I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m a girl who always has a journal in her bag. I’m literally never without one. On my adventures, this is no exception. Travel journals quickly become my favorites because they so beautifully encapsulate the exact feelings and quirks of my adventures, both abroad and close by. This summer, quite like the last, I wanted to commemorate my journey with a book filled with the little details, the nuanced stories and the quirky items I picked up along the way.
Your travel journal is, by far, the easiest way to commemorate the most adventurous times in your life. So it’s important to include as much authentic and sometimes zany eccentricities of your explorations, both in the items you choose include and in the way you choose to write your stories. Here are twenty five items and ideas to include in your travel journal.
Maps, Tickets & Tourist Brochures
Sure at times you might feel like a kleptomaniac, but stowing away all of the free handouts given by tourist centers is a go-to way to filling up some travel journal pages. Plus, nothing makes a scrapbook seem more classic than including these magical three ingredients.
Instax & Instant Photos
Carrying around an instant camera all summer isn’t exactly the most streamlined way to travel (trust me), but having physical prints of your adventures to hold feels ah-mazing. I love how nostalgic the photos look juxtaposed next to handwriting.
Napkins, Paper Bags & Candy Wrappers
One man’s trash is another man’s… travel journal material? Scouting for colorful and eccentric paper goods can quickly become addictive!
Journal Entries By Date
Old school diary style writing only seems right when every second of your travels is filled with life changing memories! Try walking through your day by hour, from the moment you awake to the moment you put your page to the page. It’s a great exercise to remember all the beautiful moments you have on the road from just one day.
Coins & Bills
AKA the simple and artsy way to avoid having to exchange those odds and ends of change leftover. Love it!
One Page Stories
Your goal is to fill an entire page with a story from your experiences. Every. Single. Inch. Try varying the size of your text, like bolding the key words or conversations had. Stretch that story all over that page!
Whether stopping at a classic tourist souvenir shop or journeying into the depths of a thrift store you stumbled upon, postcards are a consistent treat for the eyes when filling your pages of your travel journal. I just wish there was a way to include both sides of them…
Bottle Labels & Coasters
Oooo child, we all know that there are some weird and wonderful drink labels out there in the world. So, consider it travel journal “research” when you order a bottle of something new… and then keep the labels for your own art. Oh, and don’t forget the coasters from your favorite watering holes.
Small Event Write Ups
Turn something small into the something meaningful. Whether is the strange neighbor you have at your hostel or hotel, or the way the sun shines through the streets, or the pronunciation of a unfamiliar word. My favorite small event write up is describing the Italian train system in all its weird and wonderful fury.
Receipts, Business Cards, Magazine Clippings & Street Advertisements
Basically, if it’s pretty paper… keep it!
Tap into your inner flower child and pick a wild plant that reoccurs in the area you’re adventuring in. Including something natural on your travel journal’s pages is refreshing.
Free Verse Thoughts
There’s one rule…. just write. Write until you have no words. Write about everything and nothing. And if you have nothing, write about that! It’s a great way to commemorate where your head is at when you’re in a foreign or favorite place.
Menus & Doodle A Memorable Meal
If you have a favorite meal, you know you probably have an overhead Instagram of it. Own it! Take a few seconds to get that image onto paper and always, always ask for a take out menu. Maybe it’s because our sense of taste is closely associated with memory, but man, sometimes just seeing the name of my favorite restaurant in Italy makes me droooooooool.
Quick Sketches Of A Favorite Spot
Snap a quick picture of a place you never want to forget. Take five to ten minutes to free draw the image. Don’t worry about your artistic skill, this isn’t about that! It’s allllll about the experience of putting a hand to the page and etching the image of this treasured place into your memory.
What I love most about creating travel journals is just how personal it feels to have a physical book that is created solely by me. It takes my mind away from over-sharing on social media and directs it to creating an actual piece of art. It’s refreshing and really, really gets my imagination’s muscles in check. Plus, who wouldn’t love to whip out a super interesting book of adventures when one of your relatives undoubtedly asks how your trip was? Because we all know that’s going to happen.
Have you created a travel journal or something else to commemorate a great trip?