Keeping a Travel Journal

As we get ready for another week in Florida, I’ve pulled out the travel journals in case they contain information we might need. Do you keep a journal when you travel? If not, you might want to start.

Why keep a travel journal?

I never used to think I’d forget anything. Surprise!! I forget lots of things now. And when you’re traveling, there are so many things you want to remember about your trip. And you won’t, unless you write them down.

First, it may be the only time you travel to a location. It’s a great way to keep track of what you saw, what you did and even how you felt on your trip. It’s fun to be able to relive that trip later, as you read what you wrote.

Second, if it’s a place you travel to frequently, you might journal about different types of things – best places to eat, fun things to do, how long it takes to get places. If you go back, this type of information definitely comes in handy. Again, you think you’ll remember all this, but I guarantee you won’t.

My travel journal(s)

I first started writing in a travel journal in 1993. My friend Mark and I spent a week in Florida. It wasn’t our first time (we started going in 1992), but I’d recently come across this travel journal (I can’t even remember where I found it, of course) and thought it would be fun to capture everything about our trip.

This first year, I noted where and what we ate – and whether or not we liked it. I logged mileage (and sometimes our route) to the cities where we went to spring training baseball games. I even wrote down how much it cost us to park at each one!! And if we met people, their information was included as well.

We took this annual trip for over 20 years. It gradually went from one week to two because we loved it so much. And some years, we went there multiple times in a year. Each trip is in the journal.

I can’t tell you how many times we referred to the travel journal as we were planning our day. What time should we leave, where will we park, how much money do we need?

Over the years, we added trips to Hawaii, tennis tournaments and marathons to our journal. The first journal filled up in 2002, the second in 2009, and we started a third before we stopped traveling together.

No rules

There are no rules when it comes to travel journaling. You don’t even need one that’s specific to travel. The first one I found (in the picture above) inspired me to keep a journal while traveling, but I was never able to find another one like it. One that actually said “travel journal” on the front.

It had headings for place and date, but we didn’t really use it that way.

travel journal
Travel Journal page

So, any journal will do. I actually like those with nothing other than lines to write on. You can write what you want wherever you want on the page.

It also doesn’t matter what you include in your journal. You could even add pictures or other souvenirs, like tickets. I guess then it’s more of a scrapbook than a journal, but who cares? Keep what makes you happy.

Your journal can be for short and long trips. You don’t even have to document your trips chronologically. Sometimes we skipped pages so we could keep all the Florida and all the Hawaii trips together. Or, you could have separate journals for those trips you know you’ll take each year.

Remember – no rules!!

Lessons learned

I am so mad at myself because I didn’t keep a journal when we went to London and Paris in 1999. I have pictures, but there are definitely fuzzy memories. Why didn’t I keep one? I didn’t want any extra baggage. But that was a stupid reason!!!

I kept track of our Florida trip last year but in my blogging notebook, because I knew I would blog about it. I’ve pulled out another notebook we can begin to use for all our trips from now on. This one is smaller than my others, but that should make it easier to carry. And when it’s full, we’ll start another one.

This year, we have three trips planned: this upcoming one in Florida, a trip to the Black Hills around July 4 (a try again trip we didn’t make last year), and Arizona in November to see Tim’s mom and sister.

My plan is to keep track of each one in our travel journal. And it’s perfect because on the front it says “FIND YOUR HAPPY”. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Do you keep a travel journal? ๐Ÿ““

8 thoughts on “Keeping a Travel Journal”

  1. Yes, I’ve often kept travel journals. When we started going to Florida regularly, it was a great way to keep track of things we did, things we wanted to do on the next trip, and even new folks we met (no more “what was their name?” on next trip!). That journal had a “beach theme” cover. I also keep them on our other trips and find it’s helpful even when looking at pictures on return (what was the name of that bird we saw? what day did we do that?) or just reliving some of the trip in a couple of months. Never thought to use one to create a blog topic…hmm!

    1. Sounds like your travel journals are very much like mine. Glad to know others are using them!

  2. I have never kept a travel journal as such. I do take lots of pictures and make a photo album for each, but I carry my notebook of notebooks with me with is a to do list, journal, morning pages and ten things all in one, so I am recording it at least!

    1. Like I said – no rules!! Glad youโ€™re doing something to remember everything. Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  3. I think travel journals are a nice idea. I still have a hand-written one from a cross-country trip I made in 2002. I thought it was lost in all of my moves and life changes since them, but I found it just a few months ago. I’ll need to remember to do them in the future too — thanks for reminding me.

    1. At times it can seem a little tedious but in the end, Iโ€™m always glad I did it. I hope you take it up again!!

  4. When the girls were young, I always kept a travel journal of our family vacations. At dinner, I’d pull out the book so each child could draw the highlights of our day — so fun to look back on those sweet memories. And you are correct, you do forget the details so a travel journal is a great practice — wish i’d done more journaling!

    1. That’s a perfect way to use a travel journal. It’s never too late to start again!!

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