Keeping a Travel Journal

Before my senior class trip to England and France, we sleepy teens endured a series of before-school lectures intended to educate us not just about the places we would visit, but also about how to travel well. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten (ever) came from our trip leader: keep a travel journal.

A travel journal is just that: a journal you keep while traveling. Even if you can’t make a habit of regular diary entries, I bet you can write daily for the week, or even month, that you travel!

A journal I bought on a trip to Maine in 2011, which I plan to use on my next trip.
A journal I bought on a trip to Maine in 2011, which I plan to start using on my next trip.

Here are a few of the things I like to write about in my travel journals:

  • Transportation: Write about how you’re getting around. Maybe you arrived at your destination by airplane, or maybe you’re on a road trip. Or perhaps you even went by train (like I did on the Eurostar from London to Paris) or a bus along rugged, foreign roads.
  • Lodging: Write about where you are staying, whether it’s a tent in the woods, a bed & breakfast, or a five star hotel. If you’re being hosted by someone, that’s noteworthy, too!
  • Activities: Write about what you do on a day-to-day basis on your trip. This is probably the most obvious, and the most easy to recount in a journal entry.
  • Food: Write about any new or unique foods you get to try. I feel this deserves its own special attention, particularly if you’re traveling somewhere with a cuisine different from yours, or a place renowned for its dishes.
  • Language: Write down any new words or phrases you learn and find interesting or might use again. This is both practical in the moment, and nostalgic to read over at a later time.
  • Impressions: Write your impressions of the culture, the geography, the people you meet…Your travel journal is all about how you experience your adventure.

Remember that you don’t even have to write complete sentences or paragraphs; when you’re pressed for time, tired, or just don’t have the words, bullet points will do. I also recommend getting a journal that has a pocket if you can find one, because it’s a handy place to stash ticket stubs or other keepsakes you want to take home with you.

The topic of travel journals is particularly on my mind because in less than a month I leave on my fourth trip to Honduras. Did I mention that yet on this blog? I’m so excited to be going back just a year after my last trip. (For more posts about my previous trip, check on the Honduras tag in the sidebar.) I’ll be sure to keep a travel journal and may even share portions of it here on the blog. Stay tuned!


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