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Travel Journals: How To Get Started And Why

Travel Journals Help You Remember The Little Things

Those who own a campervan, RV, or are living the van life have a lot of opportunities to travel. While many experiences happen in the moment during your adventures, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep some sort of record. Travel journals can be incredibly useful for remembering the pitstops and little details along the way.

What is a Travel Journal?

A travel journal is what you might imagine: a way to keep track of all the things you see and do while traveling.

For some, this means writing down every little detail at the end of each trip. For others, it might mean making quick notes here and there during each getaway. Some people include photos in their journals, and some include trip maps.

You can get as elaborate and creative or simple as you like with your travel journal. The point is to keep track of your journeys and give yourself something to look back on down the line.

An example of premade travel journals that can be purchased. The cover says Van Life.
Van Life Journal & Log Book for sale on AbeBooks

Why People Keep Travel Journals

Wondering why anyone would put in the effort required to keep up with a travel journal? This is understandable. After all, we live busy lives, and keeping up with a journal is just one more thing to add to your to-do list. However, there are some good reasons to put in that extra effort.

One major benefit of keeping such a journal is the ability to look back and reminisce about the good times you had with friends and family. For many, this is the main reason for keeping a journal and is enough for them to pull out a pen and jot down some notes.

That said, some other travelers might require a bit more motivation. In these cases, I like to point out that a travel journal can serve a beneficial purpose. These journals are perfect reference books for future travels. They allow you to look back on where you’ve been, what you did there, what you loved, and what wasn’t so great.

This makes planning future travels to the same areas a cinch, as you will know exactly what to do and what not to do, even years after your initial visit. I know my family has looked back in our travel records for the name of a restaurant or coffee shop on more than one occasion. I’ll also turn to my travel log from time to time when writing blog posts, as I find it quite useful for helping me remember details I might otherwise have left out.

Finally, some people choose to use their journals to plan trips ahead of time and record them afterward. If you’re a big planner, this might be an excellent tool to add to your arsenal.

How to Start a Travel Journal

As mentioned before, your travel journal can be as simple or complex as you make it. Getting started on your journaling journey can be as easy as grabbing a notebook and jotting down some notes or as elaborate as investing in a bunch of scrapbook supplies.

Personally, I recommend something in between. You’re much more likely to go back and look at your journal if it’s well organized and pleasant to look at, but trying to go above and beyond—making each page a work of art—is likely to lead you to abandon the project.

The Best Travel Journals

Not sure which journal to buy in order to begin recording your travel experiences? Below are our top 5 favorite options. We’ve included a journal for every type of note-taker and writer. Hopefully, one of these will work well for you.

#1: Wanderings Leather Pocket Notebook

Wanderings Leather Pocket Notebook available on Amazon.
Source: Amazon

If all you need is a simple notebook, this refillable option might be ideal for you. We love that the leather cover protects your musings, the paper is incredibly high quality, and the small size of the journal makes it easy to carry.

#2: Field Notes Travel Journals

Field Notes Travel Journals with a yellow textured cover.
Source: Field Notes

We love Field Notes. These tiny notebooks can be kept in any bag or even a pocket and brought out to take notes no matter where you may be. They are high quality and come in various lovely, collectible cover designs—with special limited editions released every quarter.

#3: You Are Here: A Mindful Travel Journal

You are here. A mindful travel journal.
Source: Amazon

These fabulous travel journals help the traveler be mindful of everything they are taking in. It gives suggestions on filling its pages but leaves everything up to the user, making this the perfect tool for those who may need a bit of guidance.

#4: Travel Listography

Travel Listography Travel Journal
Source: Amazon

Prefer making lists to writing? Then, this is the book for you. Travel Listography allows users to record their trips in list form, something the super organized will appreciate.

#5: The Ultimate Travel Journal For Kids

The ultamate Travel Journal for Kids. Includes 4 Trips. Awesome Activites for Your Adventures by Rob Taylor.
Source: Amazon

If you have kids who want to join in on the fun, this colorful, activity-filled journal is the perfect option for them. The notebook offers plenty of prompts, helping kids record all the important details of their trip, and there is enough room in this journal to record four awesome road trip adventures.

Hit The Road And Start Journaling

Whether you are just starting to plan your van build, or you are already exploring the world around you from your home on wheels, it’s never too late to start one of hopefully many travel journals to remember your adventures.

Do you already have an awesome travel journal that you want to share with other Vanlifers? Share a photo of it on your Instagram feed and tag @Vanlifers; we’d love to see it!

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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