of your spending while traveling and make sure you don’t blow the budget!
Travel outfits ideas
If you are packing light you can have a quick go-to list of different outfits you can make up. This will save you so much time and effort.
You can save spots for photos if you have a DSLR or check out some of the ideas further on in this post for creating instant photographs.
If you want to create amazing photographs of your trip, check out these easy travel photography tips.
How to Write A Travel Journal
Okay so you’re brimming with inspiration and have an idea about what to include in your diary, but how do you actually start to write!
Write a list
I don’t know about you, but I feel immediately productive and accomplished when I tick items off my to-do list. You can also be clever and turn this list into a contents page for your journal by just adding page numbers or colored page tabs. Use the previous suggestions to decide what you want to add to your travel journal. For example, you could make a list of all the things you need to have organized before your adventure if you are using your travel diary for planning such as booking accommodation and creating an itinerary.
Start ticking off those items!
Blank journal pages won’t seem so daunting when you know exactly what to write on them. The list will probably help you have some sort of order to your diary too. You may start with a destination wishlist, then all the important booking details, followed by a day-by-day itinerary. If you are creating more of a travel bullet journal then you will divide these up into spreads and collections.
Write during your travels
There is no set way to write a travel diary. If you are creative you may want to add drawings or write as though you are telling a friend all about the destination. Or you may just like to list down important things you want to remember in bullet form. Don’t overlook recording all the small details, as those are the ones you are more likely to forget. How something smells, or how a site made you feel.
Collect things that interest you, or spark a memory and stick them into your travel journal straight away
This can be boarding passes, menus, tickets, a food wrapper or anything you feel like.
Get into the habit of journaling every day
Setting a particular time to journal ( like at breakfast about the previous day) or just before bed, is a good way to make sure you remember to write in your diary. It can be amazing how quickly places and sites can get jumbled in your mind, especially if you have a busy travel itinerary.
Write a post-trip entry
This is a great way to really wrap up what you thought about a destination, how it might have changed you or helped you to grow. It’s also a great way to see if there are any changes you would make to your traveling style or planning.
If you are struggling to think of things to write in your travel diary here are some journaling prompts that may help.
Travel Journal Prompts
It’s normal to feel a little stuck with writing. Usually just starting is the hardest part and once you begin writing you will find the ideas flow easily.
Using journal prompts like the ones below is a great way to get stop the writing block.
- What were your expectations of a destination or experience?
- Did you learn anything?
- What are clear things you remember feeling, seeing, touching, smelling or hearing? Evoking senses is a fantastic way to bring back memories when you reread your travel journal.
- How would you describe what you did and saw to a friend or someone that was thinking of traveling to the same destination?
- What was the most amazing thing you did today?
- What was the worst thing that happened today?
- Did you try something new?
- What made you smile, laugh, cry?
- What did you eat?
- What people did you meet today?
- Did something go wrong today? ( Travel disasters can sometimes end up as funny stories later on)
- Would you visit again? Or change something in your itinerary if you could go back?
The Best Travel Journals
Have a think about how you are going to use your travel diary before you purchase one.
- If you are thinking more of a travel bullet journal you will want a dotted notebook like a leuchtturm bullet journal
- If you want a Travelers notebook that does it all then take a look at a Moleskine travel journal. This book has a mix of lined, plain and dotted pages which makes it the best travel notebook.
Travel Journal SuppliesHP Sprocket
A great accessory for travel. Print all your travel photos instantly and stick them in your travel journal.Polaroid Camera
It’s so much fun to take an imagine and see it appear before your eyes. They are also wonderful for making friends as you can take a photo and gift it to people as you travel.
Make sure you take good quality pens with you to get great results in your Travel diary. Here are some of my favorites.Sakura Pigma Micron FinelinersTombow Twintone PensGlue Tape
Do you keep a travel diary? Tell us some of your favorite things to add and some of the best memories you have written in them.