Traveling soon? Yay! I’m so excited for you!
No matter where in the world you’re going, a travel journal is one of the most important things to bring with you on your trip.
Journaling provides a wonderful way to document everything about your travels that you don’t want to forget (and believe me, it’s so easy to forget).
A travel journal also functions as a travel planner to keep you organized while on the road, a way to decompress after a long day of sight-seeing, and a creative outlet.
I’ve been an avid travel journaler for close to 30 years now (and a home journaler longer than that). I bought my first travel journal the day after I found out I’d received a scholarship to move to Germany as a high school student (it had Monet’s waterlilies on the cover and thick creamy blank white pages…oh, how I loved writing in that journal).
My old journals are fun to look at, even all these years later, because they spark my memory in ways that photos don’t. They provide me with a peak into who I was at the time of a particular trip – my mindset, what (and who!) was important to me, what my worries were, what my handwriting looked like. My journals provide all sorts of little details that add richness to my memories that I just don’t get from photos alone.
Sure, you can document your travels on a blog or social media – I do both. But I still recommend bringing a travel journal just for you. Putting pen to paper is an intimate experience that sparks more reflection and awareness than typing on a keyboard. I say this as someone who loves blogging and social media!
What is a Travel Journal?
At its core, a travel journal is simply a journal that you write in while you travel.
It doesn’t have to say “travel journal” on the cover to be one!
Travel journals are like travel shoes: one size does not fit all. What works for me may not work for you. The journal that was perfect for last year’s trip to Brazil may not be the right one for this year’s trip to Australia or next year’s roadtrip around Canada.
That’s why my goal with this article is to help you find the best travel journal for you and your next trip.
Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of travel journals: small ones, big ones, hard cover, soft cover, blank, lined, and grid pages, heavy journals, lightweight pocket-sized…you name it, I’ve written in it.
That’s why I’m such a good travel journal guide for you!
Whether you prefer simple and sleek, pocket-sized, lined with prompts, a memory scrapbook or something in-between, I can help you find your perfect travel journal.
How to Choose a Travel Journal
To find the best travel journal for your trip, personality, and journaling style, ask yourself these helpful questions:
- Size: How long do you plan to travel? Do you tend to write a lot or are you more of a here-and-there writer or note/list-maker? Do you want to carry your journal in your day bag, purse or pocket? Or do you prefer to leave it at your hotel or AirBnB?
- Page weight: Do you like writing on both sides of a page? Do you want to paste in photos and receipts? Do you want to draw or paint in your journal?
- Cover: Do you prefer a hard cover or soft cover? Do you like plain covers (e.g., in a solid color) or do you prefer cute or artistic covers? Or maybe you like travel-inspired covers?
- Investment: Do you want an inexpensive one-time-use journal or would you prefer to invest in something you can use again and again by getting new inserts?
- Journal or journal-planner? Do you prefer a simple, straight-forward journal or do you want a journal that also functions as a travel planner and includes things like a packing list, calendar, world map, conversion chart, etc?
- Page style: Do you prefer lined, blank, dotted or grid lines on your journal pages?
- Binding: Is spiral binding a must-have? Or do you prefer saddlestich, perfect binding, or loose three-hole-punched pages?
- Prompts or no prompts? Do you want a journal with writing prompts to inspire you? Or do you prefer a blank page?
- Extras: How important are things like a pen holder, elastic band or pocket?
The Best Travel Journals
1. Sulirun 1981 Travel Bullet Journal
This journal is just so beautiful! The hard cover comes in several colors and designs (I really like the marble), and it also has a pen loop, a pocket, built-in ribbon bookmark, and an elastic closure. Plus, you can choose from dotted (perfect for bullet journaling) or lined. Check it out here!
2. Moleskine Travel Journals
If you love Moleskine journals (I sure do – I’m using one right now!) check out this Moleskine travel journal! I love that these journals are a good size for writing but aren’t too big or too heavy to carry around in my day bag when I’m traveling.
3. Travel Journal – Leather Cover
If you like journals with a luxurious leather cover, this one is for you!
It’s refillable, so you can keep using the beautiful leather cover with new journal inserts. It also has an elastic strap to keep the journal secure.
What I like about these types of journals is that you can customize the types of (and how many) inserts you use. You can also take an insert out and carry it with you during the day (rather than carrying the entire journal around all the time).
4. Scratch-off Map Travel Journal
This is so cool! This journal includes scratch-off maps, so you can easily and visually keep track of where you’re traveling. There’s also a soft-cover booklet for journaling. It comes in a four colors – blue, black, brown, and red.
5. Midori Style Travel Journal with Travel Journal Inserts & Accessories
If you’re a fan of having one nice cover that you can use again and again, you’ll love this Midori style travel journal. The leather cover is reusable, and there are three types of inserts included: lined, plain, and grid paper. It also comes with a pen holder and a binder clip. With this journal you can create your perfect travel journal for each trip! Check it out here.
6. DIY Travel Journal
These inexpensive spiral-bound journals are perfect for creating a custom cover! Alternatively, they can serve as a low profile travel journal that doesn’t scream travel. The spiral binding allows the journals to lie flat, and with 50 unlined pages, you have plenty of space for your notes, hilarious stories, and photos. Check them out here!
7. Wander Travel Planner Journal for Women
This elegant journal is a travel planner + travel journal. Record your travel research, stay organized, and document your travels with one journal. Check it out here!
8. Travel Stub Diary
Writing isn’t the only way to keep a journal while traveling! If you like collecting ephemera when you travel – ticket stubs, receipts, postcards, candy wrappers, etc – from your trip, this travel stub diary is the journal for you! With lots of pockets and acid free pages, this journal creates a unique travel souvenir. Click here to check it out!
9. Art Travel Journal
These journals are perfect for the artist in you! If you prefer sketching or painting while traveling, these are great journals because the pages are thicker and the right texture for your artistic expression.
10. Study Abroad Journal
Planning to study abroad? The Study Abroad Journal is perfect for you! This journal guides you in recording your amazing experiences abroad and working towards your life goals at the same time. It comes in hard cover and paperback. Check it out here!