Travel Journal 101: Creativity on the Go!

Creating a travel journal is a great way to ensure everlasting memories of your vacation.


Writing–Start with your name and contact information in case you leave it somewhere. Then, of course, the date and location. Write about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Writing in terms of the 5 senses–see, smell, taste, touch, hear– helps you keep the memory fresh. Write about the environment. Play with typology or change the direction of your text. Translate a few words into a new language to give your journal some authenticity. Be creative. Have fun!

Photos–Take a variety of different pictures. Here are 4 ideas that make for great pictures:

1. Interior Design Your hotel lobby is a great place to start.

2. Buildings/Monuments You can get the typical pictures everyone would take or you can get creative by capturing it from new and interesting angles.

3. Vegetation Different things grow in different habitats. I was quite literally in Italy when that old cliche hit me, STOP AND SMELL THE FLOWERS.

4. Daily Life Taking pictures of food is very popular these days. I, personally, have pictures of bus stops, phone booths, signs, cars, bicycles, and with my tour guides etc.

Memorabilia Train tickets, plane tickets, museum entry tickets, and receipts or letterhead with the date or location printed on it are great ways to decorate blank space for character. Don’t forget maps! You can write directly on the maps–trace your steps–draw one, or use a combination of both.

Illustrations Remember to keep it simple. Also, keep in mind that you will have more time to finish when you return home, so relax. I usually draw in a comic style just highlighting snippets from parts of the day. Different people have different styles, so do whatever feels comfortable to you.

Supplies Keep it simple. Carrying bulky material was another one of my downfalls. Paints and inks can waste, get all over your clothes, and cause a huge headache. I had to step out of the norm and try something new! It’s actually a lot more fun that way=)

My last vacation I used a 5.5×8.5in. mixed media spiral notebook, markers, and color pencils. Other useful items can be gel pens, washy tape, glitter glue, and stickers.

UPDATE: I now use an IPad Pro with the app Procreate and an Apple Pencil.


I failed so many times at keeping a journal because I didn’t have a plan. It’s imperative to plan when you’re going to work on your journal and to stick with it! I had to free my mind from thinking I needed to create it in the moment (Seriously, I thought I had to sit in a cafe, a park, or on a bench and create!) and that it had to be completed by the end of my journey.

You can take pictures and work on the journal later. For example, I set aside 30 minutes in the morning to create before I got busy. Take advantage of down time on the bus, the train, or the plane. Plan ahead and you’ll be successful!

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