When you are trying to come up with new travel journal ideas, there are some days when the words just flow but at other times, you may find yourself at a loss sometimes when coming up with interesting things to write about. Your travel journal is a reflection of your travels and sometimes, we don’t have the energy to keep up with writing in it or we simply are moving too fast through our journey and don’t have the time to write about what we are doing. Or you simply just don’t know how to put something into words. Don’t worry—this happens to all of us and everyone needs a little inspiration sometimes. To help you get a new spring in your travel writing step, we have come up with a list of the best travel journal ideas and prompts that are sure to get the words flowing in no time!
A Prompt-Driven Journal Designed Just For Adventurers
If you would love to begin journaling, but don’t quite know how to start, don’t worry! Let’s Roam has designed a Travel Adventure Journal with built-in prompts to help you break through that block! In addition to spaces for you to record your activities, this book will guide you through trip planning and inspire you to connect with people and places in new ways.
Great Ideas for Travel Journals
If this is your first time keeping a travel journal or you are just looking for some inspiration to start writing again, we have some creative travel journal ideas.
1. Start a travel bullet journal.
Bullet journals are a bit of a combination of a to-do list, a daily journal where you can jot down quick ideas, a diary where you can write down your thoughts and feelings, and a sketchbook that helps you keep track of everything that you need to do each day while giving you the time to reflect on what you have achieved. Although the idea of bullet journaling started off for general use, it is an absolutely perfect way to organize your travel journal, especially if you don’t love writing. If you get a notebook with unlined, blank pages, it is great for creating doodles of the places that you visit or the people that you meet, or copying travel quotes that you love are very creative ways to dress up your journal.
2. Create a travel scrapbook.
While scrapbooking seems like something that needs to be relegated to your kitchen table, it is actually relatively easy to turn your travel notebook into a travel scrapbook. You simply need a notebook with blank pages and a glue stick. Use glue to attach your ticket stubs, business cards, postage stamps, and other keepsakes onto the pages. If you have already left a destination, you can even glue down money (preferably small bills for obvious reasons!) to give a colorful reminder of the trip.
If you are looking for a fun way to “dress up” your travel journal pages or the front cover, you can even grab some stickers (bonus points if they are travel-themed) or some washi tape in a variety of colors. You can then write funny stories, observations, and memories of your favorite places around your “decorations” to finish off your travel diary/scrapbook combo.
Pro Tip: It is a good idea to use a wire-bound, hard-cover notebook if you plan on putting in lots of cool things as this will allow it to close. You may also want to collect things throughout your journey including beer labels, dried flowers, food menus, receipts, bar coasters, and even notes that are left for you at your hotel, by tour guides, or even random people along the way. Basically, anything that is flat can potentially be part of your travel journal scrapbook so don’t worry about having all kinds of random things with you.
If you are rushing from place to place and don’t have time to write, you can even glue things down and then fill in the text later when you have the chance. The items that you gathered will help you remember the things that you have done and even the order in which you did them even if you happen to get a bit behind in your journal updates.
Once you have filled up one travel scrapbook, set it aside and start working on a new one. When you are feeling a little nostalgic and want to look back at a trip, you can just pull it out again and let the reminiscing begin!
3. Get a little messy.
(Warning: If you are someone who loves to keep things neat and tidy, this journal idea may not be for you.) When you are out and about, don’t be afraid of your travel journal getting a little bit messy. If you are drinking at a cafe and accidentally spill some coffee or red wine on it, let this become just another part of the journal! Letting things get a little messy sometimes really reflects what it is like to travel and when you look back on it years later, there is a good chance that that little smudge will bring back tons of great memories of that trip.
4. Go digital.
While we at Let’s Roam love the idea of keeping a handwritten journal, we know that this isn’t always practical when you are on the road for a long time. Rather than missing the chance to record these wonderful memories, why not go digital? While social media posts and blogs have replaced travel journals for many people, these often do give you a chance to really speak about all the little things that happen during your journey (which often end up being the ones you remember most fondly) and simply show that places that you saw (and in some cases, even these photos and descriptions are heavily edited).
Keeping a digital travel journal is a way for you to be more open with your experiences than you may otherwise be on a public forum and this openness may be very beneficial in the long run when you begin to reflect on your adventures.
5. Buy travel journals as you go.
When you are on the road, buying souvenirs in every place you visit can get pretty heavy and cumbersome to carry. If you really want to pick up a souvenir to remember your trip by (and support the local economy at the same time), why not pick up new travel journals as you go? There are many artisanal shops all around the world that specialize in handcrafted notebooks that would be perfect to use as a journal. Not only are the contents of your journal a great way to remember your journeys but the outside will be then as well!
Pro Tip: If you happen to buy a journal from a street vendor or small local shop, see if you can get a photo with the person that sold it to you. It will be a nice way to look back on the moment later on.
The Best Travel Journal Prompts
While it is tempting to always try and write lengthy journal entries full of rich detail and colorful descriptions, sometimes we just don’t have it in us. Travel writing prompts are a great way to get your creative juices flowing again, and we have specifically picked the below topics based on personal experience. We promise that, once you start thinking about all of the amazing travel memories that you have created, or any places you dream of visiting in the future, you will have no problem getting started.
Record your greatest hits!
In our opinion, traveling is one of the great things that you can do in your life. It changes you in ways that you never thought possible and you may find that your entire outlook on life begins to shift as you check more and more destinations off your travel bucket list. As your checked-off list of destinations grows, so does your list of greatest hits. These are the things that you did that pushed your boundaries, made you reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, and showed you just how much you are capable of.
1. When was the last time you conquered your “greatest fear?”
This could be anything from skydiving to scuba diving and everything in between. Writing down these memories can help you relive the exhilaration and adrenaline rush that you felt at the time by stepping out of your comfort zone and, as an added bonus, having these memories recorded in your travel journal will help your kids and grandkids see what a brave person you were!
2. What travel-related things are you most proud of?
What are the travel achievements that you are most proud of? This could be anything including new countries that you have visited, epic overland adventures or road trips that you have completed, or new things that you have done. It could even be things like learning to tango in Buenos Aires, perfecting a mole with the help of a Mexican Abuela, going swimming in a famous lake or river for the first time, or hiking to Everest Base Camp. The important thing is that it is something that makes you feel proud of what you achieved.
3. What is the craziest thing that you have ever done while traveling?
We have to be honest, none of us are getting any younger and for most people, getting older means slowing down a bit. Taking the time to record some of the craziest things you have done is the perfect way to recall some truly memorable events and maybe it can even give you some inspiration for your next adventure!
And your not so greatest hits …
Travel is full of ups and downs. One minute, you can be staring in wonder at something incredibly beautiful, and the next, you could be lying in bed with a bad case of food poisoning. These moments, no matter how bad they may seem at the time, help shape your travel experience and you as a person more than you could ever imagine. These are the perfect types of things to write about when you want to be reminded of the not-so-glamorous sides of travel and the trials and tribulations that you have been faced and conquered!
4. What was your last “rookie mistake”?
Sometimes, even the most well-traveled people can make some pretty rookie mistakes. This is nothing to be embarrassed about and writing it down can help you look at the mistake in closer detail and maybe even learn how to avoid these same pitfalls in the future.
5. What was the strangest health issue that you faced when traveling?
When you are thinking about your travel misadventures, don’t forget about that time when you had weird health issues. While stomach problems like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and motion sickness, insect bites, or other minor health issues can feel pretty horrible at the time, you may actually look back on them and laugh. Writing them down also serves as a great reminder that no matter how crappy a situation can be, it will always get better.
Although this may sound strange, trust us. My many medical mishaps include a bad stomach infection on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia, suffering from mild heatstroke in India, accidentally trapping fire ants in my bikini bottoms in Cuba, getting stung by a stingray in Mexico, and having coral stuck in my feet in Tonga. These all made me pretty miserable at the time but now I find myself laughing at the strangeness of the situation.
Take the time for self-reflection.
6. How has traveling changed you?
Travel is something that can change everything about you. You may have finished college dreaming about advancing your way through the corporate hierarchy, buying a house, and settling down with the perfect partner. However, after spending some time exploring the world, you may have decided that you want to go a slightly different route which is perfectly ok.
Keeping a travel journal where you share your thoughts gives you a reason to take the time to reflect on these changes and helps you keep track of your growth and development. While on this self-reflection journey, you may begin to have different priorities and find ways to take small steps to change things that can lead you to a life that you find fulfilling.
7. And how has it shaped you?
You can even use your journal to figure out how traveling has shaped you. Everyone goes on their own unique journey when they travel, not only in the destinations that they chose but how travel impacts their lives and how they view the world around them. Jotting these down gives you the chance to really reflect on the things that you have learned while you have been traveling and how this has made a difference in how you perceive your environment.
Reflect on the people you met along the way.
8. Who have you met while traveling that had an impact on you?
Remember all of the wonderful people that you have met during your journey—the people who helped you when you were lost, who taught you a new skill, the people that you shared a meal, a beer, or even a hostel dorm room with. No matter how beautiful a place is, it is the people that we meet that can make a place feel really special. Try and capture that feeling in your journal entry.
9. What is the funniest thing that someone has done while you have been traveling?
Think about something really, really funny that happened. Who was there? What did they say? What did you do? What happened next? It could be someone that you traveled with, a tour guide that showed you around, or someone you met only briefly. If you are having trouble putting it in words, try recording the story on your phone. Repeating it aloud (and giggling to yourself as you do!) may be just the thing that you need to put it into words.
10. Who is the person that you most want to travel with?
Pretend that you can travel with anyone in the world. Who would it be? Would it be a friend, partner, family member, or a famous person? And where would you go? What would you do? Thinking about who your favorite travel buddy would be is a great way to get inspiration for your next journey and can probably even lead to more journal entries on why this person means so much to you.
Become a time traveler.
If you are really searching for something creative, why not become a temporary time traveler and imagine yourself in a different time, in a different place. This can help create an image in your mind and give a whole new view of a destination or an experience that you have had.
11. What time period would you travel “back” to and where would you go?
We sometimes find ourselves wishing that we could have seen a place when it was at its peak (Ancient Rome, Ephesus, Imperial China) and when we look at the ruins that are left behind, it is sometimes easy to imagine how stunning it must have been. Try to put this into words—what would you see, smell, and taste? What would the people have been wearing?
If this concept sounds interesting to you but you aren’t quite sure how to approach it, make sure to get the book Ancient Greece on 5 Drachmas a Day from Amazon. It is part of a whole series of historical “travel guides” that give a fascinating perspective of historical cities or you can watch the awesome series of YouTube videos by historian Mary Beard.
12. And who would you hang out with?
Imagine that you are traveling with a historic figure back in time (aka traveling the Silk Road with Marco Polo or spending a day hanging out with Marie Antoinette at Versailles). What would you see? Who else would be there? What would your explanation be for suddenly appearing there?
Look at the bigger picture.
13. How has your travel impacted the communities that you visit?
While it is undeniable that travel has a positive impact on people who fully embrace the experience, it also has a major impact on places you visit. Tourism can turn sleepy villages into bustling towns with every amenity that you can think of and while this certainly makes it easy for travelers, it is important to think about how this positively or negatively impacts a destination.
14. How can you make your own travel more sustainable?
Your journal can give you an avenue to brainstorm ways to travel sustainably. With an ever-increasing population and widespread environmental devastation, the planet has taken quite a beating. When you look back at your travels, think about what you could have done differently to be more sustainable.
If you are a budget traveler staying in hostels and taking public transportation, you may think you already have quite a low carbon footprint. However, there are always a few things that you can do on your next trip that may help reduce your impact even further. It may even be helpful to make a checklist as you think of things that will be useful when you start planning your next adventure!
15. What has been your biggest challenge when traveling?
This is a great opportunity to come up with solutions to everyday travel woes. As mentioned, travel has many ups and downs and there are sometimes when there is nothing we can do about it. However, with a little proper planning and some on the moment troubleshooting, you may be able to make it less likely for at least a few of these issues to come up again. What problems did you face? Was there something that you had forgotten or something that someone else had that would have made your life much easier? Or is there an out-of-the-box solution to the problem? By writing down the challenges, you may be able to think of new ways to solve them!
Plan your next trip.
There are some people that absolutely adore planning their vacations. They pour over guidebooks, travel blogs, and social media to see what are the best things to see, places to stay, and restaurants to try, and then plan their trip out in meticulous detail. And then, there are the rest of us. However, with just a few handy travel prompts, you may be able to start planning your dream vacation and set the wheels in motion for your next adventure.
16. What are the places on your travel bucket list?
When you look at a world map, where do your eyes immediately gravitate to? Do you start looking at the countries in Africa, or stare longingly at the Caribbean Sea? Writing down your bucket list destinations is one step closer to making them a reality and just imagine how great it will feel to be able to finally scratch them off your list! It is a good idea to set aside a page for your wishlist that you can easily refer back to when thinking about your travel plans.
17. And what do you need to do to reach them?
While there is always a struggle between having lots of time and no money and having lots of money but no time, starting to put the step-by-step plans in for reaching your bucket list destination is basically the equivalent to writing down SMART goals. Even if you don’t have the time or the money now, doing some basic research will make you feel one step closer to getting there!
One of the first things that you may need to look into is whether or not you need a visa to enter a country. For Americans, you can access most places in Europe, South America, and parts of Asia without visas; however, it does get slightly more complicated when you look at going to places in Africa, China, India, and Central Asia. There are many great resources available to find more information and some will even walk you through the visa application process or at least provide a link where you can find the necessary information.
After that, you will need to figure out how to get there. For this, Rome2Rio and Skyscanner are both amazing websites where you can figure out how to get there and roughly how much it will cost. Make sure to write all of this down in your journal, especially the visa part, so that you can refer back to it later.
18. How much money do you need?
Once you know how much a visa would be (if necessary) and roughly how much it will cost to get there, you can begin creating a loose budget for your dream vacation. You can even hop onto Booking.com to see roughly what the prices are for the time that you want to do. Once you start writing all of these things down, your goal may suddenly begin looking more achievable.
19. What is on your packing list?
Now, it is time to start putting together your packing list for your dream vacation. Can you already picture yourself standing on the beach in a beautiful sundress or imagine walking up a mountain in those hiking boots that you got for Christmas? Start making your list (and always remember to bring lots of extra underwear and a bathing suit….you never know when you will need them).
20. What are your favorite travel tips?
What great travel hacks you have learned when you were on the road? How did they help you at the time? Putting together a list of your favorite travel tips is a great way to reflect on everything that you have learned along your travel journey and how far you have come. As you write them, you may be shocked at all of the little tips and tricks that you have figured out but don’t forget to share your newfound knowledge with your friends and family. We know that they will appreciate it!
21. How much money did you spend?
It can be a little scary to look at your credit card bill after a long trip. The hotels, transportation, and flights can really add up. Your travel journal is a great way to keep track of these costs as you go so you don’t end up in a state of shock when you see your bank statement. This is also extremely handy if someone asks about the costs of traveling through a destination or wants to know more details about a specific aspect of the trip (hotel costs, train ticket prices, etc.)
22. What are the best travel websites for trip planning?
Whenever you discover a new travel app or website that you have found useful, don’t forget to write it down. Although it may be downloaded onto your phone or bookmarked in your browser, it is really easy to get a bit bogged down with all the different options that there are to search for flights, hotels, and activities, and attractions. Keeping a list in your travel journal is one good way to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the hidden gems that you discovered that have helped organize your trips.
If you need help getting started, check out our list of the Best Apps for Finding Great Local Spots.
Hopefully, these travel journal prompts and ideas on how to create the best travel journal to record your own particular experience and reflect your personality have left you feeling inspired! If you still aren’t sure if keeping a travel journal is the right fit for you, get more info on why you should keep a travel journal. If you are ready to get started but need help finding a few things to do, why not try one of our Adventures from Scratch books? These give a great list of adventures, and challenges and are perfect for couples, friends, and families.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your travel journal is the perfect place to write about all of your adventures. This list of the best travel journal ideas and prompts should help you to get the words flowing.
Why not make it your own travel scrapbook that showcases all of the ticket stubs, maps, and currencies that you collect? For more inspiration, check out these travel journal ideas and prompts.