Why You Should Keep A Travel Journal.

travel journal tips | grace atwood, lifestyle blogger

Do you keep a travel journal? This is something I’ve gotten pretty good about this year. It started as something I did for the blog. I kept a notebook with all of my notes from every trip which makes it so much easier to remember everything once the trip is over. But as time has passed I find myself constantly looking at and referencing the journal to remember those little notes: what I ate, what I packed, etc. etc.

It’s nice having a digital record here on the blog, but it’s also really nice to sit down and write every night when you’re traveling. It’s a nice little ritual but it’s also really practical. I am also so grateful that I have been doing this for so long as I can look back at old blog posts, send recommendations to friends, and look back on the memories from my trip. I was thinking about this lately, and think everyone (blogger or not) should document their trips. It’s fun and (HA – if you are getting old like me) makes it easier to remember all the places you went, meals you ate, things you did, etc etc later on.

I suggest treating yourself to a beautiful new notebook as your travel journal (if you’re feeling flush maybe something like this, if not maybe this or this!) or  and maybe a new pen too. Mark this notebook as something you will use ONLY for travel so that it can be special and a part of a little ritual when you are away.

Why You Should Document Your Travels

An easy way to remember everything you did.

When you keep a travel journal, you immediately have a record of everywhere you went and everything you did. If you go back to that spot, it will be easy to remember everything.

You can transcribe it later and send to friends.

This is the most helpful when friends are travel planning. Personally, I love it whenever I am visiting a new city and a friend who has been there will fire off a google doc with everything he/she did. I have a few well-traveled, Type-A friends who do this and I love this idea. I take my travel journal and put it onto my blog after my trip; but if you aren’t a blogger, put it into a google doc that you can share with friends after your trip. When you keep a travel journal you can digitally transcribe it later and have a google doc (or a blog/website if you have one) that you can send to friends when they need a travel rec.

It’s cathartic.

When I travel it’s so nice to sit down at the end of the day and just write. It’s relaxing and just feels good putting pen to paper. The perfect way to end a nice day of vacation.

Travel Journal Ideas

There are so many ways to create a travel journal. To me, the best way to do it is to write, pen on paper. I am old school though. Something about writing on paper feels more relaxing/like I’m on vacation, whereas typing it into my blog on the spot (or a google doc) feels like work. So I like to write on paper while I’m traveling and then transfer it to my blog when I’m back.

The classic way to do it.

Like I said, pen on paper is my personal favorite (for while I’m traveling). Since I’m on a computer so much for work, getting offline is an indulgence and when I’m on vacation I try to stay away from my computer except for when I’m really working. I always have to work a little when I travel as it’s just me, so writing in a notebook feels fun and special as opposed to typing on a computer. Is that weird? At the end of every day, I like to sit with my notebook (and preferably a glass of wine or a cocktail) and write down everything I did. Take note of at least one special moment per day, write down who you are traveling with, how you got there, what restaurants you ate at, what you saw, and so on and so forth.

The other classic way.

If you’re more of a visual person than a words person, consider buying a classic polaroid camera and taking photos of your trip along the way. When you get back from your trip you can make a scrapbook or a mood board with those photos.

Keep a google doc for each city you’ve visited.

This is my favorite way to do it as google docs are so easy to update and share. As I said before, it’s so helpful for any friends who are travel planning. No need to struggle to remember what you did and where you went. Just fire off that google doc!

Create a private blog.

You don’t have to be a “blogger” to have a blog… you can set it up and then just keep it private. This is a little more elaborate as that way you can upload all of your photos, etc. and go into more depth with everything you did. As a blogger, I personally love this idea and if I didn’t blog for work I would totally do this.

Actually, I did do this about ten years ago when I was unemployed and went to Greece for two weeks. I set up a little website and made a post every day so that my friends and family could follow along on my adventures. Having it private made it low stress and fun and it was a great way to document my travel memories and everything I did.

Make a video out of all of your Instagram stories or phone videos.

This sounds a little intimidating but it’s actually not very hard. At the end of every day, just download all of your instagram stories. When you get back from your trip, upload them into iMovie and make a compilation video. It might take a little while to figure out iMovie but I promise, it’s super easy (and actually how I make all of the travel vlogs on my own Youtube Channel). You can add transitions, captions, and even set it to background music!

If you keep a travel journal I’d love to hear about it (along with any travel planning/travel journal tips!)

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. I always bring my own travel journals! I journal every day at home anyway, so it only makes sense to continue the habit when I fly overseas etc. But for travelling, I use special destined notebooks. I normally fill up two to three pages of writing a day, haha! 😛

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    8.24.18 Reply
  2. Erin:

    I bought a little portably printer that syncs to your phone’s photos app & prints sticky photos that can be stuck in my travel journal!

    8.24.18 Reply
  3. This is such a nice idea. I keep photos aside to eventually one day scrapbook my travels, but I’d love to journal them too. I just need to find a notebook that’s really lightweight enough and not too heavy I guess! x

    8.24.18 Reply
  4. This is so fun! I love the idea of a travel journal. I have a couple trips coming up so I’m definitely going to take a notebook with me!

    8.24.18 Reply
  5. Marisa:

    My family has a summer place, now ours for several generations and many family offshoots. Each family visitor completes a journal entry capturing fun, funny, scary, and interesting tidbits about their time at camp. We also capture work we did or that needs to be done. It is so fun to look back at years and years of these handwritten notes—a family travel journal. I love the idea of doing this for my other travels.

    8.24.18 Reply
  6. Tori:

    When I travelled with my family, we would use an old school tape recorder and talk about our day together at the end of each day. They are super cute to look back on since we have them from waaaayyy long ago, starting from vacation when I was about 3 years old. Somehow hearing the voices makes it so fun! Plus, talking seems less arduous than writing it out somehow!

    8.24.18 Reply
  7. I absolutely love this idea! And while I love having photos from my travels, there’s something to be said for attaching words to them – you need the context of both to transport you back. I actually re-read over some of my France blog posts earlier today and remembered how amazing that trip was. It was a wonderful little retreat in the middle of the day to reminisce!

    8.24.18 Reply
    • yes!!! I do that tooa! I have a hashtag I use for all of my trips and when I’m sad or stressed I like to look through it and reminisce.

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  8. Becky:

    I do this!!! I’m going to St. John next week and I’m so excited to go that I already have some stuff packed including a notebook and pen so I can do my travel journaling!

    8.24.18 Reply
  9. Love all of these! A travel journal is such a cute idea, I absolutely love it!

    I hope you’re having a lovely Friday!

    8.24.18 Reply
  10. I love documenting all my travels and even little adventures with my hometown of Chicago. I am more than halfway through finishing a scrapbook album of our trip to Japan this past summer. I think writing a journal would have sped up the process. Going on a road trip to Nashville in a week and Mexico City is a 3 weeks. I think I will try and journal. There’s something romantic about writing in a local café and writing about your day’s adventure. Thanks for posting this!

    8.24.18 Reply
  11. I also use my version of a travel journal to wright down thoughts and moments. Later I creat a printed photo book with these notes on each page.

    8.26.18 Reply
  12. I’ve kept a travel journal on my last few trips over the years and I love doing it. I usually keep a separate journal for each trip, and typically buy an inexpensive notebook from Muji to use (I love the price and their paper!). I’m a pen and paper girl as well and like to incorporate photos and other memorabilia as well!

    8.26.18 Reply
  13. I feel you, Grace! I always bring a paper journal when i travel and then my blog is very much a side hobby which lately, is almost exclusively travel. Over the years documenting trips has become the most important, that’s what I want to remember over anything else, and thats what I get asked about for recomendations all the time!

    8.27.18 Reply
  14. Trista:

    Prepare, set and gett your St Patrick’s Day Tees.

    9.18.18 Reply