When making a travel journal, whether as a printable or as a book, it is helpful to understand how the journal will be used. As a creative, use this article to stimulate ideas for making your own travel journal pages, whether for yourself, or as a digital product to sell.

Types of Travel Journals

We all tend to take photos to document and remember the places we’ve been, but writing down your memories and experiences can be another great way to re-visit your travels.

I don’t usually keep a travel journal for small local trips, but on major trips I am really glad that I have. Looking back it reminds me of details I have long forgotten.

You don’t need a special travel journal, a notebook will do, but a specially designed travel journal can help guide you in your journalling, especially if you are new to keeping a travel journal.

Types of Journal

  • Notebook: Traditional and straightforward, offering lined or blank pages.
  • Bullet Journal: Ideal for the organized traveler with a flair for creativity; uses dotted grid pages.
  • Specialized Travel Journal: Usually has sections to keep track of what you did each day, collected ephemera, sketches, photos, and may even have pockets to collect things that can’t be glued in.


  • Lined Pages: Perfect for writing in, keeping your text neat and organized.
  • Blank Pages: Gives you the freedom to sketch, add stickers, or paste photos.
  • Dot Grid Pages: The best of both worlds, the dots give you some structure but allow a lot of room for creativity

Creativity & Personalization

Your travel journal should reflect your personal style. If you enjoy art, you might prefer a journal that can withstand different media such as pens, paints, or pastels. Look for:

  • Sturdy Paper: To prevent bleed-through.
  • Extras: Like pockets for maps or room to add photos and stickers.


Since your journal will be with you on your travels, durability is key. A robust cover and strong binding will protect your memories.

Size & Portability

Ensure your journal fits in your travel bag. It shouldn’t take up a lot of space, especially if you are traveling by plane and need to pack light:

  • Pocket-sized: Easy to carry but limited space to write and sketch.
  • Full-sized: Offers more room for expression but takes up more room.

Pre-Trip Planning

Some travel journals have space to pre-plan your trip. This can be handy because all of your trip details are in the same book as your journal.

Pre-planning page ideas include:

  • Trip Itinerary
  • Maps and Routes
  • Train and bus schedules/times
  • Common language phrases to know
  • Contact information–both yours and for the lodgings you plan to stay at
  • Restaurants to check out
  • Attractions to check out
  • Packing list
  • Budget

Creating Your Itinerary

To start shaping your travel plans, draw up an itinerary outlining the places you intend to visit each day. Utilize travel apps to synchronize visit times with opening hours and local events. For example, if visiting historical sites or museums, check for any day-specific closures or required advance tickets. Here’s a simple itinerary structure you can follow:

  • Day 1: Arrival
    • Transfer to accommodation
    • Neighborhood exploration
  • Day 2: Major Attractions
    • Museum A (10 am – 12 pm)
    • Park B (1 pm – 3 pm)

Packing Essentials

Your packing list should be tailored to your destination and the length of your trip. Always start with the basics like clothing appropriate for the climate, essential toiletries, and any medications you may need. Then, consider items specific to your activities; if you plan on hiking, ensure to list hiking boots and trail maps. Packing clothing that all goes well together makes it easy to mix and match any outfit.

  • Clothing: weather-appropriate outfits, shoes, sleepwear
  • Gadgets: phone, charger, power bank, camera
  • Important Documents: passport, IDs, travel insurance

Budgeting for Your Trip

Outline your budget early to keep finances in check. Break down your expenses into categories such as accommodations, food, attractions, and transportation. Look for potential savings by booking tickets for transportation and events in advance. Remember to set aside an emergency fund within your budget. Here’s a basic budget framework you can use:


  • Accommodations: $xx per night
  • Meals: $xx per day
  • Attractions: $xx for tickets
  • Total Estimated Cost: $xxxx

In the early stages of planning, I also find it handy to just estimate a couple of days based on cost of accommodations, a daily meal allowance, and an average of costs of admissions. For example, in New York City it might cost a family of 4 roughly $400-500 a day. Then I can multiply that by the number of days on my trip to get an idea of the cost of my trip (and whether I can even afford it!). Of course don’t forget the cost of getting there!

Pages for while you are on your trip

  • Table of Contents
  • Photos and Collages
  • Daily Journal Entries & Stories
  • Travel Quotes
  • Local Recipes
  • Souvenirs and Ticket Stubs Collection
  • Reflections and Highlights Page
  • Bucket List for Future Trips
  • Sketches

Journal Prompts and Writing Tips

Sometimes when you first open your travel journal you will be staring at a blank page. Travel journal prompts can help get the flow of words started.

Descriptive Prompts

Use Your Senses: As you think about your day, describe the environment using all five senses. What scents were in the air at the local market? Could you taste the salt in the sea breeze? This will transport you back to the destination whenever you revisit your entries.

  • Example: Describe the sounds at the night market.

Reflective Prompts

Your Emotions: Reflection in travel journaling makes for more vivid memories later when you re-read your journal. Think about how the trip impacted you. Did conquering a steep hike boost your confidence? How did experiencing a different culture impact the way you think about the world?

  • Example: Reflect on a moment during your trip that challenged a preconception you had.

Creative Prompts

Invent a Story: Get creative by imagining the life of a local you observed or by making up a background story for a historical site you visited. These creative exercises not only develop your writing skills but also deepen your connection to the destinations you’ve explored.

  • Example: Write a short narrative from the perspective of a street musician you heard in Rome.

On-the-Go Journaling

Often we journal at night in our hotel room or tent at the end of the day. But sometimes we want to capture something in the moment (here’s where having a pocket sized travel journal comes in handy).

Capturing Moments

Quickly jot down vivid details of your experiences so you don’t forget. Write a few words to remind you of the details you want to remember. You can always embellish later.

  • Quirky roadside attractions
  • Spontaneous detours that led to unexpected discoveries
  • A memorable meal shared with locals
  • Hidden gems, either on or off the beaten path
  • Local art, music, or performances, whether planned or spontaneous

Documenting Experiences

Your travel journal isn’t just for recording what you see; it’s also for contemplating how these experiences impact you. Write a brief passage on the significance of a local tradition you participated in, or describe the nuances in flavor of a regional drink you tried. For those moments of reflection, consider structuring your thoughts with prompts like:

  1. What about this experience is most transformative for me compared to my usual perspective?
  2. Reflect on experiences that deepened your understanding of local customs and traditions.
  3. Write about memorable interactions with locals or fellow travelers.
  4. Adventures or mishaps while using different modes of transportation.
  5. Write about non-transport related challenges you faced and how you overcame them during your journey.
  6. Discuss the historical significance of landmarks or historical sites you visited. Did you learn anything new?

List-Making and Logs

Keeping a log helps track the specifics like places visited & foods savored. Some ideas for lists in your journal include:

  • A checklist of sights and landmarks. Your pre-planning itinerary can double as this list if you stick closely to it. Add checkboxes to your itinerary that you can mark off as you visit them.
  • Meals and drinks you ate, especially if they are unique to the area, and a rating each to remember your favorites

Gratitude and Highlights

Travel is a privilege. Focus on the parts of your trip that you are especially grateful for:

  • List down the highlights of your travels, the memories that will stay with you long after your return.
  • Identify the moments for which you are thankful and consider why they stand out.

Enhancing Your Journal Entries

Transform your travel diary by adding personalized touches. Visual elements & collected memorabilia will bring your pages to life.

Adding Visuals

Photos: Spice up your journal by pasting photographs of the destinations visited. Capture moments with either a digital camera or a smartphone, and consider printing them in different sizes for variety.

Sketches: It doesn’t matter if you aren’t an artist. Add sketches of landscapes or notable experiences. Even simple doodles can convey the mood of a place in a way words sometimes cannot. Plus, in trying to capture something in a sketch, we are forced to spend more time observing and savoring the scene.

Stickers: Brighten up your entries with colorful stickers that match the theme of your trip.

Collecting Memorabilia

Postcards and tickets: Keep postcards from the places you visit and ticket stubs from attractions or transport. They serve as tangible reminders of your journey.

Receipts, stamps, and souvenirs: Collect small items like receipts, stamps, or souvenirs that can be glued or taped into your journal, providing a textured snapshot of your experiences.

Incorporating Technology

Travel diary apps: Use a travel app to digitally document your journey. You can later print selected pages and incorporate them into your diary.

Storage: Use cloud storage to keep digital backups of your entries, ensuring safety and easy sharing.

Combining traditional and digital methods means that your travel memories will be preserved, accessible, and shareable, exactly as you experienced them.

Other Ways to Document Your Journey

Creating Travel Memoirs

A travel memoir is a compilation of moments that define your journey, from the initial spark of curiosity about a destination to the post-trip reflections that stay with you long after returning home. It’s a structured narrative that weaves together stories of pre-trip mishaps and unexpected travel adventures with the quieter moments of daily life.

With self-publishing accessible for anyone these days, this can be a great way to preserve your most memorable trips for future generations.

Destination Bucket List:

  • Bucket list printables or journals are a great way to keep track of where you’ve been and where you have yet to go.

Write a Travel Blog:

While commercial travel bloggers need to write about what other travelers want to know, keeping a personal travel blog can be a living document that you can add to from anywhere you have an internet connection. Just remember if you make it public, there is always the possibility that someone will find it so don’t post anything too private.

DIY your Travel Journal

Creating your own custom travel journal means it is specific to you. I did this for my last European trip. You can even make these for sale to others through print on demand book platforms like Amazon KDP or Lulu.

You can make pages for your journal in Powerpoint, Canva, or use more professional programs like Affinity Publisher or Adobe InDesign.

Check out my YouTube Channel for design tutorials.

You can go even more DIY by printing the pages yourself and using a simple bookbinding stitch or even a stapler to create your booklet.

If that all sounds too daunting, just print out your journal pages and put them in a 3 ring binder or a Duo-Tang cover.