I was first introduced to travel journaling about a year ago by my aunt with this journal, and I have loved having my journal to look back on ever since then. 

Why journal when you travel?

Travel journaling is an awesome way to collect memories and gives you a source to look back on after you return home. 

Journaling at the end of a day can help you store away as many memories as you can of that day and can make them more accurate when you recall them later on.

Also, studies show that when you write things down, your brain stores a lot more information than when you don’t.

What supplies do you need for a travel journal?

The supplies you bring vary based on the type of trip you are taking. For example if you are backpacking, you will probably only have space for a pen and a small journal. Whereas if you are doing a road trip, you will most likely have space for a few more supplies.

For transporting your supplies you can use a bag like this one or make your own like I did. (Post and pattern for that coming soon!)

For a normal trip, here's a list of supplies I normally bring:

Travel journaling styles

There are many different styles for travel journaling, so play around and find the one that suits you best.

  • A written journal
  • A photo journal
  • An art journal
  • A food journal
  • A list journal

Sometimes, depending on the time I have, I will do a mix of all five.

Scrapbook style journal page
A scrapbook style spread
Watercolor bell towers
An art journal style spread

I also have two different sketchbooks/journals that I usually bring with me, one is a passport size and the other is larger. I use the passport size for things like drawings and journaling on the go and the regular size for watercolor paintings and scrapbook style journaling like is pictured above.

My two journals

How should you prep your travel journal?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember to write in my journal since I don’t write on a daily basis at home. So I have started prepping my journal by writing in prompts and making a page for each day so that I’m more likely to write. This step is totally optional, but I have found that it is helpful for me to have a successfully journaled trip. 

A page I preped ahead for a trip

For example, on one of our recent trips I didn't have time to prep my journal and that trip didn't get journaled at all. However, another time I didn't have time to prep and I just journaled in list form, like this:

A list-style journal page

Prompts to make it easier to pick up your pen

There are so many things you can write about, but here are a few to get you started:

  • Weather
  • Day's activity
  • Location (I use this one especially if we’re moving around a lot)
  • Something you learned
  • The day's favorite memory
  • A new food or dish you tried today
  • A new word you learned (like if you are in another country)
  • The highlight of your day
  • Today I felt: 😁 😢 🤪 😎 🤨 (you can draw emojis or just leave a blank space to write in how you felt)
  • A fun fact you learned today

These are just a few. Here are some links to a couple longer more extensive lists:

I’m traveling; when am I going to find the time to write in a journal? 

You can journal just about anywhere, so the sky’s the limit! You can:

  • Journal on your transportation 

I myself can’t do this because I get motion sick. But when you are on buses, trains, even on the airplane these are great times to write a few entries into your journal.

  • Journal while you’re waiting for meals

You know those long waits for your food to come when you’re at a restaurant? Yeah? That's an awesome time to journal! P.S. That’ll make your food come quicker, too!

  • Before you go to bed

This is usually when I write.

  • The next morning

If I was so exhausted the night before or I just forgot to write, I will usually make up the next morning at breakfast either while I’m waiting for my food or after I’m done and waiting for everyone else to finish.

  • When you find a nice spot 

When you're in a garden, in the shade, on a park bench, even on top of a mountain! Any time you are relaxing, you can take a minute to journal.

And I’m sure you will be able to find more spare bits of time!

Ideas and inspiration

I included some prompts above, but what else can you put in your journal?

  • Photos 

If you have a way of printing photos like an Instax Mini or a Cannon Ivy you can print photos on the go or after you get home.

  • Stickers 
journal page with stickers and NP stamps
I have a sticker obsession, seriously, I love stickers. So why not grab some stickers from a souvenir shop and add them to your notebook?
  • National Park Stamps
A journal page with just NP stamps on it
If you are visiting a national park they will generally have a date stamp and possibly some others free for use, we do have the National Park Passport, but we usually end up leaving them at home (by accident of course!) Therefore I have ended up with a lot of the National Park stamps in my book.
  • Tickets
A ticket I stuck in my book
I love saving my tickets from various tours! I usually dedicate a page or two in my book to tickets. If you have a larger ticket you can tape one side of it into your book and journal or tape something underneath it.
  • Little bits of nature
A flower I picked up and pressed and put in my book
This is a flower I carried all the way back from a hike to put in my book. (I used glue tape after I got home to stick it to the page.)
  • Business cards
A ZRNŌ business card
If there was a restaurant we really liked or a store we enjoyed shopping at, I will grab one of their business cards and tape it into my book.

And really anything else you can think of!

Other Ideas and Tips

Archer and Olive has an awesome video with some very helpful tips and inspirational spreads.

Sarica Studio has a super cute mini envelope template so you can make mini envelopes to save small things in! Here are the ones I made from this template:

Mini envelopes I taped in to my book to keep small things in

The washi tape from The Washi Tape Shop is so cute, but I haven't gotten to try any of it yet.  

Merel Djamila also has wonderful ideas for art journaling if that is more your thing.

And lastly, I do a recap of our big trips with the main things I want to remember.

My Croatia recap page

I hope this was helpful! 

Happy travels and journaling!