Traveling is an incredibly fulfilling experience. It broadens your horizon, exposes you to new cultures, introduces you to new experiences and pushes you out of your comfort zone.
As you see new places, meet new people and have fun adventures, you’ll want to document your journeys. This way, you can easily look back at the most enjoyable times of your life.
Instead of merely taking travel pics and posting them on Instagram or Facebook, consider keeping a travel journal.
What is a Travel Journal?
This is where you write (or blog) about the international or domestic trips you’ve taken for a particular period. A personalized travel journal is typically a collection of memories, adventures, stories and experiences.
Why Write About Your Travels in a Journal
Simply taking pictures of tourist spots and other travel destinations won’t always fully capture the experience you’ve had on your journey. You need a traveler’s notebook to help you better relive your trip memories.
- Recall More of Your Travel Experiences – When you’re just browsing at your travel photos and selfies, you won’t always remember why you took those photos or how they made your journeys awesome. By taking pictures and writing down the things you did on your travels, you’ll easily recall the important details of your trip, such as the reason for exploring a particular tourist area.
- Reflect on Your Travels More Easily – A travel journal enables you to record the new things you’ve found on your trip. By having these wonderful discoveries in one place, you’ll be able to reflect on what you’ve learned and use that to make your life better.
- Learn More About the World Around You – Sometimes, the valuable information you discover when you travel to another country isn’t present in guidebooks. By noting down your observations in a trip journal, you can retain what you’ve learned and use it to educate other travelers.
How to Write a Travel Journal Entry
You don’t need to be a prolific writer to fill your travel journal pages. You also don’t have to travel to a faraway land, such as Easter Island, to make your trip diary more interesting. All you need is a good travel notebook and a destination.
If you’re looking to make the most of your journaling experience, keep these valuable tips in mind:
Write About Your Travel Plans in Your Journal
You can document your trip even before you hop on a plane. Use your personal trip journal to write about the things you want to do when you arrive at your dream destination. This could be anything from the different sights you want to see in your summer trip to the cool dining establishments you want to experience.
Once you have an idea of what you want to do and where exactly you plan to go, do your research by coming up with a trip itinerary. Jot down the awesome activities you want to do along with the travel agencies that facilitate them. Your travel journal serves as an alternative place to store contact details of your accommodations, tour agencies and transportation.
Document Your Experiences During Your Trip
Write about your discoveries while they’re still fresh inside your head. Do this every day if you could, preferably before you go to bed. The entries in your trip journal don’t have to be lengthy or comprehensive. Just highlight the most exciting or important parts of your journey. Don’t forget to add your insights about the destination, people, food, culture and other elements about the trip.
Talk About Your Trip as Soon as You Arrive Home
Once you’re back home, take the opportunity to ponder on the entire journey. Documenting what you’ve discovered will help you retain new insights and apply them in your future travels. This is also an effective way to learn more about yourself.
Guide Questions When Writing a Travel Journal
Need more help to get those creative juices flowing? Here are trip journal prompt ideas to help you kickstart your writing:
- “Why are you taking this trip?” – Individuals travel for various reasons. Some do it to take a break from work. Others want to enjoy a romantic getaway with their partner. Whatever your reason is, make sure to write that down in your journal.
- “What can you say about the people in that city or country?” – Talk about the locals you meet on the street. If you made along the trip, you could describe them. Write down how the people you encountered affected your overall trip experience.
- “What can you say about the food?” – Your travel journal can double as a food journal if you’re into sampling dishes from around the world. Write a restaurant review by talking about the meals that you liked or disliked in your trip.
- “Now that you’re back home, what would you have changed?” – This is more of a post-travel reflection question. Discuss your trip activities in detail and talk about how you could improve them if you have plans on revisiting that same destination.
- “What destination would you like to travel to next?” – Come up with a travel bucket list. Then, talk about the countries, cities or destinations that you’d want to check out or explore further in the future.
Other Stuff You Could Include in Your Travel Journal
Text and photos aren’t the only content you can include in your trip diary.
Here are other items you could consider pasting or inserting in your journal:
Collect ticket stubs from airlines, museums, trains, buses, concerts, theme parks and other attractions. These items document where and when you traveled, as they usually come with a specific date and time.
You’ll likely come across these items when you visit cafés or boutique shops. When someone hands you a business card, accept it and put that in your traveler’s notebook.
These cards are a great way to fill the pages of your travel journal. If you stumble upon a thrift store or a tourist souvenir shop, remember to buy a colorful postcard for your notebook.
One man’s trash is another man’s travel diary material.
If you find food labels and packaging written in a foreign language, don’t throw all of them in the bin. Keep a few as your trip journal material. Then, talk about these labels at length in your post.
Sometimes, travelers end up with coins that they’re unable to spend during their entire trip. If you have leftover foreign coins in your bag, paste a few of them into your travel journal.
Dried Leaves or Flowers
You could add something “natural” to your travel journal pages by putting small plants that grow only in that specific country or area. Just pick the ones you find on the ground instead of plucking off flowers and leaves from parks and gardens.
Brochures and Maps
The free handouts you’re getting from tourist information centers will easily fill your trip journal pages. They’ll remind you of the places you visited along with the areas you plan to check out on your next trip.
Want to Go Digital? Download a Travel Journal App
If you don’t want to carry around a pen and notebook or prefer to travel light, you could document your adventures on your mobile phone as an alternative.
A few trip journal apps you could use when you hit the road are the following:
This iPhone app is suitable for travelers who want a simple and easy-to-use interface for documenting their adventures. It has privacy settings that enable you to keep some posts public and other entries all to yourself. If you need inspiration for your future trips, follow fellow travelers and read their awesome entries.
This mobile app is a social network for individuals who spend the majority of their time on the road. The app encourages sharing trip reviews, as well as supports photos and videos.
Another great feature of Driftr is that you can create posts without relying on an internet connection. Just make an entry and upload them later — perfect for people on long-haul flights.
This platform features the many things you could ask for in a digital diary: customizable layouts, a private mode for travel entries and maps that tick off the places you’ve explored. What makes this app unique is that you have the option to turn your trip journal entries into a blog, which you can freely share via email or social media.
The short Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts you publish online aren’t enough to do your trip justice. The next time you hit the road or fly overseas for a holiday, make a habit of documenting your experiences in a travel journal.