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Are you traveling soon? Or maybe you know someone who’s heading off on a vacation, cruise, road trip, service trip or even study abroad? Don’t forget your travel journal!
I keep a journal every time I travel. I love keeping track of little notes and details about my trip, as well as my thoughts, impressions, and feelings about where I’m traveling, and what I’m doing, experiencing, and eating. It’s those little details that spark so many memories when I read through my journal years later!
How to Create a Travel Journal Kit
I’ve recently launched a guided travel journal – you can see it here on Amazon – and so I thought I’d share how I create a travel journal kit for each trip I take. It’s so easy to do for yourself or others (what a great farewell gift for traveling friends)!
#1: Choose the Best Travel Journal for Your Trip
I might be a bit biased, since I created it 😀, but the I’m Thinking…Travel! JOURNAL is the best travel journal out there! This 84-page guided travel journal inspires you to record and reflect on your trip from beginning to end, then turns into a treasured keepsake. It’s a key part of any DIY travel journal kit!
#2: Choose Your Pens
Once you’ve chosen your travel journal, you need pens!
I like to bring a few different pens with me, usually 3-5, in various colors. I often bring a combination of these InkJoy Gel pens in various colors and a few Fineliner pens. Make sure that the pens you bring are comfortable to write with and that you’re ok with losing them (I always lose some when I’m traveling)!
#3: Choose Your Embellishments
Ok, you don’t need embellishments but they sure do make journaling a lot more fun!
Things like…washi tape (I love washi tape! You, too? Check out this vintage travel washi, this Japanese travel tickets washi, and this travel journal/planner washi), stickers (like these vintage travel stickers) or cute paperclips (like these multicolored clips), a small pair of scissors, a travel watercolor set, etc.
#4: Choose Your Carrying Case
I fell in love with pencil cases when I lived in Germany as a high school student. I’ve carried a pencil case full of pens ever since. In fact, I still use a metal gold pencil case I bought when I was in high school!
When I travel I usually switch to a larger pencil bag that holds the accessories I want to bring with me. I’m always on the lookout for travel pencil bags, here are a few of my favorites:
I’m really thinking about picking this one up for myself! I love the green color, the shape, and that it opens two ways.
I have a clear pencil bag like this one and I use it all the time when I travel! I like that it lays flat and that I can easily see the contents.
I love the minimalist look of this pencil bag!
This is another one I’m eyeing for myself. I love the bright color!
I like that this one is a bit bigger than the green one above. This photo doesn’t show it but there are two different compartments in this case so it’s easier to stay organized.
Travel Journaling Tips
- Buy your travel journal before you leave on your trip. That way you can make travel notes and record your pre-trip feelings and impressions (which are always interesting to look back and read after your trip).
- Pack your travel journal and a pen in an easy to access part of your carry on so you can journal while in transit.
- There are no journaling rules. Your journal is for you, so journal however you want! Write a little, write a lot, make lists, write poems, draw, write stream-of-consciousness…whatever you feel like doing is totally ok (and will keep you journaling).
- Details make the difference. When I look back at my travel journals, what’s most interesting (and sparks the most memories) are the details about what I packed, how much our lunch in Florence cost, how far I walked, how I felt, what I made for dinner in my AirBnB, etc. Your future self will love reading these details so don’t leave them out!
Travel Journaling Prompts
Here are five prompts (from the I’m Thinking…Travel! JOURNAL):
- Before you leave, write down your trip packing list.
- While traveling, make a list of each day’s top 3 moments.
- Record a conversation you overhear.
- Write about what you’re learning about yourself through travel (or your travel partner!).
- After your trip, reflect on your thoughts and feelings about “home.”
Happy travel journaling!
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