Travel Journaling: Creating Memories


By: Morgan Garrett

One of my favorite ways to remember a trip and use my creativity is to keep a travel journal! Having a tangible book of my handwritten accounts from my trip are always fun to go back and read months and years later.

If you are a creative person this can be one of the most unique and personal ways to detail your time visiting a new place. Even for those who feel their “creative spark” may have gone out or they never had one, journaling is an imperfect art. There is no right or wrong way to journal, and your journal can be as minimalistic or complex as you’d like. Simple things like bullet points about sights you saw or foods you ate most definitely count as travel journaling. Perhaps, you are more like me in that you want your journal to be a work of art; full of drawings, memorabilia, unique accounts about things you saw, and aesthetically pleasing layouts.

Regardless of how you want it to look, journaling is a wonderful way to remain present and analyze what you saw while traveling. So, what exactly will you need to bring to keep a travel journal?

  1. A journal or laptop – Journaling can take a handwritten or an electronic form, and it depends on what you’re most comfortable with. Some people love the convenience of pulling out their laptop and typing up a quick anecdote, while others prefer the old-style way of putting pen to paper.

  2. A favorite pen or two – Even if you decide the laptop is the best option for you, I can’t stress the importance of a good pen. Having the ability to jot down little notes, names, stories, or thoughts will help you build your journal later. If you choose to do the pen and paper method having a good pen that makes you feel good as a writer is an essential tool!

  3. Art supplies (optional) – If you have chosen to keep a tangible journal you may want to get artsy and add some fun touches to the pages while you have some free time! In my art kit, I keep a set of brush pens, watercolor palate, 12 colored pencils, a few sketch pencils, washi tape, and scrapbooking glue dots. Mine is rather extensive because I love making my journals artistic and fun. Even with some markers or colored pencils you can add some cool sketches to your journal!

  4. A polaroid camera or regular camera (optional) – Adding photos to your journal can be a good way to bring your writings to life. If you have a polaroid you can instantly add memories right to your page or at least store them there until you write about that specific topic. If you are using a regular camera and want to add printed photos later, remember to leave yourself some space for the photos.

The list of what to journal with is not as extensive as it may seem and could easily fit in a carry on. Maybe you are more concerned about what you will write about and not what you have to bring.Coming up with topics to write about can seem like a daunting task, but it’s easy. As I mentioned, journaling is an imperfect art, and there are no requirements on what you can and can’t write.

Here are some prompts to help guide your writings, but remember, write what you want. Even if what you write at the time seems silly, those thoughts came to your mind for a reason. I’ve also discovered that re-reading your journals is a great way to find out more about yourself. The following prompts can help get you going: (feel free to expand on or change them in any way you wish)

·       Planning your trip

·       When did you start planning?

·       What made you want to go on this trip?

·       How did you hear about this place?

·       What are your expectations for this place?

·       Packing for your trip

·       Packing checklist!

·       What do you anticipate you will need that you don’t have already?

·       Is there anything special you need? (hiking boots, compass, towel, sunscreen, etc.?)

·       What will your carry on have in it?

·       Itinerary

·       Write out your itinerary day by day

·       What MUST you see?

·       When are your flights, boats, trains departing and arriving?

·       Where are you staying? Address? Confirmation numbers?

·       Day to Day Prompts

·       Interesting things or places you saw

·       People or conversations you want to remember

·       Foods or drinks you tried and liked or didn’t like

·       Artifacts or relics that inspired you or made you think

·       What did you smell? Hear? See? Feel? Taste?

·       What went well today? What was maybe a little but of a disaster?

·       Favorite memory from the day

·       Did you see any interesting cultural, religious, or personal practices?

·       Personal Prompts

·       What did you want to learn from this trip?

·       Do you have any goals for this trip?

·       What will you take away from this trip?

·       What parts of this trip challenged you or made you take something away?

These are just some prompts for you to begin your travel journal. I encourage you to be open minded and unafraid to try new things or write things that are outside your comfort zone.

One last tip from me: set up a routine for when you will write and stick to it even when you’re too tired or don’t feel like writing. You will always be able to relive your travels through your journal and maybe even laugh or cry. Remember, don’t be afraid to be creative.

Happy writing and traveling!