During our travels, we often think that we will remember what we see and experience but sadly, many of these memories get lost as soon as we go back to our “normal” lives. Travel journals are one of the best ways to look back at your adventures later on down the road or to even let your kids or grandkids be able to read about all the cool things that you did. But that is not all that they are good for and once you start writing, you will find that there are a ton of great benefits that come along with keeping a travel journal.
While journaling may seem a bit antiquated now that everything has become digital, it’s a great way to remember all the things that you do during your trip whether you want to keep track of the prices things like accommodation or food during the trip itself, create your own to-do list to share with your friends, record all the stops on your epic road trip, write down the small, but important, interactions that you had with other people during your journey, or pretty much all of the above.
Transform How You Record Your Travel Adventures
Do you wish you had a better way to document your exploration experiences? Let’s Roam has created a prompt-driven Travel Adventure Journal to help you record your amazing experiences! Not only will it give you space to jot down notes, but it’s also designed to guide you through putting together the perfect trip, coming up with ways to discover new places, and connecting with your destinations!
Why You Should Keep a Travel Journal
If the reasons listed above don’t make you want to start writing in a journal, below are just 13 of the reasons why you should keep a travel journal written by our resident master traveler. The list below is written on the basis that you have a journal small enough to carry with you on a daily basis so if any of these reasons are compelling enough to make you want to start keeping a journal, it is a good idea to buy something that is good quality (aka won’t fall apart the second it gets wet or begin to tear after being shoved in and out of your bag multiple times) and something that is small enough to fit into your bag but begin enough to be easy to write on and easy to read from.
1. Record your travel memories.
While it is nice to think that we will always remember everything from our travels – the food, the people, the sights – it is actually pretty easy to start forgetting everything, especially if you tend to travel a lot. Once you start clocking up countries and destinations, the memories all begin to blend together and you start to lose what you once thought would always stay with you. Since there is sadly no way that we can turn back time and relive those vacations again, keeping a travel journal is a good way to immortalize these memories so that you can always look back and read them again. This is particularly great when you can no longer travel, as you can live vicariously through your own travel journals!
Keeping a travel journal gives you a chance to describe everything around you, no matter how mundane it may seem. Even if you go to a place every day for weeks, you most likely will begin to forget the small details that make you love it so much.
2. Create family heirlooms.
While it is important that you remember all the great trips that you took and the experiences that you had, imagine how much this will mean to your kids and grandkids. Sadly, none of us are going to live forever and this is a great way to leave a lasting legacy of all the cool things that you go to do. If you want to make sure to leave something behind that really illustrates what you have done, make sure to save ticket stubs and other travel keepsakes that you may have gotten your hands on. You can then stick these into a travel journal/scrapbook that your family will value forever.
3. Focus on mindful travel.
When you have a travel journal on hand when you are traveling, you can spend your time writing about the different places that you have seen, the things you have eaten, or even the way that a particular place makes you feel. This also ties into the concept of mindful travel which focuses on being present in the moment, disconnecting from social media and all your gadgets, and appreciating the small things. Writing down everything that you are experiencing forces you to take a closer look at the people and things around you and finding ways to describe what you are experiencing can really open your mind towards a particular culture and give you a new perspective on a destination.
4. Track your spending.
While many benefits of keeping a travel journal are purely nostalgic, there are certainly some practical uses as well. Travel journals are a great way to keep track of how much money you spend during your trip, especially if you are traveling on a budget and need to keep within a particular spending capacity. It is also extremely helpful if you are compiling information for a blog or simply to give to family and friends so that they have an idea of how much they may spend to travel to a particular place. You simply need to keep a separate section of your journal for budgeting or find a spot to include it in your normal journal entries where you can easily find it again.
5. Inspire others.
Although some people prefer to keep their travel journals private, there is no reason why this needs to be the case. If you choose to keep a digital journal, you can even use it as a platform to inspire other people to travel! Traveling is something that many people seem to want to do but are scared about actually doing it. You can be the person that makes them realize that they are also capable of enjoying life on the road simply by sharing with them your amazing moments along with your trials and tribulations during your journey (although, you may want to focus a bit more on the good aspects of traveling for this one!). Can you imagine how great that would feel? All it may take is simply spending a few moments each day recording what you have experienced.
6. Keep yourself busy without relying on your phone.
Two things about traveling alone that always seem to make people feel uncomfortable is going out to lunch or dinner alone, and figuring out how to stay occupied when they only have themselves for company. Keeping a travel journal is a great way to keep yourself busy not only when you are at a restaurant, waiting for a bus or plane, or grabbing a coffee. If you are traveling as a single woman, it is also a great way to ward off any potential unwanted suitors as you may appear to be more unapproachable if you are “busy”.
7. Brainstorm travel plans.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself traveling long-term, you may soon begin to realize that being constantly on the move is actually quite hard work and that travel planning alone can almost begin to feel a bit like a part-time job! A well-laid-out travel journal can be a great spot to jot down notes while you are brainstorming your next move or when you are finalizing travel plans. While this can easily be done on your phone or on a piece of scrap paper, keeping it in your travel journey may make it easier to refer back to later if you ever need to explain how you planned your trip and why you choose to do things a particular way.
8. Remember everything you have learned.
Like the memories of our favorite pizza place or the most beautiful town we visited, the things that we learn throughout our travels may quickly be forgotten. What may seem super interesting when traveling through India may no longer be relevant when you are back in Ohio. Keeping a journal of the things you learn along the way can help keep them at the top of your mind and the simple act of writing them down may even help you remember them better! If you are learning a new language, having a travel journey handy also allows you to write down any new words that you learn and quickly refer back to them when you need them.
9. Keep your friends and family updated.
If you decide to opt for a digital travel journal, one additional benefit is that you can keep your family and friends updated about your travels. Whether you make daily updates in an online journal that a select group of people can see or create a blog that is viewable for anyone who happens to come across it, the important thing is that the people that you care most about getting an update on where you are and what you are doing.
10. Make reusable packing lists.
Another great reason to start keeping a travel journal is that it could be a great place where you can create and later refine the ultimate packing list for different types of adventures. Nearly everyone, including seasoned travelers, packs a little too much or a little too little of something that they regret later on, and having a standard packing list for beach holidays, hiking trips, or winter getaways is the perfect way to make sure that you don’t forget something essential while you are getting your suitcases all ready to go.
11. Record your bucket list.
The last thing that you may want or should have in your journal is your bucket list. While many of us say “oh, this is on my bucket list” and “that is on my bucket list”, writing them down actually brings you one step closer to achieving them. This is basically your travel wishlist so don’t be shy about adding something crazy on there. Find a place either in the front or the back of your journal and begin writing down everything that you really want to do. Don’t be worried about forgetting anything, you can always add more on later as you learn about more of the amazing places around the world.
12. Stay organized.
Journals are a great way to stay organized and they are particularly helpful when you are trying to plan a big trip or keep track of when your next flight, bus, or train leaves as well as hotel bookings. A journal can serve as a DIY travel planner and help you stay on top of everything that you need to make your vacation a success.
13. Jot down your favorite travel tips.
When you travel frequently, inevitably, someone will ask you for some travel tips. To make it easy, keep a page set aside in your journal where you can write down your best travel tips by destination or by “category” like booking flights, finding cheap hotels, and great things to do. These travel tips will not only be useful when you are giving your friends advice but can definitely serve as a bit of a refresher and help you out when you begin planning your next voyage.
Best Practices for Keeping a Travel Journal
There are many different ways to keep a travel journal just like there are many different kinds of travelers. The great thing is that you are starting off with a clean slate and can make yours exactly how you want it to be.
1. Find the perfect journal.
To get started, you need to find the perfect travel journal. You can invest in a fancy leather travel journal or a simple pocket notebook. You may also want to decide if you want it to have unlined, blank pages like a sketchbook or lined pages, and whether or not the cover is hard or soft. While these may seem a bit unimportant when you are picking a journal, they can actually really impact the usability of it and therefore, your desire to write in it.
A few of the most popular journal options include Moleskin, famous for its leather-covered notebooks, and Bullet Journal, which has a line of journals based on an entire life philosophy. Kraft also has a great line of environmentally friendly and durable notebooks made from cardboard. Don’t be scared off by the idea of a boring brown journal though – they have a wide variety of styles including a wanderlust-themed one with a brightly colored world map on it available on Etsy. You can even get one customized if you want to give it as a gift to the globetrotters in your life.
If you know that you are going to be spending a lot of time in the great outdoors where the weather may not be super predictable, you may even want to check out Rite in the Rain. They sell specially-designed all-weather products that can survive rain, sweat, mud, and anything else you decide to throw at it (and by the way, when you are traveling, you honestly never know what may come next!). Just remember that no matter what you see on Amazon or travel websites, the best travel journals are the ones that you actually use so make sure that you pick one that works with your travel style.
· Hard vs. Soft Cover
Hardcover journals are generally much more durable than softcover ones and can handle being pulled in and out of your page with relative ease. However, they can also be bulky and heavy so this may be a bit difficult to carry all the time, especially if you get anything bigger than something the size of a postcard. While softcover journals are much lighter and easier to carry, they do tend to get destroyed much faster, especially if you are traveling as a backpacker.
· Lined vs. Unlined
The next thing to decide is whether you want your journal to be lined or unlined. Lined journals are great if you plan on using most of the space for writing. However, if you want to make sketches or doodles of the things you see or glue your ticket stubs into your journal, it usually looks better if the journal is unlined. Some of the themed travel journals even come with separate sections where you can make checklists and stickers that you can use to accessorize your journal pages.
2. Think about some travel journal ideas.
Now that you have a great travel diary just waiting to be filled, it is a good time to think about what you want to do with it. If you plan on using it as a trip journal and filling it with great travel mementos of trips to New York or Los Angeles and jot down short stories about the day, go for it! If you prefer to create your own travel books where you write long entries explaining what you have seen in full detail, awesome! It is a good idea to have a “vision” of what you want your travel journal to look like. This will help you start it off on the right page!
3. Remain consistent with your travel journal entries.
When you begin keeping your travel journal, try to remain as consistent as possible. You don’t need to write every day or even every week. You just need to be consistent. Once you start developing a habit of writing in it, it will become part of your routine and as you travel, you may even begin formulating what you want your next journal entry to look like. This will keep you motivated to keep writing even when it seems like too much work. Trust us, you will be grateful in the long run when you can look back and read about all of the amazing things that you got to do.
4. Have fun with it!
The last tip is to make sure to have fun with your journal! Write about the things that make you happy and don’t stress out about trying to be the perfect wordsmith. As we have said, this is a way for you to look back on your own story or give other people a glimpse into your life. Your travel journal should reflect you and your particular journey, not someone else’s.
We hope that we have inspired you to start writing down all of the wonderful places that you are visiting and all of the great things that you are doing. If you need some additional inspiration, why not take a look at our Scratch-Off Adventure Books? These books are full of hand-picked adventures that will push you to explore, discover, and learn about the world around you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Just like there are millions of travelers, there are a million reasons why you should keep a travel journal. Journals are a great way to focus on mindful travel and have a record of your memories.
Start keeping a travel journal even before your trip begins! Journaling can help you get organized. The Let’s Roam Adventure Travel Journal even includes space for travel aspirations and trip planning.