Travel journaling ideas and best travel journals

Travel Journal Ideas: How To Choose The Best Travel Journal

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If you have ever wanted to create a travel journal but didn’t know where to start, there are plenty of creative travel journaling ideas to suit everyone, from simple travel diaries to more elaborate travel scrapbook memory keeping.

The many different travel journal ideas and formats can help you remember all of those special moments you spend exploring the world. We will teach you how to find the best travel journal style for you and how to get started with journaling your travels from scratch.

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Travel journaling ideas and best travel journals

Travel Journal Ideas For Every Type Of Traveller

Travel is a magical time. It gives us the opportunity to visit somewhere new and exciting, exotic or relaxing, or revisit a place we previously fell in love with.

You get to spend time with friends or family or choose to set off on a solo adventure.

Regardless of the type of vacation you are planning next, a travel journal should be an essential part of your packing list, as a way to record all your incredible new experiences away from home.

But there is no one size fits all when it comes to travel journals. In fact, with so many different travel journaling ideas, it can be overwhelming choosing the one for you, so our goal is to help you narrow down your perfect memory keeping tool.

There are so many travel journaling ideas.

Some people enjoy a simple handwritten travel diary, whereas others like to document their trips through photographs and artful scrapbook layouts.

Each style has its own benefits for capturing memories from across the globe.

There is no wrong way to start documenting your travels, but if you’re stuck in finding the right one for you here are some of the most popular types of travel journals to help you choose the one to get your creative juices flowing.

Travel Journal

If you want something dedicated specifically to travel, you can get a proper travel journal instead. Typically a travel journal will have space at the top for the date and sometimes the location, then room to write your experiences and memories from the day.

Some travel journals also include checkboxes, ratings or travel prompts to help inspire your travel writing and add a little extra fun.

A simple travel journal is a good option for documenting your daily travel experience with journal entries. The travel log can also carry over into multiple trips if you have plenty of pages left.

If you travel often, an annual travel log would be a great way to keep your memories together by purchasing a new travel journal each year.

Best for: Anyone who wants a compact travel journal to take with them while travelling.

A Blank Notebook or Diary

You don’t need to choose a fancy travel notebook. Any lined notebook, blank journal or diary will work for journalling about travel.

Head to your local stationary store or book store to find a simple notebook that you can easily pack into your carry on luggage wherever you go. Or splurge and get yourself a nice high quality, leather cover notebook with lined pages.

You can add an entry for each day or just for new places you visit, giving you space to write down all of your thoughts, feelings, reactions, and memories.

Or if you are travelling often, a dated annual diary can work just as well, adding entries under each date to save you time manually adding them.

This can be a perfect option for anyone who likes to keep their documenting brief, recording more of what they did in a diary format, without needing much space.

Best for: Anyone who only wants to keep their travel documenting very simple and brief.

Travel Bullet Journal

travel bullet journal

A bullet journal can be a creative way to document your unique experience! A bullet journal can be as simple or elaborate as you like – it’s all about what works best for you!

A bullet journal is equally a diary, a daily planner and a to-do list in one, typically used for keeping track of daily tasks and habits. Some have dot or grid pages so you can easily create tables and boxes of your own.

One of the best things about bullet journals is that the blank pages can inspire so much creativity if you enjoy handwriting and drawing.

They make great journals for travellers, taking you beyond the simple what I did today format of travel journaling.

You can create lists of favourite places or experiences, such as “10 things I loved about Paris” or “5 places I want to visit in Prague”, or add your own drawings, all while still tracking the things that matter most in your day-to-day life.

And because they are so flexible there are loads of ways you can set yours up: from colour coding your entries to using travel journal prompts to inspire your entries. You can even document your trip planning process.

Best for: Anyone who wants an easy way to record their travels without feeling restricted to a set format or page design.

Postcard Journal

A creative travel journal idea is to create a postcard journal from postcards you collect along the way.

At each destination, city or significant attraction, purchase a postcard and write your journaling on the back.

When you get home, use a hole punch to add a small hole to each postcard and attach them together in chronological order, using a binder ring or twine to create a ‘book’.

This is definitely one of the more creative travel journal ideas and is great if you forgot to plan ahead but still want to put together a memory book for your next trip.

Best for: Anyone who enjoys a visual reminder of their trip and wants to keep the process really simple and affordable.

Travel SmashBook

travel smash book

A Smashbook is a cross between a journal and a scrapbook – a travel journal scrapbook. It’s essentially a plain paged book where you can stick in photos and memorabilia or just have simple journalling pages too.

If you are taking a short trip, a K & Company Smashbook can be a great option to take with you and fill up while you travel.

You can leave room for photos once you get home but have all your journaling written and the items you collect stuck in while you are away.

Use a glue stick or washi tape to add items you collect along the way, adding little details with handwritten notes or stickers. They also work great with polaroid cameras or an Instax instant camera for adding photographic memories straight away.

We took a Smashbook with us during our Tasmanian road trip and it meant we got home and only had to add a couple of photos to our book and it was complete.

You can check out the video of our smash book here:

travel smashbook youtube thumbnail

Best for: Anyone who wants a simple combination of scrapbooking and journaling that they can take with them while travelling.

Shared Travel Journal

If you are travelling as a couple or with your family, a shared travel journal can be a wonderful way to record travel plans together, adding each person’s unique perspective.

Most of the travel journal formats above would work for this, although one that you can take with you is a great option. Then you can either take turns in who adds a daily journal entry or have each person add their own entry per day.

For example, you could each share your favourite thing about the day so when you look back, you can enjoy reminiscing over your shared experiences together.

Best for: Couples or families who want to create a shared travel record.

Travel Scrapbook

travel scrapbook

For more visual memory keeping this might be better suited to you than writing in a travel journal or notebook.

Photos are an important part of documenting travels, and while many travel journals do allow a few photos to be stuck in, they don’t have a lot of room for this.

Whereas a travel scrapbook is perfect for lots of photographic memories, and also for adding other memorabilia like maps, ticket stubs, money and postcards too!

Travel scrapbooking is more so something you do once you get home from your travels so you may still want to take a small notebook or use a notes app to document your memories while on the road so you don’t forget any of the important details.

The other thing to consider is that travel scrapbooking can take up a lot of room compared to the other more compact options so this might not be for you if you don’t have a lot of space in your home to store the larger albums.

Best for: Anyone who wants to add a lot of photos and memorabilia to their travel journaling.

Pocket Scrapbooking

travel project life album

Much like a standard travel scrapbook, pocket scrapbooking, or project life scrapbooking, is an excellent way of keeping items you collect during your travels and for adding photos and journaling.

A pocket scrapbook has pockets like a traditional pocket photo album, and you can add journal cards and photos into the slots.

This is another travel journalling idea that is best completed at home as it can be quite bulky and not ideal for documenting on the move.

This method can also be done digitally, using the Project Life App, which is a fun way to travel journal digitally then print your layouts once you get home.

Watch the videos and see inside 2 of our pocket scrapbook albums:

travel project life youtube thumbnail

Best for: Anyone who wants a simple travel scrapbooking alternative to complete once they are home.

Travel Journal Apps

There are many different apps that can be used for journaling on your phone or tablet. These can be anything from simply using your phones built-in notes app, to choosing a dedicated journaling app.

The best part of a travel journal app is that it means you don’t need to take anything extra with you when you travel. It also means you can keep records of your travel memories while you are travelling.

You can easily add updates to your journalling app while in transit or by taking a few minutes each evening before bed to add your latest entry.

The one negative of travel journal apps is that you may not end up with a physical copy to look back on or share with friends and family. So this may be a short term option to ensure you don’t forget anything so you can transfer the entries into a physical album or scrapbook later.

digital project life layout
This is a digital project life layout similar to what you can create in the Project Life App.

While a physical album is my favourite option for travel, I do love the Project Life App as a digital scrapbook option because you can print the layouts out to add to a scrapbook album or create your own photo book from them once you get home. Best of all, the Project Life App is completely FREE!

Best for: Anyone who enjoys digital journalling or who does not wish to take any extra equipment with them while travelling.

More Tips For Choosing The Best Travel Journal For You

Here are a few more tips and things to consider before choosing the type of journal that is right for your trip and documenting style:

  • Size Matters – Decide before you leave what would best suit your trip. If you are packing light for backpacking or carry on only trips, the size of your travel journal does matter. You will need to consider size, weight and available room to suit your style of journaling. For someone who keeps their journalling brief, a small journal is perfect. A larger journal would simply be adding excess weight and size to your bag when you could easily have chosen a small notebook.
  • Hardcover or softcover – If you want something sturdy, a hard cover journal may be best for you, but this will add weight to your luggage so a soft cover is a lighter option.
  • Your documenting style – The other important thing to consider is your preference for travel writing. Are you a person who loves to write long entries with detailed experiences, thoughts and feelings? Or do you want to jot down a few notes about where you went, with who and when?

Things To Record In Your Travel Journal

If this is your first time using a travel journal, or if you have struggled in the past with knowing what to write, here are some ideas for what type of information you may like to include in your trip diary:

  • The date including year
  • Where you stayed
  • Who you were travelling with
  • What the weather was like
  • Significant sights you saw or tours you took
  • Places or experiences you didn’t have time for but would like to visit next time
  • Local food and drinks that you tried
  • Customs and cultural experiences that put you outside your comfort zone
  • Sights, sounds and smells that stood out
  • People your met or a new friend you made
  • Your feelings about the place or an experience. Did it feel significant to you in some way? Why?
  • How you got around – public transport, walking, driving etc
  • What souvenirs and keepsakes you purchased
  • Sketches of things you see
  • Bucket list for a destination
  • An interesting fact you learned
  • Travel itinerary
  • Things that did not go to plan during your trip
  • Bookings and trip planning details

Looking for some inspiration? Check out these inspirational travel quotes, quotes about camping, road trip quotes, adventure quotes for kids and family travel quotes. They will have you packing your bags in no time!

Items To Add To Your Travel Journal

items to include in travel journal

If you’re wondering what other things to put in a travel journal, the options are endless. We always collect items along the way when we travel so we can add them to our scrapbooks and journals when we get home.

Here are a few ideas for things to include in a travel journal:

  • Plane, bus or train tickets
  • Attraction tickets and entry passes
  • Postcards
  • A map of your destination (local travel brochures are great for this)
  • Brochures and free guidebooks
  • Cardboard coasters from bars
  • Coins or low-value notes
  • Dried, pressed leaves or flowers
  • Stickers
  • Receipts

When Should You Update Your Journal

One of the things that are common with travel is there can often be a lot of waiting around or transport between different places and these are often the best times to pull out our travel journal and fill in some notes.

Make use of every opportunity like this to note your travel experiences. By making notes daily or soon after an event or experience, your travel journal will be far more detailed, factual and complete.

This will make it far easier to visualise your experiences in the future when you are reading back over your travel journal and doing some armchair travel. It’s amazing how quickly we can forget those small details that were extremely important in the moment.

This is why a travel journal or notebook you can carry with you along the way is often the best option, even if you plan on creating a full travel scrapbook when you get back home.

Pull out your journal when you’re on a plane or bus or train and add some updates. Or set a daily routine to write your entry before bed each night while everything is still fresh in your mind.

journal prompts and travel journal.


Essential Items For Travel Journalling During Your Trip

Aside from your actual travel journal or notebook, there are a few other items you will likely need, such as:

Pens and pencils – I love erasable pens for journalling because if you make a mistake it is easy to fix! My favourites are the Pilot Frixion range.

Washi tape – For sticking the items you collect into your journal

Another great option is the K & Company Smashbook pens which have a fine point marker at one end and a glue stick at the other.

Journal cards – If you are using a blank notebook, or planning to make a pocket scrapbook or smashbook, these can be a good item to bring and fill in along the way.

Other items may include stickers, stamps, or a small ruler to add lines.

Travel journals make wonderful gifts for all ages. If you need more travel gift inspiration, check out these unique travel gift ideas or these RV gift ideas.

Whether you’re looking for the best way to keep memories of your travels alive or just need some fresh inspiration, these travel journaling ideas are sure to help! There are few ways that are as effective in keeping those precious memories thriving and bringing back all of those amazing experiences. Happy writing!

Which type of travel journal works best for you?

the best travel journaling ideas and tips for getting started