Inspiring travel journal ideas

Travel Journal Ideas: How to create a meaningful travel memento

Why do we travel? To expand our horizons, to experience other cultures and to learn more about the world and ourselves. We travel to explore and be inspired and when we return home it's with a full heart (and a full camera roll). Some trips are life-changing, others are much-needed getaways but each one is filled with great times we want to remember. Whether you have a big trip coming up, or you’ve just returned, it’s never too early (or late) to create the ultimate travel memento: a travel journal.


What is a travel journal?

Map laid out with camera, notebook and travel books

A travel journal is the must-have keepsake for every traveler. It's a record of your experiences, as told by you. It can be physical or digital and you can share it with friends and family or keep it just for yourself. Fill your journal to the brim with memories of the places you saw, people you met and adventures you lived, and it will help you relive your travels and remember the great times you enjoyed. There really are no rules to a travel journal, the most important thing is you get started.


3 tips to getting started.

Woman with arms raised looking out at lake and trees

1. Buy a journal (or not)

If you're more of a digital person, then keeping an online journal may be more practical for you. Start a travel blog or vlog or even use Instagram to record your day-to-day experiences. This is perfect for people who want to easily share their trip with friends and family. It also makes journaling easy as you only need a portable device like a laptop, tablet or simply your smartphone to get started. If you're more traditional, then simply buy a journal. Make sure it's big enough to keep your physical mementos (postcards and other souvenirs) but not too big that it's a hassle to cart around on your adventures. We recommend investing in a good quality, robust journal that will withstand the wear and tear of travel.

2. Think about style

What kind of journal are you wanting to create? One that's casual and emotive and captures the feeling of your trip and the places you visit? Or are you more detail-oriented, looking to record places, times, dates and activities daily. There's no right or wrong way, but deciding your style will help direct your journal entries. If you're more detail-focused then you can plan to make sure you have all the information you need to complete an entry. If you're more emotive, you can start thinking ahead about how you can set the scene for the reader. For instance, you could spend some time looking for quotes or song lyrics to add to your entries.

3. Start

Journals are traditionally kept daily (jour is the French word for day!) but as we all know daily journaling can be a difficult habit to form, especially if you’re living out of bags in a foreign country. Not to mention, travelling is about being in the moment and nothing takes you out of it like trying to dissect it in real time. We're not advising you to keep strict daily records or to take notes like a field scientist (unless that's your style), just begin at your own pace and go from there. It can be as simple as emptying your pockets at the end of every day. The bar coasters, ticket stubs, exotic candy wrappers that make up the ephemera of your trip will be the memory triggers that deepen the story of your travels.

Here are some prompts to help you get started on writing your entries:

The highlight of today was...

The weather today was...

A meal I tried...

5 things I noticed...

Quote of the day is...

Joke of the day is...

One surprise was...

One thing I learned was...

Today reminded me of...

Today's favorite interaction with a local... 

What I'm looking forward to tomorrow is....

5 ideas for filling your travel journal

Hands writing in journal with polaroid travel pictures beside

1. Take lots of photos

This one’s obvious but it bears repeating, "Take photos!" (including selfies!). Embrace looking like a tourist if you have to; wear the fanny pack, the novelty t-shirt and snap away. Take photos of the local sights, exotic cuisines, unique architecture and local marketplaces. If it catches your eye, get a pic of it. Pictures will help bring your journal entries to life and add color to your story. Pro-tip: Polaroid photos are great additions to any travel journal.

2. Take notes throughout the day

If you have a moment, jot things down in a notebook or even the Notes app on your phone. Write down the little things you notice, the quirky locals, even the unique smells and the day's weather. It can be when you’re on the bus/train to your next destination, when you’re waiting for food or when you're looking at a stunning view. Maybe a memory comes to your mind in the moment because it fits a scene so perfectly. Maybe a companion accidentally said something poetic or the tour guide shared a funny joke? Note it down to add to your journal entry later.

3. Throw nothing away

Maps, itineraries, receipts, postcards, boarding passes; keep it all. These tangible tidbits will add dimension and depth to your memories as you flip through your journal later.

4. Get creative

If you like to draw, add little sketches to your journal. If you have a Spotify playlist you've been listening to all trip, screenshot it and print it to add to your journal later. If you're going to lots of different places, collect an item at each to create a common thread throughout. This could be the paper menu of each place you dine at or different currencies from each country you visit.

5. Combine and create

It's one thing to take photos, notes and collect little mementos, it's another thing entirely to turn it into a cohesive story. Once you settle back home, stitch everything together into a easy-to-follow narrative. This is where your glue stick and craft scissors will come in handy. While the bulk of your entries will already be there, now is the time start adding the relevant collectables to the right page and adding the final touches. 


How to create a travel journal with MILK

Travel themed flatlay with linen square photo album, camera, sunglasses, watch, phone and wallet

Standard notebooks are great but there's nothing like creating a long-lasting, display-worthy MILK keepsake. Discover how to create your travel journal with us below.


Select your format

We recommend creating a Photo Book for your travel journal. Each MILK Photo Book has up to 200 pages which should be more than enough to preserve each precious moment. Our Moleskine Photo Books are very close to traditional travel journals and offer between 20 and 96 pages (depending on your format). Our Premium Photo Books are hardcover and archival quality, perfect for displaying your memories for generations to come. If you have lots of beautiful landscape photography, we suggest creating a landscape format. If you have lots of Instagram pics, than a medium square format will fit perfectly.


Upload your photos

Get your travel photos off your camera roll and into our Design Studio so you can start creating. You can add text to the page via our text boxes or you can scan your notes and add them in as photos. This also works for your mementos too; scan them and add them to the page or leave some white space and glue them in later. If you want to leave space to write directly in your MILK Photo Book, we recommend using our matte paper stocks.


Design and Personalize

The process of designing your MILK travel journal will be a labor of love, sparking memories and letting you relive your adventures again. Create with your travel companion(s) and get their opinions too. Reminisce together and get them to add there own unique perspective; maybe they will remember details you completely forgot about? It'll make the overall result all the more richer. We also offer more cover options with our Premium Photo Book range. Add a title to the cover and spine with a UV Print upgrade or our fun Designer Covers. If you need inspiration naming your book, discover our helpful blog.


Travelling is filled with rich experiences and memories we want to cherish for a lifetime. Don’t rely on digital devices to keep your photos safe, get them off your phone/hard drive and into print. MILK Photo Books and Albums are designed to endure in luxury and will be enjoyed for generations to come. They're the perfect home for your travel moments and look at home on any coffee table or bookshelf. There's nothing quite like flipping through the pages of your very own photo book and being transported to a particular place and time. Start creating your travel journal with MILK today.

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