Keeping a Travel Journal

How do you keep track of your travel memories?

The husband and I took a two week vacation to France last year. Friends asked if I was going to write a travel blog during the vacation. Nope, I didn’t want to spend any time writing when I could be eating baguettes.

Still, how am I going to remember everything?

I will always remember what it felt like to stand on Omaha Beach in Normandy. But how will I remember what we did each day? Will I remember the names of the places we ate?

This is especially a problem if you don’t scrapbook the vacation immediately.

My French Travel Journal

Our second day in Paris, I saw this little thing at a shop. It was perfect!

It was barely larger than my hand and fit neatly in my purse.

This is small and fit in my purse.

Whenever we had a free moment, I jotted down very basic things:

  • The date and what we did on each day.
  • Names of places we ate at.
  • What we ate.

So when I look back at my travel journal and read about sitting in a cafe near the Louvre and writing postcards to our family -

Writing postcards in a cafe near the Louvre.

I will remember this:

What are my plans for this little book now? You mean other than wistfully dreaming of Paris?

I’ll use the information in the book as prompts to help scrapbook later down the road. If I want to, the book is small enough to fit in my scrapbook itself!

Tips & Ideas

  • Keep a small travel journal to keep track of basic vacation things.
  • Make the journal compact and easy to carry.
  • Keep it simple! Write down the basics so you won’t take up too much time.
  • Use the journal to guide your scrapbooking later.
  • Consider gluing the book itself into your scrapbook!
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18 thoughts on “Keeping a Travel Journal

  1. Nat, that journal is so perfect! I love that you got it *on* the trip– it makes it even more special.
    I have been keeping a “trip journal”… I have this ugly little book, and I take it on each trip — even trips to visit parents/family) and force myself to write down the basics, usually in bullet point form (like you said– what we did, what we ate). I have used this journal time and again to write journaling for my scrapbook pages. And even though I hate taking the time to write in it, I am always grateful that I did!
    I actually started the trip journal a little over a year after I got married. I was starting to scrapbook things from our first year of marriage and was dismayed when I realized I couldn’t remember details like I wanted (I have a terrible memory!!). Especially disappointing was that I hadn’t written down the food we ate on our honeymoon. The resort where we stayed was known for its cuisine, and it was phenomenal! I had made a conscious decision NOT to keep a journal on the honeymoon (after all, it was our honeymoon!) but I do regret not writing down those few little things. I guess I thought I would scrapbook our trip right away??! Here I am, 4.5+ years later, and I still haven’t scrapbooked it!

    • Stay tuned for Thursday, I made one exactly like this one I found in Paris to take on my next trip! I’m still not sure if I’m going to use the book as a primer for scrapbooking the trip later on, or if I will also put the thing itself on the page. It’s definitely small enough!

      Now you are making me try to remember what I ate on our honeymoon! I remember a few memorable meals in particular, but not every little thing. I haven’t scrapbooked our honeymoon yet either! I am still considering whether to put it at the end of the wedding scrapbook or in one of my general scrapbooks. Back to the travel journal, I love the format because I can keep track of things without having the pressure to take a lot of time doing it.

      You keeping track of your married life reminds me of my friend Jessika. She is guest posting here the week after next and started scrapbooking when she got married so she could keep a chronicle of their married life!

  2. That little journal is the perfect size! I’ve used simple spiral bound notebooks and pretty journals, too. I usually end up doing most of my journaling on the plane coming home.

    You’re right, that is Patrick’s Point state park on my blog. It was so pretty. Thanks for visiting!

    • I’ll have to try writing more things out on the plane next time! I’m thinking of maybe using that time on my next trip to write out some longer things and stories from our trip.

  3. Such a great idea! I made a small travel journal and took it to Europe with me last year. I usually remember details but I’m shocked how much I’ve already forgotten. If I didn’t have my travel journal with quick notes it would be gone. Maybe because it’s such a big trip and everything is new and different? I never regretted staying up a few extra minutes each night jotting down anything I could remember. :)

    • I agree. I remember the big stuff, but a lot is fading. I think during the trip, that’s all you can think about. I also stayed up to make sure I had everything written down. We may well have been there at the same time last year!

  4. Wonderful idea! The same thing happened to me when my family was on our last big vacation. I ended up finding a beautiful journal in a random shop I stopped in. I wrote in it every night before bed and it made scrapbooking those memories so much easier. Now I wish I would have done the same thing on our honeymoon years earlier. I’ll be scrapbooking those photos soon (almost 11 years later!!) and I know I’ll forget all the little details. By the way, you have beautiful handwriting. (And I did find the soccer glossary terms online, then copy & pasted.)

    • You guys are collectively making me feel better that my honeymoon photos haven’t seen the light of day yet :) And I do wish that I had thought to journal! Planning the wedding really sapped any other crafting/scrapbooking out of me and I was so happy to just relax at that point! I’m thinking of including pieces of our tour book that we used in scrapbook pages so it will help me remember things. I can’t wait to see your honeymoon layouts!

  5. I’ve been keeping a travel journal for 6-8 years, I’ll have to go back and look at the date on the first one. They’ve always been small enough for the pocket in the side door of the car. They’ve also evolved over the years. I started out just recording mileage, hotels, restaurants and gas prices. Now I write on one page and leave the facing page blank to glue small items I save from where ever we’ve traveled. Sometimes I’m really good about writing every night, other times I write while on the plan home and other times, like now, the journal is sitting here waiting for me to add the last entry from our last trip.
    Like Natalie, I’m a collector and save many things I may never add to the journal. I still hang on to everything and am getting many ideas from “Almost Never Clever” for when I get back to scrap booking.

  6. Pingback: Make Your Own Travel Journal « Almost Never Clever.

    • Eat at the cafes in the Latin Quarter. They are amazing. Make sure and order a Kir Royale often. Outside the Maubert-Mutualite Metro stop on the yellow line, on the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue des Carmes, there is a Boulangerie, Fromagerie, Charcuterie, Wine shop and a cafe all next to each other. It’s a one-stop place to pick up fixings for a picnic near Notre Dame (which is only about 5 minutes away on foot).

      • Oh those are great! Someone else suggested the picnic near the Notre Dame so it’s nice to know where I can pick up supplies!

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