How To: Prep Your Travel Journal

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 Have you started planning your 2011 vacation yet? {I’ve got a whole catalog of intended trips for years to come}
Have you purchased one of Campfire Kam’s journals for the trip yet? …. Or something similar? Heaven knows you’re going to need SOMEWHERE to put all those pamphlets and anecdotes from your travels!

We didn’t go on any longer-than-a-weekend trips in 2010 but we’re definitely making up for it this year!

Already booked: 7 day Alaska cruise in June
Looking more and more like a done deal: Ireland for a week or so in August

As I’m planning and getting ready to leave, there is always a TON of stuff to remember – and even more that I know I will want to document.
Here’s just a quick look at how I prep my travel journal for a vacation:
(pictured is the journal from my Italy trip in October 2010)

As I mentioned before, Kam has some adorable journals that would work well – particularly if you’re traveling to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon or another long week in the mountains.

I’m partial to Moleskine journals, but you can also find some cute-but-simple inexpensive journals at Target.

I would recommend something at least 5×7 or so. Something large enough that any travel ephemera you find on your journey won’t be sticking too far out the side.

Also I always get a lined journal. Maybe unlined or graph paper will work if you’re more of a sketcher… but I like to write down my impressions and without the pretty lines it would just be a mess.

This includes flight details, hotel reservation info, contact numbers for anyone that you’ll need while you’re there.
Since I want to keep my travel journal updated while on vacation, I tend to have it handy. What better place to keep the details of my returning flight?

I adhere this set reservation info to the first few pages of my journal.
So easy to just flip open the front cover and take a glance.
(note: you could also handwrite these if you don’t want to waste paper and have more time to make sure it’s all included)

Obviously, this is the most fun pre-trip activity. You might know that you’ll be in Rome for 3 days, but what are you going to do while your there?
Building your itinerary is a full series of how-to posts on its own – but once you have the bones down, what better place to record you day-to-day plans than in your handy dandy journal.

I find that having this broken down in smaller chunks helps me when I go to journal stories as well …. For example, I know I’m in Florence, and I’m pretty sure it’s Wednesday… so what is the date today?

Having my itinerary lined out like this also helps on the move. I remind myself that we wanted to go to the Cappuchin Crypts before heading over to the Vatican. A small 5×7 journal is one of the smallest, easiest ways to keep track of that kind of info and always have it handy.

Rather than bring your whole address book (or have to deal with all the ‘why didn’t you send me a postcard’ questions when you return), just copy out the addresses you need into your travel journal.

I use the very very back couple pages.

This keeps the addresses all together, it keeps the addresses in a easily findable spot, and it keeps the addresses from breaking up the story of the beginning of the journal (travel details leads to itinerary specifics leads to actual journal entries).

This is also a good place to clip a sheet of postcard stamps (if you already have some for the country you need)

I bring 3-4 pens. *Just in case* … I tend to lose pens, or grab ones with only a little bit of ink left.

I also bring paper clips.  These are used to keep the paperwork for the day – ticket stubs, pamphlets, Instax mini photos – with the appropriate journal pages.

You could also bring tape, stapler or some other more permanent adhesive if you like. I prefer to have the option to take the travel paraphernalia out in the future if I want.

That’s really all I need – I know other people might bring a basic stamp or paper punch, maybe even some scissors to cut down aspects of your travel ephemera. But I’m just keeping this as a travel journal, not going full-on scrapbook.

I like to keep it simple. *Especially* when I’m traveling.

Keep your travel journal handy in your carry-on and try to carve out time to make note of your favorite moments, stories and aspects of your trip.

I try to make sure that the date/time/location of each journal entry is at the top of the page. When you’re traveling, details like this can help bring back memories when you look back and see you had a chance to journal when on the train late at night on your way to Florence.

You’ll want as many details as possible when you come home and have a chance to blog all your photos! Especially since my handwriting gets messy when I’m writing fast!

I am so looking forward to our Alaska cruise – we got a cabin with a balcony and have a couple days at sea …. Days that are just crying out for me to sit on the balcony, overlooking the ocean, coffee and a travel journal.

Can’t wait!

How do you journal your travels? Leave a comment below with links if you have them!

Feel free to email me with any thoughts or questions.
Amy T Schubert blogs about inspiration and tips for creative people at Lemon and Raspberry. She’ll be blogging her Alaska trip at Those Crazy Schuberts later this year. You can also follow Amy on Twitter or sign up for the LandR newsletter for more exclusive content from her.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • katiebug92 January 11, 2011, 6:10 am

    This post is great! I think I’m am going to be doing alot of traveling this year (including a 2600 mile bicycle trip) I can’t wait!

    xo, Katie

  • Amy T Schubert January 11, 2011, 9:30 am

    I can’t wait to get started on my Alaska travel journal ….. even though we have only *barely* started planning!

  • Campfire Chic January 11, 2011, 9:32 am

    Amy, I am going to be using some of your ideas to harness the loose papers/stickers/etc. I have in my NPS passport. We are hopefully going to one this weekend and I KNOW I’ll be picking something up ;)

  • pandora89 January 11, 2011, 10:08 am

    I love the idea and I’m going to use this on my erasmus-experience in Germany this spring! I’ve started a blog in which I’ll post about it! But the journal will keep me informed with everything i forget during the day, so yes! Thanks for the idea! :)

  • Amy T Schubert January 11, 2011, 10:37 am

    Kam! Thanks for reminding me! I was totally going to mention using your travel journal to house those NPS passport stamps (if you don’t have the actual passport)….
    Good call!

  • justine. January 11, 2011, 2:35 pm

    Amy! I am in LOVE with this DIY, its so cute. I want to go on vacation so that I can do this!

  • Chelsea January 11, 2011, 9:21 pm

    I love this DIY! I’m afraid I’ll never be this organized on a trip though…. haha

  • amylou January 12, 2011, 9:01 am

    I’ve never thought about making one of these, but I think I should. Especially from our honeymoon. I saved everything!

  • Holly Knitlightly January 18, 2011, 3:22 pm

    What awesome ideas!! It would be so fun to have a bunch of travel books from all of your vacations.


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