student trip journal

What Is a Travel Journal + How to Make One with Examples

student trip journal

Traveling to new places and journaling about your exciting and enriching experiences is beyond rewarding. Whether you're exploring a bustling city, immersing yourself in nature's wonders, or embarking on a cultural adventure, capturing your travel experiences is a great way to preserve memories and reflect on your journey. One popular and creative way to document your travels is through a travel journal . In this article, we'll cover what a travel journal is, the benefits of keeping one, how to choose the best travel journal among different types, and provide you with tips and examples on how to make your own.

Ready to discover how to capture your travel experiences in different places, explore creative travel journal ideas and travel journal prompts, and more? Let the adventure begin!

What is a Travel Journal?

A travel journal is a personal diary that allows you to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences during your travels. It serves as a visual and written account of your adventures, providing you with a tangible keepsake that you can cherish for years to come. Unlike a regular journal, a travel diary focuses specifically on your journeys, including details about the different places you visit, the people you meet, the food you try, and the sights you see.

Benefits of Keeping a Travel Journal

Keeping a travel journal offers numerous benefits beyond simply documenting your experiences. Here are some additional reasons why you should consider starting one:

1. Emotional and Mental Well-Being

Journaling has been shown to have positive effects on emotional and mental well-being . When you write about your travel experiences, you have the opportunity to process and reflect on your emotions, helping you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your reactions to different situations via your journal entries. It can be a therapeutic outlet for releasing stress, anxiety, or even excitement, allowing you to better manage your emotions throughout your journey.

2. Enhanced Memory Retention

Writing about your travels helps improve memory retention. By actively engaging with your experiences and recording them in detail, you reinforce the neural connections related to those memories. This makes it easier to recall specific moments, sights, sounds, and even the feelings associated with them in the future. Your travel diary becomes a valuable tool for preserving and retrieving cherished memories.

3. Cultural Exploration and Appreciation

A travel journal encourages you to be more observant and attentive to the details of the places you visit. It prompts you to delve deeper into the local culture, traditions, and customs. By documenting your interactions with locals, sampling regional cuisine, and exploring hidden gems, you develop a greater appreciation for the unique aspects of each destination. Your journal becomes a testament to the richness and diversity of the world around you.

student trip journal

4. Personal Growth and Self-Reflection

Writing in a travel diary allows for introspection and personal growth. As you reflect on your experiences, you gain insights into your own values, beliefs, and perspectives. You may discover new passions or interests, challenge preconceived notions, or develop a greater sense of empathy and understanding for others. The process of self-reflection through journaling can lead to personal transformation and a deeper connection to the world.

5. Travel Planning and Preparation

Your travel journal can serve as a practical resource for future trips. By documenting your itineraries, accommodations, transportation details, and recommendations, you create a valuable reference guide that covers your experiences more fully. You can refer back to your journal to jog your memory or provide recommendations to fellow travelers. It becomes a repository of knowledge that can streamline the planning process for future adventures.

6. Connection with Loved Ones

Sharing your travel journal with friends, family, or future generations can be a meaningful way to connect and bond. Your journal becomes a storytelling tool, allowing others to experience your journey vicariously through your words, sketches, and photographs. It can spark conversations, ignite curiosity, and inspire others to embark on their own adventures.

7. Creative Expression

Engaging in the creative process of journaling stimulates your imagination and artistic abilities. Whether you're writing prose, sketching landscapes, creating collages, or experimenting with different art mediums, your travel diary becomes a canvas for self-expression. It encourages you to think outside the box, explore new artistic techniques, and develop your creative skills.

Keeping a travel journal goes beyond simply recording your experiences. It has profound benefits for your emotional well-being, memory retention, personal growth, and cultural appreciation. It serves as a tangible reminder of your adventures, a tool for planning future trips, a means of connecting with others, and a creative outlet for self-expression. So, grab a journal and embark on your journey of exploration and self-discovery through travel journaling.

Types of Travel Journals

student trip journal

There are different journals for just about any goal or activity you can think of – from travel journals to fitness journals , from gratitude journals to garden journals , and more. Similarly, there are various types of travel diaries to suit different preferences and styles. We cover the best travel journals below so you can find one perfect for you.

1. Guided Travel Journals

Guided journals provide travel journal prompts and structured sections to help you capture specific aspects of your journey. Guided journals often include questions, blank pages to fill in, and guided activities to guide your journaling process. Using a guided journal or planner , can ensure you cover all the essentials, without missing any crucial details you’ll want to revisit later.

2. Traditional Handwritten Journals

These are classic journals or notebooks with blank pages where you can freely write, draw, or glue mementos. Traditional journals offer the most flexibility in terms of customization for creative journal entries.

3. Photographic Travel Journals

For those who prefer visual storytelling, a photographic travel journal focuses on capturing moments through photographs. You can include pictures alongside brief descriptions or captions to narrate your journey visually.

4. Scrapbook Travel Journals

Scrapbook-style journals combine photographs, tickets, postcards, and other memorabilia with handwritten notes and decorative elements. They provide a visually appealing way to preserve your travel memories.

5. Sketchbook Travel Journals

If you have artistic inclinations, a sketchbook journal allows you to sketch and paint scenes, landmarks, and people you encounter during your travels. It's a great way to capture the essence of a place through your own artwork.

6. Digital Travel Journals

In the digital age, many people opt for digital travel journals, using apps or online platforms to document their adventures. Digital journals offer the convenience of easy editing, multimedia integration, and the ability to share your journey with others online.

7. Travel Bullet Journals

A popular trend in journaling, travel bullet journals combine organization and creativity. Based on the bullet journaling system, these journals use symbols, icons, and trackers to help you plan and record your travels. You can create sections for itineraries, packing lists, daily logs, and more, all while adding artistic touches and personalization.

You can also use a monthly planner with ample note pages and customize it as a travel calendar journal.

Whether you prefer the structure of guided journals, the freedom of traditional handwritten journals, the visual impact of photographic or scrapbook journals, the artistic expression of sketchbook journals, the convenience of digital journals, or the organization of travel bullet journals, there's a type of travel journal that will resonate with you and enhance your travel experiences. Choose the one that suits your style and embark on a journey of creativity and self-expression.

How to Make a Travel Journal

Now that you have an idea of the different types of travel journals, let's explore how to make your own.

1. Selecting the Right Journal

Consider the type of journaling experience you desire. If you prefer writing and sketching, a traditional blank-page journal or sketchbook might be ideal. If you want structure and guidance, opt for a guided travel journal. If you're tech-savvy, explore digital journaling options.

2. Gathering Essential Supplies

Depending on the type of journal you choose, gather supplies such as pens, pencils, markers, glue, scissors, washi tape, stickers, and any other decorative elements you'd like to incorporate. If you're going digital, ensure you have a suitable device and any necessary apps or software.

3. Planning Your Journal

Before your trip, plan how you want to organize your journal. Consider creating sections for different aspects like itineraries, accommodation, food, and sightseeing. This will help you stay organized and make it easier to find information later.

student trip journal

4. Documenting Your Journey

During your trip, actively engage in your journaling process with regular (yet not restrictive or rigid) journal entries. Write about your daily experiences, jot down interesting conversations, glue in ticket stubs or postcards, and take photographs to complement your entries. Let your creativity flow and capture the essence of each moment.

Travel Journal Page and Layout Examples

student trip journal

The layout and organization of your travel journal pages play a crucial role in bringing your travel experiences, from all the different places you’ve visited, to life. By incorporating various elements and sections, you can create a visually appealing and informative journal that captures the essence of your journey. From practical pages for itineraries and packing lists to creative spreads for reflections and bucket lists, here are some ideas to help you design engaging and meaningful pages for your travel diary.

1. Packing List and Pre-Trip Planning Pages

Dedicate a page or spread to jot down your packing list and pre-trip preparations. Include essential items, travel tips, and any special considerations for the destination. You can even add checkboxes or symbols to mark off items as you pack, ensuring you don't forget anything important.

student trip journal

You may also want to check out these helpful travel and packing tips .

2. A List of Local Words and Phrases

Learning a few basic words and phrases in the local language can greatly enhance your travel experience. Create a page dedicated to practicing and referring to these words and phrases. Include translations, pronunciation guides, and space to practice writing them. This page can be a helpful tool for connecting with locals and immersing yourself in the local culture.

3. Itinerary Pages

Design pages dedicated to your daily itineraries. Include the places you plan to visit, opening hours, transportation details, and any additional notes or reservations. You can add maps, photographs, or illustrations to make the page visually appealing and easy to navigate.

4. Accommodation and Restaurant Reviews

Reserve pages to review and rate the accommodations and restaurants you experience. Include details like the location, ambiance, service, and any standout dishes. You can even attach business cards, menus, or photographs to accompany your reviews. These pages will not only serve as a reference for future trips but also help fellow travelers discover hidden gems.

5. Post-Trip Reflection and Wrap-Up

Allocate space in your journal for post-trip reflections. Create pages to summarize your overall experience, highlight your favorite moments, and reflect on the lessons learned during your journey. Include photographs, sketches, or quotes that capture the essence of your adventure. These reflection pages will serve as a reminder of the growth and memories you gained from your travels.

6. Travel Bucket List

Create a dedicated page to list destinations, landmarks, or experiences you aspire to visit or accomplish in the future. You can divide the page into different categories like countries, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, or adrenaline-fueled activities. This page will serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for your future travels.

7. Travel Budget, Savings Goals, and Tracking

If budgeting is important to you, design pages to track your travel expenses, savings goals, and tips for saving money during your travels. Create tables or graphs to visually represent your budget and savings progress. These pages will help you stay accountable and ensure you're making the most of your financial resources.

Your travel diary is a personal and creative space to capture the memories, emotions, and experiences of your journeys. Through carefully designed pages and layouts, you can transform your journal into a visual and written narrative of your adventures. Whether you choose to incorporate practical elements like itineraries and packing lists or focus on creative expressions like reflections and bucket lists, the possibilities are endless. Let your imagination guide you as you create pages that reflect your unique travel style and personality. With each turn of the page, your travel diary will become a treasure trove of cherished memories and a gateway to relive your journeys again and again.

Creative Travel Journaling Ideas and Prompts

student trip journal

Stuck on what to write or include in your travel diary? Here are some creative travel journal ideas and travel journal prompts to get you started:

  • Write a letter to your future self reflecting on your travel experiences and what you hope to remember.
  • Describe the scents, sounds, and tastes that stand out in each place you visit.
  • Create a "People You Meet" page, where you can jot down brief descriptions or draw portraits of interesting individuals you encounter during your journey.
  • Write a short story or poem inspired by a specific location or experience.
  • Make a to-do list of activities or experiences you want to accomplish at each destination. Challenge yourself to complete as many as possible and check them off as you go.
  • Write a gratitude list, noting the things you're grateful for during your travels. It could be the stunning sunsets, the kindness of locals, or the serendipitous encounters.

A travel diary is a beautiful way to document and cherish your travel experiences. Whether you opt for a traditional handwritten journal, a photographic account, or a digital platform, the process of journaling will enhance your journey and provide a lasting memory of your adventures. Experiment with different styles, layouts, and prompts to make your travel journal uniquely yours. So, grab a journal and start capturing your travel memories today!

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KC Edventures

Awesome Travel Journal Ideas for Kids {with free printable!}

By: Author Jacquie Fisher

Posted on Published: June 6, 2019

Categories Travel Fun

Use these travel journal ideas & free printable pages to help kids document their next vacation or trip!

Since we’re heading out on a big road trip this summer, I thought I would include some travel journal pages in our Road Trip Binder (which already has 40+ Free Printable Road Trip Activities you might want to check out!)

Summer travel is the perfect opportunity to inspire kids to do a little writing not to mention record some great memories!

travel journal ideas kids printable

Travel Journal Ideas for Kids

I think downtime during the summer months is really important for kids but I’ve also seen what happens when they don’t pick up a pencil for a few months ( yikes !)  It can be a rude awaking when they head back to school so I’m always looking for fun ways to encourage them to write a little throughout the summer.

We’re all about DIY which is why I like to create a Road Trip binder and include things that are very specific to our trip.

If you’re just starting to travel with your kids, check out Why Kids Need to Travel & What They Learn on the Trip for inspiration!

In my search for travel journal templates, I can across so many wonderful options that I didn’t limit it to just one ( I’m never good at narrowing things down 😉

So here are some awesomely creative ways to keep your kids writing while you travel — whether you have a child that’s 5 or 15!

kids travel journals

Free Printable Travel Journal Pages

These free printable travel journal pages are the perfect way for kids to record all their favorite things each day!  Be sure to leave a note to thank the amazing people who created these free printables pages!

Before My Vacation journaling page from TSLBooks is perfect to use the week before you head out! 

We 3 Travel has some awesome Travel Journal Pages for Kids — 3 varieties which include drawing pages for younger kids and fill-in vacation details for older ones!

I adore this Travel Journal for Kids over at the Travel Turtle .

B. Nute Productions has a printable Trip Journal Page that’s very colorful & your kids will really enjoy!

The Unlikely Homeschool has a beautiful Field Trip Log printable for any side trips you have planned.

student trip journal

Creative Travel Journal Ideas & Books

If your child prefers a book-type travel journal, here are some of the ones we would recommend:

My favorite is The Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids which includes TONS of colorful pages, games, boredom busters and fun ways to kids to record their travel memories.  It’s perfect for kids ages 6 – 10 years old.

Another really cool option is The Children’s Travel Journal which is sketched out in black and white so kids can color all the pages while they travel!  Details include food journals, people you meet on the trip, spaces to draw your favorite memories and so many more ways to record the trip.

Go! A Kid’s Interactive Travel Journal is for pint-sized artists!  Each page has a colorful prompt where kids can draw in experiences from their trip.  The journal also includes games, stickers and other fun prompts too.

Lonely Planet also publishes a great Kids Travel Journal that’s packed with prompts, lists, fill-in areas and more!  This is a great journal option for older kids

If you’re looking for something a parent & child can fill out together, check the My Travel Journal: A Journal for 5 Family Vacations. It’s perfect for kids ages 5 – 9 years old and allows you to keep the details from multiple vacations in one spot.

If you’re getting ready for a road trip, be sure to visit our popular travel posts for lots of tips to help you get organized before you go & on the road:

10 Things to do Before Your Next Road Trip {which includes a free printable checklist!}

The Ultimate Guide to Family Road Trips

road trip ideas for kids and families

More Travel Activities & Ideas

40 Printable Road Trip Activities

DIY Travel Buckets:  The Perfect Souviner

Creative Primer

How to Start and Keep a Travel Journal: A Guide to Travel Diaries

Brooks Manley

When you capture your memories, you’ll never lose them.

Traveling is a transformative and enriching experience – and one of the best ways to capture and preserve those memories is by keeping a travel journal. A travel journal serves as a personal record of your adventures, reflections, and emotions throughout your journey.

A travel journal offers numerous benefits and can become a cherished keepsake for years to come. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to start and keep a travel journal – and how to make the most of your journaling experience.

Why Keep a Travel Journal?

Keeping a travel journal is a gateway to a treasure trove of memories , self-reflection , and creative expression . From preserving the details of your journeys to unlocking personal growth, a travel journal is definitely worthwhile. Let’s uncover the magic of travel journaling together.

Preserving Memories

Preserving memories is crucial when it comes to maintaining a travel journal. It is essential to capture the moments and experiences during your trips. Here are some techniques to effectively preserve your memories:

– Write comprehensive descriptions of the places, individuals, and activities you encounter. It is important to be vivid and use expressive language in your writing.

– Capture photographs of the landscapes, landmarks, and memorable moments you come across.

– Keep tickets, receipts, and other mementos from your travels as keepsakes.

– Maintain a daily log of your activities, thoughts, and emotions throughout the journey.

– Consider recording voice memos to encompass ambient sounds and conversations, which will add depth to your memories.

– Document the people you meet on your journey, including their names and stories .

Incorporating these practices into your travel journal will allow you to effectively preserve your memories for the years to come.

Self-Reflection and Personal Growth

Self-reflection and personal growth are essential aspects of travel journaling. When you take the time to introspect and process your experiences and emotions, you not only gain a deeper understanding of yourself but also foster personal growth .

Here are five effective ways to enhance self-reflection and personal growth through your travel journal:

1. Embracing emotions : Use your journal to describe your feelings and emotions during your travels. This practice can help you process and comprehend your emotional responses.

2. Contemplating experiences : Take the opportunity to write about the impactful moments, challenges, and lessons you encounter. By doing so, you can gain valuable insights, learn, and grow.

3. Recognizing strengths and weaknesses : Assess your reactions to various situations and identify areas where you excel as well as struggle. This self-awareness will optimize your personal growth.

4. Establishing personal goals : Utilize your journal to set realistic development goals for yourself. For instance, if you tend to be shy, challenge yourself to interact with locals. Regularly reflect on these goals and track your progress.

5. Documenting achievements : Take the time to celebrate your accomplishments in your journal. Whether it’s conquering fears, trying new activities, or pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, recognizing these achievements will boost your self-confidence and inspire further growth.

By actively engaging in self-reflection and personal growth through your travel journal, you can maximize your travel experiences and create positive changes that spill over into various aspects of your life.

Creative Outlet

Travel journaling provides you with a valuable creative outlet that allows you to express yourself and document your experiences in unique ways.

There are several methods through which travel journaling serves as a creative outlet:

1. Writing: You can vividly describe your adventures, including the places you visit, the people you meet, and the emotions you experience. By skillfully using descriptive language, you can bring your experiences to life on the pages of your journal.

2. Drawing and Sketching: If you possess artistic abilities, you can visually represent your travels through sketches and drawings. You have the opportunity to capture breathtaking landscapes or intricate architectural wonders.

3. Collages and Scrapbooking: Incorporating various mementos such as pictures, tickets, and postcards can elevate your travel journaling experience. By artfully arranging these items, you can create visually appealing collages that effectively capture your journey.

4. Mapping and Planning: You may enjoy incorporating maps and itineraries into your journals. By using different colors, markers, and symbols, you can highlight your routes, points of interest, and even plan future adventures.

5. Poetry and Prose: Travel journals offer a platform for you to explore your emotions and experiences through poetry, short stories, and song lyrics. This allows you to express your thoughts and reflections in a profound and meaningful way.

Incorporating a creative outlet into travel journaling enhances the overall experience, enabling you to express yourself artistically. It adds a personal and unique touch to your journals, reflecting your unique personality and perspective.

Editor’s Note : You don’t have to be a famed artist to enjoy adding artistic touches to your journal – even a postcard can help you capture a moment or memory, it’s art!

How to Start a Travel Journal?

You might be wondering, “Where do I start?”

You’ll need to start with a journal and a journey. Consider the following guidelines as you choose and prepare to record an adventure you’ll never forget. Are you ready to dive into the world of travel journaling and embark on an adventure of self-expression and reflection?

Choose the Right Journal

When selecting a journal, it’s important to choose one that suits your needs and preferences. Consider the following factors:

Consider these factors to choose the right journal that meets your needs and enhances your travel journaling experience.

Determine Your Journaling Style

When it comes to travel journaling, determine your style. This helps capture your travel experiences authentically and true to your voice. Consider these factors when determining your style:

1. Writing or Visual: Decide if you prefer writing or capturing your thoughts and experiences through drawings, sketches, or collages. Some may prefer a combination.

2. Length and Detail: Consider how much detail you want in your journal entries. Do you enjoy writing long and descriptive passages or shorter, more concise entries? This determines entry length and depth.

3. Structure: Think about if you prefer a structured journal with a specific format like a daily log or reflection on specific trip aspects. Alternatively, you may prefer a free-flowing and spontaneous approach.

4. Multimedia Elements: Decide if you want to include additional elements like travel photos, tickets, or souvenirs. These bring memories to life and add a visual dimension.

Remember, your journaling style can evolve and change over time. The important thing is to find a resonating style that effectively captures your travel experiences. Experiment with different approaches and embrace the freedom to authentically express yourself. Happy journaling!

Gather Essential Supplies

To gather essential supplies for your travel journal, follow these steps:

1. Choose a journal: Select a journal that fits your style and preferences. Consider factors like page count, paper thickness, and lay-flat design for easy writing.

2. Pens and markers: Bring a variety of writing tools , including pens, markers, and highlighters, to add color and creativity to your journal.

3. Sticky notes and adhesive: Pack sticky notes or adhesive to incorporate extra elements like tickets, postcards, or photos into your journal. This will make your journal visually appealing.

4. Travel accessories: Consider including travel-specific items such as a small pouch for souvenirs, a ruler for straight lines or measurements, or a pocket-sized travel guide for reference.

5. Accessories for organization: Keep your journal organized with accessories like paper clips, binder clips, or page flags. These can be useful for marking important pages or sections.

6. Glue or tape: If you plan to add larger or heavier items to your journal, such as brochures or maps, bring glue or tape to securely attach them.

7. Travel-friendly storage: Make sure you have a sturdy and compact bag or case to store all your journaling supplies in one place. This will make it easier to access them while traveling.

Remember, the purpose of gathering essential supplies is to enhance your journaling experience and creativity. Consider which items will be most useful and enjoyable for you personally.

What to Include in Your Travel Journal?

Keeping a travel journal is the perfect way to capture the essence of your adventures. You have a lot of options when it comes to what to include – especially if you’re detailed oriented. Here are some of the major players.

Daily Itinerary and Activities

When traveling and keeping a journal, you may want to document your daily itinerary and activities. Here are some key points to consider:

– Record your daily activities: Write down the places you visit, the attractions you see, and the activities you engage in each day. This helps you remember the details and experiences.

– Date and timestamp your entries: Include the date and time of each activity in your journal. This creates a chronological account of your journey.

– Include details and descriptions: Be descriptive in your writing, capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of each activity. Use vivid language to paint a picture of your experiences.

– Add personal reflections: Alongside your itinerary, include your thoughts and feelings about each activity. Reflect on how the experience impacted you and what you learned from it.

– Document any challenges or surprises: Note any unexpected obstacles or pleasant surprises you encountered during your activities. This adds depth and authenticity to your travel narrative.

– Attach mementos: Include tickets, brochures, or other physical items related to your daily activities. These mementos bring back memories and enhance your journal entries.

Remember, the goal of documenting your daily itinerary and activities is to create a comprehensive record of your trip. By capturing the details and emotions of each day, you’ll be able to relive your travel experiences in the future. Happy journaling!

Impressions and Emotions

Impressions and emotions are crucial aspects when capturing the essence of travel experiences. By actively describing and reflecting on them, you have the ability to construct a vibrant and meaningful travel journal.

  • To start, describe your impressions by taking note of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that stand out to you when visiting a new place. Utilize descriptive language to effectively convey the atmosphere and essence of the location. For instance, instead of simply stating “the beach was beautiful,” vividly describe the vibrant colors of the sunset reflecting off the water, the delightful scent of the salty breeze, and the comforting sensation of warm sand between your toes.
  • Describe the enticing taste of local delicacies, the texture of cobblestone streets beneath your feet, or the vibrant array of colors at a bustling market. Engaging multiple senses not only makes your journal entry more immersive but also evokes a more vivid recollection .
  • It is important to reflect on your emotions while traveling. Travel often evokes a range of emotions, such as excitement, awe, nostalgia, and introspection . Write about how certain moments or experiences made you feel. Did you experience a surge of adrenaline while embarking on a chalenging hiking trail? Were you filled with a sense of wonder and reverence when visiting a historic site? By capturing your emotions in words, you are able to evoke and relive those unforgettable moments while comprehending their impact.
  • Express your personal connections in your journal. Share how you connected with the individuals you encountered during your journey. Write about the meaningful conversations you had, the friendships you formed, or the cultural exchanges that touched your heart. These personal connections and interactions leave a lasting impression and add depth to your travel journal.
  • Reflect on your personal growth as a result of your travels. Travel provides unique opportunities for self-discovery and personal development. Contemplate how your experiences challenged you, pushed you out of your comfort zone, or broadened your perspectives. Write about the valuable lessons you learned and how you have grown as an individual. Reflecting on personal growth helps to further enrich your travel journal.

By prioritizing and focusing on impressions and emotions in your travel journal, you can create a comprehensive and meaningful record of your adventures. This record will effectively transport you back to those treasured moments whenever you revisit your journal.

Photos, Tickets, and Souvenirs

Photos, tickets, and souvenirs are important for travel journals to capture and preserve trip memories. Here are reasons why these items are valuable:

– Photos: Capture landscapes, views, and moments of travel. They serve as visual reminders of places and experiences.

– Tickets: Save tickets from attractions, museums, shows, or events attended during the trip. These tickets transport you back to the exact date and time of something new and exciting.

– Souvenirs: Physical mementos that evoke powerful memories of travel. They can be notes, postcards, shop receipts, or even food wrappers. Souvenirs remind you of the culture, traditions, and unique aspects of the destination.

By including photos, tickets, and souvenirs, you create a comprehensive record of your experiences. These items add depth and richness to your written descriptions , allowing you to relive your adventures more tangibly. Photos serve as visual aids to jog your memory and bring back specific details of each location visited. Similarly, tickets and souvenirs help recall specific events or attractions interacted with during the trip.

Tips for Effective Travel Journaling

Looking to up your travel journal game? Say goodbye to mundane travel entries and hello to captivating narratives that will transport you and your readers back to your adventures in a heartbeat. Ready to unleash your inner storyteller and create a travel journal that will truly stand the test of time?

Here are our top tips.

Write Regularly

To maximize your travel journal’s effectiveness, it is crucial to write regularly. By consistently recording your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, you can capture the essence of your travels and create a vibrant and meaningful record.

1. Set a schedule : Establish a routine for journaling, whether in the evening before bed or during breakfast each morning. By incorporating journaling into your daily routine, you ensure that you don’t forget to record important moments and details.

2. Make it a habit : Treat journaling as a regular practice, like brushing your teeth or exercising. By prioritizing journaling and making it a non-negotiable part of your day, you are more likely to write regularly and consistently – at home or away.

3. Write in the moment : Don’t wait too long before jotting down your experiences. Memories fade quickly, and by writing while the details are still fresh in your mind, you can capture the nuances and emotions of each adventure.

4. Keep it simple : You don’t need to write a lengthy essay every time you journal. Sometimes, a few sentences or bullet points can be enough to jog your memory and capture the essence of the moment. Focus on the key highlights and impressions that stand out to you.

5. Use prompts and writing techniques : If you’re feeling stuck, use prompts or writing techniques to stimulate your creativity. Try freewriting, list-making, or describing a specific sensory experience. This can help generate ideas and deepen your journal entries.

By writing regularly, you will cultivate a substantial collection of travel memories for future reflection. So, make it a habit, be consistent, and enjoy the process of documenting your adventures. Happy journaling!

Be Descriptive and Detailed

Keeping a travel journal requires being descriptive and detailed. This allows you to capture the essence of your travel experiences and create vivid memories. Besides sharing sensory descriptions and your emotions and responses , here are some tips to help you be descriptive and detailed in your travel journal:

1. Include colorful anecdotes : Share interesting stories, encounters, or observations that stood out to you during your travels. These anecdotes add depth and personality to your journal entries.

2. Add context : Provide background information about the places you visit. This can include historical facts, cultural traditions, or local customs. It helps create a richer understanding of the destinations you explore.

3. Use quotes and dialogue : Incorporate conversations you had with locals or fellow travelers, as well as any memorable quotes or phrases that resonated with you. This adds authenticity and liveliness to your journal.

Being descriptive and detailed in your travel journal creates a personal time capsule of your adventures . So, grab your journal, embrace your inner storyteller, and let your words transport you back to those incredible moments you experienced while traveling.

It can also enhance memory retention – writing about experiences in detail helps solidify memories and improve recall.

Keeping Your Travel Journal Safe

When it comes to keeping your travel journal safe, there are a couple of important considerations to keep in mind. With the increasing use of technology, finding the right methods for digital backup is crucial. Safeguarding your physical journals from loss or damage is also a key aspect of preserving your travel experiences.

Let’s explore the best practices for keeping your travel journal safe and secure!

Digital Backup

When it comes to keeping your travel journal safe and secure, digital backup is essential. Here are some options to protect your travel journal:

  • Cloud Storage: Use Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud to upload digital copies of your travel journal. This way, even if you lose or damage your physical journal, you can always access your entries from any device with an internet connection.
  • External Hard Drive: Backup your travel journal regularly with an external hard drive. These devices have large storage capacities, allowing you to store written entries, photos, and videos.
  • USB Flash Drive: Keep a USB flash drive specifically for your travel journal backups. These portable devices are compact and easy to carry, ensuring you always have a backup copy of your journal.
  • Email Yourself: Send digital copies of your journal entries to your email address. This serves as a quick and convenient backup method accessible from anywhere.

In addition to these options, it is advisable to password-protect your digital backups for added security. Remember to regularly update your backups and store them separately from your physical journal to minimize the risk of losing all your travel memories.

By implementing one or more of these digital backup methods, you can have peace of mind knowing that your travel journal is safeguarded, and your cherished memories are securely preserved. So go ahead and embark on your next adventure, knowing that your travel journal is backed up and ready to capture every moment.

Protecting Physical Journals

Protecting physical journals is crucial to ensure the safety and longevity of travel memories. To safeguard your travel journal, consider the following tips:

– Use a sturdy cover : Opt for a durable journal , like a hardcover or leather-bound notebook , to prevent tearing or damage.

– Waterproof protection : Invest in a waterproof journal cover or use a plastic sleeve to shield your journal from spills or rain, preserving your writing – especially if you’re hiking or camping with it.

– Keep it separate : Avoid storing your journal with sharp objects or liquids. Use a dedicated pouch or compartment in your bag to minimize accidents.

– Store in a safe place : When not in use, store your journal in a secure and dry location , away from sunlight and extreme temperatures to prevent fading or warping.

– Back it up : Make digital copies or scans of your journal pages to mitigate the risk of loss or damage. Store them securely on your computer, external hard drive, or cloud storage.

– Handle with care : Use clean hands and gentle handling to preserve the binding and keep the pages intact.

By following these precautions, you can protect your travel journal and ensure it remains a treasure of memorable experiences for years to come.

Interesting fact : The oldest surviving travel diary dates back to the 2nd century AD. It was written by a Roman soldier named Aulus Plautius , who documented his exploration of Britain !

Sharing Your Travel Journal

When sharing your travel journal, follow these steps to effectively communicate your experiences to others so they can experience your adventure with you all over again.

– Organize your entries : Arrange your journal entries in a logical order, either chronologically or by location. This helps readers follow your journey and understand its progression.

– Include visuals : Alongside your written entries, add photographs, postcards, or sketches that capture the essence of your travels. Visuals enhance readers’ understanding and create a more immersive experience.

– Be descriptive : Use vivid and detailed language to describe the places, people, and experiences you encountered. Paint a picture with your words so that readers can feel like they are there with you.

– Share personal insights : Include your thoughts, reflections, and emotions in your journal entries. This adds a personal touch and allows readers to connect with your experiences on a deeper level.

– Consider your audience : Think about who you want to share your journal with. If it’s a close group of family and friends, you can be more intimate and less formal in your writing. If you plan to publish or share your journal with a wider audience, make sure your tone and content are appropriate.

– Set boundaries : While sharing your travel experiences can be exciting, respect the privacy of others. Be mindful of what you include in your journal and obtain consent before sharing personal stories or photographs involving other individuals.

Sharing your travel journal allows you to relive your adventures and inspire others to explore the world. So grab your pen, gather your memories, and let your words transport you and your readers to the incredible places you’ve visited.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how can a travel journal be beneficial for business purposes.

By keeping a travel journal, you can jot down ideas and inspiration for business ventures during your trips. It allows you to document potential collaborations, networking opportunities, and innovative concepts that can be implemented in your work.

2. What are some pre-departure ideas to spark travel journal ideas?

Before leaving for your trip, consider researching the history and culture of your destination. This can help spark ideas for what to include in your travel journal, such as unique landmarks, local customs, or traditional cuisine.

3. How can a travel journal help with post-holiday ideas?

After your trip, reviewing your travel journal can jog your memory and inspire ideas for future vacations. You can reflect on your favorite experiences, places you want to revisit, or even new destinations you discovered during your previous trip.

4. What are some different versions of travel journaling?

There are various ways to approach travel journaling, including “just the facts,” storytelling, envelope-style, scrapbook style, and sketchbook. Each version offers a unique way to document and remember your trips, allowing you to choose the style that suits you best.

5. Can a travel journal be stored digitally?

Absolutely! In modern life, digital travel journal options are available. You can use diary software or dedicated travel journal apps to create a solid collection of your travel memories. Just make sure to backup your digital journal to keep it safe.

6. Is it essential to keep a separate notebook for each trip?

It is not necessary to have a separate notebook for each trip. You can use a single travel journal and section it off for various travels. This way, you can maintain one comprehensive journal that includes all your travel adventures.

Brooks Manley

Brooks Manley

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Creative Primer  is a resource on all things journaling, creativity, and productivity. We’ll help you produce better ideas, get more done, and live a more effective life.

My name is Brooks. I do a ton of journaling, like to think I’m a creative (jury’s out), and spend a lot of time thinking about productivity. I hope these resources and product recommendations serve you well. Reach out if you ever want to chat or let me know about a journal I need to check out!

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A Tool for Documenting Understanding

Travel journals—a mix of notebook and portfolio—allow students to chart and take ownership of their learning.

A student is showing his Ancient Greece history report.

Travel journals are student-created “textbooks.” Normal Park calls them travel journals because they chart the journey of students’ learning. They are a great way for students to take ownership of their learning. Every student creates one, and every travel journal is unique to the student.

Travel journals are a collection of the work students do for their science or social studies module. Teachers use travel journals on a daily basis; students create work and then add it to their journal throughout the quarter. Journals include writing and reflection pieces, graphic organizers, timelines, charts, drawings, diagrams, vocabulary, maps, pictures, and anything else that reflects students’ learning and understanding of the module topic. Teachers also photocopy relevant articles and have students place those in their journals.

During the course of one year, a student will create four journals for four different modules. Students take the journals home at the end of each quarter—they love to show them off to their parents and keep them as a record of what they learned.

Creating Content to Deepen the Learning

Students create a variety of content types for their journals––from written reflections to maps and diagrams––in response to teacher prompts and open-ended questions. Each journal project has several essential elements.

Blank journal: At the beginning of each module, teachers hand out a blank journal to each student.

Table of contents: The table of contents is teacher-created and lists 25 to 28 lessons for that module. Students paste the table of contents into their journals on Day 1 of the module.

Essential questions: These three or four open-ended questions are the basis of every lesson taught in the module. Teachers develop the questions according to the standards students must meet in that particular module. For example, a typical question might be “How does where you live affect how you live?” or “How does structure influence behavior?”

Students write in their essential questions at the beginning of the module, placing them on the page opposite the table of contents. This gives them a sense that everything they are exploring in the module is connected to investigating these questions.

“I wonder” questions: On Day 1 of the module, a teacher will deliver a hook lesson introducing students to the module theme. Students are then asked to write their own “I wonder” questions about what they are wondering about the particular module. This is a quick and easy assessment that allows teachers to gauge how much students know about a particular topic.

Content: A travel journal has a variety of content, including graphic organizers, reflection pieces, timelines, charts, diagrams, vocabulary, pictures, maps, and all kinds of writing. Often teachers deliver a lesson and then offer some kind of prompt that students respond to. Each student writes a response, and the teacher helps the student edit it. The final version gets published in the travel journal as a record of the student’s work.

Rubric: A rubric is a simple way for students and teachers to judge the completion of assignments. The lower grades use a simple check minus, check, or check plus to assess learning. In the lower grades, the rubric is a reflection of the table of contents, with an added column for a grade the student gives himself or herself and a column for the grade the teacher gives the student. The rubric for the upper grades can be more specific and sophisticated to reflect what’s being learned.

Cover: Each student designs a cover for his or her journal at the end of the module that reflects an idea related to the topic. Students may have two or three options for themes for the cover they want to draw, paint, or design.

Display: At the end of the quarter, all the travel journals are put on display for the school’s quarterly Exhibit Night. Once the exhibits come down, students receive their journals back and take them home. 

  • Normal Park Curriculum Map
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Edit a Travel Journal

Free Printable Travel Journal Templates

Design travel journal printable pages using the finest editable templates, easily customizable with just a few clicks..

Design personalized travel journal sheets using customizable online templates. Capture the memories of your trip with beautiful designs suitable for both kids and adults, ensuring you remember your journey forever.

Online travel journal template to customize

Design printable Travel Journal pages online

At, we've refreshed our incredible template library with a stunning collection of editable Travel Diaries for you to record your adventures and craft unforgettable memories .

They are perfect for children to enjoy filling out and for adults to document their experiences. Additionally, we've considered businesses and tourism companies. If you run a travel agency , you can personalize these diaries with your logo, address, and contact information . They can be offered as complimentary gifts to your clients, shared on social networks, or attached to emails.

Travel is one of the most enriching experiences in life . Each destination brings us new cultures, breathtaking landscapes and fascinating experiences. What better way to immortalize these adventures than with a Travel Diary? They are a treasure trove of memories. Remember what Cesare Pavese used to say?

"Travel is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that is familiar and comfortable about your friends and home. You are at all times out of balance. Nothing is yours except the most essential: the air, the hours of rest, the dreams, the sea, the sky; all those things that tend toward the eternal or what we imagine as such."

With our enjoyable and user-friendly online editor, you can create your own personalized journal right away. It's also a handy tool for organizing your itinerary and planning future trips.

Free editable travel journal pages printable

How to create free printable Travel Journal sheets on

See how easy it is to quickly create a travel journal as a school activity or for people who love to write by hand:

  • Click on an image in this article or enter the editor to get started.
  • Select the layout you like best.
  • Edit the template with the text, photos, stickers and colors you want.
  • Save the changes online in the personal cloud we created, automatically.
  • Download the final result in JPG, HD PNG or PDF to print in high resolution.

You're done!

Printable holiday journal template for kids

Download custom digital Travel Journal templates

Writing a travel journal is more than just a creative endeavor. Here are a few compelling reasons why you should utilize our templates to create a travel journal, even if you have no design experience or computer skills :

  • A travel journal lets you relive precious moments over and over again . It allows you to recall details that might fade in your memory over time - how magical it is to read again, in your own handwriting, what you experienced on that beach or in that mountain!
  • You can express your experiences creatively through your own drawings, collages, photos and artistic expressions.
  • It becomes a family legacy . It's a wonderful way to share your adventures and discoveries with future generations - your great-grandchildren will know who you were and how much fun you had!
  • It gives you a chance to reflect on your emotions and thoughts . It can be a therapeutic form of personal growth and self-knowledge.

On the other hand, encouraging your students to keep a travel journal is a wonderful way to foster their creativity, writing skills and cultural awareness. It's a great idea as an after-school activity for the summer or Christmas break.

Embark on your journey today! Log in to our free editor and design fantastic travel journal page layouts using our professional templates right away.

Customizable Travel Journal layout ideas

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31 Travel Journal Prompts + Creative Travel Journal Ideas

Looking for travel journal prompts and creative travel journal ideas ?

Then you’re in the right place! 

Especially right now as travel is limited and people are searching for ways to travel at home, such as through relaxing staycations , keeping a travel journal can be a great way to relive your favorite trip memories. 

Moreover, it can keep travel alive, allow you to explore the world from home, and help you stay curious. 

Keep reading for a list of fun journal writing prompts related to travel as well as tips for creating something tangible that truly helps you feel inspired. 

Table of Contents

Downloadable Travel Journal PDF

Before we dive into the post, though, I want to offer you the chance to grab my free printable travel journal . 

printable travel journal prompts

The trip journal includes 56 prompts in total. 

This inspiring printable and fillable journal is great for exercising your creativity while traveling from home as you remember your favorite trips. 

Grab it, and then feel free to message me on Instagram ( @jessieonajourney ) to let me know which travel journal writing prompts were your favorite and why.

I plan to update the journal in the future — and you’ll get any revisions I make — so your feedback is appreciated!

What Is A Travel Journal?

A travel journal is a place where you can document your trip memories, whether you’re spending 7 days in Cancun , going on a solo USA road trip , off completing the world’s best hiking trails , or something else.

These can be paper or digital, bound or looseleaf, thin or thick. And— when it comes to how to write in a travel journal — it can include just text or a variety of mediums.

The point is, it offers a way to record what happens to you on the road — though you’re welcome to take your entries and give them a fictional twist for fun! 

creative travel journal ideas

Choosing Your Travel Journal

I may be a little biased, but if you’re looking for the best travel journal with prompts, I recommend grabbing my free printable journal here . 

Because I made it fillable, you can also use it as a travel journal online!

Additionally, there are loads of inspiring options online if you’d prefer to purchase one. A quick note that the below journal links are affiliate links. 

On Amazon, I love this vegan leather option as well as this mindful travel journal .

Additionally, I’m a huge fan of the travel journals at Modcloth. Click here and search “journals” to view their latest collection.

Creative Travel Journal Ideas

Wondering how to be creative in your journal?

First of all, remember that a journal doesn’t just have to be writing. Use markers, paints, stickers, glitter, and even momentos from your travels to really bring the text to life. 

Of course, don’t forget about travel-themed accents, too, like stamps, tickets, postcards, and maps — you can even cut out sections of a map to showcase your favorite destinations. 

travel journal writing prompts

If you’re artistic, you might also consider bullet journaling and other techniques to make your journal more visual. 

In terms of keeping your travel writing fresh, having details to pull from can be a huge help.

When possible, try to experience a place with all five senses so you have more to draw from later. I personally like to take notes right after any experience I think I may write about later. 

Keep in mind, being fully present in this way is also just an overall healthy practice. 

If you’re having trouble remembering details, try to sit in silence and do a visualization. Personally, when I do this exercise I aim to not only see myself in a place, but to put myself back in the place so that I am seeing the scene through my own eyes. 

Feeling writer’s block?

Sometimes all that it takes is a change of scenery to get inspired again. Try going for a walk or trying a new cafe to see if that helps.

If not, put the journal away, give yourself some mental space, and pick it back up tomorrow. 

And if you’re proud of what you’ve written, feel free to post it on social media, share it in an email with friends or, of course, keep it to yourself. 

travel journal examples

How To Keep A Travel Journal: Quick Tips 

As an avid journaler myself, these are some of my personal tips for having fun, feeling creative, and staying inspired while writing.

As with travel tips and trip styles, everyone has their own process when it comes to journaling, and something that works for me may not work for you. Feel free to try out this advice, keep what works, and let go of what doesn’t.

Overall, the goal is that you get something beneficial out of these pages.

Tip #1: Journal when you feel most creative.

For instance, you might choose some mindful ways to start your day and have completing daily journal prompts be one of your morning rituals. 

However, if you find you feel more creative in the afternoon or evening, plan your writing for then.

Tip #2: Don’t edit as you write.

Allow your first draft to be all about getting your ideas and thoughts down onto the paper and getting into a creative flow state.

You can always tweak things later.

Tip #3: Remember the power of lists.

This is one of my favorite trip journal ideas!

Writing in lists can be helpful when you’re:

  • having trouble getting started
  • wondering what things to put in a travel journal
  • feeling like your sentences just aren’t flowing together

This way, you can at least get your ideas down and edit them together in a cohesive manner later on.

Tip #4: Write stories.

While this isn’t mandatory, those who are curious how to write a travel journal that’s worth reading should consider writing your thoughts as stories instead of in a stream-of-conscious fashion. 

To write a story, make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Actually, if you really want to do it right, you should also consider character, plot, setting, and tension.

For a lesson in storytelling, make sure to check out this video on how to improve your creative storytelling skills for more engaging writing:

Tip #5: Go beyond text.

Wondering what to put in a travel journal?

Realize there is no right or wrong answer to this question!

Keep it text-based, or add paintings, drawings, stickers, momentos from your trip, and more. 

Personally, I’ve started writing out my journal entries and then drawing them to add some additional creativity and really bring the pages to life. 

travel journal template

The Best Travel Journal Apps

Prefer a digital journal option over paper? 

There is an app for that! 

I’ve talked about my favorite travel safety apps before, but here are a few of my favorite apps for keeping a travel journal:

Travel Diaries .  This free app allows you to create both public and private journals. The layouts are customizable, and you can easily add text, photos, and even maps. 

One really neat feature of this app:

You can turn your travel diary into a physical creation to be shipped to your home!

Day One Journal . This is another great travel journal app that makes it simple to record your memories using photos, videos, drawings, and even audio recordings. 

The “On This Day” feature allows you to go back in time to revisit your favorite trip moments, while automatic backups ensure your content never gets lost. 

Unique app feature:

You can handwrite in your journal using your finger or Apple Pencil. 

This travel app has both free and paid premium versions. 

how to keep a travel journal

Polarsteps . Dubbed “the personal travel log in your pocket,” Polarsteps is an app that helps you plan your trips as well as record them along the way in a visually-appealing manner.

In fact, this app puts an emphasis on adding experiences to maps and using video to document, so you can really bring your trips back to life later on. 

A feature I love:

You can turn your travel memories into a stunning hardcover book to keep!

Unique Travel Journal Examples

Looking for some travel journal inspiration?

Here are some mood boards with journal examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

These are also helpful if you’re wanting to learn how to make a travel journal.

By the way:

Check out the bottom right photo in the top collage if you’re looking for travel journal layout ideas.

travel journal examples

Travel Writing Prompts – Quick Picker 

If you’re like me and often feel indecisive when choosing a prompt, I’ve got a fun little tool that can help:

The above video moves through the list of writing prompts quickly.

To use it as a quick picker, press play, turn your gaze down, and then stop the video at a random moment.

Then, voilà , you’ve got your travel writing prompt chosen for you! 

31 Travel Journal Prompts

Whether you’re physically traveling or at home dreaming of the road, use these travel prompts for your journal.

I love these prompts for when I’m feeling stuck and am searching for things to write in a travel journal:

1. Remember a time when you met people while traveling that felt like family. Describe your time with them in great detail.

2. Write a postcard to a friend from a place you’ve loved visiting.

3. Think about a problem that exists in travel. Now, invent a solution to the problem. Hey, could this journal help you come up with your next million-dollar idea?

4. If you could go on a trip with anyone, dead or alive, who would you go with? Where would you go and what would you do?

5. Share a time you were lost or that you lost something while traveling. 

6. How has travel changed or shaped you? Note: This is one of my favorite self-discovery journal prompts!

7. Start your travel story with the following: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

8. What is the first vacation memory that comes to mind? Come up with your memory in 10 seconds or less!

9. Think back to the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to. Now, describe it using all five senses.

10. Write about a multi-destination trip — from the perspective of your backpack.

11. What is a sticky situation you’ve gotten out of on the road? Hint: Allow this to also be a reminder of your strength!

12. What is a fear you’ve overcome while traveling? How?

13. Take your story from the previous prompt about overcoming a fear while traveling and rewrite it from the perspective of an onlooker.

14. What has been your craziest transportation experience?

15. Write a review of the best hotel you’ve ever stayed in.

daily journal prompts

16. Write a review of the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in using humor.

17. Write a letter of gratitude to someone who showed you an act of kindness on the road .

18. Write about the last trip you took — from the perspective of yourself in the year 2600.

19. Write about a hike you loved doing using all five senses.

20. “Travel makes me feel _____.” Why?

21. Write about a trip you took last year from the perspective of your favorite book or movie character.

22. What is the biggest lesson that travel has taught you? Share a story that brings this to life.

23. Pretend that you were given an extra day on a trip you loved. What would that day have looked like?

24. Choose a trip you haven’t written about yet. Now choose a different time period, and write about the trip as if it happened in that time period.

25. In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about travel?

26. Think back to an interesting conversation you’ve had while traveling and begin your story with that dialogue.

travel journal writing

27. Transport yourself to a beautiful beach you’ve visited. Suddenly, a message in a bottle washes up onto the shore. What does it say? How do you react?

28. Here is a road trip journal idea! Write about a road trip you went on, but have someone else from the trip be the narrator. Hint: If you traveled solo, have the car or an onlooker be the narrator.

29. Think of a time you went on a trip that took you out of your comfort zone. Write the end of the story, then the middle, then the beginning.

30. What is one piece of advice you’ve been told by a local while traveling? Have you applied it to your life? Why/why not?

31. If you were to write a travel memoir, what would the first chapter look like?

Bonus: Pair Your Journal Prompts With Self-Care

In my opinion, the best way to enjoy time spent journaling is by pairing it with other self-care activities.

In the video above, I share my top 10 favorite self-care tips and rituals for travelers — though they can also be enjoyed at home!

My recommendation:

Make a day of it! Use the journal prompts and the self-care rituals to create your own DIY retreat .

Want more travel-themed prompts?

Don’t forget to grab my free downloadable Inspired Storyteller Travel Journal — featuring inspiring quotes, writing tips, and 56 fun prompts to help you recount your favorite trip memories and write creatively. 

best travel journal with prompts

Do you have any travel journal prompts to add?

What are your favorite creative travel journal ideas, related posts:, about jessie festa.

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture , an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys , which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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These prompts are just the inspiration I needed to capture my thoughts about travel. Not only do they tap into my travel memories, but they feed my creative spirit. Who says you have to actually go anywhere to be well-traveled? 😉

I have trouble keeping a journal, but have always want too – these are such good prompts ill have to give it another try!

Wow, what an incredible article! I’m so grateful to have come across this treasure trove of travel journal prompts and ideas. The suggestions provided here are truly inspiring and have sparked my wanderlust even more. From capturing the sensory details to reflecting on personal growth, these prompts cover every aspect of a fulfilling travel journal. The beautiful descriptions and practical tips have motivated me to start documenting my adventures with a renewed passion. Thank you for sharing such a valuable resource that will undoubtedly enhance my future travel experiences. Keep up the fantastic work!

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Kids Travel Journal Printable [Downloadable PDF Template]

Keeping a kids travel journal is not just a great way to remember the details of your trip, but it also captures those precious memories that may later be swept away in the fog of our memories.

Your kid’s journal will become an heirloom more precious than any other souvenirs you can bring back from your trip. Plus, a journal is an excellent way to keep the kiddos entertained during road trips, long plane rides, and other inevitable travel downtime!

While any old notebook or journal works, if you want to encourage kids to keep track of their experiences, you need to provide some travel journal ideas.

Kid travel journal writing

Kids Travel Journal Printables

One thing I’ve learned from my daughter’s teacher is that writing is easier for kids if they are given a writing prompt.  To design these travel journal pages, I talked to my girl about what things she likes to remember from her travels and what types of prompts might make journaling easier.

With her input I put together the following kid travel journal printable pages–including a cover and two inside pages. So if you are looking for a DIY travel journal for your kids, look no further! And if you prefer ready-made kid travel journals — keep reading because I have some options that I like down below.

With this free printable travel journal cover, your child can personalize their journal with their name, indicate where on the map they are going, and record the dates of the trip.

Kid Travel Journal Printable Cover for download at

Just click here to download the free PDF of the   kid travel journal printable cover .

I’ve also put together two interior pages. Just print as many of these (double-sided if you can) for the number of days of your trip.

The first page lets your child record the date and location and choose how they felt about the day (loved it, liked it, meh, ugh, tired, or sick.) Kids can also write about what they saw, the best thing they ate, where they stayed, and their favorite part of the day.

There are also icons to select how they traveled (plane, train, car, taxi, subway, boat, bike or walking) and what the weather was like (hot, sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, rainy, snowy or cold.)

Kid Travel Journal Printable Interior Page downloadable at

Click here to download the interior page PDF of the  kid travel journal printable .

The second interior page gives plenty of room to draw a picture that represents their day, to help those that are more visual than verbal. It also provides space to write about something they learned to keep track of all the amazing education that comes through travel like facts about a place they visited, a new word in a new language, or something about the culture you are visiting.

Free kid travel journal printable picture page downloadable at

Click to download the PDF of the  kid travel journal printable drawing page .

Before you leave just print out the number of pages you need and staple it, bind it, or put it in a pocket folder with room to save ticket stubs, programs, and more.

When on the road, don’t wait until the meltdown at bedtime to think about writing in journals. Stick it in your day bag along with some crayons and pencils and use it as a way to keep kids entertained while waiting to be served at restaurants or other downtime throughout the day.

By the way, if you really want to get your kids involved in the travel planning as well as the travel journaling, use these vacation planner worksheets for kids !

Other Kid Travel Journals

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

Not looking for a travel journal template? Maybe a travel diary or travel journal is a better fit:

Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids

student trip journal

My friend Rob from 2TravelDads put together The Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids: Awesome Activities for your Adventures . Since he is always adventuring with his two boys, he has some great advice to share on keeping kids entertained and engaged.

My Travel Journal

student trip journal

I’m a big fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks and the Lonely Planet Kids book series, including the My Travel Journal for kids.

Looking for more printables? Check out my scavenger hunts for Universal Orlando and Rome . And don’t forget to sign up for my family travel newsletter to get your free family vacation planning kit!


Free travel journal printable pages for kids. Make vacation downtime fun and capture memories with these travel journal printables. They will become priceless family heirlooms! #printables #travel #familytravel #traveljournals #traveljournal

Tamara Gruber is the Founder and Publisher of We3Travel. A former marketing executive and travel advisor, Tamara is an award-winning travel writer and recognized expert in family travel. Tamara is a member of SATW and the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and serves on the Board of the Family Travel Association. She is also the publisher of and the co-host of the Vacation Mavens travel podcast.

Find this useful? Share it!

Publish Date: April 7, 2014

51 thoughts on “Kids Travel Journal Printable [Downloadable PDF Template]”

Many thanks! Sincerely appreciate the free downloads. Your time & talent is appreciated.

These look fab, I’ve pinned to print off in the pre-holiday panic

Thank you for creating theses pages We3Travel, they are beautiful! I’m just seeing this while on a trip in Spain without printing facilities, but will be using thes on our next trips!

I’m so glad you like them! Have a great trip. We loved visiting Spain a few years ago.

My Daughters School (Palm Valley Elem) shared this for as a summer activity! I am so glad they did!! this is exactly what I was looking for for my 8 year old! she needs the writing prompts! I am going to add them to a journal and add a few “pockets” for her to add ticket stubs etc

That’s great!! I made this a few years ago and I feel like I should update it but glad it still works for others!

Love your travel pages, but they would not print for me. Am taking my 10 yr old grand and parents to the Jersey Shore in July and making a list of crafty and fun activities to do with her. Since your pages won’t print, they have still given me an idea of making a simple journal with her and use your ideas as prompts for her to write and sketch. Thanks for the cool ideas.

I’m so sorry to hear they wouldn’t print for you. Were you able to download them or did you have trouble accessing them?

Comments are closed.


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Roaming the Americas

Travel Deeper: 15 Thought-Provoking Travel Journal Prompts

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Note: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. More details are  here .

leather travel journal on a bench

I kept a journal pretty religiously when I was in high school and college. (Chalk it up to all that teen angst I needed to process.) Unfortunately in my adult life, the consistency of my journaling habit has dropped off.

And while I hope to redevelop that daily muscle in my life, there is one time when I’m pretty good about it: travel.

I saw the incredible benefits that travel journaling brings while I was studying abroad in 2004—I wouldn’t have survived that semester without the ability to process all that I was experiencing emotionally, culturally, and spiritually. (And that time I thought I lost my study abroad journal in my 20s? I was crushed . Having my travel journal to look back on is the most profound keepsake I have of that semester.)

A really beneficial travel journal goes beyond noting what you did each day, though. It challenges you to dig deep, to process through your experiences, and reflect on your reactions to them .

Even if you’re not traveling cross-culturally and it’s just a fun vacation with friends, there’s opportunity for self-reflection when you’re out of your normal environment and spending all your time with new daily companions. It’s a chance to consider how you respond to challenging moments, or to spend time sitting still and thinking about what you want your daily life to look like back home.

Journal and book on a porch swing with a yellow pillow

Whether you’re looking for study abroad journal prompts for students or some simple journaling ideas for your next vacation, I’ve compiled this short list of travel journal writing prompts for self-reflection to get you thinking more deeply about various aspects of travel and yourself.

I don’t think you need a lot—in fact, you might choose just one (see the second list) and use it daily. I’ve included 15 so that you have enough to choose from without it being overwhelming. Print it out, take a screen shot on your phone, or better yet, physically write the list in the back of your journal so you always have them available (sans technology).

These trip reflection questions will hopefully prompt you to write through the challenging and frustrating moments that travel sometimes brings, as well as dig deeper to reflect on the joyful and life-changing moments.

Self-Reflection Journal Prompts

  • What are my initial feelings about being here: curiosity, frustration, joy, awe, sadness?
  • What smell(s) have stuck out to me?
  • What was a challenging experience I had? Why did I respond the way I did? What did I learn about my personality, values, or home culture through this?
  • What has sparked my curiosity? What has fascinated me here?
  • Describe a memorable interaction or conversation I’ve had with someone who lives here. (What were they like? What did I learn about this place or culture? Why did the interaction stand out to me? What do I want to remember about them?)
  • What sound(s) have stuck out to me?
  • What is something that has surprised me about this place/culture?
  • What is different about me while on this trip (positive or negative—am I more adaptable, irritable, spontaneous, disorganized, peaceful)? Why do I think that is?
  • What were my expectations about this place? How is the trip comparing with my expectations?
  • One quality I really appreciate about someone I’m traveling with is….
  • What will I be glad to leave behind from this trip?
  • Is there anything I want to do more or less of when I get home?

Recommended Reading: How to Deal with Frustrating Travel Experiences

Daily Travel Journal Prompt

  • What’s my Kodak Moment from today—that experience, image, or feeling I don’t want to forget?
  • If I had to describe today in one word, what would it be? Why?
  • If I had to tell a 5-minute story about one thing that happened today, what would it be about? (Credit for this idea goes to storyteller Matthew Dicks. I highly recommend his TEDx Talk on this topic—check it out below.)

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Travel Photographer | FAA Certified Drone Pilot

Naomi is the coffee-loving, crazy-about-Latin-America writer and photographer behind everything here. She's guided by curiosity and a belief that every place has a story to tell–whether it’s through the intricate details of nature, history that has shaped a culture, or the people who call a place home. Learn More

Travel Journal: Ideas, Tips, and How To Write a Travel Diary

  • Travel Journal

Traveling has the potential to be wildly fulfilling. It exposes you to new cultures, different perspectives and unique experiences. The further you travel the more you are pushed out of your comfort zone. And the more you are pushed out of your comfort zone, the more you learn about yourself and the world around you.

One of the most popular types of journals is a travel journal. By having a travel diary, you can keep all these new experiences and knowledge in one place where you can reflect on them.

What is a travel journal?

Travel journals are a place where you can write about trips you have taken, what you learned during and the experiences you had. It is a collection of adventures, stories, memories and discovery.  It doesn’t matter where you're going or who you’re traveling with, an online trip journal can come anywhere. 

Why Write A Journal When Traveling?

There are many benefits of keeping a journal when traveling, but here are a few to start with:

Remember More

By writing down the things you want to do on your trip and the things you have done during it, you won’t forget the reasons you wanted to go and will remember more of your visit.

When traveling somewhere new, you will learn a lot about that place’s culture, customs and people. By having a place to write down your observations, you will absorb more of your surroundings.

Reflect More

A journal is a place to record new things you have discovered while exploring various places you visit. By having all these new findings in one place, you will be able to look back and reflect on what you have learned and apply it to other parts of your life.

How To Write Travel Journals: 5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Journaling

You don’t need to be traveling to Timbuktu to write a travel diary. Your writing can start with a family vacation or a weekend getaway. All you need is a destination and your holiday journal can begin!

1. Use your journal to plan your trip

Your trip journal can begin before your trip has even started. Use your journal to start planning the things you want to do. It can be anything from a cool restaurant you want to eat at, a hike you want to go on or different sights you want to see. Write down whatever is on your trip check-list, so you don’t forget it.

Once you know what you want to do, do some research and figure out the best way to do it. If you want to go see a special monument, figure out the best way to get there and put it in your journal. If you want to do some cool activities, write down the contact information of the people, places or tours that facilitate them. Your journal is also a great place to keep the contact information of your accommodations and transportation.

2. Write about what you imagine it will be like

Sometimes when you travel, your destination is wildly different than what you expected. Maybe you expected the local food to be bad and it turned out to be delicious. Maybe you imagined the town to be smaller than it actually is. Maybe you thought you would be more comfortable with the language. Whatever it is, think about writing it down before you arrive. It will be interesting to compare these predictions to what you actually experienced.

3. Write during your trip

It is always easier to remember things when they are fresh in your brain, so try and write as much as you can while traveling; every day if you can. Your journal entries don’t have to be long, but let them highlight what you feel was most important or exciting. How did you feel during your visit to the local market? What did you smell, taste and hear? Did you learn something new from the person you spoke to at the bar? Were you surprised by the clothes people were wearing? What was the view from the top of the mountain like? Before you go to bed, try and recall what you did that day, what you thought and how you felt. This will serve as a great way to remember more from your trip, but will also help you reflect and grow from what you encountered.

4. Add pictures to your journal

Even though your journal is meant for writing, pictures are still worth a thousand words. Combining pictures with your first-hand accounts of what they represent, or what happened when they were taken, will make for an even more comprehensive narrative of your travels. Don’t worry about glueing or taping anything either. Penzu allows you to upload pictures straight into your online travel journal, so you can keep your pictures and words connected and organized.

5. Write about your trip after you leave

Since you write about your trip before you arrive, you should also write about it after you leave.

  • What was it like?
  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • What disappointed you?

It is important to reflect on your travels, so you can retain new understandings and apply them to future adventures. This is also a great way to learn about yourself, other people you may have travelled with and how you can grow. Step back from all the things you did and try to see the big picture. It may surprise you.

10 Travel Journal Ideas To Inspire You

The blank pages of your travel journal may not be serving as great inspiration, but your new trip should! Here are 10 travel journal ideas to get those creative juices flowing, kick-start your writing and help you get the most out of your travels. We hope these journal prompts help!

1. Why are you going?

Not every trip needs an explanation and not every vacation needs a justification. People travel for all sorts of different reasons or for no reason at all, but if your travel has purpose, write about it. Even if you’re traveling for the sake of it, that is a reason worth talking about too.

2. Write about your expectations.

As we mentioned above, expectations can wildly differ from reality, especially when going somewhere you’ve never been or going with someone you have never travelled with before. Jot down what you think the trip will be like, or hope it will be like.

3. What are you going to do?

Write about the things you want to do, the sights you want to see, the music you want to dance to, the food you want to taste. Writing it all down will get you excited and help you not to forget.

4. Write about the people.

Did you meet anyone new? Did you make a new friend? Were the locals welcoming? Did you learn something new from a stranger? Did you learn something new from a friend? People can really make a trip. Whether you came with them, or met them there, write about how the people you encountered affected your experience.

5. Write about the food.

Just because you call it your travel diary, doesn’t mean it can’t double as a food diary . If there are any foods you loved, dishes you hated or recipes you can’t live without, write them down to remember them all. Maybe some new fare you tried will influence your tastes when you return home.

6. The ups and the downs.

What did you like most about the trip? What did you like the least?

7. Write about yourself.

Reflect on the new experiences you had, what made you uncomfortable and what enticed you. Did you learn anything new about yourself on the trip? Did being somewhere else expose something you hadn’t seen in yourself before? Traveling can help people grow. Think about your journey and if it helped you grow in any way.

8. Write a travel guide.

If you knew friends were going to the same place, what would you tell them to do? Write down your recommendations and the stuff that should not be missed.

9. What would you have changed?

Is there anything about the trip you would have changed? Is there anything else you wish you did? Anything you wish you didn’t do? Write about your travels and how you can improve them for the next time you go away.

10. Where do you want to go next?

We all have a wish-list of places we want to go. Write yours down and try to start checking them off.

Using Penzu for Your Travel Journal

Penzu’s journal software allows you to access your journal from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Penzu will be your travel journal app ; all you need is your mobile phone or tablet and can write in in it, with or without wifi. You never have to miss an entry or forget a moment, as Penzu can come with you around the world. No internet necessary.

Now that you know what to write in a travel diary and how to write one, all you need to decide is where to go. Pick a place get start your online journal today!

There's no time like the present - start your free online journal today!

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Explore Your Worlds

Travel journal examples and how to get the most out of a travel journal

A travel journal: your new best friend.

Travel journal examples can spark ideas for your own journal. This matters a great deal because a travel journal can be one of your most helpful travel — make that life — tools. It can serve myriad purposes from recording your thoughts, emotions (an important aspect many overlook) and experiences to being a repository of creative ideas and even artwork. You can use it as a scrapbook, planning tool, contact book, organizer, reference book (for vital information such as passport numbers, hotel addresses, places to visit, etc.) and even a place to hide certain valuables.

It’s simple enough to put information into your travel journal. The hard part is being able to find or extract that information easily later on. But don’t worry. I’ll show you travel journal examples, techniques, hacks and tips for that and more based on decades trying a wide variety of travel journals and approaches. You’ll find these useful whether you’re an old pro at journaling or even if you’ve never used a travel journal before. And be sure to read all the way through this article since the Additional Resources section at the end is loaded with inspiring and helpful travel journal examples and ideas.

Getting started

The first and most important thing to remember is that there is no one right way to set up your travel journal. In fact, I’ve found that the best approach is to just start with something and learn as you go. My first travel journal was basically a daily diary: “Today I did this, etc.” Now, however, I use it in a very different matter. But it all comes down to this: What is the purpose of your travel journal?

First travel journal pages

Two typical entries from my first travel journal on my first trip to Europe in high school. I have upped my travel journal game a bit since then, or so I hope.

This is such an important question because it will guide what kind of notebook/journal/sketchbook you use, how you organize it and how you interact with it. If you’re just starting out, you may not even know your purpose other than to record your experiences. That’s fine. Start there. Then refine over time.

For me, I see my travel journal as a collection tool for travel drawing and notes where I gather ideas, sketches, some to-do’s, trip details and anything else that interests me. But the main difference between this and most journals is that as a tool, I want to use my journal after I return. Not just for nostalgic reminisces on my trip, but to glean from it what I’ve learned, gained and become. I’ll explain this more momentarily.

Picking the right journal

Again, I’m not sure there is a universal “right” travel journal. Your goal is to find what works for you. You can start by determining if you want a blank notebook or a travel journal that comes with prompts, quotes, organizing categories, etc. Here’s a helpful list of 17 travel journals to give you a sense of travel journal examples and possibilities. Mostly, consider if you want to do travel drawing or even painting in your travel journal. If so, you’ll want thicker paper that won’t warp with the water or bleed through with ink. You likely will want blank pages, as opposed to lines, grids or dots.

Different page orientations

Just as there’s no right or wrong size (just what works for you), so too is the orientation up to you. As you can see here, I sketched holding the journal in a portrait orientation (left page) but wrote (right page, partial) using a landscape orientation. Both work.

If you want to use it as a form of a scrapbook, get one with pockets or that is expandable enough for when you’ve doubled the thickness with all those tickets, stamps, samples of currency, bottle labels and other elements you’ve glued to the pages.

Buying a nice looking or feeling notebook or journal can be motivating. But getting too nice of a notebook to use can be intimidating: You’ll be afraid to do any travel drawing or mess it up. Thus, I suggest starting somewhere in the middle. Find a journal or notebook that will hold up well (hard covers help in this regard), but isn’t so expensive you’ll only want to use it on special occasions. 

Patterned paper pages

Even fancy patterns on your pages can be fun. I tend to prefer blank pages, but sometimes I’ll try different patterns just to mix things up.

Your travel journal is more of a workhorse than a show pony (though sometimes a bit of that too later on). You’ll get far more out of one you use all the time, where you write, do travel drawing or urban sketching, doodle and record with the intent that only you will ever see it. If you choose to show it to others later, fine. But don’t make that your main goal, at least as a beginner, or you’ll never get the most out of your journal.

How will you use your travel journal?

Back to purpose, you can choose to have a general-use journal or one devoted only to your trips (or to a particular trip). I have done both, and there are pros and cons to each. A journal for all situations allows you to connect everything you do so that if a great work idea hits you on a trip, you can reference back to a meeting about that, etc. You can also find things easier in some ways since your whole life, trip or home/work, is laid out in a chronological fashion in one book.

Daily entry journal

Here’s a recent journal of mine that I use daily, as well as for trips. You can see the basic outline for this article here that I wrote on the plane on a business trip. How do I know it was on a trip? From the notation that the sketch was done from a photo in the airplane’s magazine somewhere between Baltimore (BWI) and Seattle (SEA)

A really popular approach these days to general journals is the Bullet Journal . Many people swear by this way of organizing their journal and their life. I love many of the ideas found in bullet journaling. But I choose not to follow that approach completely. Why? Bullet journaling is primarily intended as a productivity tool. I personally don’t find it helpful in that regard because, for example, tracking all my calendar events and moment-by-moment to-do’s in a journal slows me down.

Combine digital and analog

Instead, I use a combination of Outlook, Trello , Evernote and Scrivener (the latter two for organizing ideas and writing projects or content) on my phone and computer. The main reason for tracking tasks digitally is that they roll over automatically. I don’t have to constantly move them manually from one day, week or month to-do list to the next.

But the main reason I don’t use the bullet journal methodology for my travel journal is that when I travel, productivity is not my goal. Exploration and discovery are. I use my travel journal to capture what I learn as I explore the world around me and the world within me wherever I go.

Page from China travel journal

On a trip, I’m less interested in productivity than in explaining why this sketch was hard to do well.

In the last few years, I’ve taken up sketching and even watercolors, so for me, I now maintain a separate travel journal for each major trip. I use one that has thicker watercolor paper, so on a three-week trip, I can pretty much fill up the whole book. But for shorter trips, I do use my day-to-day journal. And I’ve even done both: Used my day-to-day journal to record words and a smaller sketchbook for travel drawing or watercolors. Again, no right or wrong way to do this. Just start with an approach and build from there.

Organizing your travel journal

What follows is how I organize my travel journal. It’s the same way I do my day-to-day journal but with some additional pages in the end for travel-specific information. My purpose, remember, is to capture ideas, information and experiences and then to be able to use these later. For that reason, the most helpful part of my journal is the index. I’ll explain that in a moment along with travel journal examples, but here’s what else goes into my journal.

Starting with a brand new empty journal

The first thing I do with a new journal is to put my name, cell phone number and email address on the inside cover.

Next, if the journal doesn’t have a rear pocket, I make one or glue/tape in a small envelope that fits on the inside of the rear cover.

If you glue in your own, consider hiding a few large denomination bills, both dollars and the local currency, behind the envelope or anything else you tape or glue inside the covers. It’s a great place for hiding back-up money. It works because once you start using your travel journal regularly, you’ll find it is one of your most precious possessions. You’ll learn to guard it like your wallet, passport or phone.

Stacks of travel journals

These are just some of the many travel journals I’ve filled up over the years.

In addition to the pocket or envelope in your journal, consider bringing a quart or gallon-sized zip lock bag to hold all the small items you pick up along the way. I used to shove them into pockets in my carry-on bag, but having a single location now keeps them from getting lost or mangled. And it keeps my travel journal from looking like George Costanza’s wallet on Seinfeld . This same bag can hold a glue stick, paper clips or anything else you want for adding items to your journal.

Start in the front and work back

I track everything chronologically noting the date at the top of each day’s entry. If it spans multiple pages, I’ll write “(cont.)” after the date on later spreads so I know to keep looking for the start of that day when I review the entry later.

I work in this chronological fashion for recording most of my entries because I find it flows better to write the item down right away and then figure out how to classify it later. I set up indexes in the back for classifying and locating the entry. But that comes as a review step, not a creative or collecting function.

What to write

Starting at the front section of the travel journal, I may use the very first page as a title page if the journal is devoted to a single trip. Otherwise, I skip over that page and then start with the date of the start of the trip and then just keep going from there. Here are the types of content I write/draw along with some of my travel journal examples:

Sketching pages

Sometimes, I’ll devote a whole page or spread to nothing but sketches.

  • General thoughts . These make up the majority of my journal and are what you’d expect in any journal.
  • Sketches . I’m still just a beginner, but I’ve committed to one sketch per day, at home or on a trip. Sometimes they are involved. Others (most of the time), are just a quick gesture. But the discipline helps improve my skill.
  • A daily log . At the end of each day, I do a very quick list of summary activities, where I went, who I met, what I did. I actually note it like this: “(Log 11/27/19 – Wed.):” so that I can see at a glance what were log entries versus other ideas. For logs, the shorter the better. Here’s where bullet journal techniques can help: Record a few words as a bullet rather than full sentences. At the end of every daily log, I also record two specific items in addition log entries themselves, gratitude points and what I’ve read or watched.
  • Gratitude points : I jot down what I call a Goodness Journal (abbreviated as GJ) entry. This is the highlight of my day for which I am most grateful. On trips, this can often end up being multiple points.
  • Read/Watched : The second additional component is what I call Read/Watched (R/W) where I list any books I’ve read that day or any movies, programs, concerts, etc. that I watched. It can include podcasts and anything else you want to track. Before I started doing this, I’d get to the end of the year and couldn’t recall all the books I’d read. Now I can just by referring back to these entries.
  • Insights and Ideas . Most of my journal at home is filled with these. On trips, these happen more on plane, train or bus rides than every single day. But they could happen any time which is why I keep a pocket-sized travel journal with me or at least a note card or my phone so I can write the idea down immediately.
  • Quotes . These can be formal written ones I encounter or snippets of conversations I overhear. As a writer, I want to always be gathering dialog examples or clever turns of phrases.
  • To-dos. Yes, I said I record these digitally for the daily tasks. But sometimes on trips, you have opportunities for dreaming and planning. I mark all to-do’s with a checkbox I can fill in later. I like the bullet journal way they do this as well (a dot instead of a box).

Stamped page

I had a gentleman in China demonstrate his woodblock stamps by stamping some examples in my journal. You can paste in stamps, tickets, receipts, postcards or any other artifacts from your trip onto your journal pages as you go (if you remember to bring some glue or paste).

  • Descriptions . These are either quick notes on what I’m seeing, hearing, tasting or tasting, or longer ways to capture the details of a place. See Look Closely for details on how to do this as a way to learn to see details better or to write better based on your travels. I also make sure to write down the names of places, people, food, local expressions and anything else I want to write about later. Don’t assume you’ll remember it or can look it up later. Write it down.
  • Miscellaneous . I’ve had artists draw in my journal, had people stamp it (see photo above), record different colors of beverages spilled or intentionally dripped on it and a wealth of other things added. Be open to how you can use your journal. Or for fun, try this exercise: Come up with as many ways as you can think of to use your travel journal on your next trip.

The back of the journal

The front of the journal is used for a chronological input of information each day (or whenever you choose). The goal there is to record the idea, insight, drawing or information just like in a diary. The back of the journal is where you’ll organize it all for later retrieval.

Working from the last page backwards, I set up a series of index or topic pages (see the list below) where I record anything related to that topic either verbatim (if I have the time and forethought to write it down there such as contact info or a quote I came across) or as a page number reference and summary line from the front of the journal (hence the reason these back-of-the-journal pages are called Index Pages).

For me, I find that most index sections only require one page (e.g. for Contacts or Travel Details) but I leave two pages for Ideas or Vocabulary since they tend to have more entries. I write small (some would say ridiculously small), so if you don’t, you may want to leave more room.

Review your entries and record them for easier retrieval

I don’t assign page numbers as I write in the front of the journal. Instead, I jot down a page number later, maybe daily, maybe weekly, as I review my journal. Writing down the page number during the review phase shows me which pages have been indexed. No page number indicates it still needs to be indexed. As I review each page, I also code the entries themselves on the journal pages by highlighting the topic or assigning a word or letter to let me know what it is. For example, if there’s a quote, I will write “Quote” and circle it right before the quote. For blog ideas, I’ll write “blog” and circle that, etc. If  an idea that has distinct merit, I’ll draw a star next to it. Particular project ideas get a corresponding code, e.g. if it’s about  my book on Hidden Travel,   I’ll write “HT” and circle that. The whole point is to make it easier to spot the entry when you’re reviewing the page later.

Quote example page

Here you can (hopefully) see how I’ve written and circled page numbers at the top and put a box around the word “Quote” on the left page and “Visual appeal article” on the right page. Then, on the Quotes index page, I’ll write “108” and circle it with a quick notation like, “E.B. White on saving/savoring the world.” On the Ideas index page, I’ll write “109” and circle it with the notation, “Visual Appeal article questions.”

In case you’re wondering why the index/topic pages go in the back and not in the front like a table of contents, it’s because I often add topics as I progress through the journal. Working from the back gives me room to add new pages whereas if I’d started from the front and I didn’t guess correctly, I’d be out of room before running into my journal entries.

Travel journal examples of Pre-Trip Items

Some of my index/topic pages get filled in (or at least started) before my trip either as planning or to load my travel journal with important information to have on my trip. Here are some travel journal examples of the key sections.

Shot list

Here’s a travel journal example of a shot list from my China trip journal. I tend to write pretty small in the back section of a journal! The whited out area was my passport number in code. Writing key information on pages with other entries makes it even less obvious this is something valuable.

  • Vocabulary. On trips to countries where I’m learning the language, I’ll add new vocabulary words here usually starting long before the trip. These are key words to practice, as well as new ones I pick up as I travel.
  • Shot list . When planning my trip, as a photographer, I make a list of specific places, scenes, techniques I want to try or even times of day I want to shoot. Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Making Awesome Travel Photos for more on this and other travel photo techniques. In addition, as I review guidebooks or articles, I’ll add interesting places to this list. Even if you’re not a photographer, you can make a list of “must see” places or “must do” experiences or activities. Writing them down really helps because it makes it so easy to find all these in one place rather than hunting through a guidebook or other pages on your trip.
  • Themes and Moments . This is yet another pre-trip fill-in page. I try to come up with a theme or quest for each trip. Writing down ideas about that or defining it really adds to the anticipation of the trip. On this page, I’ll also jot down ideas for creating magic or defining moments for others on the trip. This includes ideas for the activities or contact info for places or people that will be part of the activity.

Travel journal examples of elements to add as you travel

Here are some typical index/topic pages in the back of my travel journal that get filled in as I go:

  • Contact information . I keep a separate page to record the names, email addresses, etc. of people I meet along the way. If, in a hurry, I just write down a name and email address in the front-of-the-book journaling section. I’ll later record the page number and contact name on the page here so all I can find all my contacts in one place later.
  • Ideas . This becomes a catchall for any creative ideas I’ve had. I normally start with the page number(s) followed by a brief summary such as “27 – 29: Dining room chair design” or “73: Article on architecture styles in Morocco.”

Ideas Index Page

Here’s a specific travel journal example, the Ideas Index Page from my China trip journal. I had started the page on the left as a vocabulary list but made room from more ideas when I ran out of space on the page on the right.

  • Books and Movies . This too is a catchall for any form of entertainment I want to read. I constantly get book and movie (and even song or podcast) recommendations as I travel that I add here with an open check box. I also record books I’ve finished to this list noting those with a checked box.
  • Quotes . As noted above, these may be written quotes I come across or snippets of dialog I pick up. I either write the quote here directly or reference the journal page where I wrote the quote with a reminder such as “53-quote from Leipzig waitress on timing.”

Things I Notice page

You can do a trip highlights page on the flight home, but sometimes it helps to record a summary of details in the midst of your trip of things that stand out to you.

  • To-do’s. I said I like to keep my travel journal free from productivity and time management, but I always have big-picture to-do activities that arise on a trip. I’ll record these as I go in the journal section, but for longer-term ones I don’t want to lose track of, I sometimes add a to-do index as well in the back of the journal. This can also be a great place to record future planning ideas for things you want to accomplish after your trip.
  • Trip highlights . I’ll normally note the big moments in the journal section as they occur. But often on the flight home, I like to review these and capture them all in one place with the page reference and a brief notation. I may also add in additional ones at this point because sometimes, you don’t realize how powerful or meaningful a moment was at the time.

When your journal is full

Eventually, you’ll fill up your journal with entries. You’ll then review and have every page numbered with key entries noted in your index pages. Then what?

I use Scrivener (for writing projects) and Evernote (for others) as software/apps to track ideas over time. Thus, when I finish a journal, I go copy the content from my index pages into one of these digital programs.

There are several reasons for this. First, it helps to have all your ideas over time in one place so you can view them easier. Second, with the online tools, I can tag content by subject making retrieval later much easier. Most of us focus our efforts on having ideas and maybe writing them down. But those ideas won’t serve you well if you can’t find them later. Finally, putting everything into one place helps me see patterns and related ideas which, in turn, sparks new ideas.

It all relates to the concept of Collect, Connect and Share. If all you’re doing is collecting, you’re missing out on the main value of your journal.

Make a copy

This may be overkill to some, but my journals are precious repositories of life. I would hate to lose them. I could dictate the contents and transcribe that, but I don’t have that kind of time. Instead, Evernote comes to the rescue.

The Evernote app has a photo function. I open the app and take pictures of every spread or page of my journal. I save the results as an Evernote file and can even tag it by date, country or other criteria. It then resides on the cloud (and I also do a back-up on a drive at home). That way, if the original gets lost, I know that all those memories are secure.

Let’s review

Here’s a summary of the key points:

  • Know the purpose for your journal
  • Choose the type of journal based on your intended purpose.
  • Start with something that’s not too nice so that you’re not afraid to mark it up.
  • Keep daily entries in the front and a list of index pages in the back of the journal.
  • Periodically review your journal entries. As you do, number each page and record that page number and a brief reminder on the appropriate index page.
  • At the end of each journal, photograph each page and save to a secure location. Then enter the index information into whatever tool you use for tracking all of your ideas over time.

Additional resources and travel journal examples

Here are other resources and travel journal examples to both inspire and help you get the most out of your travel journal:

  • A helpful article with visuals of different travel journal examples
  • Writer and artist Austin Kleon’s comments on notebooks 
  • Travel journal examples (and notebooks) of author Robert MacFarlane 
  • Some additional travel journal examples and notebook types
  • The Sketchbook Projec t, one of my favorite places to visit in Brooklyn, NY and a great source of inspiration for sketchbooks. If you’re looking for a single place for travel journal examples, it is this one. Here are just a few screen shots of some random travel journal examples I looked up by Julia Yellow . There are thousands of such journals at this site.

Travel sketch

  • If you really enjoy the travel drawing aspect of a travel journal, you might want to connect with the whole Urban Sketchers movement and see travel journal examples that include urban sketching. Here’s an example of an urban sketch by Stephanie Bower . I took some of her architectural sketching courses online at Bluprint and they were excellent.

Sketch of Croatia building

Parting thoughts

Finally, if you want even more travel journal examples and information, be sure to read Lavinia Spalding’s excellent book on the subject, Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler. Here’s one of many great quotes from the book:

“If we’re committed to honest investigation, the travel journal can be a cornerstone of growth and a catalyst for great work, providing a safe container for astonishing discoveries and the life lessons we take away from them. We write words in an empty book, and an inanimate object is transformed into a living, breathing memoir. In turn, as we write, the journal transforms us. It allows us to instantly process impressions, which leads to a more examined layer of consciousness in both the present and the future. It’s a relationship, and let me tell you, it’s no cheap one-night stand.”

You might want to consider writing that quote down in your travel journal. Either in the daily entries or on the quotes index page. Or however you want to do it. It’s your travel journal and the possibilities are endless.

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Thanks Steve! Informative and creative. Your sketching is lovely, too! Merry Christmas to you and the fam

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Thanks, Alan. I was just editing a section in my upcoming book, “Hidden Travel,” on the subject of sketching and the advice I was given by Gabriel Campinario, founder of Urban Sketchers. He told me to never apologize or say, “Oh, I’m just a beginner” when someone compliments your sketching because no matter how bad you think it is, it is still better than that of the 99% of the population who never attempts to draw. So I will leave it at, “Thank you!”

[…] I mainly get inspiration from a Reddit group called Journaling, and also I get a few ideas on making travel journals. Despite it being fun to do having a physical notebook, at times it can be difficult to finish them […]

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You’ve inspired me to resume creating tiny travel journals, with scrapbook like additions. I use photo double sided stickies, not glue. Someone asked what do I do with these? As if creating isn’t pleasurable. I often use them as primary sources to create photobooks. Along with my Bird lists.🐦😁.


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Eco-Travel in Retirement – Nature and Sustainable Luxury Travel

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101 Travel Journal Ideas & Creative Prompts to make journaling fun

101 travel journal prompts. image:journals with colored pencils

My mother insisted we keep a journal on our childhood trips. I love looking through those travel logs, seeing my little girl handwriting and reading the entries. But even with Mom’s urging, my entries all grow shorter as the trip progressed. Fifty some years and many trips later, I’ve returned to keeping journals, but have come up with journal prompts and fun travel journal ideas to keep up my enthusiasm throughout the trip .

Travel diary beside laptop. Choose the method of journaling you prefer.

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A travel journal is one of the best souvenirs you can bring home. In it you capture feelings and travel memories as they happen. Opening that journal years later will transport you back to that trip and let you savor the experience all over again. But that is IF you are diligent in keeping your journal. Many of us begin with enthusiasm, only to drop off as the week goes on. It’s not easy to begin writing at the end of a long day of touring.

Table of Contents

Find a style and create a schedule to keep you on track.

Travel journal ideas: the medium.

Consider a format that works best for you. Some enjoy the traditional travel diary, but some are more comfortable using technology for their notes. A video diary might be the best travel journal for you!

image of phone camera amalfi coast

Journaling with technology – platforms and apps

A plus for using technology for journaling is luggage space. You already have your phone, so there’s nothing more to pack!

Mobile device apps for journaling

  • note taking apps . Tried and true apps like Evernote , OneNote, or Google Keep , are easy to use for your personal journal entries. If you use these at home, you’ll feel comfortable using them on the road.
  • We recommend: Polarsteps – tracks your trip on a map with images and brief captions. This app has a private option which is great. Travel photo books can be created after your trip. (We haven’t tried the photo books so cannot comment on quality.)
  • another popular and well-reviewed app is Journi’s Travel Blog which also allows for a printed book after the trip.
  • itinerary based apps . These allow you to upload information ahead of time re. flights, hotels, etc. and you’ll get notifications if there’s a change in plans. These are great for staying organized on a long trip . Some of these will allow you to add notes, eg., journal-like comments as you travel.

Blogging platforms for journaling

  • Set up a simple blog –, blogger, etc. offer free blog options. It’s easier than you might think to set up your blog, and you can easily share with friends and family. Again, try this at home before you go. (Be forewarned… this website started as a way to keep in touch with family on a trip to Egypt in 2012 …)

I try to write on my WordPress itinerary blog at the end of each day. If I’m really tired, I dictate my thoughts from my phone. Fortunately, these late-night ramblings go into the private blog until I’ve had a chance to review and correct any mistakes. (The transcription of the dictation is often strange, so enjoy a laugh, but remember to edit.) I also carry a notebook, for quick entries and information. The important thing is to try to preserve those memories. More on that later!

Say yes to new adventures - travel journal prompts and ideas

Paper travel journals

Some people just prefer the feel of paper and pen. And most of us know it’s smart to carry paper documentation in case phone batteries die, or there’s no internet available.

There are many options for buying a travel diary . The benefits of a printed journal is that the pages are preformatted and often include pages for contact info, itinerary, etc.. It’s easy to just pick up the journal and begin to write.

But consider designing your own travel journal. Creating a trip journal is a great option for filling those exciting weeks before your trip. Your journal can be as detailed or as freewheeling as you like it. With your own self-created book, you will not end up with empty pages reminding you when you hadn’t the time or inclination to write every day.

a variety of simple notebooks made into travel diaries.

How to set up your own travel journal

  • Choose a notebook. Use one you have at home or buy something special. To save space I use either a Field Notes book for a short trip, or a Leuchtturm 1917 A6 notebook for a longer, more important adventure. Both of these are small enough to fit easily into my bag. But if space isn’t a problem, choose a larger traveler’s notebook or similar.
  • Outline the pages you’d like to include. Suggestions: index page, itinerary, contact info, a world map, etc.
  • If you plan to keep a travel diary in your book, designate blank pages ahead of time. Note any travel prompts you think you’d like to write about on a back page to refer to as you go. Leave space for travel photos you can add later.
  • Decorate as much or as little as you choose! I’m not artistic, so I personalize my journal with washi tape and 1-2 stickers before the trip and add any cute stamps or stickers I come across while traveling.

Keep going: strategies to encourage journaling

Ok. So, you’ve got the journal. Now how to stay motivated to write in it?

Add some lists, prompts, and fun activity pages to your book. Some of these ideas only require checkmarks or quick dashed off notes. But knowing you need to check off that place, or write what you had for supper, will keep you coming back to the journal.

If you’re artistic, bring sketching materials, use paint, and fill your pages with images. No room for colored pencils and paints? A multi-colored pen takes up little space and will brighten your pages.

If you’re a collector, adding ticket stubs or postcards is a great way to preserve a memory. Bring along a glue stick if there’s room in your luggage. These little details will be fun to see in years to come.

Travel journal ideas and prompts to make keeping a travel diary fun.

101 Travel Journal Prompts

Some people are naturally creative. They need no suggestions for their evening journaling. But for most of us, it’s helpful to have some writing prompts to get us started. Here are some of my favorites:

Important information for your journal’s front pages

Be sure to share your travel plans with a family member before leaving home!

  • Your travel itinerary
  • Transportation and Flight details
  • Accommodations with address and contact information
  • Booked tours and guides with contact information

Travel Planning and Brainstorming Lists

  • Your packing list and pre-trip to-do list
  • Your destination bucket list? What are you most excited about doing or seeing?
  • Foods and drinks you want to try
  • Travel budget & ongoing expenses
  • Souvenirs you plan to buy and for who (leave room for spontaneous purchases)
  • Books (or movies) about your destination.
  • Some basic words in the language – please, thank you, etc.
  • Cultural customs to understand and respect.
  • What advice have you read or been given about your destination?
  • Inspirational quotes: your favorites or something you hear and want to remember.
  • Plan a playlist for your trip.

Destination bucket list - a travel journal prompt in every trip diary.

Travel journal prompts: on your way

These are great prompts to work on during those never-ending days before the trip, or on the flight.

  • Facts about your destination
  • What are your expectations of the destination or experience?
  • What made you choose this destination?
  • What part of this trip have you enjoyed planning for the most?
  • Have there been any pre-trip disasters? 
  • Is there anything about the trip that worries you or makes you anxious?
  • What do you want to learn on this adventure?
  • How will you prioritize your health while you are traveling?
  • Make a list of things you can do for self-care while on the trip.
  • What an essential thing you pack that you will never travel without?

Add a map to your travel journal and other travel journal ideas.

Daily prompts for your travel journal

  • Gratitude pages (or add a bit of gratitude to every day’s entry)
  • How did you travel to your destination?
  • What was your first reaction upon arrival in this new place- joy, surprise, disappointment?
  • What did you do today?
  • What will be your favorite memory of this day?
  • What was the most amazing thing you did today?
  • Did anything embarrassing happen today?
  • What made you laugh today? Or was there something that made you cry?
  • Was there an uncomfortable or difficult moment today? How did you handle it? 
  • Did you try something new today? If you’re on a big trip, you could designate a whole page in the journal for new experiences!
  • What’s the biggest challenge about being in this destination?
  • What did you eat today? Did you try a local delicacy?
  • Are you maintaining a balanced diet? How does it make you feel?
  • Did you meet some interesting people today? What did you talk about? If you think you’d like to keep up with them, make a note of their contact information or tuck business cards into your journal.
  • Did anything go wrong today? How was it resolved and how did you react?
  • What cultural experience did you experience today? How did it impact you?
  • What makes this place similar or different from your home?
  • Is your destination being affected by any current events? How is it impacting your trip
  • Do a self-check. Are you feeling relaxed and happy or tired and stressed?
  • What exercise did you get today? How many steps have you logged? 
  • Did you take time for self-care today? How will you prioritize yourself tomorrow?
  • What did you do today that energized you? What drained your energy?
  • What did you wear today? Make a list of what you packed and check items off as you wear them. See what can be left at home next trip.
  • Make a timeline of your day.
  • What local traditions might you like to adopt at home.
  • Consider the environment at your destination? Is there a problem with litter or smog? What is being done to fix this.
  • What challenges are the local people facing?
  • How do the locals live? What’s the top industry?
  • Make a prompt based on your hobbies, e.g. Wines you’ve tasted, art museums you’re visiting…
  • What’s working for you on this trip? Do you like the pace of travel? The people you’re with?
  • Describe your hotel/accommodation as if you were reviewing it for Travel and Leisure
  • Make a list of the interesting animals and wildlife you see on the trip. This is one of my favorite things to keep track of in my journal.
  • Travel stats: distance traveled, weather, etc.
  • What can’t you wait to share with your friends back home?
  • What music have you listened to today?

Creating sketches in your travel journal is a fun was to capture a scene.

Some creative travel journal ideas to keep things fun

  • Describe where you are in right now using as many of your senses as you can.
  • Draw a famous landmark you saw today.
  • Sketch the inside of your hotel room or the view out the window.
  • Share a story or legend about your destination.
  • If you were to write a book about this trip, what would the title be?
  • Draw a map of your travels.
  • Make a rainbow or an ABC page – (these is a fun travel journal ideas if you’re traveling with kids!) Note things you see of every color in the rainbow (or every color of the alphabet), take pictures, or sketch what you saw.
  • Make a photography (or wildlife) BINGO game .

Make journaling easy with prompts and creative ideas

Travel reflections

  • What advice do you have for others who visit here?
  • What is something special to do here that isn’t in the tour guide?
  • What was the most memorable meal from the trip?
  • What were the favorite places you visited during the trip?
  • Make a list of all the places you stayed.
  • Words you’ve learned in the local language. Or regional expressions!
  • What is the biggest lesson that this trip taught you? 
  • Am you any different when you travel? Do you have more or less – energy, creativity, irritability, etc.?
  • What is something you did that you are proud of?
  • What local traditions resonated with you most?
  • What about life here is better than life at home?
  • What are you most grateful for about this trip?
  • Was there a moment that impacted you more than you expected?
  • What do you miss most from home?
  • Do you think this trip will change your life for the better? Will tourism help the community you’re visiting? 
  • Could you live in this foreign country? Would you like to?
  • What advice have you been told by a local while on this trip? Can you apply it to your life?

101 travel journal prompts including creative ideas like maps and sketches.

Travel journal prompts: after the trip

Some ideas to reflect on during your flight home.

  • What is something new you learned from this trip?
  • Is there anything about this trip that didn’t meet your expectations?
  • What was the highlight of your trip?
  • What was the worst thing that happened on your trip?
  • Would you visit here again?
  • Is there anything you would do differently next time you visit? Experiences you missed or style of travel?
  • Has your perception of the destination changed because of this trip?
  • Has this trip inspired you to make changes in your life at home?
  • What did you wish you’d pack and what could have been left at home?
  • What has been the most rewarding travel experience of your life?
  • If you could go on a trip with anyone, who would you go with and where would you go? 
  • What is a fear you’ve overcome while traveling? How?
  • What have you learned about travel that will impact how you travel next and how?
  • How has your travel (past and present) changed you? 
  • Did this trip challenge your limits physically or put you out of your comfort zone? Will you make changes on your next vacation?
  • Where do you plan to go next?

BINGO – A fun idea for your travel journal – photography, wildlife sightings, etc.

travel journal ideas - create a photo challenge

One of our favorite travel journal pages is the bingo page. You’ll probably remember this from the road trips we took as kids where we checked off signs or other roadside things to make BINGO.

As we love to take pictures when we travel, I make a photography game. This can be an individual challenge or a competition among traveling companions. Though in my travel I’m usually doing this solo, the benefit of the photography game is that it encourages me to look at my surroundings in a deeper way. As my game ‘card’ get filled up, I find myself focusing on finding that elusive image. This is a creative and fun idea to include in your own journal.

Create your own photography challenge

  • simple things – sunsets, hotel room, or food
  • artistic ideas – black & white, close-ups, or low light
  • things that elicits a feeling – funny signs or something scary.
  • randomize the list (we have our list in excel which has a randomize option but you can do it manually just by mixing up your list)
  • create ‘bingo’ cards in your journal, with 5 or 6 squares across and down.
  • write the list, as randomized, on as many ‘cards’ as there are participants. (everyone’s card should be different)
  • at the end of each day, or when you’ve got some downtime, fill in the boxes where you’ve captured images. See who gets bingo first!

If you’re not a photographer, you can do this with highway sightings or whatever. On our recent safari we made grids of animals and birds we hoped to see.

author's travel journal from Africa, a favorite keepsake.

Travel Journal Ideas – make it easy, make it personal

Whatever medium you choose, make it something that you’ll enjoy, that will add to the trip, and not become a burden. Keep it close, so you can note things in it when there’s quiet time. Air travel is a great time to work on it.

I hope I’ve given you suggestions that will make keeping a travel journal easy and relevant. Remember, this journal is for you. Have fun!

For more suggestions, Megan from Cullessense has a great list of travel journal ideas .

Do you keep a travel log when you travel? What do you do to keep your interest from flagging? We’d love to add your suggestions into our next travel diary!

This post is part of our Travel 101 series of posts that will prepare you for your trip.

Creative travel journal ideas and prompts

Amy Tull and Team

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Amy Tull, author of the Traveling Tulls

Amy, a writer on responsible bucket list travel, is your reliable source for insightful travel advice. With a career background in libraries, and a degree in biology and mathematics, Amy's approach to travel is rooted in meticulous research and planning, and her commitment to eco-conscious adventures.

Amy’s dedication to sustainable travel practices, including efficient packing techniques, ensures that every adventure leaves a positive impact on both the environment and the traveler's well-being. Trust Amy to guide you towards meaningful and eco-friendly travel, making the most of your retirement years.

A lifelong New England resident, Amy is also the source for insider tips on travel in the Northeastern U.S.

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29 thoughts on “ 101 Travel Journal Ideas & Creative Prompts to make journaling fun ”

Love the Photo Bingo Challenge! I’ll definitely be adding this to my own travel journals

Wrote a similar post not long time ago. Wish I was more organized when writing my journal

I’ve never been successful at keeping a regular journal. But I so enjoy making my own travel journal that I keep at it.

I need to do more of this! If only to remember for when I come to writing blog posts and knowing what the heck that photo is of! Inspired! Alison

Yes!! I use excerpts from my journal if we make a photo book after the trip. It’s interesting sometimes to read things that we’d completely forgotten.

Great post! I made a paper journal last year but got addicted to putting so much into it that it got too heavy to carry!

Ha ha! I love that! We do tend to accumulate as we travel, don’t we?

Yes it’s terrible!!

I do a mix of several things (paper notebook, notes on phone, journaling on my tablet with keyboard) and yet, I am not always successful at getting it all down so I can write about it later. The best laid plans… One thing I do that helps me is that I take more photos than you might think necessary of things like signs explaining the site we are seeing or of menus in restaurants. This helps with reference later.

I am going to start doing this! Will come in very useful when I am trying to recall details of when I was “there”!

I do keep a paper travel notebook, but it’s very basic, more my thoughts and impressions on the road rather than a journal. You have given me some great ideas to make more of my on the road notes – thank you.

Great! Let me know if you come up with other good ideas!

Wow! a lot of interesting ideas. Thanks for sharing!

This is something I majorly struggle with when traveling. I like that you included the various mediums because sometimes I feel like “journaling” is more paper. Thank you. I am going to try some of these strategies during my next big trip.

I struggle too. I really, really try to get down thoughts at the end of each day, but sometimes I’m just too tired. That’s why I like having easy options in my journal to just jot something down quick.

I really love journaling. But with no success. I would follow yours. Thanks a lot!

I think as travel bloggers we are all biased by the fact that we enjoy writing. I finished a full notebook on my last trip, while for some people in my group, keeping a journal ment only to write what they ate and what they saw. And… I am a classy journalist (?), only paper, and then once I am back I write on the blog a less chaotic version of it. Love this type of posts! Thanks for sharing =)

That’s amazing! I do a great job most days but there are times when I lag behind and just jot down a few things. I wish I wrote down what I ate!

Some great ideas here Amy. We take a lot of photos and videos but I am afraid I have never bee ngreat about taking detailed notes. I like your idea of dictating them. Even though mine would likely be rambling musings it would help sort things out later on.

I love this post – I really struggle with journalling, I always go on and off. Lots of great ideas – I am going to try some out for my NY resolutions next year 🙂

When I first started travelling I kept paper journals. But the photos were in a separate place. I finally decided I wanted to bring the words and pics together and created a blog to do that. We still create a planning journal that capture all of our travel plans, things to see and do, photo ideas, contacts and more. Some good ideas here for blog topics.

That’s how this blog got started too! But, like you, I still carry a small notebook.

I do love to have a travel journal and it has to be a new one for every trip. I love that photo bingo idea, thats cool!

I create a travel journal as a planning guide before we travel listing what we must do and what is optional. Then comes the photos. I download the pics at the end of every day under the rightly named folder. That makes it easier later when we are writing blogs. I also tried the voice recording in our Australia trip at every destination. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

I love, love, love this post! I always bring a journal with me and recently spent about 2 hours journaling in the Rodin sculpture garden in Paris. One of my favorite prompts is “Has this trip inspired you to make changes in your life at home?” which, to me, is sort of the essence of traveling. I’ll definitely use some of these on my next trip.

Thanks Amber! What a wonderful place to journal!

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Travel Journal

Create your own academic expeditions travel journal.

Many teachers and group leaders like to give their students a travel journal to help foster a more engaging travel experience with the sites visited and ideas explored. Let us help. We’ve produced an array of various journal pages based upon our years of experience taking thousands of students to the historic sites of the Eastern USA. Whether as a stand alone resource, or something to be used in conjunction with already established curriculum and classroom assignments, your journal can be customized to fit your goals. We do not produce a “standard” journal for all schools, but rather allow you to browse the pages below and select the combination of cities and sites that accurately complement both your itinerary during the trip and your academic goals back in the classroom.

But first a little forewarning: While we want your trip to be academically engaging, we don’t want to over-emphasize a trip journal. The main reason you are on this trip is to experience historic sites in person rather than in a book. Unfortunately we have seen some groups and students get so focused completing a journal on site, that their “experience” becomes filling out questions more so than experiencing the site for itself. These trip itineraries are also typically paced at a quick, efficient flow, and often there is simply not enough time to pause, reflect, and write on site. Consider allowing time for such writing during bus trips or down time at the hotel. Also note, this is a resource we are providing for teachers to use as they see fit. It is not something that our guides automatically include or initiate. Our guides will certainly help answer the questions contained here and will be flexible to reinforce your use of the journal, but ultimately the teachers are the ones who select the content and implement the journal in their trip.

If there are any pages that are specific to your school that you would like to have included (such as dress and behavior expectations, chaperone group lists and phone numbers, daily devotionals, or additional class assignments), please use this Journal Template 5.5 x 8 provided to enter the text or images you want, and you can include it in your journal along with our pages.

Student Travel Journal Sections

Overview & Introduction (opens in a new tab)

Every journal should come with this section which includes your cover page, table of contents, itinerary, introduction, and overview map of the historic Eastern USA.

City & Site Section

This will likely be bulk of your journal. Each of these sub-sections begins with a brief overview of the region with an accompanying map for orientation, and is then followed by a page for each possible site visited therein. Each site page provides a few facts about the site, a brief description, and a handful of questions related to that site. The questions are a mix of factoids, short answer, and open-ended inquiries. Specific sites for each city can be added or removed to your liking. Click on the city/region below to view the overview, map and specific site pages:

Colonial Virginia (opens in a new tab) (Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Monticello) Washington DC (opens in a new tab) Civil War Battlefields (opens in a new tab) (Gettysburg) Philadelphia, PA (opens in a new tab) New York City (opens in a new tab) Boston, MA (opens in a new tab)

Thematic Section (opens in a new tab)

This section is based around themes and ideas that can be explored at any number of appropriate sites or even at the end of the day at the hotel or at the end of the trip back home. Some examples of themes here are: Civic Responsibility, Sacrifice, Generational Complacency, Religion’s Role, International Diplomacy.

Daily Notes (opens in a new tab)

This final section serves as a place to reflect day by day and to highlight some of the trips more memorable experiences.

Again, please let us know we can make this journal most useful to you. We expect to keep amending and adding to these pages, and we appreciate the help and contributions of other creative teachers out there to keep this a dynamic resource.

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  • Journal Types
  • Travel Journal

Are you planning a trip? Looking for a way to document your adventure? Look no further than a travel journal! A travel journal serves as a personal memoir of your journey, capturing moments, emotions, and experiences. Not only does it preserve your memories, but it also allows you to reflect on your trip long after it's over. In this article, we will explore travel journal ideas, templates, tips, and how to write a travel journal that will become a cherished keepsake.

What are travel journals?

Travel journals help you to write and document about the experience you had during your trips. You can include the written description of the place that you have visited, list down your itinerary, the photos that you took during your trip and even voice recordings that you have made during your time. Travel journal is one of the most popular journal amongst the different types of journals.

Travel journal on bed with other travel items.

What is the purpose of travel journal

1. discover and learn more things.

Young woman writting in a travel journal diary while sitting on the terrace in the city.

Traveling usually leads one to gain new experiences and discoveries. By writing down your experience, you will get to understand your surroundings better, reflect and remember the discoveries that you have made during the trip.

2. Travel memories not to be forgotten

One of the main purposes of a travel journal is to preserve memories and experiences. By documenting your travels using a diary software , you are creating a record of the places you visited, the people you met, the sights you saw, and the activities you participated in. It provides a way to capture the essence of your journey and preserve it for years to come. As time passes, memories may fade, but a well-documented travel journal helps keep those memories alive.

3. Write a shared travel journal

A travel journal can also serve as a means of sharing your experiences with others. Whether it's with friends, family, or fellow travelers, sharing your travel journal can inspire, educate, or entertain others. You can pass on valuable recommendations and insights about destinations, provide practical tips, or simply share your adventures through storytelling. Your travel journal can become a source of inspiration for others who are planning their own trips, encouraging them to explore new places and create their own memories.

How to Write Travel Journals: 3 Amazing Tips to Get Started

Colorful hot air balloons before launch in goreme national park, cappadocia, turkey.

Embarking on a travel journal may initially feel like a daunting task. The idea of documenting your adventures, emotions, and experiences can be overwhelming, especially with the sheer volume of memories and details that come with traveling. However, with a few helpful tips, maintaining a travel journal can transform into an exhilarating and fulfilling endeavor.

1. Find the perfect travel journal

To start, finding the right journal is crucial. Look for one that is durable, portable, and compact, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of your travels without taking up excessive space. Additionally, consider a journal with blank or lined pages that will accommodate both writing and creative elements such as sketches, doodles, or collages.

In addition to traditional pen-and-paper journals, modern technology offers a convenient alternative for keeping a travel journal: smartphone apps. One such app that is particularly useful for travel journaling is the Journey app. Journey is a digital journaling platform that allows users to keep track of their experiences, thoughts, and memories.

A digital journal app called Journey which shows the location of the journal entries in a map.

Just like a physical journal, the Journey app provides a space to jot down detailed notes about your travels. It allows you to capture not only the sights and sounds of your adventures, but also emotions and reflections that make the experience truly memorable.

With Journey, you can easily create multimedia entries by adding photos and videos to your journal. This feature enables you to visually document your journey, adding depth and vibrancy to your memories. The app also provides the option to geotag your entries, allowing you to easily organize your experiences by location.

Plan an upcoming trips using the Journey app's travel journal template which includes itinerary plans, flight number, hotel information, places to visit and more.

You also don't need to be in the country you will be traveling to in order to start your first journal. A travel journal can be used to plan your upcoming trips as well. Using the journal travel template in Journey, you can add the places you would like to visit, followed by itinerary plans, tours, and more, creating a travel wishlist!

2. Write about your expectations of this vacation

Before you set foot in the first city, you can write about your expectations of the trip in your journal. By listing down your expectations about how the holiday will be, you can heighten your pre-departure excitement and feel as if the vacation has already begun. At the end of your vacation, you can compare the expectations noted in your journal with what you actually experienced during the trip.

3. Write a reflection after your trip

Writing a reflective journal of your travel journey can be useful as it is a great way to recap what you have learned about the people you were with, yourself, and the trip in general. It is something that we advise you to do after a specific event, trip, or activity as it helps you gain insights and apply them to your future vacations.

Travel journal ideas that inspire you

Top view of people writing a travel journal before and after a vacation trip.

Not sure how to start the first page of your new travel journal? Refer to some of the travel journal prompts to kick-start your first journal of the trip!

Pre-depature ideas

  • Why are you going?
  • What are the places that you are most excited to visit?
  • What are your expectations for the trip?

Post-holiday ideas

  • Write about the people that you have interacted with.
  • Write about the food.
  • What did you like/dislike most about the trip, and why?
  • Reflect and write on your experience of the day.
  • What is something that you wish to do the next time you visit again?
  • How would you recommend the trip to your friends and family? Write a travel guide for them!
  • Where’s your next stop that you would like to travel to?

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Get access to your diary wherever you are – download the free Journey app for your all of your iOS and Android devices today!

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Key differences between a diary and a journal

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Having Fun First

Helping you to creatively reach all your unique learners

on February 15, 2022 · Leave a Comment

Travel Vacation Journal for Students

Hey there friends,

I hope February is going well for you so far. Here in Washington, we had a few days of amazing spring weather, and it has us all excited for more! Washington weather can always be a tease.

Luckily for my family, we are heading into midwinter break, and our good friends asked to join an amazing road trip to hit 5 National Parks! We will be traveling through Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. It is going to be amazing and much needed for our active family. In order to hit all those places, we will have to miss a few days of school the week before break.

A Vacation Journal for Students

Planning for this trip and having to miss a few days of school made me think of one of the most popular resources that I created for this very reason. I would always have students who traveled in my classroom – some with family trips planned and others were impromptu. One thing all these student trips had in common was asking for work to be completed while gone.

I appreciated parents wanting to stay on top of student learning while gone, but…

  • That’s a lot of work for us teachers to know exactly what we will accomplish in a week and to prepare all those materials.
  • Did I want parents teaching students new concepts that I want to deliver myself?
  • Will they have time to accomplish these tasks?
  • Hey! It’s vacation…. Enjoy it.

So, what I decided to do was make a travel vacation journal for students that showcased multiple fundamental skills that could easily be applied to anyone’s travels, would need little to no guardian support, and of course, was fun. I also liked that this journal provided a great tool for students to share about their trip in an organized way upon return to school.

vacation journal for students

Materials I Included in the Journal:

✈️ Vacation information recording sheets ✈️ Journal entry forms- recall, informative and creative ✈️ Weather and landmark graphing ✈️ Time practice ✈️ Illustrating ✈️ Souvenir collecting pages ✈️ Compare and contrast home-town vs. destination ✈️ Travel games: license plate game with picture key and landmark tally

This travel journal includes plenty to keep your students engaged on their trip, but not overwhelmed. I made sure that the activities were applicable for a wide range of student ages and abilities.

student trip journal

A huge bonus to this journal is that you can simply print and send it with your student or email it to parents in the case of the impromptu traveler. No need to plan and print tons of work for students while they are gone! My trick… is that I always have about 5 of these journals printed in my file cabinet to keep my life simple.

Here is what teachers and homeschooling guardians are saying…

Extremely satisfied I loved the layout of the book; it was the perfect amount of work for my student, and it could be used at any level. Thanks for this great resource.
Extremely satisfied This gave my students the ability to record information from their trip and include information that they might also want to share with the class when they return. It provided me a fun way to still have my students doing some “non-classroom” work yet still engaging while on vacation.
Extremely satisfied I used this for a kindergartner and second-grader that are homeschooled. It was an awesome resource for a family trip! I highly recommend it.
Extremely satisfied My students are not huge fans of writing, but this was a very helpful resource for them. It allowed them to share about their experiences on vacation in a non-overwhelming way.
Extremely satisfied The children love taking this with them on trips and then sharing with the class. Thanks!

We have used the journals multiple times on our family travels. In fact, I already have my own kids printed for our trip this week. We usually journal at the end of the day before bed. We also love getting to look through the fun postcards, tickets, or stickers from different activities to include in the artifact’s section.

I know you will love the ease of this journal and the comfort of knowing that students are engaged while away. Your students will enjoy it too, especially with the opportunity to share about their travels when they return.

Looking for a journal to send with your students over winter break? Check out my blog post, “Engaging Winter Activities for the Classroom.”

I hope you have a great week and if you have a mid-winter break where you live, that it is full of relaxation or adventure whichever suits you!

Kacie Brown Having Fun First signature

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The Benefits of Creating a Student Travel Journal or Scrapbook

The benefits of creating a travel journal are many. A student travel journal not only is a great way to practice children’s writing skills but also become a place to gather the memories of a trip, whether short or far.

Benefits of Creating a Student Travel Journal or Scrapbook

Why Keep a Travel Journal?

Improve self-expression & creativity.

Journaling is a resourceful way to get kids who may have a difficult time expressing themselves an opportunity to write without boundaries.  A travel journal will give them a chance to write about what they think is important to them and share it with others.  Instead of being constrained to a prompt like , “What did you do on your Summer vacation?” a travel journal is a versatile way to incorporate creativity, as well as improving their writing skills.

Practice Spelling & Grammar

The more kids write, the more they will understand what makes a complete sentence and the mechanics that come along with it. They will learn to build paragraphs and how they are used to support topics that they are writing about.

Develop Descriptive Writing Skills

Improving written communication is another use of a travel journal.  Kids can learn to write so that others can “see” what they have seen.  They will learn to incorporate descriptive words to convey to others as well as using pictures, sketches, and other personal information to “show” what they did on their travel journey.

Why Keep a Travel Scrapbook?

Encourage artistic expression.

A travel journal can become a travel scrapbook. A travel scrapbook can include anything that the creator wants to include such as doodles, poems, sketches, mementos, and photographs. This type of travel journal encourages students to work independently, at their own pace, and improve their learning style and gets them to become invested personally in what they are creating.

The Benefits of Creating a Student Travel Scrapbook

Explore & Document

Kids who have not traveled beyond their hometowns can use the travel journal or journal scrapbook to document their nature travels.  It can be as simple as going to the neighborhood park or in their own backyards.  As they would on a trip, they can use their senses to observe the surroundings, draw pictures of what they see, and glue pieces of nature into their journals (Remember not to take plants from national parks though – that’s illegal!).

Encouraging kids beyond the academic benefits of journaling teaches them to become independent thinkers who are able to ask questions and connect with their peers. They discover the world around them and document it through the adventures they have, the people they’ve met, and the places they have seen.

Do you have any special memories from your travel journals that you would like to share? Leave a comment.

Author: Pam Crum, Lead Teacher at A Grade Ahead

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20 Best Travel Journals to Document Your Trips

Some include prompts and templates to help get you started.

travel journals

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Last-minute planning of a trip can consist of chaotic lists in your phone's notes app while the chronicling of said trip may look like sporadic photos in your camera roll. But what if there was a collective place you could plan in advance and jot down funny moments along the way? A travel journal can culminate the ups (and downs) of your vacation with guided prompts and templates.

Our experts at Good Housekeeping Institute extended our expertise in the best photo book makers and best wedding planning books to research the best travel journals, a category we have not yet formally tested. We rounded up the best travel journals of 2023, whether you want a self-designed bullet journal or a notebook with fun maps and stickers. At the end of our list, you can find advice on how to start your travel journal as well as read more about why you can trust Good Housekeeping. And if you have a frequent traveler in your life besides yourself, check out our guide to the best travel gift ideas (although a journal is a great idea too!).

The Art of the National Parks: Park-Lover's Journal

The Art of the National Parks: Park-Lover's Journal

Perfect for the outdoors enthusiast in your life, this journal celebrates each of the 63 parks. It's 175 pages long and comes with prompts that'll help them chronicle their journey. It doesn't hurt that this journal has gorgeous illustrations of each park by real artists.

Papier Off Piste

Off Piste

Whether this is your first or fifth travel journal, or a gift for the college student in your life who's about to go abroad, Papier's notebooks will check all of the boxes. One GH editor has the Off Piste journal and loves the cover, a simple design that includes a meaningful quote, and appreciates the helpful templates you'll find inside the notebook. You'll be able to document up to six trips with templates for your budget, packing list, transportation, accommodation, itinerary and a journaling space for freestyle writing. There are also pages dedicated to a travel wishlist as well an illustrative map you can color in as you mark off countries you've visited.

Peter Pauper Press Page-A-Day

Journals can ring in at a variety of prices, but you can find a great travel journal for under $10 that will still give you enough space to write about your wanderings around the world. This leather-bound journal dedicates one page to each day of your trip, with spaces to add in the date, location and weather conditions (we especially like the delicate drawings for types of participation which you can circle with your pencil or pen). Dotted lines on the page will keep your entries neat and organized and an included ribbon bookmark will keep track of where you left off last. Even though this journal is pretty basic in design and on the smaller side, we think it's a great option for someone who doesn't want to spend too much on their first travel journal.

Clever Fox Vacation Planner

Vacation Planner

Amazon's Choice with a 4.6-star rating across over 900 customer reviews, this travel journal comes with more than just a notebook. You'll also get 150+ fun stickers to embellish your entries, plus the journal also has a pocket to hold the pages of stickers and an elastic band for your pen. But what makes this journal really stand out is its extensive range of templates geared towards helping you plan your trip. For five trips, you'll get pages for research and budget, a packing checklist, transportation and accommodation details and an expense tracker, plus a map and more journaling pages. If you like to plan out every detail, this is the perfect travel journal for your needs. We wish you could fit more than five trips in the journal, but for the price, it's a great value.

Peter Pauper Press Kids Travel Journal

Perfect for the adventure-inclined kiddo, this 96-page travel journal lets young travelers record everything from general entries about a trip to a packing list. Kids can even paste in photos, tickets and more and store the rest in the journal's back pocket. The journal is also full of games, maps, helpful phrases in other languages, metric information, quotes and fun facts. Not only is this kid-friendly journal a creative means to document their early adventures, but its accessories encourage international learning.

Leatherology Medium Spiral Snap Journal

Medium Spiral Snap Journal

Available in four hues including black onyx (pictured), brown, azure and lilac, this journal is made from gorgeous dyed leather with light gold hardware. You can choose from a spiral or bound format, but note that the spiral option has 130 perforated pages while the bound journal has 265 ruled sheets (or 128 pages). Regardless of which style you choose, you'll will get the benefit of a snap closure and a built-in pen loop, although the writing utensil is not included. We appreciate the versatility of this journal given the blank pages that let you doodle and write freely over the course of your next trip.

Mark and Graham Leather Bound World Travel Journal

Leather Bound World Travel Journal

This beautiful leather bound journal not only has pages for writing about your trips, but it also includes full-color maps of major cities plus world weather information, international dialing codes and more. A perfect gift for the international traveler, you can also add a foil debossed monogram to the cover if you want to add a personal flare to the notebook. We wish that the journal was available in more than one color, but the rust orange is a versatile enough choice that will stick out in a dark suitcase or bag.

Duncan & Stone Paper Co. World Trip Adventure Book

World Trip Adventure Book

An almost-perfect five-star rating on Amazon and the titular Amazon's Choice badge is enough to make you add this travel journal to your cart. The layflat design makes it easy to open and write on, and you'll have enough pages to reflect on 15 trips plus a back pocket for extra photos and blank pages for notes and random musings. What we love most about this journal are the helpful prompts that guide newbies through the process of journaling, with questions like "Where did you stay?." and "Something I learned from this destination/culture..." From basic to more thought-provoking questions, you'll have a boost of inspiration to help you document your journey.

Day One Day One

Day One

While the majority of picks on this list are physical journals, you can also document your trips through an app if you prefer a digital format or have minimal space in your luggage . Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director at the GH Institute Rachel Rothman , says Day One is a solid choice with ample positive reviews from consumers. You can download the app for free on your iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. You'll get one journal for one device with the ability to add a photo per entry, plus templates, export capabilities and tags. If you want unlimited journals, devices and photos plus the option to add videos, audio recordings and more, opt for Day One Premium which rings in at $2.92 per month.

Extreme Assistants Classic Notebook

Classic Notebook

If you travel a lot, or tend to squish as much as you possibly can into your carry-on (we have all been there), you'll want a durable journal that can withstand being tossed around and bumping against other items in your bag. A faux leather hardcover and thick paper ensure your journal will stay intact as you travel to and fro. The manufacturer adds that the cover is designed to be easy to clean, which is helpful if you are journaling on the airplane or train and accidentally spill your drink. We also appreciate that you can add a photo or logo to the cover for an element of personalization, especially since the notebook is more basic in style.

Deanna Didzun The Traveler's Playbook: A World Travel Journal

The Traveler's Playbook: A World Travel Journal

Journaling of any kind can be intimidating as you don't always know where to start — even a notebook with guiding prompts can lead to partial writer's block. If this sounds like you, then opting for a book that has more structure and a variety of templates is the way to go. This popular travel journal has a 4.3-star rating on Uncommon Goods is designed by explorer Deanna Didzun who created illustrations and lists to help jog your memory of your most recent journey. You can give overall star ratings for each destination and write down food and drink highlights if you so please.

Smythson Travels and Experiences Panama Notebook

Travels and Experiences Panama Notebook

There are journals and then there are journals — and this beautiful handcrafted leather journal falls into the latter category. Bound in crossgrain lambskin and available in a light blue or scarlet red, you'll have 128 pages of lined Featherweight paper to fill. This notebook is all about quality and is designed to last, but with that comes a higher price tag. It would be a great gift for the writer in your life who loves to travel, but given its simple layout and lack of templates other travel journals can have, it may not be splurge-worthy for every traveler.

DesignWorks Ink Suede Travel Journal

Suede Travel Journal

If you or a friend is traveling to Santorini, Mexico and/or Sydney in the near future, you may want to opt for this travel journal inspired by each of those stunning cities. You can add personal information in the first page of the notebook and the 240 pages are lined with spaces to include the subject and date. Although the journal does not include prompts or templates, we love the eye-catching gold design and appreciate the ribbon bookmark to keep track of your last entry.

Moleskine Traveller's Journal

Traveller's Journal

Moleskine, the established brand that has been around for over two decades, is synonymous with traditional, high quality notebooks — and this travel-specific journal is no different. There are three sections for a travel wish list, short trips and long trips plus two sheets of stickers and a ribbon bookmark. The journal has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon across over 3,200 consumer ratings. One five-star review calls this notebook "the traveler's best friend," and notes how helpful it can be to keep track of places, restaurants and sites so you don't forget.

JB Leather Personalized Travel Notebook

Personalized Travel Notebook

For a personalized touch, this pick lets you choose from over 1,000 charm and stamp combinations including astrological charms, meaningful quotes and more . There are also three different vegan leather hues to choose from: cinnamon, cedar and sandy brown. The notebook has 18 plastic card slots, a zippered pocket for storage and a total of 152 lined pages. You can also refill the notebook as you cross places off your travel wish list. A best-seller on Etsy with a perfect five-star rating, this customizable notebook is popular among customers. Multiple reviews comment on the fast delivery, and its high-quality, beautiful appearance.

Transient Books Custom Travel Journal for Kids

Custom Travel Journal for Kids

With this journal, you can customize the cover color, font and cover map, as well as choose between 100- and 200-page books with lined, unlined and prompts variations. We love the various ways you can personalize this kid-friendly journal, making little ones that more excited to explore new places. The five-star seller has over 3,000 customer reviews on Etsy. And the travel journal doesn't just have to be a gift for the kids: Adult customers also said they enjoyed using the notebook for camping trips and vacations around the globe.

Compendium Everywhere You Go

Everywhere You Go

We have included travel journals on this list that have prompts but none like the unexpected ones in this notebook that will get your creative wheels turning. The questions may catch you off guard, but prompt thoughtful reflection: they range from "If this place had a perfume, it would smell like..." to, "If this place had a soundtrack, these songs would be on it." The notebook is Amazon's Choice and has a 4.5-star rating, with multiple customers calling it the perfect gift for the traveler in your life, whether you need a gift for a teen or a present for a thirtieth birthday .

PAPERAGE Dotted Journal Notebook

Dotted Journal Notebook

Keeping a bullet journal is a popular trend that can easily translate to an aesthetic yet meaningful travel journal. This popular bullet notebook has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon with over 18 color options to chose from including mustard yellow (pictured), burgundy, lavender, royal blue and more. The 5.7-by-8-inch dotted pages lend themselves to open-ended creativity. While it can be hard to start designing and writing a journal from scratch, you have the benefit of customizing how much space you want for each list or entry.

Polarsteps Travel Tracker

Travel Tracker

Physical journals are not everyone's cup of tea, which is where an app like Polarsteps comes into play. Available for iOS and Android devices, Polarsteps lets travelers track their journeys. You can utilize over 300 helpful guides created by travel editors, as well as use the itinerary planner to dream up your perfect vacation and check the transport planner when unsure of what mode of transportation to use from one destination to another. Once you begin your trip, plot each site you visit and slowly form a personalized map that you can embellish with photos and videos. From there, share your map with friends and family or turn it into a travel book to look back on for years to come.

Glad & Young Studio The Traveler's Journal

The Traveler's Journal

If you have a bookshelf with rows of novels, photo albums and notebooks, you may want an aesthetic-looking travel journal that fits your style. This leather notebook has 60 pages to document your travels, and is available in a neutral shade (pictured) as well as two marbled patterns that are unique to each purchase. We personally love the brightly colored assorted pattern that has swirls of lavender, yellow, fuchsia and blue. The lined pages are great for daily entries and you can also note the day and weather. Note that to clean, you'll want to wipe away and spills or messes with a soft cloth.

Headshot of Elizabeth Berry

Elizabeth Berry (she/her) is the Updates Editor at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she optimizes lifestyle content across verticals. Prior to this role, she was an Editorial Assistant for Woman’s Day where she covered everything from gift guides to recipes. She also has experience fact checking commerce articles and holds a B.A. in English and Italian Studies from Connecticut College.

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6 Free Travel Journal Apps to Create a Beautiful Trip Diary

Use these free travel journal apps to note your thoughts, add photos, map your locations, and share your travel diary with friends.

They say that the trick to remembering anything you learn, think, or feel, is to write it down. Travelling is all about learning, thinking, and feeling, and these free travel journal apps make it easy for you to maintain a trip diary, which you can embellish with photos and share with friends.

1. Find Penguins (Android, iOS): Auto Track Your Travels and Post Updates for Friends

Find Penguins is a smart app that automatically tracks your movements during your trip, while your phone is in your pocket. It also updates the weather, temperature, and altitude, providing a quick snapshot of what the conditions were like that day.

All the data that the app gathers is presented in cool statistics and interactive maps. It's fun to see how you traveled represented on a map as a trail and posts about the noteworthy events. Find Penguins also updates your profile along the way, noting how many countries you went to, how many trips, and so on.

Each post in Find Penguins is called a footprint, which can include text, images, videos, or a combination of these. The app is a bit like using social media, and you can control who sees your posts. If you discover something you want to do while browsing a friend's feed, you can add it to your "bucket list" and save it for later. If you're traveling with someone else, you can add them to your trip to get joint updates on your statistics.

Download: Find Penguins for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Travel Facets (Web, Android, iOS): Turn Your Camera Roll Into an Automatic Album

Travel Facets turns all the photos you take on a trip into an organized album of your travels. The app reads the geotagging location data in each picture you've taken with your phone, matches the date and time with weather records, and maps out the trail. You won't have to lift a finger throughout this process.

Once the album is ready, you can edit it to add captions or additional data. These are called waypoints, and you can even add non-image waypoints manually to note something worthwhile.

You can also skip the entire automatic album maker and make a trip manually. You get more control over each waypoint and how it represents your trip. You'll want to use this mode if you want a robust travel diary, adding your thoughts to create a memorable journal.

Share albums with other Travel Facets users or privately so that only those with the link can see your trip.

Download: Travel Facets for Android | iOS (Free)

3. TravelMap (Web): Simplest Way to Create a Map of Your Travel Blog

Sometimes, you don't want the complexities of an app, social news feeds, auto-tagging, and all that jazz. Instead, all you want is to create a map where you add places of interest to plot your trail, along with photos and journal entries. TravelMap is that simple, free solution.

The simplicity of this web app is its best part. Sign up, create your mini-site with a unique address, and start creating your map. The map is your homepage, where you add places by searching or clicking placemarkers. You can always reorder these too.

Then, add images to your map or write posts and link them to the placemarkers you've already mapped. The result for a viewer is a neatly ordered map showing your journey, with a sidebar that displays images or posts to reveal more about your adventures.

The free version of TravelMap should be enough for most people, as its restrictions are still pretty high (like a maximum of 100 images). However, the premium version removes all such limitations if you need it. You can also check out a cool demo of TravelMap to see its full possibilities.

4. Jauntlet (Web, Android, iOS): Journal That Looks Like a Travel Blog Timeline

The Jauntlet web and mobile app look a bit dated compared to others in this list, but the final output looks so good that it deserves a recommendation. It's a mix of a travel journal and a travel blog, presenting your trip in a neat timeline.

When you sign up, Jauntlet asks you to also connect your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. This lets the app import photos from your different profiles. When you make any new post of a city you've been to, add the location to plot it on a map, write a journal entry of what you saw and felt, and select photos to add to the entry.

The final result looks fantastic, as seen in the image above. It's a timeline of where you've been, showing a map on the left, the city and date at the top, and your thoughts and photos on the right. Viewers can also comment under the entry. The whole thing can be played as an automatic slideshow, taking readers through your entire journey.

Download: Jauntlet for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Travel Diaries (Web, Android,iOS): Create an Actual Diary and Optionally Print It

Travel Diaries is a free app to design what a travel journal of your trip will look like and optionally print it too. The app is a virtual open book where you can write beautifully formatted entries.

For each page, you can apply one out of 38 custom layouts, choosing how text and images will appear on the page. Based on the layout, select and upload images from your camera roll, and write text in the simple text editor.

Travel Diaries isn't the best app for on-the-fly travel journaling while you're on the trip. It's more a place to reflect on your journey and compose a good-looking travel diary that you would be proud to show to friends. If you like what you've created, you can pay to download a PDF of the journal or ask the app makers to print and ship the travel journal to you directly.

Download: Travel Diaries for Android | iOS (Free)

6. Traveldays (Web): Travelogue of Photos With Location, Time, and Captions

Traveldays is one of the best online photo album creators to show off your trips and vacations. It's shockingly easy to use, as it takes your photos and automatically turns them into a picture journey of your travels, almost like showing postcards or polaroids to friends.

Upload your pictures in the order you want, and Traveldays will seek their geotagging information to pin it to a Google Map. You can also write small captions on each image. Share the link with your friends, and you're done.

Try a Physical Travel Diary

So which travel journal app should you go for? There's no one-size-fits-all app here. As a rule of thumb, Find Penguins, Travel Facets, and Jauntlet can better log your thoughts while on the trip. TravelMap, Travel Diaries, and Traveldays are better to create a travel diary after you're back from the trip.

But as much as we love these apps, there is a case to be made to use a physical travel diary instead. Not only do many travelers swear by the little diary they carry with them, but How Life Unfolds offers a detailed guide on how to use a travel journal while you're on a trip to make it more memorable than ever before.

Get Free Travel Journal Templates In Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides

Travel Journal Template

Travel Journal

Light Cloudy Travel Journal Template

Light Cloudy Travel Journal

Minimal Travel Journal

Green Travel Journal

Colorful Travel Journal

Cute Simple Travel Journal

Iceland Journal

Minimalist Gradient Travel Journal 2024

Sweet, sweet journey! But how to keep all beautiful sights in mind?

One way to do that is to start journaling! A travel journal is a written account of one's trips that serves as both a personal record and a way of sharing experiences with others. It is a medium for capturing the essence of a journey, both in words and in images. A travel journal can be as simple as a notebook filled with scattered thoughts and observations, or as complex as a professionally designed scrapbook. Regardless of format, a travel journal is a timeless way of documenting a journey and preserving memories for posterity.

The key advantage of a travel journal is that it gives travelers the opportunity to record their experiences in real time. This allows them to capture the essence of a place before time and memory cause it to blur and fade. It also allows travelers to observe and reflect on their world travel experience, to recall moments that may have escaped them, and to look more deeply into their short, but precious adventure.

However, creating a travel journal can be a time-consuming task that requires creativity, patience, and a good eye for design. That's where premade travel journal templates come in.

Start a Journaling Habit with Premade Templates!

If you are searching for a nice method of starting a journal, you are almost there! Using premade templates for travel journals can have lots of benefits that can make your travel experience more enjoyable and efficient. So let’s take a look!

Firstly, journal templates can save you time. Rather than starting from scratch and designing your journal layout from the ground up, you can simply choose a template that suits your needs.

Secondly, premade templates can help you save money. Here, on TheGoodocs, one may find only free resources without the necessity of a subscription and email confirmation. You are free to choose whatever template you need and save it quickly.

Another benefit is that our free travel journal templates can provide inspiration and structure. Sometimes when we're overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things to document from our travels, it can be hard to know where to start. A template can provide you with a starting point that can help you organize your thoughts and memories. Apart from that, templates are editable documents that can be changed multiple times and even provide access to previous versions. Thus, it is convenient to work on Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets.

Saving a Template

Here, on TheGoodocs, it is easy to find all kinds of templates, including different designs of free travel journal templates in Google Docs: bright, elegant, watercolor-themed, abstract, and illustrated.

Of course, when it comes to traveling experience, it is better to choose printable travel journal templates with nature and sightseeing elements.

To save a template, simply click the Edit Template button and follow simple instructions.

Let’s Customize the Journal!

And now it’s time to be creative (if you need that)!

Premade templates are customizable to fit your specific needs. Many templates come in formats that can be edited, meaning you can change the colors, fonts, and even the layout of the template to make it unique to your travel journal. This allows you to create a design that reflects your personal style and preferences.

If you are working with a travel journal template in Google Docs, it is easy to use the upper menu and the toolbar to insert images or add additional blocks to write. If you are a big fan of writing, simply copy the page and you will have the same formatted page to continue with!

Live, love, and travel! And don’t forget to use a free printable travel journal template to make lasting memories :)

student trip journal

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Moose River canoe trip approved for students from Spruce Mountain High School in Jay

This is the third year students will be able to participate in the outdoor adventure.

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JAY — Regional School Unit 73 board of directors gave unanimous approval for a canoe trip on Moose River, the third year the trip has been offered to students at Spruce Mountain High School.

Marc Keller, assistant principal and athletic director at the high school was first introduced to the trip while on staff at Mt. Abram High School in Salem Township. This will be his 12th trip on the river.

The trip is June 23 to 27. Sunday is a day of preparation, Keller noted. All items needed for the trip will be packed, students will prepare and learn about what to expect on the trip, he said. “There is so much to do,” Keller stated. The kids will learn how to take a canoe off the transport and put it back on, he said.

The trip starts at 6 a.m. Monday, will arrive about 11 a.m. or so after a couple of breaks, Keller said. Once at Holeb Pond, gear will be unloaded then the group will canoe a short distance to where the first camp will be set up, he stated. The afternoon will be spent on paddling techniques – some students don’t know how to steer, he noted.

Keller said wet rescues will be practiced with every boat being flipped over so students are prepared. Evening will be spent around the camp for communicating, learning about each other, he stated.

The plan Tuesday is to spend six or seven hours paddling, depending on the water level, Keller indicated. At Holeb Falls all gear will be portaged to the second campsite, which is beautiful, he stated. Advertisement

The next morning the group will paddle out to Attean Falls, may move on to Attean Lake, Keller said. “It depends on the weather, wind, how tired they are,” he stated. “We will be off the water Thursday by 11 a.m., will purchase pizza for all their hard work. The overlook in Jackman is called the Switzerland of Maine.”

The group will return to the school about 3 p.m., he noted.

“It is a great opportunity to learn about the outdoors, fly fishing, canoe skills,” Keller said.

Those eligible for the trip are eighth graders who will be freshmen next year through graduating seniors, he noted. Adults going on the trip include Keller, SMHS Principal TJ Plourde [third trip], School Resource Officer Joe Sage [who has never been] and Keller’s wife, Paula Keller [third trip, female chaperone].

Cost of the trip is $75, there is some money left in the outdoor account if anyone needs help, Keller noted. “The money is for food,” he stated.

Chair Bob Staples asked about number of students. Advertisement

“We usually set it at 12,” Keller replied. “Last year there were 15, two years ago 15 and three years ago 13. At around 20 we run into campsite issues.”

When asked, Keller said no one is turned away. “Some kids have never slept in a tent before,” he added.

Director Roger Moulton thanked Keller for organizing the trip, offered to sponsor a student if needed.

“I worked with Marc at Mt. Abram,” Laura White, administrative assistant to the superintendent, said. She never saw one student come back with a bad experience. “They were always smiling,” she added.

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For low-income students, FAFSA can be a lifeline. When it didn't work, they were hardest hit.

Students who needed aid the most were among the hardest hit after the Education Department bungled the rollout of the new federal financial aid form, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, a new USA TODAY analysis shows.  

Delays and technical problems with the form have left many economically disadvantaged students scrambling for financial aid, jeopardizing their college aspirations. 

The analysis, which combined FAFSA completion data with school- and district-level demographics information, revealed a sharper decline in processed applications — in which a student's information was successfully reviewed and sent to colleges for financial aid consideration — among schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students compared to their counterparts in high-income schools. 

Congressional action in December 2020 aimed to streamline the FAFSA process by introducing changes like reducing the number of questions and facilitating the electronic transfer of income information from IRS records.  

But those efforts backfired.  

As soon as the form became available to students on Dec. 30, 2023, reports of outages and delays emerged. Compounding the glitches, the Education Department had already postponed the release of the application from its typical Oct. 1 date, cutting the time students had to submit their applications by three months compared to previous years.  

In March, when the FAFSA issues were worse, schools serving the lowest-income students experienced a larger decrease in the number of applications completed. Specifically, there was a 48% drop in processed applications for these schools. Meanwhile, schools with a high-income student body saw only a 34% drop. Nationwide, the overall decrease was 40%. 

The 14-point difference between the lowest- and highest-income schools underscores a significant disparity in how many students, and from which backgrounds, ultimately get connected with federal financial aid, experts said.  

While economically disadvantaged students are the ones most in need of financial aid, they have historically had the lowest FAFSA completion rates, said Bill DeBaun, senior director of data and strategic initiatives at the National College Attainment Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes college access and success. 

The latest data as of May 24 showed that the disparity has narrowed as the Education Department addressed some of the problems with the form and accelerated application processing in April and May.  

The Education Department says more than 10 million FAFSA forms have been submitted to date, and the agency is processing them in one to three days. James Kvaal, the education undersecretary, told USA TODAY last month that any student who still hasn't submitted the form should complete it as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, the overall rates are still worse than last year, and the disparate impact on low-income students in the initial months of the rollout remains a concern for families, educators and policymakers, especially considering that the path to college education heavily depends on financial aid packages. 

The fact that several institutions were unable to make these determinations in March and April would have a “disproportionate impact” on the enrollment numbers of low-income students, said Emmanual Guillory, senior government relations director at the American Council on Education. 

“They need to know, ‘What kind of aid can you offer me because I don’t have the luxury of depending upon family wealth,’” Guillory said, voicing the concerns of low-income students seeking financial aid.  

Another concern is whether the FAFSA mishap will further widen the equity gap — essentially reversing progress made in recent years, advocates and experts say.  

Last month, the American Council on Education and 35 other higher education groups sent a letter to Congress asking them “to undertake a long-term assessment of the FAFSA delays' impact on students—particularly low-income students—and institutions.” 

“Everybody's far behind, but the schools and districts that are farthest behind are lower income,” said Ellie Bruecker, director of research at the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit group that advocates for affordable college education. “They also tend to be serving higher proportions of students of color.” 

When USA TODAY compared the lowest-income schools with the highest-income ones, the difference in average completion rates was 13 points this year. Last year, it was 11 points. 

“It is perfectly logical to me that they would be further behind because they're working with fewer resources to try to get caught up,” Bruecker said, referring to low-income schools.  

“It's really unfortunate but not unexpected that we would see that pattern because we have not corrected for those resource gaps.” 

‘Do I even get to go to college?’  

Jesse Johnson will be the first in his family to go to college. He plans to study radiology at Northern Kentucky University this fall. But for months, the FAFSA rollout debacle threatened that prospect.  

The 18-year-old northeastern Kentucky student was afraid that his financial aid application wouldn’t be processed in time to cover his college costs.

He started to doubt his future: “Do I even get to go to college?” Johnson said. That nagging question swung back and forth in his head for months. 

"I was on pins and needles the whole time because I didn't think I'd be able to go," he told USA TODAY. 

Johnson first tried submitting his FAFSA in early January, but it took months for the Federal Student Aid office to process his mother’s Social Security number, a common issue reported by applicants. He then had to redo the entire application toward the end of March after submitting it for the wrong school year.  

By that time, Johnson was on the edge of forgoing his college plans. “April came around, and I'm like, ‘Okay, like I need to make a decision on where I'm going. And FAFSA still ain't done,’” he said. 

His aid offer didn’t arrive until mid-May, and when it came, he said it was “a big relief.” 

Johnson is a recent graduate of Augusta Independent School, where his mother works in the cafeteria. His father works at a local mill.  

“It has been a long climb out of the deep hole for FAFSA submissions and completions this cycle,” DeBaun said. 

At the end of March, the number of completed applications was down about 40% from a year ago, FAFSA completion data showed. The figures have improved since then, but as of May 24, the number of applications completed was still down by more than 14% from the same period last year. 

According to federal data, Augusta Independent in Bracken County, Kentucky, serves students from low-income families with over two-thirds of its student body considered economically disadvantaged. As of last week, the Education Department processed 14 applications submitted out of the school’s 19 seniors.

In rural Falmouth, Kentucky, a few dozen miles from Augusta Independent, Pendleton County High School had only half of the applications processed compared to last year.  

There are other standouts, too. For example, at Provine High School in Jackson, Mississippi, a majority-Black school, completed applications were down 41%, while across the border in Nashville, Tennessee, Hillwood High has 70% fewer completions.  

Turtle Mountain Community High School in Belcourt, North Dakota, had 68% fewer completions. The school, which serves Indigenous students, has the biggest drop in the state and is among the schools hurt the most nationwide. A majority of the students in these schools are from low-income families. 

Once the FAFSA hiccups were fixed, "higher-income districts really got a move on" completing applications, while the climb was steeper for lower-income districts, Bruecker said. 

What states are the most behind in FAFSA submissions?  

From 2% in Indiana to 22% in Alabama, the drops in FAFSA completions vary across states, but the worst-hit states are the most rural and impoverished, USA TODAY’s analysis found. So far, no state has matched last year's numbers, with Alabama and Mississippi reporting the steepest declines. 

The other laggards are West Virginia, New Mexico, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Florida, Arizona, Maine and Kentucky. 

“You traditionally have low-income, very low-income folk, which mainly reside in poor rural areas, since we're a high rural state, and they're going to be by far more impacted in more ways than one,” said Aaron Thompson, president of Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. 

“Many of our low-income students traditionally wait for much later to apply for FAFSA,” Thompson added. 

“It was much more of a sprint this year than a marathon,” said Dave Sobush, director of research and policy at the Florida College Access Network, a statewide organization that promotes postsecondary education. The organization estimates that $363 million in need-based financial aid has been left on the table this year for eligible students in the state. 

After this year’s rollout glitches, the organization pivoted its efforts toward helping students apply for summer school aid, Sobush said. 

More: Some colleges are scrambling to get financial aid to students enrolled in the summer term

Experts outlined several reasons for the disparities in completion rates among states, pointing primarily to the lack of resources at low-income schools and limited college access in remote areas. 

Kim Welch, executive director at GEAR UP Kentucky, explained that the FAFSA process, particularly the new process, demands hands-on engagement with students and their families. 

GEAR UP, a federally funded program designed to support high-poverty students with college aspirations, helped Jesse Johnson, the Augusta Independent student in Kentucky, complete his FAFSA and navigate the glitches. 

“When you don't have staffing resources, or the capacity of your existing staff to support that, it impacts the rate at which our students and families with lower-income backgrounds can navigate the process,” Welch said, adding the process can be especially overwhelming for first-generation college students. 

The FAFSA difficulties come amid a nationwide decline in undergraduate enrollment among young Americans over the last decade, which still hasn't rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.   

With the rising costs of higher education , ballooning student debt and concerns about return on investment, only a quarter of U.S. adults say it’s extremely or very important to have a four-year college degree to land a well-paying job in today’s economy, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest report . 

As USA TODAY previously reported , the FAFSA troubles caused many students to fall through the cracks or opt against college altogether. 

“It's likely we may see a decrease in enrollment. And it's likely that low-income students may be impacted more than high-income students,” said Guillory, the senior government relations director at the American Council on Education. 

Sobush at the Florida College Access Network said that the state’s tight labor market, in which more graduates are choosing work over college, is also lowering college-going rates.  

A recent report by the Helios Education Foundation shows that Floridian graduates entering the workforce directly out of high school rose by 10 points between 2010 and 2019. In the same period, overall postsecondary enrollments declined from 64% to 56%.  

“Our goal is not just to have low-income students complete the FAFSA. We want them to complete the FAFSA and get aid to go to college,” Bruecker said.  

“We've made progress there, but it has not yet translated to closing the equity gaps in enrollment.” 

Biden administration launches review of Federal Student Aid office   

The Federal Student Aid office has faced significant pressure to resolve FAFSA issues, including letters from senators and representatives on education committees. Last month, three dozen higher education associations called the delays "debilitating" in one such letter. 

In February, over a dozen U.S. senators, including Charles Grassley and Thom Tillis, sent a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona expressing concerns about the FAFSA rollout's impact on farm and small business families. They criticized the department for botching the launch and for delaying the release past Oct. 1. 

More: Does the new FAFSA actually hurt farm families? It depends who you ask.

Several more letters were sent to Cardona by the members of Congress in May urging the secretary to resolve FAFSA issues for the next school year. The letter from U.S. representatives from Oregon said: “We continue to hear of significant problems with the application process that threaten to permanently affect the college ambitions of young people.” 

Amid the scrutiny, the top Education Department official overseeing FAFSA, Richard Cordray, announced that he will step down by the end of this month.  

All this pressure led the Biden administration to commission an independent review of the Federal Student Aid office, announced last week. 

Meanwhile, several colleges have extended their deadlines for students to commit to enroll.  

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education's Thompson said the FAFSA delays come amid widespread skepticism about college's value: “The delays are not just going to affect our low-income families but also many of our working-class families.” 

“There is this whole lot of philosophy out there that college is not worth it. So, I would argue that it's bigger than just whether our low-income families are getting any money,” Thompson said. 

Suhail Bhat is an assistant data editor on the USA TODAY investigations team and Cecilia Garzella is a data fellow. Contact Suhail at [email protected] or @suhbhat on X and Cecilia at [email protected] or @ceciliagarzella on X.

Reporter Zachary Schermele contributed to this story.

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A traveller stands facing Rainbow Mountain - a natural rock formation which has stripes of different colours.

The student gap year is evolving — and travel with purpose is more popular than ever

From enhancing a CV to benefitting a local community or travelling with purpose, the motives for students to take a gap year are increasingly nuanced.

For decades, the gap year recipe remained virtually unchanged: cheap hostels, all-night parties, banana pancakes and months spent ‘finding yourself’. Throw in some bungee jumping, quad biking and moped riding, along with days doing not very much, and you quickly paint the stereotypical picture of the fabled ‘year out’ of old.

The gap year travellers of today, though, are far more likely to be found doing   sunrise yoga on a beach before a day of volunteering. Evenings are less about getting blind drunk and more about   sitting around a campfire, herbal tea bubbling away on a stove, discussing the day’s work.

Once synonymous with those taking a break between A-levels and university, or after a degree, the gap year has evolved into a catch-all that includes anyone seeking an escape before joining the workforce. And according to Student Universe, the world’s largest youth travel agency, the post-pandemic era has seen the biggest shift in students’ desire and motivation to travel in 50 years.

While pure ‘leisure’ — fly and flop, adventure tours and festivals — still has a place in the market, the prevailing trend among gap year students is for educational or vocational trips.

“Their main goal is to do something ethical and responsible,” says Milly Whitehead, co-founder of specialist gap year travel company The Leap. “We’ve seen a huge growth in the demand for volunteering programmes and trips that have a proper structured itinerary.  

“They’re so much more discerning and into the fine detail of what a trip will involve than what we’ve seen in the past. The aim really is for a year out to add something to the future value of their CV and their UCAS [Universities and Colleges Admissions Service] form.”

It is a stark change from even a decade ago, Whitehead says, when most gap year travellers were happy flitting about until the kitty dried up and it was time to fly home.Her assessment is consistent with the findings of The State of Student and Youth Travel in 2024, the latest annual report by Student Universe. It surveyed 6,000 members of Generation Z — generally defined as those born between the mid-1990s and the late-2000s — in the UK, US, Canada and Australia to assess their motives for travel.

A female volunteer is picking up litter as part of a clean-up project. She is wearing a green tshirt and a purple head scarf.

It suggested 79% would embark on a trip with the main intention being that the experience would make them more employable. It’s a theme that runs through the report: around 87% believed vocational travel would improve their employability, while 86% said they’d sign up to volunteer on a project related to their ideal future career path.

Jemma Gore-Booth, 21, says about half her year group at Emanuel School in southwest London decided to take a gap year before going to university. “Taking a gap year was common,” she says. “Of my nine closest friends, five travelled. I worked as a teaching assistant in London to build up funds and then started with a month in Sri Lanka volunteering as an English teacher before travelling to Thailand and Vietnam.”

When Gore-Booth set off for her year abroad in 2021, there were still strict Covid protocols in place, especially in Asia, and the looming threat of further restrictions. Such risks, she says, still made it a more attractive proposition than online learning, plus she’d always intended to take a year out. “I really didn’t want to do any of my university degree online, but I was also nervous about the travel situation,” she says.

Gore-Booth is far from alone. Latest figures reveal that a record number of British teenagers who studied for GCSE and A-levels through the pandemic opted to take a gap year before starting further education. Figures from UCAS, released last summer when A-level results were published, showed more than 73,000 students applied to defer their place for a   year — an increase of almost 10% compared to the previous year.

Jump around

One of the biggest shifts Whitehead has seen in the 20 years since she and her husband Guy founded The Leap is the pace at which people want to travel. “It really needs to be pacy to keep everybody focused and energised,” she says. “Heaven knows how we kept people entertained for eight weeks back in the day. It was more go and teach in a school in the morning, maybe do something else in the afternoon… but all much slower. That just doesn’t wash now.” These days, she adds, “it has to be ‘bang, bang, bang’: a variety of projects, a variety of adventures. Every day has to be different.”

Experiences offered by The Leap include volunteering with organisations such as Oceans Alive Trust, a non-profit organisation that works to halt coral loss and boost fish stocks; beach cleaning in Costa Rica; or assisting with a community reforestation project in Barichara, Columbia.   Most programmes average about five weeks and include language learning alongside training in a skill, such as diving.

The demand for more structured programmes is a trend that Student Universe is also adapting to. “That desire of younger travellers to think ‘I’ll get on a flight and see where life   takes me’ has shifted somewhat,” says Sam Willan, vice president of global marketing. “Maybe it was blissful ignorance, but now our travellers definitely want to feel more looked after.”

Willan says the company has also seen a gradual move towards young people taking several shorter trips over the course of a gap year, as opposed to one long adventure. These typically follow a similar pattern: a learning holiday, a working or volunteering trip and then travelling.

A far shot of Angkor Wat in Thailand. The building is reflected in a body of water.

“It all comes down to career development again,” he says. “There’s a real drive among gappers to end up with experiences that will bolster their CV while building themselves as culturally aware, well-rounded individuals.” When participants in the The State of Student and Youth Travel in 2024 were asked ‘what appeals to you about taking a vacation?’, partying and clubbing came bottom, with just 21% of the 6,000 respondents selecting it. Top of the list was sightseeing and city activities (70%) followed by experiencing different cultures (68%) and relaxing and rejuvenating (61%).

According to Willan, gap year operators are also reporting subtle shifts in the countries gappers are choosing, with former staples in Southeast Asia — notably Laos, Thailand and Vietnam — losing some of their lustre and the likes of India, South Africa, Brazil and Peru on the rise.  

Whitehead reports a similar trend, with destinations that were among the first to lift Covid border restrictions benefitting from a rise in student travellers. “Central and South America were the first to reopen after the pandemic and really started the drumbeat,” she says. “What we’ve seen is that as more students have travelled there in recent years, word of mouth has followed through year groups.

“There’s a feeling they offer more contrast geographically than Southeast Asia. Take Peru, you can be in the Andes one day, on the Amazon the next and on Rainbow Mountain the day after.”

For working trips, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are the standout, thanks in part to their Commonwealth status, which opens doors to young travellers from the UK, according to Jenza, a travel agency specialising in working holidays.

Last year the UK signed agreements with all three countries to expand the Youth Mobility Scheme visa, increasing the age limit from 30 to 35 and the maximum length of stays from two to three years.

“Working holidays are more accessible to today’s youth, as they break down what’s undoubtedly the biggest barrier to entry: money,” says Lucy Lynch at Jenza. Options for students today are, however, more limited than they were. Villa staff, chalet boys and girls, resort reps, childminders and sailing instructors were the mainstay of British package holidays and extremely popular gap year jobs — until Brexit.

The UK’s departure from the EU cut off the ability for young people in the country to easily work overseas and reduced the number of services available to holidaymakers. A recent report by trade bodies ABTA and Seasonal Businesses in Travel (SBiT) revealed the number of Britons fulfilling tourism roles overseas has fallen from 11,970 in 2017 to just 3,700 in 2023.

This, SBiT says, has a disproportionately greater effect on young people, who’ve traditionally filled such seasonal jobs — working for holiday companies in a year off, say, or during the summer break.   It’s also had a huge impact on chalet holidays, beloved of British skiers, which relied heavily on gap year staff who were happy to work for less money in return for bed, board and a lift pass for the season.

Charles Owen, managing director of SBiT, says: “It’s proving tremendously difficult to employ the UK staff we need to run our businesses in the EU. In some countries, it’s a mountain of complex paperwork, delays and extra costs that need to be overcome; in others, there isn’t really a workable route.”

ABTA is calling for an enhanced seasonal mobility agreement between the UK and EU for tourism workers, as current arrangements apply only to certain roles and limit stays to 90 days. It’s also calling on the UK   government to work to extend the Youth Mobility Scheme to the EU.

“There’s nothing stopping us doing this,” says Luke Petherbridge, director of public affairs at ABTA. “It is mutually beneficial, not least for the individuals who take part   in the scheme and get to live and work overseas. Critically, it’s not part of the wider immigration regime. The mobility scheme doesn’t confer any longer-term rights to remain for those that have taken part.”

Many people in the travel sector are hoping that a change in government will pave the way for a closer relationship with the EU and forge a route for young Britons to work in the bloc without expensive, bureaucratic hurdles, which most travel companies can’t afford. SBiT estimates the cost of recruiting a young person from the UK for seasonal work in France (the most popular ski destination for the UK) has risen by £880.

One of the biggest decisions gap year students face is how to fund their overseas adventure. Research by recruitment agency Teaching Abroad found that one in five young people rely on parents to help pay for a year abroad. Others, however, are more self-reliant. Minnie Fisher, 18, is currently on a five-month trip taking in New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia. She’s paid for the trip by working from last summer until leaving in January this year.

“It was hard work but worth it,” she says from Nusa Penida, an Indonesian island near Bali. “After finishing my A-levels last year, I worked pretty much full time in a local cafe and I also did lots of babysitting, too. I saved up £11,000 in all. We used £3,000 for flights and I left with £8,000 in the bank, although I really want to end the trip with at least £2,000 left over.”

Gore-Booth is also planning another year out once she finishes her degree at Newcastle University.“No matter what, it would have to involve some element of earning money,” she says. “I’d also want it to contribute in some way to my CV and future work. I’m thinking I’ll do a TEFL [Teaching English as a Foreign Language] course and then go teach English somewhere like Vietnam. I think that would be a brilliant experience.”

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Achievement First's AJ Kue chosen as Providence Journal Student of the Week

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The votes are in, and the two students nominated for The Providence Journal Student of the Week received high marks.

But only one could be chosen for the top honor: AJ Kue of Achievement First Providence High School.

AJ was nominated by his French teacher for standing "out as one of the most accomplished and well-rounded juniors at Achievement First Providence High School."

“AJ is one of those kids you want to have in your class. His humor, personality, and willingness to try and push himself make him an ideal student & fun addition to the classroom environment.” Other teachers have stated that AJ is a curious, insightful student who asks deep questions to further the thinking of all classroom community members.

"AJ also regularly stays after school to work on extra assignments and is a member of multiple clubs at Providence High. He is a founding member of the chess club, volleyball and golf teams. This year, AJ led the Falcons volleyball team to multiple wins and lowered his golf scoring average by seven strokes. In the community, AJ helps set up Thanksgiving meals with the Salvation Army, is a Button Hole representative at golf events, and helps on the safety team at church."

AJ received 62.93% of the vote.

The Journal has asked principals, teachers and guidance counselors from across the state to participate in the Student of the Week program by sending nominations for their top student. The decision on who comes out on top is up to voters. 

Besides AJ, the other student considered this week was:

Gabriela Medeiros, South Kingstown High School

Gabriela is nominated because she is an incredibly well-rounded individual both in and out of school. She is a peer leader within the South Kingstown community.  She is co-president of Peer to Peer and RIPL. Ella volunteers for the Chris Collins Foundation and has been invited twice to speak on a panel regarding Youth Perspectives on Mental Health. She has won first place in the Hera Art Gallery High School State Art Show. She has also participated in the SKHS Best Buddy Program and Unified Physical Education for three years. Ella is truly a peer leader demonstrating compassion and empathy for all students. Additionally, she has participated in lacrosse, competed for the swim team, and rowed crew for a junior league at URI.  She is going to Clark University in the fall to study Political Science.  

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