If you’re reading this post, you’re most likely in search of travel journal ideas, which means you’re in luck, because this article is chock full of ’em!
Recently I’ve been working on developing a journaling habit. I keep a little notebook next to my bed and try to write in it every night for a few minutes before I go to sleep. This simple practice has been doing wonders for my mental health, especially during this complicated time, and I hope to keep it up both at home, and while I’m out traveling.
So today, both for your benefit, and my own, I’m going to share a ton of travel journal ideas, from how to form the habit to some thought-provoking prompts, so you’re never lacking ideas for things to write about while out exploring the world!
Here’s why you should journal while you travel!
Even if you don’t consider yourself a regular “journaler,” keeping a travel journal can greatly enhance your travel experience, before, during, and for years afterward.
Sure, keeping a travel journal is a nice way to record memories and have a keepsake to look back on, but it’s also so much more than that. Taking the time to pause, slow down and reflect on your experience while it’s happening, will open you up to a whole new world of possibilities.
You will begin to notice the little things on your trip that you might have otherwise missed or ignored. You’ll pay more attention to your senses and truly sink into what you’re seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing and feeling. You’ll find infinite inspiration by noticing and noting down the beauty in the small moments and simple things all around you.
Have I convinced you yet?
How to get the most out of your travel journal
Designate a realistic time to journal.
For me, the hardest part about keeping a travel journal is simply getting started. Once I actually sit down and open up my notebook, pen in hand, the words and memories begin to flow. So, to keep myself from avoiding it, or putting it off until I’m too tired, too lazy, or there’s something more exciting to do, I set a time, every day, to focus and jot down a few words. With time, you’ll successfully make your travel journal a priority, because you actively build it into your daily routine.
Depending on how you like to travel and your unique schedule, your “journaling time” could be first thing in the morning with your coffee, at night right before bed or midday with your lunch. Pick a time that works for you, and stick to it!
Reflect on previous entries.
If you’re having a hard time getting started on any particular day, go back and read through some of your earlier journal entries. Take note of what’s changed, how you’re feeling now, and how far you’ve come. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished since then, and simply cherish your prior travel memories.
See if that experience helps you get started writing today.
And if you’re still stumped, unmotivated or simply looking for more travel journal ideas…
Travel Journal Prompts
If you’re someone that likes to stick to the facts and write a mini synopsis of each day, go for it! But if you’re looking to dive a little deeper, and create a travel journal that’s worth reading for years to come, try the following writing prompts.
With a little practice, you’ll be journaling like a pro, but for now, if you need some help getting started, use the following travel journal writing prompts to guide you.
This travel journal prompt is great if you’re not in the mood to write a lot, or short on time, but still want to keep the journaling habit going strong. Moment savoring works by picking one special moment from your day and reliving it. Take a moment to bring yourself back to that particular moment, whatever it is, and allow a few minutes to write down everything you remember about it. Truly savor it.
Engage your five senses and fully sink into the moment you want to experience. What are you hearing? Smelling? Tasting? What made this moment so special? Write it all down, so you can revisit this special moment time and time again.
Make a gratitude list.
Another great way to reflect on your travels is to write down a list of things you’re feeling grateful for. I actually try to do this every day, whether I’m traveling or at home.
This journal prompt can be particularly helpful if you’re feeling low or having a bad travel day. No matter what’s going on, there’s always something to be thankful for!
Writing down a daily gratitude list each day will not only help boost your overall mood, but it also helps you become more mindful and aware. It will help you to notice more of the beautiful details of your trip.
What’s going on in the world right now, and how is it affecting your trip?
A great way to give your journal some context is to step outside of your specific destination and look at the bigger picture. Is there something particularly noteworthy going on in the world at this moment? What about in the local scene? What’s trending in local or global magazines and newspapers?
As I write this, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is happening, which affects EVERYONE somehow. Most people aren’t traveling right now, but many also had to cut trips short or cancel plans last minute. Although these may not be the happiest of travel memories, they’re still a part of your story.
More travel journal prompt ideas:
▻ Talk about your feelings. How is this trip making you feel? What kind of day are you having, and why?
▻ Make a list of the best songs, movies/shows or books you listened to, watched and read during your trip.
▻ Record your conversations and interactions with locals and other travelers. Did you have any funny or interesting interactions that day? Were you able to communicate in another language, or even better without verbal communication at all?
▻ Compare cultures. How does the culture of the place you’re visiting compare to the culture of where you’re from? What do you like better? What could you do without?
▻ What’s your travel destination’s personality? Using 5-10 descriptive words, personify your destination.
▻ Write a list of questions to which you want answers. It’s time to get curious. Use this travel journal prompt to learn more about your specific destination. What don’t you know, but want to learn before you leave? Make a list of questions, and then try to get answers to them throughout your trip by asking others or doing your own research.
▻ What’s gone totally wrong during this experience? What could you have done without on this trip? What about it has made you miserable? Maybe you’ll look back and laugh at these experiences one day, or maybe you’ll use them as a learning experience as what not to do next time.
Prompts and travel journal ideas for students (of all ages):
▻ What’s one new thing I learned today? Pinpoint one thing that impacted you today, and what you learned from it. Did you learn a new word in a different language? A new custom or tradition? Try a new dish?
▻ What is something you want to bring home with you? What’s something that you’ve learned or experienced on this trip, that you don’t want to let go?
▻ How did you feel when you got home? What’s changed, if anything, after this travel experience?
SHOP SMALL: Find the perfect journal to bring along on your journey!
I’ve hand-selected the following travel journals from shops on one of my favorite online marketplaces, Etsy. As I mentioned above, as I write this post, we’re in the midst of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. Now, more than ever, small businesses need our support.
All of the journals below are handmade by real people! I love Etsy’s current initiative to #StandWithSmall. You can also check out other small shops and Etsy editor’s picks here.
1. Hand-painted, Destination Specific Journal, $48 for a set of two journals. Made in Toronto, Canada. I love how you can personalize these journals with a skyline painting of your destination city!
2. Custom Trip Journal For Couples, $27. Made in Winnipeg, Canada. This journal is perfect for a special romantic trip or honeymoon. You can use it for relationship-building activities or to savor special moments together.
3. Personalized Premium Leather Journal, $35+. Made in Texas, USA. This journal is made with long-lasting, high-quality cowhide leather, and you can personalize it with engraved initials, a name, or a special date!
4. Leather Pocket Journal, $17+. Made in Calgary, Canada. This little pocket-sized journal is light and perfect to bring along wherever your travels take you.
5. Handmade Journal or Notebook Cover, $62+. Made in Colorado, USA. This refillable journal cover has pockets inside for pens, your phone, and other accessories.
6. Masculine Sustainable Cork Journal, $26. Made in Cardiff, United Kingdom. This journal is vegan-friendly, eco-friendly and made with sustainable natural cork. The pages are even made with recycled paper!
7. Reading Passport, $10. Made in Alaska, USA. If you’re someone that likes to read while you travel, this journal will be perfect for you. It allows you to keep track of the books you read, with areas to write down your favorite quotes, as well as notes and ratings.
8. Floral watercolor notebooks, $13+. Made in Brisbane, Australia. Lisa Maj’s watercolor hand-bound notebooks and bullet journals are so gorgeous that you’ll look forward to setting time aside to write every day. They make a great gift, for yourself or others!
I hope you enjoyed these travel journal ideas and prompts! If you’re looking for inspiration for your next wanderlust-worthy destination, check out my locations page!
Do you keep a journal while you travel? If so, what are some of the things you like to write about? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below ⬇️