tips for your travel journal

Prepare for your trip:

  • Keep track of packing lists.
  • Do your research. What are some travel sites or restaurants you want to visit?
  • Information of people you’re traveling with or are planning to meet along the way.
  • Be mindful and concentrate what you want out of the experience. Write an entry detailing your wants. Make it artsy, a mini vision board of your trip within your journal.

While traveling:

  • Leave spaces for pictures! If you’re visiting the Eiffel Tower, leave a spot for the printed pic. (Hopefully with you in the picture!) I write a note about picture I want to include, then glue it in that spot. Postcards are also a cheap and fast choice to include in your journal, and you don’t have to wait to print your photos.
  • Write bullet points of your day. What/where did you eat? Any historic monuments, events, or beautiful landmarks you saw throughout your day?
  • List the media you consumed. Did you have a playlist on repeat? A movie or show you watched while relaxing?
  • Think and write about how this new place is different from your home.
  • If you’re comfortable, have people write a note to you in your journal. It can be a memory from a friend, a stranger’s travel recommendation. A funny doodle in the corner of a page.
  • Most importantly, record the little moments and memories of your trip. Did you meet an interesting local? Have an inside joke you couldn’t stop laughing at? Those are the memories that make your trip unlike anyone else’s.

Coming home:

  • You wrote about the minuscule details during your travels, now it’s time to look at the big picture. As a whole, how would you describe this trip? Think about what you would tell your best friend and write that into your journal.
  • Was the trip different from your expectations? How do you feel about that?
  • What did it feel like to return home? Any reverse culture shock?
  • Now is your time to record anything you think someone should know while traveling there. Give your recommendations. Were there details you missed before traveling that you wish you knew?

Traveling can be life changing. A single trip can alter the course of your life and give you your most memorable experiences. It can also be stressful, mundane, and make you want to go home. Your journal should show every angle of traveling, the highs and the lows. It should not look perfect, because traveling is not perfect.

Tape in mementos, scribble on pages in the subway while you feel inspired. Some pages might be wet from the rain in Edinburgh, or have a quote from a friendly stranger you met at Oktoberfest.

Time will go by and most of the moments from your trips will be scrubbed from your memory, but your travel journal will keep your past adventures alive. What would you like to remember?

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