Going on a holiday this summer? Wanting to capture your memories on the page? Travel journals are a great way of crystallising your holiday in a much more creative way than simply just printing a few photos, but how do you get started? Read the helpful tips below to help you decide on your travel journal of choice .
1. Think about the type of holiday you are going on.
What type of travel journal you should make depends on what type of holiday you are going on. If you are going on a nice relaxing holiday where you will have time to leisurely walk around and admire your surroundings, stopping here and there to take everything in, then you’re more likely to be able to craft a travel journal that is beautifully detailed on site. Whereas, if you are going on a more intense, compact holiday such as a quick weekend city break or a sightseeing trip where you will be constantly on the move, you are probably less likely to be able to sit down and take half an hour or so to write in your journal.
For a nice relaxing holiday, a notebook with good quality paper is essential as you want paper on which you can write, draw, paint and stick things onto without colour bleeding through or pages ripping. You also need enough room in the notebook to write neatly and potentially to fit in pictures, drawings and memorabilia. Something like the Pocket or Large Moleskine’s Sketchbooks, Sketch Albums or Watercolour Notebooks would be a good option as the paper is of great quality being made from heavy paper so will be able to hold watercolour paintings or sketches without bleeding. The Sketch Albums and Watercolour Notebooks are also longer so are a great choice as they can fit in landscape photos or drawings easily.
If you are going on a more intense holiday where you won’t have much free time, a good idea is getting a rough journal to scribble down your thoughts and stick memorabilia into, then assemble into a neat journal later on at home or back at the hotel. This is what I did while visiting Rome, as I was only there for 4 days which didn’t leave me much time to write everything neatly. I used the Moleskine’s Set of 3 Plain Cahier Journals as I could use one journal while on holiday to make rough notes and hold memorabilia that I collected on my travels, while the other two were used to make the neat version of my notes, complete with printed photos, drawings and maps. If you’re using a rough journal, it would be worth also developing a short hand to write quickly while on holiday. For example, in my Rome rough journal, I would write things like v. interesting for very interesting to save time and space.
If you want to read about my travels to the Eternal City, click here
2. How are you going to use your journal?
Next you have to decide how you’re going to use your journal, as this will also affect the type of journal you get. Is it going to be a journal on everything you’re done, your opinion of places you’re visited, what your eaten etc. or just a few notes alongside pictures? Are you going to include just your writing, or collages of photos and memorabilia, and maybe some drawings? Or maybe a mixture? Thinking about how much you’re going to put in your journal and what you’re going to put in it will affect the type of journal you get. For example, if you’re going to use it more like a diary in which you write about every detail of your trip with a few photos and napkins scattered here and there, it would be better to use an A5 notebook than a painting sketchbook as you need to a journal suited to more text than pictures, such as the Moleskine Plain Notebooks. While, sketchbooks or painting notebooks are more suited for a travel journal with some text but mostly drawings, pictures, and bits and bobs as they have a higher quality of paper to prevent bleeding, as well as normally being better suited to landscape orientated pictures and paintings. Once you’ve worked out how you’re going to use you travel journal and what for, you can accessorise!
Most travel journals will have stuck-in memorabilia from the holiday such as napkins from restaurants, transport tickets, food wrappers as well as printed photos to stick in the pages. But it is worth looking around for other supplies to add to your travel journal to make it that much more interesting. There are loads of great ideas out there that you can use. A really good idea I saw while watching Minnie Small’s Travel Journal Tips #1 · What’s in My Bag video is using sticky notes as a way to note down ideas on pages that you will complete later, such as ideas of how you’re going to layout that page when you stick in all the bits and bobs, or what text to include, so you don’t have to rub out loads of pencil from your journal. This works really well if you are using the rough and neat travel journal idea I suggested above, as you can plan how you will set up your neat pages once you’ve set about coping your rough journal out.
Selecting high quality equipment is also essential. As well as Moleskine, for a high quality art notebooks other brands to consider would be Strathmore. For a more colourful, but sophisticated travel journal, check out Smythson’s Travel Journals. If you’re wanting a travel journal with built-in writing prompts to help get the creative juices flowing, more colourful journals such as I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded are great options. For those wanting to keep everything digital, the MobilyTrip app is a great resource as you can upload your journal straight onto its website where you can then develop it further.
As well as a high quality notebook for your actual journal, reliable writing equipment such as a high-quality ink pen that doesn’t leak or seep through the paper is a no-brainer. Other supplies to consider would be Foldback Clips to hold your pages open while you are writing or drawing, scissors and a small glue-stick if you are planning on sticking things into your journal as you go. If you are planning on drawing in your journal, a set of good quality sketching pencils and a compact art supply like a watercolour palette such as a Portable Painter is a must. Check out youtube accounts such as Minnie Small for reviews of art supplies tried and tested by vlogging artists.
You can also pick up extra crafty things to make your travel journals more fun and colourful. Things like tissue paper, wrapping paper, washi tape and other travel-themed stuff to you can add to your pages, easily purchasable from stores like Waterstones, Paperchase, Tiger Tiger and Muji as well as online shopping sites like Etsy, Folksy or Society6. I found vintage map styled tissue paper and craft paper at Paperchase which I’ve used as a background print around my photos in my Rome travel journals. These stores can also sell more unusual and novel things such as these old world map Ex Libris Page Labels I found in Waterstones.
Another way to add to your travel journal is to use different media aside from the pictures you take or draw. In my travel journals, I often include things like maps, reconstruction images of ruins, blueprints of the area and quotes to make it feel more in depth.
4. Get Inspired!
Before starting my travel journal, I spent endless hours looking online for inspiration for ideas on layouts, colours, clever little tricks etc. There were loads! I was overwhelmed by the wealth of ideas out there. Look up ideas on Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube which are all great resources for finding and picking up ideas! Check out my travel journaling board on Pinterest for some starting ideas.
If you have any other travel journaling tips of your own please share them below, I’d love to hear about them!