My travel journal is one of the things I would grab if my house was on fire. That is how much I value that little book. It contains the best details of my experiences away from home, words of wisdom for my future self and a record of small moments that would otherwise be forgotten. Here’s some top tips and ideas to record your amazing adventures and create your own special travel story.
Write it for YOU
This is a journal of YOUR experience for YOU to look back on. I made the mistake in my first couple journal entries of overthinking my words and writing my journal as if it was going to be read by someone else; I even wrote a draft elsewhere of one early entry! I wrote it as though it was going to be a blog post rather than for my own reflection. By all means, write an informative blog or type out the trip details for your Mum, but let your journal be for you. I have come to love the raw and authentic entries that I wrote on the trails and during a trip; these bring back the strongest memories.
What do you put in a Travel Journal?
My first answer will always be “Whatever you want!” but that’s not the most helpful. Here's a few suggestions.
You can start your travel journal entry before you even start your trip! Include a small checklist of ‘Places to Visit’ (base the list on your itinerary) to tick off during your trip. Just make sure to keep your checklist realistic and achievable; you want to be reminded of the places you DID see, rather than the ones that didn’t get ticked off.
The first lines on my page will always be where I am currently travelling, what the date is and what day of my trip I am on. Yes, I write my journal for every day I’m travelling! I’m a sucker for remembering as much of the trip as possible at the objection of my writing hand. How often you write in your travel journal is completely up to you but don’t be caught out wishing you had included more details later on!
Include small but significant details
The small details and inside information is what makes an experience personal. These are also the things that you’re likely to forget quickly. Note them down!
I often put little phrases in the margins I call ‘Remember Bubbles.’ Things that don’t naturally fit into my main journal entry but caught my eye, amused me or astounded me enough to note down get put into little bubbles on their own; there are no writing rules in your journal!
Focus on significance. Don’t list small mundane details if they don’t bring you joy or add to your positive experiences.
Another small detail I have come to love is taking photos of your journal in its natural habitat; basically wherever you are while you’re travelling! Start a small collection of photographs in the front or back of your journal to reminisce on all of the writing spots you have found to fill your journal.
Focus on the positives
If a small negative experience leads into a funny story or words of wisdom about overcoming a challenge that will add to your journal entry, include it! If not, let the negatives be forgotten. Your journal is a tool to help remember things; ask yourself what you want to remember.
Decorate your Journal
This is arguably the best part! Treat your travel journal like a mini scrapbook. When you’re writing, leave spaces or whole pages for photos and keepsakes that you can add in later.
Some ideas to decorate your journal:
- Activity ticket stubs
- brochure clippings
- Business cards
- Plane tickets/ stubs
- Doodles of memories
- Themed stickers
- Scrapbook paper
To add photos I use the HP Sprocket to print 2 x 3 inch stickable photos to add the perfect pictures to compliment my words! In the HP Sprocket app you are able to upload photos from your camera roll then add frames, text, stickers and effects before printing your creations via bluetooth. This is absolutely perfect for scrap-booking and creating an exciting travel journal.
Keeping all of these points in mind, I’d like to share an excerpt of one of my journal entries that highlights these tips nicely. It’s rich in Remember Bubbles and includes one of my all time favourite travel memories; see if you can guess what it is!
Bali, Indonesia. 14.07.19 - Day 4
Today it was a 6am wake up and instant noodles in the dark for breakfast before our pickup to go to Nusa Penida Island. We met our lovely driver who took us to Sanur Port (Remember: on the drive seeing a whole stand of birdcages and birds being sold e.g. songbirds, pet birds). Getting on the fast boat was hectic. You took off your shoes and made a break for it in between waves with our guide shouting “Run! Run!”
The roads were really bad. (Remember: “Broken Beach has a broken road” - Driver) but we got to Angel’s Billabong and Broken Beach; it was so amazing and the water was the bluest/ clearest I’ve ever seen for an ocean. The path around Broken Beach had little wood stools and platforms in low trees to take photos with good angles from! Lunch and coconut + straw for lunch. *Doodle of a coconut*
(Remember: As our driver pulled over to take a phone call, there were two local boys playing with their chickens. I wound down the window and the eldest held up a white speckled chicken for me to pat. I held up my camera and they immediately smiled for a photo. Such a genuine moment after being caught in tourist floods all morning.)