Last year, I got a chance to visit Oahu, an unforgettable experience! I knew I wanted to remember EVERYTHING about that adventure, so I brought along a travel journal.
Answering the call of wanderlust is exhilarating, and you want it to last forever. What’s the point of travel if you forget everything about it afterward? Keeping a journal helps you remember the little details as they happen.
Capture your feelings when you saw your destination from your plane window. Your thoughts about public transportation. People you meet, interesting architecture you see, meals you enjoy, even little frustrations that derail your plans. It’s all part of the story of your adventure.
So are you ready to hit the road? Be it a road trip or globetrotting, here are some tips for your travel journal.
What kind of journal should I use?
There are lots of journals specifically made for travelers. They’re small, durable notebooks that fit handily into a backpack or purse, ready to be pulled out when inspiration appears. A durable journal is worth the investment.
You can also make your own travel journal, like I did. Just buy a simple ringed binder and fill it with your own pages. I included colorful scrapbook paper, regular writing paper, and watercolor paper (which went almost entirely unused. Live and learn.)
Whether you buy your journal or make your own, you’ll want to have something to stick those collected odds and ends to the page. You could use glue, but it’s messy and usually permanent. What if you want to move your collection to another page?
That’s how I stumbled on washi tape, and I’ve never looked back. It’s sticky enough to keep things in place but completely removable. And it comes in So. Many. Patterns. Pick one that goes with your journal and let the fun begin.
What do I put in my journal?
Anything that can be stored semi-flat. Leaves, ticket stubs, business cards, receipts; anything with meaning can go into your journal. If it inspires you, keep it. Write about it. Turn it into a unique page to remind you of that moment.
One of my favorite pages from Hawaii is my collection of sand from different beaches. If you take a strip of washi tape and dip it sticky side down in the sand, you have a beautiful strip of colorful sand that you can then put in your journal with more tape or a sticker.
Did that candy wrapper make you laugh? Did you love the design on a can of soda? Food is a great way to dive into another culture. Eat what the locals eat, go to their restaurants, try their favorites. I mean, you have to eat anyway, so why not make it part of the experience?
Pressed flowers and leaves
Maybe you’re not the best artist. Or maybe you’re like me and don’t actually use the art supplies you brought #goodintentions. Plant life is art already made for you. A flower or leaf that’s already on the ground (and not in a stranger’s backyard) it makes a pretty memento for your journal.
When it comes to making memories, there’s nothing like taking lots of pictures. You snap them, you post them, so why not print them - instantly? By the time you’re back home, it will be too late because there will be a million other things to distract you.
Lifeprint takes photos from your phone and takes them into memories you can hold in your hand. Their portable photo printer delivers beautiful, high-quality prints on the spot, ready to add to your journal. You can even customize your pictures with the included photo editing suite before printing them!
This is, after all, a journal. The objects you collect are just objects until you tell the story of why they’re important to you. Keep a daily log of where you ate, what you did, high and low moments, and the weather.
It’s even more fun when you start your journal at the very beginning: the planning phase. Then see how your trip unfolds from idea to reality to memory. Did the Eiffel Tower live up to your expectations? Was the surfing lesson a good choice? Did something surprise you by being more interesting than you thought?
Add details like your packing list and important information like flight numbers and addresses. Imagine if your phone refused to charge and you get stuck trying to find your B&B without an app – or even an address (hint: it involves hours of walking around with all your luggage. I do NOT recommend it).
If you’re going to a country that speaks a different language, write down words you learn. Try to use them and write about how it went. In fact, write down everything you learn because, without learning, travel is just a really expensive nap.
There are so many ways to make your travel journal unique. You can make it your own with paper and stickers that fit your theme. Keep anything you like in it and tell your story with keepsakes. The world is your oyster, and your travel journal keeps the pearls you find safe.