Journaling Techniques

Keeping a Travel Journal: 100+ Prompts, Ideas, and Tips

Keeping a travel journal can be an incredibly rewarding and transformative experience, whether you’re an avid traveler or someone who’s embarking on a new adventure. From documenting unforgettable memories to fostering personal growth and reflection, a travel journal can be a window into the unique journeys you take in life.

In this guide, we’ve put together an extensive list of 100 travel journal prompts, tips, and ideas to help you create a travel journal that truly captures the essence of your adventures. Get ready to explore new cultures, savor the beauty of the world around you, and create a one-of-a-kind keepsake that will forever be a reminder of your incredible experiences.

What is a Travel Journal?

A travel journal is simply a personal record of your experiences, thoughts, and feelings during your travels. Travel journaling is a wonderful way to document and reflect on your travel experiences, capturing memories of the places you visit, the people you meet, and the adventures you have.

Travel journaling can take various forms, depending on your preferences and needs. You can choose to write in a traditional notebook or sketchbook, or create a digital journal or blog. Some people use their travel journals not only to record their experiences but also to plan their trip, track expenses, and organize important information such as flight details, reservations, and contact information for locals they meet along the way.

Keeping a travel journal can be a valuable tool for reflecting on your travels, preserving memories, and sharing your experiences with others.

A person sits on an overlooking writing in a travel journal

10 Convincing Reasons to Keep a Travel Journal

Keeping a travel journal or travel diary offers several benefits, both during the trip and long after your travels have ended. Some of the key reasons to keep a travel journal include:

1. Preserve your memories.

A travel journal helps preserve memories of your experiences, sights, and encounters that might otherwise fade with time. You can look back and reminisce about your adventures, learning from and enjoying them all over again.

2. Be more present.

When you write about your travel experiences in real-time, you tend to be more focused on the present moment. This can help you to be more present and mindful during your travels, and can also improve your memory of the trip.

3. Sharpen your observational skills.

Journaling pushes you to pay closer attention to your surroundings, which can improve your observational and descriptive abilities. This heightened awareness can lead to a more enriching travel experience.

4. Organize your thoughts and experiences.

A travel journal serves as a central location to record important information, such as trip itineraries, contact details, and to-do lists. This can help you stay organized and focused during your travels.

5. Enhance your creativity.

Writing about your experiences encourages creativity and storytelling skills. You can experiment with different writing styles, descriptions, or even drawings to capture the essence of your trip. Since traveling has links to creativity, keeping a travel journal allows you to expand these benefits in both ways.

6. Encourage self-reflection.

Traveling can be a transformative experience, and a travel journal can serve as a tool for self-reflection. Writing about your experiences can help you process your emotions, thoughts, and feelings, and gain insights into yourself and your place in the world.

7. Boost your personal growth.

Recording your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to new experiences can provide insight into your own personal growth and development. You can track how your perspectives and attitudes have evolved over time and learn more about yourself.

8. Reduce stress.

Studies have shown that even short vacations can improve stress levels, and writing in a travel journal can be therapeutic, allowing you to process your emotions and experiences in a healthy way. Travel journaling can also help you work through challenges and setbacks that may arise during your trip.

9. Create a unique keepsake.

A travel journal is a personalized souvenir that tells the story of your adventures. What you write can become a special item to share with friends and family or pass down to future generations.

10. Encourage deeper gratitude and appreciation.

Writing about your experiences while traveling can foster a deeper sense of gratitude for the opportunities and experiences you’ve had, helping you appreciate the journey and the people you’ve met along the way.

a person holds a map on their phone while travel journaling

What to Write About In A Travel Journal

There are many things you can write about in a travel journal. A travel journal usually involves writing a personal record of your thoughts, feelings, and observations throughout your journey. You can also include details about the food you try, the sights you see, the cultures you encounter, and the emotions you experience.

Here are a few things to write about in a travel journal:

  1. Daily activities: Write about what you did each day, including any sights you saw, people you met, and activities you participated in.
  2. Observations: Record your observations of the places you visit, including the landscapes, architecture, and culture.
  3. Food and drink: Describe the local cuisine and drinks you try, and note any favorites or new discoveries.
  4. Thoughts and feelings: Reflect on your thoughts and feelings about your experiences, including any challenges, surprises, or moments of joy.
  5. Cultural insights: Document your learnings about the local culture, customs, and traditions.
  6. Travel tips: Share any travel tips or advice that may be useful for others planning to visit the same places.
  7. Accommodations: Write about your accommodations, including any interesting details or experiences you had there.
  8. Write about the people you meet: Describe the locals, fellow travelers, and any interesting characters you come across. Note any conversations or interactions you have with them.
  9. Reflect on your growth: Traveling can be a transformative experience, and writing about the ways in which you’ve grown and changed can be a powerful exercise in self-reflection.
  10. Budget and expenses: Keep track of your expenses and budget, including any unexpected costs or money-saving tips.
  11. Memorable moments: Jot down any particularly memorable moments from your trip, including those that took you by surprise or left a lasting impression on you.
  12. Challenges and triumphs: Write about any challenges you faced during your trip, and how you overcame them. Celebrate your triumphs, big and small, and the sense of accomplishment they brought.
  13. Sights, sounds, and smells: Use all your senses to describe the places you visit. Write about the sights, sounds, smells, and textures that make each destination unique
  14. Overall impressions: Sum up your overall impressions of each place you visit, including what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what surprised you the most.
an example of a digital travel journal on the Day One app

13 Tips for Keeping a Travel Journal

Keeping a travel journal can be a great way to document your experiences and memories from your travels. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Find a travel journal that suits your needs.

When choosing a travel journal, consider not only the size and weight but also the durability of the journal. If you plan to carry it with you all the time, it’s best to choose one that can withstand wear and tear. Additionally, think about whether you want a plain notebook or one with prompts and questions to guide your writing. Some journals may have pre-designed sections for you to fill in with information about the places you visit, what you did there, and what you learned.

2. Consider a journal app with travel journal features.

Using a travel journal app like Day One is an excellent way to capture your travel experiences conveniently. You can quickly jot down notes, take pictures, and record your thoughts and feelings, even if you don’t have your physical journal with you. The app’s Map View is especially useful, as it allows you to see where you’ve been and what you’ve done in each location. Plus, if you’re traveling internationally and plan to limit your data usage, Day One will store your entries and uploads locally on your device until you connect to WiFi.

A woman uses a travel journal app while traveling.

3. Decide on your travel journaling style.

When deciding on your travel journaling style, consider what you want to focus on. Do you want to describe the places you visit in detail, or do you want to focus more on your thoughts and emotions during your travels? Writing daily entries can be a great way to capture everything that happens, but if you prefer to write less frequently, consider making notes of significant events or experiences.

4. Set a journaling goal.

Setting a goal for your travel journal can give you a sense of direction and purpose while writing. Your goal could be as simple as writing in your journal every day during your trip, or more specific, such as recording a unique experience or learning something new about the culture of the places you visit. Create a list of goals before you begin your travels so you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your journal.

5. Slow down.

When traveling, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new sights and experiences. However, taking the time to slow down and observe your surroundings can help you appreciate the small things that you might otherwise miss. Take a moment to sit down and watch the world go by, or go for a leisurely stroll to take in your surroundings.

6. Include as many details as possible.

Include details such as the names of the places you visit, the foods you eat, and the people you meet. The more specific and detailed your writing is, the more vividly you’ll be able to recall your experiences later.

7. Use your senses.

Using your senses is a powerful way to immerse yourself in your surroundings. Try to pay attention to the smells, sounds, textures, and tastes of the places you visit. Describe the scent of a local market, the sound of a street musician, or the texture of a historic building’s walls. Using your senses to describe your experiences can help bring your travel journal to life.

8. Ask questions.

Asking questions can be an excellent way to learn more about the places you visit. Locals and tour guides can provide valuable insights into the history, culture, and traditions of the places you’re exploring. Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations on things to see and do, or for tips on where to find the best local cuisine.

9. Stay in the present moment.

When you travel, it’s easy to get caught up in planning, taking photos, and checking items off your bucket list. However, it’s important to take the time to slow down and appreciate the present moment. Take a few deep breaths and focus on your senses, noticing the sights, smells, sounds, textures, and tastes around you. Take time to observe the people you meet and the interactions you have with them. Engage with the local culture and try to understand their way of life.

10. Take photos and videos.

Taking photos and videos can be a great way to capture details that you may not be able to describe in words. Use your camera or phone to snap pictures of interesting sights, people, and places. These photos and videos can provide valuable inspiration when you’re writing in your travel journal later.

11. Stay curious.

Staying curious while traveling means keeping an open mind and embracing the unknown. Try new things, explore new places, and take risks. Step outside your comfort zone and embrace the unfamiliar, whether that’s trying new foods or engaging in new activities. Keeping a sense of curiosity can inspire your writing and help you capture unique experiences that you may have otherwise missed.

12. Keep your journal safe.

Your travel journal is a precious record of your travels and experiences, whether it’s in a physical or digital format. Consider investing in a sturdy, waterproof journal or storing your journal in a plastic bag or waterproof cover to protect it from moisture. It’s also a good idea to keep your journal in a safe place when you’re not using it, such as a backpack or hotel safe. Consider making a backup copy of your digital travel journal, whether it’s on your phone, tablet, or laptop. For example, the Day One app offers secure cloud-based backups and file exports. Additionally, you can encrypt your digital journal to protect it from unauthorized access. This way, you can ensure that your journal is safe and secure, and you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your memories are protected.

13. Make it fun.

Remember that travel journaling should be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Use your journal as a creative outlet to express yourself and capture your unique perspective on the world. Experiment with different writing styles and formats, such as poetry, short stories, or essays. You could also include sketches, paintings, or other visual art to enhance your journal entries. And most importantly, don’t worry too much about making your writing perfect or adhering to a strict structure. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process of documenting your travels in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling to you.

a woman sits on a bridge with her travel journal

20+ Travel Journaling Ideas

A travel journal is a fantastic way to capture memories, thoughts, and experiences from your trips. To get started, here are some creative travel journal ideas to help you get started with travel journaling:

1. Record your itinerary and travel plan.

Record your trip itinerary, including transportation details, accommodations, and planned activities.

2. Organize your packing list.

Create a packing list for your trip and reflect on what items were useful and which ones you could have left behind.

3. Create a bucket list.

Create a bucket list of activities or experiences you want to have during your trip, and check them off as you complete them.

4. Recap each day.

Write about your daily experiences, such as the places you visit, the people you meet, and the local cuisine you try.

5. Use journal prompts.

Using journal prompts can be a helpful way to spark creativity and reflection in your travel journal. Choose a travel journal prompt below that resonates with you and write freely without worrying too much about structure or perfection.

6. Sketch and doodle.

Illustrate your memories with drawings of the landscapes, architecture, and other interesting sights.

7. Capture quotes and phrases.

Jot down memorable quotes from locals or interesting phrases you learn in the local language.

8. Include your favorite travel photos.

Include photographs of your favorite moments, places, and experiences from your trip.

A woman looks at a map while traveling

9. Collect ticket stubs and mementos.

Attach ticket stubs, maps, postcards, brochures, or other small mementos to help you remember your trip. If you prefer to go the digital route, scan items or take a photo of these items.

10. Write about your feelings.

Traveling can be an emotional experience, and writing about your feelings can be a cathartic and introspective exercise. Reflect on how the trip is making you feel and what emotions are arising.

12. Go deeper by reflecting.

Write about your personal growth and what you’ve learned during your travels. Reflect on how your travels have impacted you, whether it’s a new perspective on a cultural issue, a realization about yourself, or an enhanced sense of empathy and understanding. Think about the ways in which your travels have shaped your worldview and how you can apply these lessons to your life back home.

13. Express your gratitude.

Express gratitude for the experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve met along the way.

14. Keep a food diary.

Record the local dishes you’ve tried, including their names, ingredients, and your thoughts about them during your trip.

15. Add notes on culture and customs.

Describe the local culture, traditions, and customs that you encountered and found fascinating.

16. Write about your travel challenges.

Write about any challenges you faced during your trip and how you overcame them.

17. Include maps and routes.

Trace your travel route on a map, or draw your own maps to remember the places you’ve visited.

A photo of a person used in a travel journal.

18. Write about the people you meet.

Traveling provides opportunities to meet new people and learn about their lives. Use your journal to document these interactions and what you’ve learned from them.

19. Use poetry and creative writing.

Use your travel experiences as inspiration for poems, short stories, or other creative writing exercises.

20. Keep track of your budget and expenses.

Document your travel expenses to help you plan better for future trips, or to help stay on track with your budget.

20. Include ratings and reviews.

Rate and review accommodations, restaurants, attractions, and other experiences to help you remember the highlights of your trip.

21. Make a travel wishlist.

Write a list of destinations you’d like to visit and why they appeal to you.

22. Plan for a post-trip recap.

After returning home, reflect on your trip as a whole, including your favorite moments, any personal growth, and what you’ll take away from your journey.

23. Print your digital travel journal.

Having a physical copy of your travel journal can provide a tangible reminder of your travels and serve as a cherished keepsake for years to come. By printing your travel journal, you can create a physical record of your adventures that you can hold in your hands and share with others. It can be a meaningful way to preserve your memories and reflect on your journey, long after your travels have ended.

A woman reflects on the scene while traveling

50 Travel Journal Prompts to Try

Still not sure what to write about in your travel journal? Journal prompts are a great way to spark your creativity and dive deeper into your travel experiences.

These travel journal prompts are designed help you capture the essence of your trip, and encourage introspection before, during, and after your adventure. So, whether you’re exploring new cultures, savoring local cuisine, or simply taking in breathtaking landscapes, let journal prompts guide your writing, enrich your narrative, and ultimately, help you create a captivating and memorable travel journal.

Journal Prompts For Before You Leave

Preparing for a trip can be just as exciting as the trip itself. Before you head out, consider using journal prompts to help you focus your thoughts and prepare for the adventures ahead. The following travel journal prompts can help you dig deeper into your travel expectations, identify potential challenges, and set meaningful goals for your journey. By reflecting on these prompts, you can better prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the exciting journey that lies ahead.

  1. What are my expectations for this trip? What do I hope to gain from it?
  2. What are the places I want to visit and why are they important to me?
  3. What am I most looking forward to experiencing on this trip?
  4. How do I think this trip will change me?
  5. What are my travel goals, both short-term and long-term?
  6. Can I describe my travel companions (if any) and why I chose to travel with them?
  7. How am I preparing for my trip (mentally, physically, logistically)?
  8. What are my top three fears or concerns about the trip?
  9. How will I react if the trip takes an unexpected turn?
  10. What am I most looking forward to about this trip?
  11. How do I plan to challenge myself during this trip?
  12. What role do I hope this trip will play in my personal growth and development?
  13. What specific moments or experiences do I hope to capture in my travel journal or through photography?
  14. How do I plan to stay open-minded and present during my trip? What steps can I take to cultivate this mindset?
A woman stops to write about a view in her travel journal

Journal Prompts For While You’re Traveling

While traveling, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and forget to take time to reflect on your experiences. By using travel journal prompts to capture your thoughts and observations during your trip, you can deepen your connection to the places you visit and the people you meet. The following prompts are designed to help you stay present and engaged during your travels, and to encourage you to take a closer look at the world around you. Reflect on these travel journal prompts to create a meaningful record of your journey.

  1. How did I feel when I arrived at my destination? What were my first impressions?
  2. What was the most memorable moment of my day?
  3. What beautiful or interesting sight did I encounter today?
  4. What new foods did I try and how did they taste?
  5. How would I describe the atmosphere of a specific location I visited today (e.g. café, beach, market)?
  6. How have the locals treated me and what are my experiences interacting with them?
  7. What was a conversation I had with a local or fellow traveler?
  8. What cultural differences or similarities have I noticed during my trip?
  9. Can I describe a piece of art, architecture, or natural wonder that left an impression on me?
  10. What local tradition, festival, or event have I witnessed or participated in?
  11. How is my trip living up to my expectations so far?
  12. What were some unexpected challenges I have faced during my trip so far?
  13. Can I share an act of kindness I’ve experienced or observed during my trip?
  14. What was a moment when I felt outside my comfort zone and what did I learn from it?
  15. What’s a funny or embarrassing moment that has happened during my trip?
  16. What has been my favorite and least favorite aspects of the destination(s) so far?
  17. How has my perception of the world changed during my trip?
  18. Who is an inspiring person I’ve met on this trip and what is their story?
  19. What new skills or knowledge have I gained on this trip?
  20. If I could give advice to someone visiting the same destination(s), what would it be?
A man packs to return home after a trip with his travel journal

Journal Prompts For After You Arrive Home

Returning home after a journey can be bittersweet. While you may be happy to be back in familiar surroundings, it’s also common to experience a sense of loss or nostalgia for the experiences you had while traveling. These travel journal prompts can help you reflect on your journey after you’re home, so you can continue to process your experiences and keep the memories alive. The following prompts are designed to help you unpack your thoughts and feelings about your trip, to identify the ways in which it has changed you, and to set goals for future travel. By reflecting on these prompts, you can continue to grow and learn from your travel experiences long after the journey has ended.

  1. What will I remember most about my trip experience?
  2. What was the biggest highlight of the trip?
  3. What is a food or drink that I tried during my trip that I still think about?
  4. What moment from my trip challenged me in a significant way?
  5. What did I learn about myself during this trip?
  6. How has my trip influenced my perspective on life and my priorities?
  7. What souvenirs or momentos did I collect on this trip? What were their significance?
  8. What was my favorite photo of the trip? What is the story behind it?
  9. What was my favorite destination on my trip? Why?
  10. What was the most valuable lesson I learned from this trip?
  11. How have my travel goals changed after this trip?
  12. What aspects of the local culture would I like to incorporate into my daily life?
  13. What places would I I want to visit in the future?
  14. What was a place or experience that I wish I had more time to explore?
  15. How has my trip influenced my outlook on the world and my place in it?
  16. How did my trip impact my sense of identity? Did I discover anything new about myself?

Wrapping Up: Your Travel Journal Awaits Your Next Adventure

Travel journaling is a fun way to preserve your memories, foster personal growth, and enhance your travel experiences. With the travel journal tips, prompts, and ideas we’ve shared in this post, we hope you now feel well-equipped to embark on your own travel journaling journey. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to capture your adventures—the most important aspect is to embrace the process, stay curious, and allow your unique voice to shine through. So, grab your journal, explore the world, and let your creative spirit soar as you document the unforgettable moments, the hidden gems, and the personal discoveries that make each journey truly yours. Happy travels and happy journaling!

About the Author

Kristen Webb Wright is the author of three books on journaling. With a passion for writing and self-reflection, Kristen uses her experience with journaling to help others discover the benefits of documenting their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In her role at Day One, she helps to promote the power of journaling so people from all walks of life can experience the transformative power of journaling.

The Day One app in multiple views

Day One: The Ultimate App for Adventurers

Discover the simplicity and convenience of Day One, the ultimate travel journal app for every globetrotter. Instantly record your thoughts, take photos, and preserve memories, even when your physical journal isn’t within reach. Download the Day One app today to begin chronicling your journey.

Journal from here, there, everywhere.

Download the Day One journal app for free on iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Journal from here there and everywhere mobile devices image.Journal from here there and everywhere mobile devices image.