Keeping a travel journal is a fun and creative way to keep a record of all the amazing experiences (and sometimes, not so fantastic experiences) that happened during your holiday.
Start your travel journal before you leave; during the planning phase, and continue after the trip as well to wrap it all up.
I have always loved to scrapbook our trips after we get home, but I came to realize that there is an extra special touch added when these moments are captured right away.
It’s hard to reconnect to all those sights, colours, feelings and smells. Even if I have jotted down notes and also taken a million pictures, my memory seems to fail me weeks later.
Journaling during your travels provides a fun, creative outlet where you can come home with a personalized souvenir from your holiday.
Setting aside 15 or 20 minutes each day will help you create a wonderful souvenir from your trip!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy, we may earn a small commission. (At no cost to you.) Please see our full disclosure for more details.
Where to Start
You can start out with a few, simple tools and eventually add on to your supplies as you get more into travel journaling. We recommend these basics that you will need to get started.
- A journal
- tape or glue
- and a pencil case and a small bag to carry it all
The best place to start is with a good quality journal.
Since this journal will be coming travelling with you, it’s essential to buy a journal that can stand up to being tossed around a bit.
And can handle any of the bumps, spills, or whatever else comes your way during your adventures.
I would also recommend that when deciding which journal to buy, get one that has an elastic. A travel journal can get pretty thick once you start filling it up. An elastic helps keep everything together nicely.
My current travel journal I’m using is the Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted A5.
Another great option is the Moleskin Classic Notebook. Both of these are great choices to get started!
Next, you’ll need to invest in a couple of really nice pens.
To start with, you will need some good black pens. Tombow is my go-to brand, but another good option is Sakura. Their Pigma Micron pen is an excellent choice for a high-quality journaling pen.
I just purchased these Tombow black fine-tip pens, and I love them! They come in three sizes. (01, 03 & 05) and write very smoothly!
After you’ve found some great black pens, it’s now time to get colourful!
The easiest way to liven up your journal pages is with coloured pens and markers. You can highlight important points, add a bold title, or add a special touch with your best handwriting. Stores like Michaels often have a section where you can purchase colours separately — making it super easy to grab a few of your favourite colours to get started.
Brush Pens are a really fun way to get creative. They usually have two sides: one with a hard tip and the other with a soft tip, allowing you to create different kinds of beautiful lettering.
I have the Dual brush pens by Tombow. They come in several colour schemes allowing you to easily add to your collection with sets such as brights, pastels, greyscale or primary.
Check out the video below for great tips on how to brush pens in your travel journal.
Tape or Glue
Adhesive tape or a glue stick will be a necessity for a creative travel journal.
You’ll need something to stick in those ticket stubs! There are many different kinds of adhesive to choose from.
It will all come down to personal choice but I recommend starting out with a good quality glue stick. This multipack by Elmers would be great for someone just getting started.
Another great adhesive option is the EZ Runner tape dispensers. and Tombow Multi Liquid Glue. They are perfect for a travel journal. They are archival quality and very simple to use. Plus a little goes a long way.
Bags to hold your stuff
You’ll need a small bag(s) to store all your journaling supplies. Keeping it organized will make life so much easier!
I really like the zipper pouches made by Thirty-One. You can also find a variety of zipper pouch style bags that are meant for documents.
And of course, don’t forget a cute case to put all your new pens in!
Things you pick up along the way
You might see a fun sticker or postcard at a souvenir shop, ticket stubs for a show or concert you saw. Or maybe you picked up a mini-map somewhere. All of these can be put to great use in your travel journal. A lot of our journal fillers are little souvenirs picked up along the way! Here are some ideas to get you inspired!
- Admission Tickets
- Hotel stationery
- Hotel Room Key (if you can take it!)
- Postage Stamps
- Paper Bags
- Inspiring quotes
- Concert Tickets
- Bills & Coins
- Press leaves & flowers
- Food Packaging
- Candy Wrappers
- Bottle Labels
- Bits of Fabric
- Rubbings or colours
Keep a little Ziploc bag handy in your purse so you can store anything you pick up along the way. This way, if you find something you think will be an excellent addition to your journal, you can keep it organized in a little baggie.
You can also showcase your artistic skills by sketching, painting or drawing things that inspire you! I also like to keep a small notebook handy. Since I don’t carry my journal with me all the time, I’ll use the notebook to record things I may forget later.
If you’re looking for more ideas, we’ve written a post called 70 Writing Prompts For Your Travel Journal to help you get even more ideas!
Add Photos for more personalization
A mini printer or an instant camera comes in very handy when travel journaling. What better way to add you into your travel journal than a photo of yourself! Having a picture of yourself or your family at the moment will help bring back fond memories of your trip.
We use the HP Sprocket mini printer, which comes with adhesive-backed 2×3 photos. It prints pictures wirelessly from your smartphone or device. Just download the app, and you can edit or add filters for a fun look!
Another option is to use an instant camera like Fujifilm’s Instax. Each one of our kids has one of these cameras, and they love them! I’ve “borrowed” theirs from time to time, but I might have to get my own after seeing this neat retro version they have. Perfect for travelling because they are durable, lightweight and super easy to use!
Stickers & Decorations
Want to make your pages pop? Adding fun stickers and decorations is a great way to add a personal touch to your travel journal.
You can decorate with just about anything! Start with some stickers, washi tape, and fun paper clips. Here are some products to inspire you!
You will be on your way to creating a beautiful travel journal in no time! Start your journal kit with the basics and if you can buy high-quality products such as Leuchtturm 1917 or Moleskin journals, and Tombow pens. The rest is up to you!
Keep it as simple as you would like or pack each page with decorations, photos and souvenirs you pick up along the way.
Let your inner artist shine and there will be no end to your creativity. You will not only come home with a journal packed with memories but also a work of art!
Do you journal during your travels? What are your favourite products? Do you have any advice for beginners?