Why you should keep a travel journal

by Alice Griffin

It starts off so well. A fresh lined notebook, a brand new expensive pen (“it’s an investment!”), and many good intentions and fervent promises to write every day until your hand falls off. But somewhere along the way, it all goes wrong. Keeping a travel journal can be an effort, we know, but the benefits far outweigh any downsides. Here’s our top reasons for keeping a travel journal on your next escape, plus we’ve got some nifty little tips to help you stay on top of your journal game.


It helps you remember things


Free People

Simple but true. Our memory can be temperamental at the best of times, and journaling is a great way to keep track of all the places you went on your travels. Jotting down your experiences, and what thoughts and feelings they evoked, keeps your memories vivid long after you’ve bid au revoir to your holiday.


It promotes self-reflection and discovery


Amy Treasure, Unsplash

One of the most common things people look to gain from travelling is greater self-awareness and insight. Well, for those soul-searchers, there’s no better way to explore who you are and who you want to be, than by keeping a journal. A physical and emotional track of your time abroad, travel journals make the ideal companion for those trying to grasp the bigger picture and find their place in it.

isango! insider tip: Update your log daily – even a few lines will do! – if you can, or at least a few times a week, to get the most from your words.

Depending on how long you’re off for, set yourself a reminder in your phone a month or so into your travels, and look back on what you’ve written in your journal so far. Having some space from your thoughts and re-evaluating them later helps to bring your motivations, perspective, and achievements to light. You’ll be amazed at how much your point of view can shift in just a few days.


The little ones love it


Free People

As one, wise nanny once said… In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Throw in a few watercolours, some coloured pencils, and a postcard or two, and updating your travel journal has never been easier or more enjoyable. Whatever your age, your inner-creative will thrive working on this arts and craft project. Getting involved in something tangible – that requires more of you than the usual swipe or tap on your smartphone – is refreshing, we promise.

Journaling is a great outlet for children too. Working on a project like a family travel journal gives parents the chance to bond with their kids in a unique and fun way. Travel journals also give children the space to reflect on and appreciate their experiences abroad. Plus, these family journals will be a great memento to keep around the house, too!


It helps you deal with travel stresses big and small


Doug Robichaud, Unsplash

In a world filled with images of picture-perfect travel bloggers’ in picture-perfect locations, it’s easy to forget that every holiday has its ups and downs. No trip is perfect, and it’s how you manage those difficulties and disappointments that really matters. Science shows that writing your feelings down helps to process them and let go, so keeping a journal while you’re away is a great way to get over the little things and continue on with your travels. Looking back over your journals will also help you learn from the difficulties you faced abroad and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for moving onwards and upwards!


It’s a great way to get organised

travel journal helps get organised
Darling Magazine & The Daily Writing

Journal entries don’t necessarily have to be after the fact. We find listing our must-do spots, expectations and travel goals before we go away is a great way to plan ahead and build excitement for the coming months. Jotting down some thoughts before you jet off ensures you make the most of your time away, plus you’ll be more motivated to handle those pesky pre-travel chores such as visa applications and the like when you keep in mind all you have to look forward to!


How to create the perfect travel journal…

  • Pick a journal that suits you. Whether you’re a clean lines and bullet point person, or a scrambled scrapbook kinda girl, picking a journal that you’re comfortable with is key to making sure you actually use it. If you’re a writer – get a lined notebook. If you’re a doodler – doodle! There’s no right or wrong.
  • Make it your own. You don’t have to keep every little trinket from abroad, just the bits and bobs that have meaning to you. Some foodies like to store meal receipts, or others hold onto airline tickets, whatever you want to keep and display in your journal is up to you.
  • Choose wisely. It’s a matter of opinion, but for us, nothing quite beats a paperback journal. We spend our lives on our computers and smartphones, so why not take the opportunity on your travels to connect with something tangible? Some of our favourite travel journals are from Kikki K, a Swedish stationary brand that’s all about self-improvement and reflection.
    For those that can’t part with their electronic gizmos, there’s lots of great apps that make travel journaling super simple and easy. Our favourite is Bonjournal, which collects the beautiful moments, stories and snaps from your travels, and puts them in a single storyboard to share with friends and family.

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