Travel Tip Tuesday: Seven Tips for Travel Journaling

Travel and writing go together like fava beans a good Chianti and for today’s Travel Tip Tuesday I’m combining two of my favorite things. I’m talking about travel and writing, we’ll get back to beans and wine soon enough.

Last week I received an email from a good friend of mine and a loyal reader of My Bella Vita asking for input on her travel journal.

Here’s what she had to say.

A few years ago I started a travel journal but didn’t keep up with it on a regular basis. It has journal entries from various trips I’ve taken over the course of a couple of years. Last year my husband and I started another travel journal during our honeymoon, both adding to it throughout the trip.

My dilemma is, I can’t decide if I should I keep a solo travel journal since I periodically travel alone as well as a couple travel journal for when we travel together, or if I should merge all of my travels into one journal?

Also, what size travel journal do you like best and would you recommend to people and what types of things do you include in your journal-for example, just writing or do you include ticket stubs and receipts, postcards, pictures, etc)?

Those are some great questions, Andrea, thanks! I’m gonna do my best to answer them and I’m hopeful other readers will offer comments on their experiences, as well.

There is not a right or wrong way to keep a travel journal, so my suggestion would be to decide on a system of journaling you’ll remember to use.

* Since I know you-and know you often travel for work without your husband-I’d recommend you keep two separate books. Your memories from your travels will be different and one day when you want to look over your journals, you’ll have all of the vacation memories with your husband in one place and your solo adventures in another.

* As for size, I prefer a 5X8 when traveling abroad-any smaller and I find it uncomfortable, any larger and I wouldn’t want to pack it. When I’m out and about here in Calabria, I use a smaller book that will easily fit into my purse or bag.

* When I lived in Paris, I kept ticket stubs and receipts and eventually put them into a scrapbook, but I rarely keep such things now. Many people do though, and again, it is a personal choice.

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind.

* Don’t forget to date your journal. I write on the hard back of the front cover and list the places I visited while journaling in that book. Sometimes my writing for a particular place flows into another book. No problem. Just write (Austria 1 of 1 / Austria 1 of 2) on the books.

* Many people recommend getting an unlined book, but since I can’t write in a straight line, I need the guide.

* Try out your journal before you buy it … without the ink, of course. Make sure it opens all of the way and is easy and comfortable to use. Check the weight of the pages and make sure you could write on both sides of the paper if you wanted to.

* The journal I’m currently using has a page marker, making it easy for me to find a blank page in a hurry.

Do you keep a travel journal? If so, how would you answer Andrea’s questions.

Until next time … Buon Viaggio.

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5 Responses
  1. I love keeping a journal but I’m really bad at it so, I’ve been using a Moleskine Agenda. I write EVERYTHING in there and if I have a trip planned then I make sure to attach any and everything to it. It’s so much fun to look back and see all of the fun stuff I did!

    Mine sometimes get mixed up, too, especially when I’m traveling home to Texas, b/c I carry my “work” notebook with me for writing article ideas, etc on the plane, then it ends up catching everything from travel writing notes to hangman and tic tac toe!

    .-= Sonia´s last blog ..A nice surprise!! =-.

  2. Like Sonia, mine isn’t specifically for travel, but for anything interesting that I see from day to day. Also like Sonia, I’m using a Moleskine-type book, which is fab. It has elastic to keep it held together when you’re not using it, as well as a page marker and a handy little pocket at the back for keeping stubs/stamps/newspaper cuttings/whatever you want safely. It’s quarter-A4 size, whatever that is – about the size of a standard photographic print, anyway. I think next time I might go up a size, only because I seem to whip through the pages like lightning when I’m in a writing mood, and it would be nice to have a bit more space.

    Your tip about dating is a good one. I always forget. It’s not so important for me, as I’m often just jotting down ideas which will get turned into a story at some point and don’t necessarily stand alone, but it’s a good habit to get into; if only so you can see how your ideas and thoughts progress and change over time. Really? I said *that* in 2008? Wow – how wrong I was!

    That is so funny you mention going back and seeing how “wrong” you were or how much you’ve changed. Sometimes I find I was so wrong I want to edit, but I resist. It is good to see how you’ve grown.

    .-= Katja´s last blog ..Cake and steak =-.

  3. For my daily jottings I use an A5 size but for holidays/travels from way back even before our daughters were born I used A4 size. This larger size has allowed me to add other memories in a scrapbook style as well as leave plenty of room for writing. The problem now is storing all these notebooks and scrapbooks!

    I have the same problem. Very rarely do I go back and scrapbook them.

    .-= LindyLouMac´s last blog ..Residency Certificate Part Two =-.

  4. AmyEmilia

    I use a Moleskine soft-cover book, unlined, about 6×8 I think. It has a great little pocket in the back where I keep a tiny little pen just in case I lose all other writing implements. Scattered throughout the book are glued in ticket stubs, receipts, leaves, flowers, candy wrappers (love those foil wrappers!), feathers, and whatever else strikes my fancy. There are doodles and drawings and grocery lists and address and phone numbers too.

    Recently I’ve been looking back over notes that I took while on a trip through Namibia with my cousin back in 2002. She died last year, and the quotes and sketches have become so much dearer to me now. I’m not terribly good at regular journal writing (or blogging – TERRIBLE at that).

    One recent addition to the routine is that at the end of the day, I ask myself (or if traveling with A, I ask him too) what were the best 5 things that happened today, and what were the worst 5 things?

    Not sure how I missed this comment, AE. I love your idea about asking for best and worst of the day. Really helps keep it in perspective after the trip is over!

  5. Thanks Cherrye (and friends)! Sorry I’ve been so late responding to your post, I just got back from another trip to San Francisco!

    Your suggestions are great. I have a very nice, hardback, 5×8 size journal now (I think it was a gift), but think once I use it up I’ll transition to the Moleskine type, since most people seem to recommend that. And hopefully I’ll try to keep that consistent size and style in the future. Now I like keeping ticket stubs and mementos, so I think the larger notebook will accommodate those a little better than a smaller size, and I can tape right into the notebook when I get home.

    I’m still not 100% sure what I’ll do about keeping a “couples” travel journal, since I’m not sure I can convince Taylor to write in one anymore since our honeymoon, but it’s definitely not off the table. AmyEmilia, I like your suggestion of asking yourself or your partner about the best and worst things of the day.

    Welcome back to “work.” 🙂 I wondered if Taylor would still write in a journal with you after the honeymoon (literally) was over. ha ha ha Yes, I loved AmyEmilia’s suggestion as well. Great way to really remember the details!

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