journal your travels book cover of journal

How to Best Journal Your Travels and Your Life

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Why Journal Your Travels and Your Life?

Indeed! Why journal your travel or your life?

I have been journaling diligently for over forty years and the information, memories, and experiences are a treasure.

When my husband, Chris, and I found out that we were expecting our first daughter over twenty years ago, I transitioned from a hand-written journal to an online journal to begin recording the milestones of our life together.

Isn’t technology great?

Then the personal blogging craze hit, and it was the perfect progression in recording the moments of my young family’s life. 

Family Scavenger hunt

Not only was it a great way to keep a journal with corresponding and related photos, but it was also a fantastic medium to share our experiences and family pictures with grandparents, family members, and friends…many who lived far away.

I recognize that not everyone is a writer but I hope that you will be inspired to begin keeping your own personal record in a way that best reflects your talents and personality

I have always felt passionate about writing my history, have been driven to record moments, and anticipate the future when my grandchildren read for the first time what their moms (my daughters) were like at their age.

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What are the Best Ways to Journal Your Travel and Your Life?

Whether you want to create a journal of your life or journal your travels, my best piece of advice is to JUST START.

To relate a wise Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree [or start a journal] was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.” 

So how can YOU begin?

1. Start a Blog

If you dream of creating a website dedicate to travel (or parenting or recipes or whatever) these are the steps where you should begin:

A blog is a fantastic medium to journal your travels and experiences and to begin to share itineraries, tips, and practical advice with would-be travelers.

Others can learn from YOU as you journal your travels.

If you only want to create a personal, diary-style blog to share with family and friends, you could do this at wordpress.com or blogger.com.

I started on Blogger for my personal blog and found it easy as a newbie to use and personalize.

2. Take Notes to Journal Your Travels

In all of my journaling on my family blog for the past 20 years, I have always kept notes as we traveled as a family.

These notes have become a superb reference for my new website and blog simplyjolayne.com.

simplyjolayne homepage screenshot

When I travel, I record details and destinations, mishaps and memories all along the way that I can then use to create travel posts with detailed supplemental information.

I always carry a travel journal (affiliate) with me.

This is the easiest way to remember the places you visit, people you meet, ideas, funny moments that happen along the way, mishaps, favorite destinations and day trips, or interesting tidbits of information.

You could also take notes on your phone. I am not the best a typing on the little keyboard and can write so much faster with pen and paper.

Another option is to record voice memos on your phone as you sightsee.

You may find that if you don’t record the day-to-day happenings as you travel, you begin to mix up days and locations or forget insightful moments (or maybe that is just me!) Once you do begin to journal your travels, pulling the information together into a meaningful blog post once you return home is so much easier!

3. Take Pictures to Journal Your Travels

As much as I love to travel I also LOVE to take pictures.

As a traveler AND a photographer, I can often be found with my Canon 6d Mark II (affiliate) around my neck and my iPhone in my hand as I hike, sightsee, and travel. I don’t want to miss a single picturesque moment.

Tip: Change the time stamp on your camera when you arrive at your destination so that it is the local time. Don’t forget to change it back when you return home.

TOTALY RANDOM SIDE NOTE: Leggings with pockets in the side are so ingenious. Slide your phone in, pull it out it quickly. Never miss a shot.

Pictures can be an effective tool as you journal your travels. I will often take quick pictures of the places we stay, names of the cities we visit, restaurants where we eat so that I can remember them and then make sure that I spell them correctly when I begin to journal. These pictures aren’t usually my best efforts, just a record.

Pictures also give you a day-to-day guide in chronological order of where you went and what you saw.

4. Start an Instagram (or other Social Media) Account to Journal Your Travels

Screen Shot 2021 10 08 at 3.08.34 PM

If you choose to create a website to journal your travels, be sure to claim your website name on:

…any social media account where you will also want to share about AND journal your travels.

Take pictures along the way as a visual journal of your travels.

5. Create a Travel # (Hashtag) to Journal Your Travels

If you don’t plan to create a website and don’t really want to create a separate Instagram account where you can journal your travels, you can also create a #hashtag specific to your travel, ie., #simplyjolaynetravels

Use hashtags “#” on Instagram to make it easier for family, friends, followers, or potential customers to find your Instagram feed and “follow you”.

The hashtags on Instagram are usually a combination of words, numbers or emojis preceded by the # symbol (no spacing) to provide a category for content and make your photos easier to discover.

Do you ever wonder why people use so many hashtags on their posts (you can use up to 30 per post)? It is to try and get more people to see their posts. More people viewing your posts means more followers and hopefully more people visiting your website.

6. Collect Memorabilia or Souvenirs

Do you like to collect? For awhile, my girls were collecting sweatshirts when we traveled to foreign cities. They would say, “You can never have too many sweatshirts,” but hmmmm, I think you can.

How about stamps, Christmas ornaments,(affiliate) t-shirts, or postcards? Train stubs, airline tickets, museum entrance tickets all make a unique way to journal your travels throughout the world as well.

7. Create Scrapbooks

Are you an avid scrapbooker? I was always too busy blogging to add one more medium to my efforts to journal my travels, but many of my friends love the scrapbooks they have created over the years.

You will want to collect and save memorabilia from your trip such as ticket stubs, vouchers, a napkin, postcards, and receipts. And the hardcopy scrapbooks will give you a great excuse to print your photos and then to look back through the pages.

8. Make a Photo Book

I love to create photo books online. I make one every year for my family as a reminder of all of the fun we had, to recap our momentous occasions, and to highlight the places we visited.

You could make books for each of your travel destinations as a way to journal your travels. If you have never made one, I think you would be surprised to find just how quick and easy they are to make.

Do You Need Writing Prompts to Help as You Journal Your Travels?

Need some ideas to help as you journal your travels? I gotcha! Writer’s block is real. You may just need to pick one of these ideas to get you started or keep the ideas at hand to help you recall events and moments from your day.

I even ask my family what their favorite moments are from the day. Your traveling companions can be great in helping you remember or in bouncing ideas off of them.

Prompts to Get You Started Before You Even Leave the House

  • Why did you choose this particular destination?
  • What are you looking forward to the most?
  • What is your itinerary for this trip?
  • Do you have any day trips planned?
  • Have you had any pre-trip setbacks?
  • What are your recommendations for next time?
  • What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
  • Do you have favorite childhood travel memories and places you want to visit?
  • If money wasn’t an issue, where would you go?
along Lake Geneva in France

General Travel Prompts to Spur Your Thoughts as You Journal Your Travels

While a picture often says a thousand words, adding your impressions of the sights, sounds, and smells offers an added dimension.

  • What puts you out of your comfort zone while traveling?
  • Describe the funniest travel moments you have had.
  • What is the most beautiful beach you’ve ever been?
  • What is your favorite European country to visit?
  • Name the most picturesque city, town, or village that you have visited?
  • Have you ever visited Christmas markets?
  • Are there any places you just don’t want to visit?
  • What are your favorite meals or treats to splurge on money-wise and calorie-wise?
  • What are the best and worst accommodations you’ve stayed in while traveling?
  • What was the weather like? Did it impact your day?
Amazing Deals Crater Lake in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon

Journal Prompts for Each Day as You Travel

I recommend that you set aside some time at the end of the day to update your notes each day of your vacation. It makes it so much easier to journal your travels and remember what you did, where you went, and the funny or crazy things that happened. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What are your first impressions of your travel destination?
  • Are you suffering from jet lag?
  • What has surprised you so far?
  • Did anything unfortunate, funny, or eventful happen today?
  • What did you forget to pack?
  • Do you like your accommodations?
  • Did you get lost?
  • What was your favorite meal today?
Adventure Seeking Women riding elephants

Prompts for Looking Back at Your Travel Moments

As you arrive home and begin to journal your travels, what are some of your thoughts, ideas, and reflections about your trip?

  • Is this a trip you would take again or was once enough?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What would you pack differently?
  • What would you add to your packing list?
  • Did you have any travel mishaps?
  • What were the humorous moments from your trip?
  • How long did it take you to get over the jet lag?
  • Did you buy any souvenirs?
  • Are you excited by the pictures you took?
  • Did you meet someone new?
  • What would you recommend to others about this destination?
  • Are you glad to be home?
  • Are you ready to go again?
  • Is there a tourist spot you wish you had visited?
  • What is the best trip you have ever taken?
Instagram Content Quote the family that travels togethers stay together

Ideas on Journaling Your Life

I have been focusing a lot on how to journal your travels, but there are a myriad of ideas for creative ways to also journal your life:

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal
  • Record your Yearly Goals
  • Create a Calendar of Your Family Photos
  • Keep a Personal Journal in a Book
  • Create an Instagram Account
  • Print Your Photos and Hang Them in Your House
  • Create an Online Private Journal
  • Respond to Writing Prompts to Create a Personal History
  • Use a Sketchbook
  • Write Letters to Yourself, Your Children, Others
  • Use a Daily Planner
  • Create a Recipe Book of Your Family’s Favorite Recipes
  • Make a Bullet Journal
  • Record your Health Journey
  • Design a Yearly Vision Board
  • Create a Book or File of Your Favorite Quotes
  • Write About Your Family Traditions
  • Create a Book on the Advice You Would Give to Your Adult Children
  • Write Down the Funny Things Your Children Say
  • Make Note of the Books and Movies That You Love
  • Create a Playlist of Songs
  • Write a List of Fun Facts About You and Keep Adding to It
  • Write Lists of Fun Facts About Your Family Members

Final Thoughts on How to Best Journal Your Travels and Your Life

Journal your travels and your life

Check out the Travel Journal and the Gratitude Journal. They are great for getting started.

If these lists seem overwhelming, just pick one idea and start there. The time you take to make a record of your travels or your life in a meaningful way, will make an impact.

The blog, as we affectionately refer to it in our family, and the blog books which my husband has printed for me over the years, are a treasure. My youngest daughter, Kristen, pours over those books, often reading about the years before she joined our family. It is funny to us when she says, “Do you remember when…” and then references a time before she was even born.

Just start. You’ll be glad you did.

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Jennifer Record
5 days ago

What a great gift idea..for kids and adults…

Ildi
4 days ago

An oldschool handwrittem journal is useful for every aspect of life, it is just not for the lazy people. And I absolutely agree that there is such a thing as too many souvenirs. In my case it’s magnets, but you have only so much metal surface. 1 fridge.

Nathalie Joyce Aliento
Nathalie Joyce Aliento
4 days ago

Thanks for sharing this! Actually, I always capture every moment and place it in a journal. Hayyy, missing traveling ..

Ashlee Fechino
3 days ago

I loved reading about having a travel journal. As time goes on, it is so easy to forget the names of places you have been. I’m so glad I have kept travel journals from as far back as college. Almost 20 years – how could I remember everything! hehe

Ildiko
3 days ago

I love your recommendations and I love how you create a digital photo album every year of your family’s activities and travels. Great idea. I often forget how much I do and how many places I visit and exhibitions I see. It is only when I look back at ALL the photos that I am quickly reminded of how abundant my life is.

Vanessa Shields
Vanessa Shields
1 day ago

All such great ideas on ways to keep track of travel through journaling! I love having a blog as it is detailed in reminding me of my travels plus lots of photos to bring back those memories. I also enjoy creating photo books of trips!

Erica
1 day ago

Lots of fantastic ideas about journaling and remembering our travels! So many great prompts too! One of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received was from my younger sister. As an adult, she copied her journal entries about me that she had written while we were growing up. It was pretty incredible all of the sweet things she shared. Journals are priceless and you have written a really useful article about them. Thanks!

kmf
22 hours ago

I love journaling (old school writing pen to paper) so I never really made the connection that my blog and social media accounts are also forms of journaling. Love the journaling prompts…great resource!