Keeping a Travel Journal: How to remember what, when, where

I often get asked how I remember all those details of where we went, what we saw and even what we ate for dinner!!  It is easy if you are committed to keeping a travel journal for your trip.  Before we leave I always try to find a travel journal that has a either a travel theme or a design that goes along with where we are headed.  This gets me more excited to write in the journal!

I always bring a journal with me, but sometimes when we arrive I find the perfect one for that trip.  Our first night in Israel was in the Galilee, and the hotel we were staying at had a great gift shop, and that is where I found this fun, jewel colored book I used for that trip.

My goal is to write in the journal every night so that everything is fresh in my mind.  Unfortunately, this does not always happen.  Often times I am beat by the time we get back to the hotel and crash as soon as my head hits the pillow.  In this case, I try not to get more than two to three nights behind, but sometimes a train or plane travel day is a good excuse to get caught up. I always ask Stephen or the kids if I forget something and need to have my memory jogged.

I keep all receipts, business cards from guides, cards from restaurants, plane tickets, pamphlets from museums, etc.  I keep them in a little fun travel pouch I bought, but a ziploc bag will do.

After we have returned home and settled in, I scotchtape them next to the entry in my journal where I wrote about going to that site, or eating in that restaurant.  It is also a great way to relive the memories of the trip. When completed, I have a full diary of all the details and all the receipts, if I need to remember how much we paid for some spectacular meal.

I have quite a collection of travel journals now from each trip, and just looking at them on the shelf brings to mind such memorable moments!

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23 responses to “Keeping a Travel Journal: How to remember what, when, where”

  1. I love this post! It reminds me so much of when I used to travel in the pre internet days (yes, sorry to say I am that old!). I used to travel with a blank book and write in it as I travelled and stick in all the entry tickets, leaflets and general stuff I collected along the way. It was brilliant to go back on and look at as it had a real feel for the travels. The danger with being all digital these days is we lack some of the physical touch and flavour. Plus we will never put online every little detail.

    Today I always have a note book with me and I write notes, but more point form and shove in leaflets etc to refer to when I finally write my posts. But it is not a journal. I think I need to go back to having a journal and then extracting bits for my posts.

    Thanks for reminding me of how fun and great journals can be!

  2. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for the tip, I do something similar with my photographs, at the end of every day, I quickly go through the pics I took that day and write down where each photo was taken and what the church or whatever was called together with the corresponding photo number. This helps me tremendously when sorting photos when I get back from a trip.

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Cynthia – That’s a great tip! So often we forget what that picture was of. Usually I can go back to the journal and see what we did that day. But listing them that night is a great idea!

  3. This is great advice. I’m going to try and get into this habit.

  4. Margaret says:

    I wish I was better about keeping up my travel journals! I always start off with good intentions, but then just end up with a bunch of ticket stubs, etc. I never quite organize. It’s fun to look at them, but then I don’t always remember the story that goes along with them. Your way is much better!

  5. Arianna says:

    Hi Judy,

    It is great to keep journals and go back to them from time to time. Although I must admit I should improve on that! 🙂 Just yesterday, hubby an I were reliving our time in Vietnam! It was sucha great trip and we can’t wait to go back. Now we are in full preparation mode to our next trip and the journal is already waiting for our notes!
    Your blog is so inspiring!!

    Love it!!

    Arianna

  6. Anita says:

    I love that pouch! I envy you being able to write consistently in your travel journals, I always start out the trip with enthusiasm for writing in the travel journal but usually end up not writing in it consistently due to being too tired by the end of the trip. I’m experimenting with writing on the go instead of at night and that seems to help but my travel journals are nowhere near as full as I want. I’ll keep experimenting though and hopefully will find the way that works the best for me :).

  7. I always keep every little piece of paper, every receipt, ticket, etc. but I never take a journal with me (and I end up regretting it after coming home). But I promised myself I will take one on my next trip, which will be a big 3-week road trip along Europe this summer. I’ll be sure needing it!

  8. I love this post! My travel journals are some of my most treasured posessions, but now that I’m a travel writer and blogger it means I have lots of work style notepads full of things to share and digital records, so at the end of the day my old school journals don’t get as much of a look in.

    But I still carry one on every journey and love to write in them on planes and record the sort of private moments and thoughts that are just for me. Now it takes a lot of journeys to fill one up, but oh how I love looking back at them. The first thing I’d grab in a house fire! (after the cat that is).

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Amanda – Glad you enjoyed the post! I too treasure my travel journals. Such great memories – each small piece of paper I saved reminds me of something special on the trip.

  9. Linda Brashears says:

    I love this idea. I’m taking a 2 week vacation to London, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in June. I was thinking about a notebook to record my pictures so I would remember what they were but I love the journal idea. Now to find a good journing book. This will also help my sister who is making a picture album for me for Christmas. She can put my tickets,etc in the album. Thanks for the tip!

    • Judy Gambee says:

      Linda – Glad you liked this idea!! I always try to find a journal that has a cover with something to do about travel, such as a map or ticket stubs, etc. or one where the cover is reminiscent of the place I’m going to. Also recommend you get one with lines – makes writing so much easier when I’m tired!! Have a fabulous trip!!

  10. Andi says:

    My father traveled internationally for work when I was young and was able to take my mom and I along on many of his trips. Since I would miss so much school at one time, in addition to keeping up with my school work, I was also asked to write a journal of each trip. I have full size notebooks with my writings, photos, postcards etc. from each trip. My next project is to scan them and make them into coffee table books. I plan on taking notes and keeping mementos during my road trip honeymoon this summer as well!

  11. […] From Home to Roam recommends carrying your journal with you everywhere, but personally, I believe I could use the extra space for more important things (i.e. the clunky instax mini polaroid camera my older sister let me borrow). Instead, I plan on writing on the notes app in my cellphone during downtimes in between my weekend trips or free school nights. I will /try/ to journal every night. Emphasis on the TRY, as I am not a perfect human being and I’d rather be binge watching Netflix. She also recommends carrying a Zipblock bag to keep tickets, receipts, pamphlets, or anything that indicates your location and time. This should be easy for me as I’ve inherited the crazy receipt hoarding trait that runs in my family. […]

  12. Before taking photos i take a photo of the place name, either on the street or town sign, or even of the place name on a map or brochure, so I know where they are taken. Most places you visit have a big sign at the entrance, I always photograph that. No need to write anything down then! Restaurant names, and even menus. Thanks to digital photography, you can delete them once you have entered it in your journal and/or blog!

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