11 Best Travel Journal Ideas That Will Capture Your Memories Forever

When you keep a diary of your travels in a journal, your trip lasts a lifetime. That way, you can re-experience the wonders of your vacation experiences whenever you want with just the turn of a page. Here are 11 of the best travel journal ideas that will inspire your creativity and help you capture your travel memories forever.

Travel Journal Ideas

CONTENTS: In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the best travel journal ideas, including:

Journaling Lessons Learned

Starting a travel journal was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

Before I started writing this article, I had a flick through a small leather notebook I picked up in Marrakesh’s souks markets, At the time, I used it to document my travels around New Zealand, where I bought an old van with my girlfriend and we drove around for six months.

I’m not trying to flex my adventures. I’m trying to give you some idea of what it was like looking back through these pages and finding some of my favorite memories – and rediscovering others I had forgotten. 

It’s a beautiful keepsake and a glimpse back into my past where I can relive the very raw experiences and emotions I felt at the time of writing.

While the idea is simple, actually starting your own travel journal to document your expeditions around the world is, well, easier said than done. 

It can be hard to know where to start, what to write, and what’s worth writing down.

Sometimes, I turn back to pages now, and realize missing details I wish I had taken the time to write down at the time. 

But hey, that’s what this guide is all about.

We’re here to learn and get better! 

Before we get too deep into these travel journal ideas, let’s make sure we’re on the same page.

What is a Travel Journal?

Diary Travel Journal

A travel journal is type of diary where you capture details about your experiences while you travel.

Usually it’s some kind of written collection of pages where you describe things like:

  • Where you went
  • What you did
  • Who you met
  • and much more

You might include some mementos as a remembrance, too.

Your travel journal or travel diary can be something you personalize or make yourself. You can write it online or buy a quality leather-bound journal that will stand the test of time, like this one.

The beauty of the journal is not in it’s actual appearance, although some are admittedly beautiful!

The value lies in the memories they capture. It’s a creative snapshot in time from your adventures.

When you keep a travel journal, then you can look back upon your memories long after the trip ends and be instantly reminded of your journey.

So, without further ado, here are the ideas and how-to tips you need to know to get yours started.

How to Write A Travel Journal

Any kind of writing you do in your travel journal should be written as soon as possible.

Sure, don’t put your experience on hold because you have to write, thus halting what you’re doing.

But if you’ve had an amazing day (or even an uneventful, not-so-amazing day) and you’re getting into bed, make the time to write.

Write about what’s going on so you can capture everything that’s happening in its rawest, most genuine form.

Don’t worry about speaking eloquently or get overly picky about grammar and spelling. You just want to get it all down. Write in your own voice as though you were sharing your thoughts with someone you trust.

Some of the things you’ll want to think about writing include:

  • Details of what you’ve been up to – your travels, activities, accommodations
  • Notes on your destination, such as the weather, temperature, crowds, sites
  • Notes about the people you were with or saw
  • Any emotions you’re feeling
  • Your opinions of what has happened
  • Observations about details you may otherwise forget
  • Details from all five senses – sight, sound, taste, smell, touch

It may be difficult at first to put how you’re feeling into words, especially if writing a journal is new to you.

However, like everything in life, it’s a skill that you’ll get better at with practice.

Before you know it, the words will flow easily.

Best DIY Travel Journal Ideas

Check out these ideas for your travel journal and see which one resonates with you.

1. Maps and Tickets Keepsake

Let’s start with something easy.

Throughout your travels, you can collect all the tickets, foreign banknotes, admission tickets to attractions and events.

In fact, you might even bring along a special envelope or zipper pouch to keep all them together.

Then, stick them into your journal as a beautiful and vibrant reminder of where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to.

Once you couple these with the notes of your experience, you’ll have a stunning recollection. You can look back on how you felt and what kind of time you had, which is what journaling is all about!

Don’t forget to stick in any paper maps, plane tickets, museum passes, and other collectibles along these lines!

2. Art Travel Journal

Art Travel Journal

Suppose you’re quite artistically talented or have a knack for drawing.

Or maybe making art is just fun for you.

In that case, it surely makes sense to add doodles and sketches of places and people to your notebook or journal.

You could couple the drawings with notes and text that highlight your experiences in more detail, or simply fill the journal with your art from your travels.

As a creative, use your journal to be your own creative space to think outside the box.

Give your book a unique look and voice.

For instance, you could make a watercolor travel journal or a sketchbook travel journal using pen and ink. Cartoons or any type of travel journal art will do!

It might take a little more effort to draw in such a way, especially if you have limited time in a place, but it’s such a treasured experience to look back at everything in years to come.

You could always just create a quick thumbnail of a scene or even take a photo to artfully capture it later.

If you’re not much of an artist, then maybe just cheat and stick in some photos!

3. Creating Your Own Sticker Book

Sticker Travel Journal

Stickers are my all-time favorite thing.

In the old days, you may have seen suitcases plastered with travel stickers, or more recently, laptops decorated with colorful stickers.

When you’re traveling and able to collect stickers from all the beautiful places you visit, then you can also put them in a sticker book to showcase your travels.

The good news is, you don’t have to be traveling internationally for this to work.

For instance, I started my own little sticker book for traveling around my own country.

Whether I was visiting national parks on the weekend or having a week off in a neighboring city, it was so easy to find stickers to collect from different places.

Some of them were given to me through admission to an event or attraction, and others I just purchased from a little store.

Another good thing about creating a sticker journal is that stickers are really inexpensive and super colorful.

This is a great way to jog your memory when you want to take a trip back in time to some of your most beloved experiences.

4. Travel Diary Journal

Writing a travel diary is probably what comes to mind for mosts people when they think of a travel journal.

And with good reason.

It’s an easy format, written sequentially, day-by-day. Narrative or stream-of-consciousness writing works well enough, but you could always add some structure (i,e. most memorable moment, best meal, most surprising fact) to each day’s entry.

Don’t forget to capture your reactions and feelings, because they are just as important as your itinerary. You’ll want to remember those emotions when you look back on your travel journal.

5. Travel Photo Journal

Photo Travel Journal

Another one of the best journal ideas is a photo travel journal.

This can simply be the roll of photos on your smartphone or DSLR, neatly filed away on your desktop (and safely backed up, please).

Or, it could be a photo montage that you turn into a video, or even professionally printed into a hardbound photo book.

It’s true that a picture speaks a thousand words, so don’t overlook your selfies and scenery shots when it comes time to create a travel journal as a keepsake.

6. Personal Insights Journal

woman writing with quill

Travel is important for your personal growth in many ways.

Part of that is because you become aware of different cultures and ways of doing things in other regions of the world.

Creating a travel journal with prompts about what you learned, observations and cultural awareness, differences and similarities, will help you process your journey, physically and emotionally.

Be sure not to censor yourself and really examine your thoughts and feelings. You might be surprised by the tremendous insights you have on the road!

In fact, when you look back over time, you may not even recognize yourself.

7. Bullet Travel Journal

bullet travel journal

Bullet journalling is on trend.

When it comes to creating a bullet travel journal, it can be a combination planner, diary, and reflective journal. The main point is it helps you organize your thinking in a coherent way.

You could also create a travel bullet journal that includes your budget plan and itinerary, things to do, your packing list, along with daily reflections.

Not only will this be a great keepsake, but it will also become an invaluable resource for your travel planning.

8. Foodie Travel Journal

food travel journal

One of the best things about travel is trying different international cuisines and charming coffee shops.

If you’re a foodie, meals are a highlight of your trip.

So, why not keep a foodie travel journal?

You can describe the great meals and restaurants you enjoy while you’re away, including what you suspect might be in the recipe. Or, you could even ask to speak with the chef!

Another thing that could go in your foodie journal are the things you learn about local ingredients, regional specialties, common or exotic spices.

And don’t forget to keep a list of great places and hidden gems you’ve eaten. You could even create your own star rating system for fun!

9. Nature Travel Journal

maple leaf in journal

For nature-lovers, it’s always captivating to see a whole new variety of wildflowers and trees in a different region or climate.

Why not press some florets or leaves into a nature travel journal?

Make notes about the colors, scents, and growth habits. You might even sketch them out if you’re good with line-drawings.

Write your observations about the scenes you see on a hike, by the water, in a beautiful botanical garden.

Also, look beyond the plant life to the creatures. Are there different animals, birds, insects, or fish you’ve never seen? What are the different sounds and settings?

Remember to capture it in your nature travel journal, and also write down your thoughts and feelings–especially when it comes to rare wildlife sightings!

10. Scrapbook Travel Journal

Flower Stickers Journal

While you’re more likely to endeavor to create a scrapbook when you get back from vacation than while you’re traveling, it can be an important way to remember celebrate your trip.

Make a list of the highlights of your trip, gather up your mementos and photos, and dedicate a beautiful scrapbook page to each.

The best scrapbooks are a combination of photos, journaling, keepsake items (like tickets), stickers, and maybe even some hand-lettering.

By doing so, you will create a visual story with each scrapbook page you create, featuring your travels.

11. A Journal With A Purpose

A really great way to get your head in the game when it comes to writing a travel journal is to create a journal with a purpose.

Think about what things you’re interested in that will appeal to you now and in the future. Then, set yourself the purpose of writing to fulfill that goal.

If you’re not sure what you want to write about, then having this goal is always going to give you somewhere to start.

Here are some objectives to think about that might inspire your purpose-driven journal:

  • Increase your self-awareness of yourself and who you are as an individual
  • Remember the place of somewhere you’ve been and why you chose to visit it
  • Improve your skills as a writer or travel blogger
  • Research places you want to visit
  • Stay organized while you’re traveling
  • Highlight what you’ve achieved
  • Be creative
  • Cope with mental health issues or as therapy
  • Simply to reflect

Travel Journal Tips 

Now that you have these amazing travel journal ideas to inspire you, here are a few easy tips you’ll want to consider for keeping any journal.

  • Decide on the best travel journal idea for you. Choose one that you’re excited about!
  • Pick out a cool notebook, journal, or create your own and personalize it. This could be an ordinary lined notebook, something more formal, or something you craft yourself.
  • Don’t forget to bring a favorite pen and writing supplies!
  • Have a clear plan about what kinds of things you’ll journal about before going.
  • Set aside daily time to write and stick with it.
  • Don’t stress about or aim for perfection – instead, go with the flow and have fun!

Final Thoughts on Keeping A Travel Journal

As you can see, there are lots of ways you can go about journaling while traveling. Of course, you may want to mix them up and write at different times for different reasons, and that’s okay.

The point is that you’re not just limited to the traditional ‘Dear diary, today I…’ format.

And you really can make your journal your own by writing what you want in the way you want to write it.


Author Bio: Lauren Groff is a travel writer at UK Writings. She helps people unlock the joys of traveling and shows how easy it can be to explore the world without stress or worry.

Photo credits: Unless otherwise noted, photos courtesy of Canva Prime. Maple Leaf – GuHyeok Jeong, Date book – StockSnap (Pixabay); Sketching Journal – pure julia, Bucket List Journal – That’s Her Business (Unsplash), Food critic – Ketut Subiyanto, Woman with Quill – Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels)

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