How to Make a Travel Journal

How to Make a Travel Journal
Explore this Article
Gathering Your Supplies
Compiling the Journal
Questions & Answers
Tips and Warnings
Related Articles
References
Article Summary

Travel is a time for growth, new experiences, and seeing more of the world. If you're taking a trip, you'll want to remember everything that you did for years to come. Keeping a travel journal will not only help preserve your memories of the experience, but help enrich your trip in the moment as well.

Part 1 of 2:
Gathering Your Supplies

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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 01
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1
Buy a lightweight but durable hardcover journal. The binding should be strong, and it's usually easier to write and sketch if it can lay open flat on a table. Choose a book that's large enough to hold regular 5x7 inch postcards too. Opt for a journal that's small enough that it's easy to carry in your bag wherever you go. A journal with acid-free paper is usually a good investment because it will ensure that your writing and sketches will hold up for years.
Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 02
Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 02
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2
Purchase colored pens, pencils, watercolors, and highlighters. You'll want to have pens that you're comfortable actually writing with, but you should also have tools for sketching sights that you see and embellishing other materials that you're adding to the journal. [1] X Research source Gel pens are a good option because they can write over most materials with ease and come in a wide variety of colors. Using watercolors directly in your journal can get messy, so you may prefer painting on postcards or other scraps of paper and then adding them to the notebook.
Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 03
Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 03
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3
Buy some glue sticks and/or tape. When it comes time to adhering photos, postcards, and other materials in your journal, you'll need some type of adhesive to attach them. Glue sticks work well because they're not messy and are easy to throw in your travel bag. However, you can also use decorative tape to fix your travel mementos to the journal pages. [2] X Research source Washi tape works well for travel journals because it comes in a variety of colors and patterns. You can find it at your local craft store.
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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 04
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4
Pack scissors and a ruler. You may want to trim some of the materials that you place in your journal, so it's a good idea to have scissors with you. A ruler can help you cut a straight edge or write in a straight line if your journal is unlined. Consider bringing two pairs of scissors with you: one regular and one craft. Craft scissors have a decorative edge, such as scalloped or zig zag, that can help give your journal a more distinctive look. If you're flying, don't put scissors in your carry-on bag. You'll have to surrender them to security.
Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 05
Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 05
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5
Find an expandable clear folder. You'll be collecting various materials to add to your journal throughout your trip, and you may not want to take the time to attach them all right away. To stay organized and prevent any of the items from being lost, it helps to have a clear, expandable envelope-style folder to gather all of your mementos in. [3] X Research source A folder is especially important if you don't want to compile your journal while you're actually traveling. You can just write in the journal as you go, and add the mementos after you've returned home because the folder will keep them all organized.
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Image titled 52398 06
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6
Print out a map for your destination. You can find a variety of cool vintage maps online, so choose a favorite to paste on the cover of your journal. You may need to shrink the map to get it to fit, especially if you're taking a trip to multiple countries. [4] X Research source If you're visiting multiple cities or locations on your trip, you may want to print out a black and white map and then use a marker, highlighter, or pen to indicate where you are going.[5] X Research source
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Part 2 of 2:
Compiling the Journal

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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 07
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1
Write entries as you go. For your journal to really capture the mood and tone of your trip, it's best to jot down notes while you're traveling because it can be difficult to remember key details after the trip is over. That doesn't mean you have to write diary-style entries that cover everything you did on a given day, though. Aim to take your journal out a couple of times a day and write down the activities, sights, and experiences that immediately come to mind. [6] X Research source Remember to date each entry, so you can remember the timeline of your trip. You may want to include the time that you wrote each as well. It helps to set aside a specific time to write in journal. For example, you might do your entries at breakfast or just before bed. If you're taking a plane, train, bus, or car to another location, the ride is a great time to work on journal entries. If you're in a hurry, jot down notes about your day on a scrap of paper that you can copy into the journal when you have more time. You may forget some details if you don't write things down as you go, so a rough draft can come in handy.
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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 08
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2
Decide who you're writing for. In most cases, a travel journal serves as a personal memento of an interesting and exciting experience in your life. However, you may plan to show yours to your family and friends, so they can share in the experience or get ideas if they decide to take a similar trip in the future. Knowing who the intended audience for your journal is can help you come up with the right style and tone. [7] X Research source If you plan to share your journal with others, consider the details that you plan to include -- or leave out. You may not think it's necessary to write down the address of a restaurant that you enjoyed to preserve the memory, but a friend may find the information helpful. On the other hand, there may be personal details of your trip that you don't want to share with family and friends, so it's best to leave omit them.
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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 09
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3
Find a theme. It's often easier to write journal entries if you have a central idea or mood that you're focusing on. Think about all of the things that you saw and did on a given day, and see if there's a recurring theme that can help shape your entry. [8] X Research source If you're having trouble identifying a theme for an entry, start by asking yourself a few basic questions, such as “What made me smile today?”; “What surprised me today?”; or "What did I learn today?" Write down the answers, and you may see a theme start to emerge.
EXPERT TIP
Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

Solo traveled throughout Southeast Asia
Archana Ramamoorthy is the Chief Technology Officer, North America at Workday. In 2019, she went on a three-month sabbatical from her work and solo traveled throughout Southeast Asia. She is a product ninja, security advocate, and on a quest to enable more inclusion in the tech industry. Archana received her BS from SRM University and MS from Duke University and has been working in product management for over 8 years.
Archana Ramamoorthy, MS
Archana Ramamoorthy, MS
Solo traveled throughout Southeast Asia

Community Experience: I journaled every day on my travels. I tried to make it people-oriented, so I wrote a story every day, like how someone went out of their way to help me. For example, when I had my passport and green card stolen in Cambodia, I needed help getting to an embassy, replacing my passport, and contacting my country. My journal really became a way to understand how humanity in general comes together to help people, regardless of whether we know each other or not.

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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 10
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4
Engage all of your senses. Don't just focus on the things that you see in your journal. A compelling entry will also capture what you heard, smelled, tasted, and felt during your travels.No details are too small because they'll all help you recall the trip years down the road, so describe the scent of the flowers on the table in the cafe where you have lunch or the feel of the breeze when you're relaxing on the beach. [9] X Research source
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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 11
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5
Describe the people. You're probably going to meet plenty of interesting people on your trip, so be sure to include them in your journal entries. It doesn't matter if it's a fellow traveler from your tour group that you wind up spending an entire afternoon with or a cab driver who takes you for a quick ride -- think about how they looked, spoke, and, most importantly, how they made you feel, and include it in your entry. [10] X Research source
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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 12
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6
Collect mementos. From the moment that your trip starts, begin gathering together materials that will help chronicle your journey. Airplane boarding passes, postcards, tickets to local attractions, business cards from restaurants and hotels, paper menus and logo napkins from restaurants, clippings from local newspapers, labels from regional food and beverage products, and receipts from your purchases can all help the memories come to life in your journal. [11] X Research source You don't necessarily have to glue or tape the mementos in your journal as you're traveling. Just set them aside in your folder, so you can add them when you return home. However, make sure to leave space among your written entries to add the materials that match up with them.
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Image titled Make a Travel Journal Step 13
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7
Take photos. No trip is complete without photos that help you remember what you saw and did, and your journal will benefit from visual reminders of your trip. Digital cameras make it easier to ensure that you wind up with high quality photos because you can just delete the ones that you don't like. Go for a combination of landmark shots and informal portraits to give your journal variety. [12] X Research source You likely won't stop to have photos developed while you're on the road, so make sure to leave room in the journal to add photos after you've returned home.
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Image titled 52398 14
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8
Add some sketches. While photos are ideal for capturing the things you've seen or done on your trip, drawing some of the sights can actually help you focus on details that you'd otherwise miss. Use colored pencils, pens or watercolors to include some personal artwork amid your entries. [13] X Research source It doesn't matter if you're not a great artist -- sketch a simple map of the neighborhood that you're staying in or a pretty bunch of flowers that you saw. As long as the drawing helps you remember details of your trip later, it's worth it.
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