How to keep a Travel Journal


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Maybe you’re going on a lovely two week holiday to Greece this summer with your other half, or perhaps you’re embarking on a gap year adventure around the world with a group of your closest friends. Whichever camp you fall into, I can guarantee that further down the line you’ll be grateful to yourself for having documented your travels and adventures in a journal. A travel journal could be the best souvenir you’ll ever have. But how do you go about keeping a travel diary, without it seeming like a repetitive chore? Read on to find out.

The basics of Travel Journaling

The most important thing to remember is that you are writing for you. If you want to write for an audience, a travel blog would be more suited to your needs. As you are writing for yourself, it is up to you what you want to include, what you want to omit, how often you want to journal, and so on. It is unique to you, and that is the joy of it – it is your adventure, so record it how you wish. Just remember to date your entries, as you’ll regret it if you don’t! I’d also recommend including your itinerary at the front of the book as a useful reference.

How to choose a Journal

The journal you use to write in is down to personal preference, but things to bear in mind are size and weight, as this book will be going everywhere with you. Our Paperblanks journals are a very popular range, due to their beautiful designs and quality paper. Our Moleskine journals are a favourite too due to their compact size, which makes them ideal for travellers on longer trips. And don’t forget your pen, as you can’t write without one!

What to include in your Travel Journal

This is something you really need to consider before you set off on your travels. Think about:

  • What you’d like to read about in your journal in the future. What memories would you like to jog in your 70 year old self?
  • What are your interests? If you’re a big football fan, for example, or you adore dogs, then you could focus more on those aspects of your trip. This will keep you interested in journaling, and will provide you with information you’re interested in reading in the future.
  • Include items from your travels such as tickets from transport or places you’ve visited, food labels, wristbands from events, leaves from a native plant (if they’ve naturally fallen), hotel cards, receipts… anything you’d like to remember.
  • Stick photos in your journal to enhance the descriptions of places you’ve been, or to remind you of people you’ve met along the way. Make a note of people you’d like to keep in touch with when you get home.
  • Don’t just write about what you’ve seen; recall the smells, sound, flavour, and touch of things too. This will really enhance your writing, and will take you right back to the time and place when you read through it again in the future.
  • If you’re creative, add some sketches and drawings to your journal. Draw what you have seen that day: a person you met, an animal you saw, a mountain, a beach, a tree. Whatever takes your eye.

Things to remember about Travel Journaling

  • If it stops being fun, change it up. Think about why it has become a chore, and start writing more about the things you’re passionate about. If you are obsessed with cats, why not keep a log of the felines you meet on your holiday? If you’re a nature lover, focus more on the flora and fauna.
  • You don’t have to write in it every day – write when you want to. Just don’t stop! A routine is best, so you don’t forget.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of just listing what you’ve done that day – that’s when it starts to get dull for you. Instead, think about what made you happy that day. A conversation with a native perhaps, coming across a rare bird, or lounging on the gorgeous sun-dappled beach.
  • Stay descriptive! The moment you stop being descriptive, your diary will read like: ‘went to a beach, met a man, visited a temple, attended a party’, which will be no fun at all to read back. It’s all about the little details.
  • Have fun!

Lucy is our lead editor and has been passionate about stationery since childhood. She has a particular fondness for rollerball and calligraphy pens and is a keen advocate of snail mail.

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  1. Pingback: What’s the difference between a diary and a journal? – The Pen Company Blog

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