25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal

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.

25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal


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.

25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal
25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal

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.

25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal
25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal

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.

25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal
25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal


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!


25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal

Dried Flowers

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.

25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal
25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal
25 Items & Ideas To Include In Your Travel Journal

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?

Staying True To Yourself While Traveling

Traveling is sometimes a perpetual fish-out-of-water moment to the next. Overstimulating sights and the glamour of exciting experiences can often lead you to falling prey to tourist-driven businesses who claim to know exactly what your trip needs in order for you to get the most of your time. Certainly some of these trips and excursions are meant to be had… but they’re just not for every one.

Repeat after me: You are not just any tourist. You are you. And your experience traveling should be tailored to your passions and interests as it should be. Here are a few simple ways to staying true to yourself while traveling.

Staying True To Yourself While Traveling

Know What You Love

What is it that makes your heart race? What is the reason your wanderlust took you over to buy your tickets here in the first place? Is it the food, the culture, the history, the colors, the artists? Knowing what you love and is knowing your own strength. Hone in on that… whatever it is.

If you love the vivacious culture of the country’s people, go visit a market where locals are uninhibited and lively. If you love the food of your destination, sign up for a cooking class or ask your host to teach you a meal or two. You get the idea. Know what makes your heart race. It’s as simple as that.

Embrace Your Limitations

Real life moment. You’re not a superhero with boundless energy and infallible strength, and that is okay. There are certain individual traits that hold us back and it’s not because you’re a stick in the mud, it’s because you’re human. Know yourself. Know your strengths, but also know your limitations.

For me, it’s my fair skin. This woman can burn like you would not believe! Knowing this, I’m able to make clear headed decisions on how I want to spend my time. You can often find me suggesting things like, “let’s avoid the midday sun by stopping at a coffee shop or stopping at this shop where there are fans and we’re covered.” I never want to be a naysayer of fun, but I also never want to put myself in a situation where I’m paying the price of peeling skin because I chose to ignore my limits.

Knowing that you are imperfect is a hurdle we all have to overcome. But embracing your limitations and being honest with yourself is the clearest way to avoid getting in those sticky situations you’d rather avoid to begin with.

Now, there is a difference between knowing your limits and choosing to not risk anything. That’s the fine line us travelers all have to learn! Staying true to yourself while traveling doesn’t mean avoiding all unnecessary risk. It means being confident enough to adjust to those opportunities that come up and maybe, just maybe, suggest an alternative plan.

Staying True To Yourself While Traveling


Choose to Learn

A big benefit of travel is all that we learn from it. Coming into your adventure suited up and excited to deepen your understanding of the destination’s culture, people, food and traditions is a great way to stay true to yourself. When saying yes to learning you are only are you expanding your mind, but also developing your own understanding of yourself and how you fit into the larger scheme of this world.

So hop on your Google search bar and start searching!

Know How You Operate

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you prefer following a schedule day to day or are you more of a fly by the seat of your pants person? Understanding your daily routines and how you like to spend time and adapting it to suit your travels is one huge way to feel less like a mess when adventuring.

I know that I’m most productive in the mornings from seven to ten, but right after that I’m normally itching to get out and move. Knowing this, I always try to wake up on the earlier side, get to work while the day is starting and then head out of the door for a day’s worth of sight seeing, exploring and eating afterwards. This routine helps me feel productive and makes the strangeness of a new location seem a little more manageable, at least in my head.


Staying True To Yourself While Traveling

Staying true to yourself while traveling is a guaranteed way to have a happier adventure, to avoid headaches and to tailor your trip to your individual, beautifully unique self. If you’re about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, be sure to know thy self, embrace thy self, have fun, but more than anything, be true to you. Because you’re the best kind of awesome.

Practicing Ethical Tourism: Eight Tips For Traveling Responsibly

Us adventurers are living in a time when satiating our deepest wanderlusts is no longer a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. With frequent flier programs, “travel hacks” and cheap accommodations marketed specifically toward us explorers of the world, we are able to book vacays in the most exotic locations without having to breaking the bank. And let me tell you, it’s a great feeling to book an adventure of a lifetime on a dime!

While I traipsed through the wild jungles and gritty city streets of Thailand, pleased with my penny-pinching plans and ready to see the best of the “land of smiles,” there were moments filled with incredible wonder and splendor followed by an intense feeling of guilt and privilege (a strange and new emotion for me). Before landing in South East Asia, I truly had no idea how much tourism plays an effect on the native Thai people’s livelihood. Shanties stood directly behind five star hotels and market workers fanned themselves in the sweltering midday heat waiting for their next customer, while the rest of us tourists complained about finding air conditioning. I can’t say that I was aware of just how many excursions and experiences were offered to Europeans and American tourists at a cheap price, but often at the expense of the Thai people’s low incomes and intense work load.

Practicing Ethical Tourism: Eight Tips For Traveling Responsibly

Ironically, “off-the-beaten-track” travel is actually very well worn. This often creates resentment with local people towards tourists. Because even the most intentional travelers forget that when they climb to the top of the highest temple or snap the perfect Instagram of the rare wildlife they stumble upon, we are almost always in the homes of others. We forget the pennies we spend on our cheaply priced, yet opulent hotel rooms displace fishing communities. The examples go on and on and on.

The truth is, traveling responsibly isn’t an automatic option. And so, to adventure with some peace of mind there are some simple steps to follow.


Simply put, ethical tourism is a term used when travelers choose to avoid participation in activities that contribute to support social injustices (such as social injustices, human rights, poverty and environmental welfare) and instead choose to travel in ways that benefits people and the environment.

Almost 30% of the “untouched” spaces of the world are now being exploited by tourists. It’s easy to see why traveling responsibly is becoming more and more of a necessity.


1. Say no to layovers! Air travel is one of the biggest causes of global warming in our world today. So, obviously, reducing unnecessary flights or choosing to take the train or bus (when it’s possible) is a great way to minimize this problem. And since take-offs and landings release the most carbon, it’s a great excuse to avoid the headaches of a long, long layover in who knows where.

2. Research tour operators. There are some great adventure companies that organize experiences that give back to the local people, instead of exploiting them. Look into their “about” page on their website and if you don’t see anything listed, send them a quick email. It’s really simple and feels good to be participating in something that is incredible for you and beneficial to the natives. Once you’re ready to get exploring, you can even a your tour operator for even more tips on how to travel responsibly throughout your destination. They may have great advice based on their experience with the local culture, environment and people.

3. Think (and spend) locally. Booking through large corporations and eating at the fast food chains around the world basically does absolutely nothing to support the community in which you travel. Look into local guides and tour companies, buy locally, stay in family operated hotels and feel good about where you are spending your money.

4. Learn the language. A simple “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” will get you so much further with natives. By at least attempting to speak their language, you are demonstrating a sense of respect and desire to engage in their culture.

5. Bargain with a smile. In Thailand, I ran into many markets with unwritten “Thai prices” and “tourist prices.” Bargaining is definitely a huge part of the Thai culture, so it’s perfectly fine to offer a slightly smaller price. Just remember that for the sellers, this is their source of income, so keep a smile on and a sense of kindness. Aggressive or angry tones go nowhere!


6. Look into local customs. It’s easy to forget that foreign countries do not share the same traditions and codes of ethics as we do. To avoid any faux pas and show respect, do a quick Google search before you go. A responsible traveler does their best to immerse themselves in the culture as much as possible. So, take the extra step to learn about where you are going.

7. Respect, don’t exploit. Visiting Long Neck Tribes in Thailand may sound like an incredible journey, but treating these people like animals in a zoo is simply inhumane. Choose excursions that celebrates the indigenous culture or assists them in some way, instead of those that exploit them.

8. Give back. It sounds silly, but if you book with a local business, leave your positive feedback as publicly as possible. Leaving a nice TripAdvisor comment may end up landing the local people some extra business. You can also volunteer at a nearby conservatory or farm for a day or so. Or if your itinerary is booked, donate to an organization that is supports a place or community that you visited.

Practicing Ethical Tourism: Eight Tips For Traveling Responsibly

The best part of ethical tourism? The feeling of giving back to a group of people who endlessly give new and exciting memories to you. Have you traveled ethically or are you interested in doing so for your next trip?