101 travel journal ideas
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These 101 Travel Journal ideas will help you fill up a notebook of all sorts of adventures – whether it’s an exotic voyage or the everyday journey in life. 

And of course, please, please, please DO NOT feel like you have to do every single thing I put on this list – especially all in one journal. {That would be one awfully big, heavy book to lug around!} 

Whether you’re off to a grand exotic adventure, dreaming of places you want to go or maybe just enjoying a stay-cation and local points of interest, I hope you will find this post of travel journal ideas inspiring to document your next creative adventure.

101 Travel Journal Ideas: What to Put in a Traveler’s Notebook

1. Start With a Map

Maps are always great in a journal. You can paste or tape them in or even make pockets and envelopes with them. Drawing maps can be a lot of fun also.

There are also a lot of ways to get maps:

  • Google Maps: You could even print out a satellite/street view version or the directions.
  • Maps Category on Wikimedia Commons: Lots of great free maps you can download and print out.
  • Old Books & Atlases: If you have an old set of encyclopedias that’s way outdated and not of collector value, there are likely a lot of great maps to use in your journals. I love finding an old atlas at the thrift store or book sales.
  • Marketing Maps: Many welcome centers, tourist agencies and travel rest stops have all sorts of maps available in marketing brochures. 

Staying local? Why not make a map of where you live? It could be your neighborhood, the backyard or even your kitchen. Doodles and sketches are perfectly 100% awesome here.

Another idea is to cut out shapes from old outdated maps you have. I sometimes buy old atlases and books with maps just for this purpose! These hearts shown below were cut out using a heart shaped punch similar to this one on Amazon.

I love scrapbook punches for so many different things in my art journals – you don’t even need that many of them and you can get perfect cut-outs anytime. These are great to make in advance before you travel somewhere – and you can get all sorts of different shapes! Circles, tags, you name it.

2. Can’t Decide Where to Go? Make a Mind Map

As creative people, making plans and staying organized is sometimes a challenge. I know when I go anywhere it sometimes feels overwhelming to keep track of all the details or even just decide what I want to do. Sometimes I don’t even know where I want to go or what I want to do. 

Mind Maps are great for easily mapping out ideas, dreams, plans, thoughts – especially if you’re not sure how to really organize them. You can draw them out on paper or even use mindmap software to create one you like and then print out and decorate.

Sometimes just making a mind map of an ordinary place can be fun – this mindmap of things to do in Ohio actually makes me excited to go there this summer. {Living next door in PA sometimes causes me to take all the neat things to explore in Ohio for granted.}

Even if you’re only going as far as your imagination, a mind map is a great way to explore all sorts of different ideas and concepts.

3. Packing List & Trip Prep

If you are using your travel journal as part planner, part journal, making a packing list and a to-do list before leaving is a great idea.

This is not only practical, as it will hopefully help you remember everything, but it can also help document some of the excitement and anticipation for the trip before you even arrive at your destination.

4. What’s In Your Bag?

While similar to a packing list, it can sometimes be fun to either snap a quick photo or sketch and doodle a picture of your suitcase and bags.

This can also be a fun way to document different day trips – it’s always interesting to see what sorts of things you consider essential to carry with you – especially if you find yourself looking back 5 – 10 years later. I am still in awe that fanny packs are coming back in style

5. Make a Bucket List

A bucket list is a list of all the things you want to do. Maybe this is a list for while you are at a specific location for a period of time – or this could even be a list of all the different places you want to visit during your lifetime.

Some of the examples of things you could create for a bucket list:

  • Places you want to go
  • Region Specific Foods you want to try
  • Things you want to do
  • People you hope to see 

6. Found Things: Collecting Ephemera & Other Treasures

Lately I’ve been keeping my eyes on the ground whenever we go places. I’ve found all sorts of very interesting things by keeping my eyes and my head open to finding stuff at random.

I’ve found old coins and pennies, tokens, dropped business cards – all sorts of interesting stuff. A lot of times people may think this stuff is just trash, but if it’s flat enough it can fit into a journal and a great way to document things you’ve encountered while out exploring the world. You never know what you might find on a sidewalk.

7. Save Those Receipts

Receipts are a great way to keep track of different things you do and need during your trip. Maybe you need a special airline approved travel bag you buy before the trip, or it’s the receipt for lunch at that adorable sea-side cafe you stumbled across.

Usually these sorts of things also have geographic information printed on them, so it can make even the national/international chains a little more interesting.

I always joke that doesn’t matter where we go or how well I plan I usually end up at a Wal-mart buying supplies we forgot – but hey, at least it’s fun to see your Wal-mart receipt has a different city and state printed on it. 

8. Attach an Envelope or Pocket for Collecting & Storing Supplies 

Speaking of ephemera and found things, another great idea for things to include in your journal is an envelope you can use as storage. The pocket for collage supplies is one of my favorite things about Dylusions Art Journals – so handy for holding stuff!

Since most of my journals are either 7×10″ or 6×9″,  I like to use the 6×9″ mailing envelopes and glue them or tape them into my notebooks and journals to use as a pocket for holding stuff. They are great for fitting all sorts of paper scraps and other things you might find on the trip!

If you are like me and realize what a deal it is to buy 100 clasp envelopes on Amazon, you can use the envelopes to make many, many more junk journals and art journals in the future! 

Beyond just envelopes, there are also a lot of other ways to display and store things inside of a journal, and one of the great things to use for this are the pocket page protectors often used in pocket scrapbooks.

If you are trying to keep things small and simple while traveling, Simple Stories is one brand with a wide variety of differently configured 6×8″ Pocket Page Protectors that can be a great way to hold and display items you might find in your adventures. Bonus: No glue stick needed. 

9. Keep a Record/Log of Daily Events

I know sometimes when I actually DO go on a real vacation, I don’t always have time to keep track of everything we do. One good way to get around this, without necessarily having to write a whole lot or spend the day drawing and gluing things in the book is to keep a very simple log each day. 

This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Keep it simple – use the actual date or the day of the week and challenge yourself to just write one word for each day. This will help you remember details of the trip long after it happens. 

  • Monday – Beach
  • Tuesday – Friends
  • Wednesday – Museum

Keeping a log helps you remember things so that you can continue to fill the book up with memories and ephemera from the trip long after you return.

10. Method of Travel: Document Your Transportation

There are plenty of ways to get from one place to another. You can ride a bus, take a train, or fly up high in a fancy jet plane! 

Once you arrive at your destination, there can also be a lot of additional things to note about getting around town, especially if you are traveling somewhere that drives on opposite sides of the street or relies primarily on bicycles or scooters for transportation. 

All of these things make for great ideas for stuff to doodle, sketch, and write about!

11. Accommodations – Where Are You Sleeping?

Whether you’re staying in a hotel, airBNB, fancy resort or maybe your RV, there are plenty of things to document about where you are staying during the trip. 

Some ideas for ephemera might be brochures, print-outs of your reservation confirmation, map directions to the location. You can also always do a sketch of your room or view out the window. 

12. How’s the Weather?

Weather is one of those things that might be considered “small talk” but it’s also something I know can really influence what types of activities we do when we are on a trip.

We do a lot of camping – so if it’s warm and sunny, you’ll find us hiking, kayaking, and fishing. If it’s rainy, you might find us playing card games, visiting shops, or checking out area museums.

Sometimes bad weather can even make a trip more fun than expected – you might check out something new you ordinarily would have skipped, or maybe you will come home with a funny story of events.

You can record different weather events bullet journal style in your notebook or just draw different weather related symbols whenever you jot down any notes.

13. First Impressions – Any surprises?

Once you arrive at your destination, take a note of some of the things you notice right away or any different thoughts you might have about the trip there so far. This is especially a good idea if you are going somewhere completely new that is not like anything you have done before.

You might also want to take note of what expectations you had prior to leaving the trip – Is there anything that surprised you once you got there? Did you over estimate or under estimate what it might be like? Sometimes the anticipation before a trip can be much different than the actual reality once you get there!

14. Paint Backgrounds in Advance to Pack Less Art Supplies

Something I like to do in art journals when I’m traveling is to paint the pages before I go with acrylic paints I like to use. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate – maybe some simple stripes for writing on, or you can even use by block-by-block art journal technique to prep different page sections in advance.

This gives your pages a nice background and start for any type of journaling or doodles – and you don’t have the hassle of having to pack or carry around a whole lot of supplies. All you need from there is a couple of favorite pens and maybe a glue stick.

15. Try Watercolors for Compact & Portable Art Supplies

If you do want to paint while you are on your trip, a set of travel watercolors is a great option because they are generally very compact and easy to clean up and carry around – some pocket field sets could literally fit in your pocket and are smaller than most cell phones!

Watercolors are a great fun way to give your pages a little hint of color – and of course you can always use the opportunity to try out some new and different watercolor painting techniques!

16. Portrait Sketches

Meeting new people, or sometimes just seeing new people can be very inspiring to practice sketching different portrait drawing techniques. 

Portraits of new faces and people can be a great way to practice and hone in on your skills in drawing and painting faces – it can also serve as a springboard for additional art to make even when you return from the trip.

If the idea of sketching or painting a portrait makes you nervous, do not worry – there are lots of great resources to help you out here, like Mixed Media Portraits With Pam Carriker – Jane Davenport also has lots of great books such as this one which can be a wonderful resource to start with.

17. Draw & Sketch Landmarks

No matter where you go, there are sure to be landmarks. These can be great sources of inspiration for stories and drawing practice. 

Some landmarks are famous {such as The Statue of Liberty in NYC or The Sistine Chapel in Vatican City} – other landmarks are more of directional markers or might have personal significance to you. One example is a water tower we always look for when we drive past it on the highway.

18. Architecture

Wherever you find yourself, take some time to notice different architectural details such as windows, doors, gates, fences and roofs. Make a page inspired by the different things you see! This can be a detailed sketch or simply a whimsical doodle like the photo shown above.

19. Make a Cityscape

After you pay some attention to the different architectural details, it can be fun to incorporate this into cityscape art.

It can be a very fun challenge to recreate a drawing or doodle of the places you visit in your journals, and of course you can always combine these with other drawings or collage and ephemera.

Many of the Watercolor Doodle Cities here and other city-inspired paintings I make start from inspiration from real-life cities and towns I’ve visited.

20. Capture the Landscape

Sketching or painting the landscape can be a wonderful way to document all the beautiful views in nature. You can also photograph these scenes to inspire you to make more art when you get back home.

Maybe it’s an early morning sunrise or a field you drive past on the highway, the waves at the beach or even the way the mountains look in the distance.

21. Use Whatever You Can Find for Art Supplies  

I like to pack light when I’m traveling, and so that usually means sadly most of my art supplies have to stay at home. The good news is the lack of supplies can push you to try using everyday materials in creative ways.

For example, say you go out for tea – you can use the tea in your cup or a used tea bag to create tea stains on your papers. {Just be careful not to smear any ink from pens unless that is your desired effect!}

Over the years I’ve used all sorts of things to create with in my journal beyond traditional materials. A dandelion can often be used to get yellow coloring on paper – you could even use makeup like lipstick or eye shadow and blush on your pages.

22. Pay Attention to Special Events & Holidays

While you don’t need a special event or holiday as an excuse to explore the world, often times we do go places depending on the season and traditions we like to celebrate. 

If your journaling happens to fall around a certain holiday or you attend a special event in your adventures, there can be all sorts of seasonal things you can add onto your pages – hearts for Valentine’s Day, Flowers in the Spring, Pumpkins for Halloween, Christmas Decorations, etc.

23. Everybody Eats: Food is Never Ending Inspiration

There are some places I would visit again just with the sole purpose of eating amazing food. Food also makes for an endless source of things to put in your journal. You might not need to record every single meal or snack, but if you enjoy something good – make a note of it or use it as inspiration for art.

Another thing you can do, especially if you visit different countries is save food wrappers. Different languages, different wrappers – all these things can easily be added into your journal and will even help you remember what foods and restaurants you like if you should visit that place again.

24. Street Signs & Names

As someone who loves all things words, letters and numbers, I can’t help but feel gravitated towards interesting signs we see in different places. These can be great starting points for drawings, sketches or even things to photograph and add to your pages at a later time.

25. Read any good books?

Sometimes the books we read can inspire our travels – or a book can help us pass the time on a long bus ride or flight. Vacation is also a good time to catch up on books you’ve been wanting to read.

I love books so some of my favorite places to visit while traveling are small bookstores and libraries – I always find some nice treasures that way!

26. Foreign Language

If you’re traveling to a country where English is not the native language, it can be very fun and interesting to find different things that have the country’s language in your journal.

Whenever I’m shopping at used book sales, I often find a lot of foreign language dictionaries. These make for excellent paper backgrounds to use in junk journals, or you can always have fun copying the words to practice your foreign language skills.

Staying local in your own hometown? Have some fun visiting regular mundane places by learning or practicing a different language. 

¡Vamos a cocinar papas en la estufa!

Even a place as mundane your kitchen can be more fun if you learn fun ways to explore it as a traveler. This can also be a great way to help your kids practice their foreign language skills. 

27. Everyday Life

What do the people who call the place you are visiting home everyday? Take some notes, sketches or photos of a day in the life of a local.

Another thing that can be fun to do is to imagine for a moment if this place was your home, and not just a place you were visiting. What might you like or dislike about staying in that one place long-term?

28. What are other tourists doing?

Every time we’ve visited tourist-destination types of places it is always fascinating to watch the other travelers and what they are doing. Maybe you see hundreds of people with cameras, or you see people waiting in line to get their picture taken next to a certain attraction.

29. Trees & Flowers

I spend most of my vacations immersed in nature and I love drawing and painting trees and flowers. You might also want to keep some wax paper in your notebook – this can be a great way to preserve flowers or leaves.

30. Birds of a Feather

When we visit cities I always notice pigeons, and I always see seagulls at the beach. I love photographing ducks! Sometimes places we go have aviaries to visit. When we go camping, we love looking for woodpeckers, cardinals, and other birds.

You can fill your journal with bird related images or just make a list or doodles of the different birds you might encounter.

31. Animals

If you love animals, this is another great source of inspiration while you are traveling. Maybe you go to a nearby zoo, or maybe friends you are staying with have a friendly cat. 

Some places you visit may even have animals you don’t typically see that often. I remember when I visited Toronto in Canada I saw so many moose statues everywhere we went!

32. Notes From History

Most places have historical centers – even small towns often have an interesting past. If you enjoy historical points of interest, there all sorts of ways to incorporate this on your pages.

Use cut outs from brochures or old books, record facts, or even attempt to recreate a scene from history in your journal. This is a great way to use up some of your favorite vintage ephemera also!

33. Famous People / Persons of Interest Who Lived there

Almost every place has people who are famous or played an important role in the history of the area. It can be very interesting to research before you go some different people who have lived in that place – and maybe even tour some of the different things that would have been part of their daily life.

One example of this is when a friend of mine in high school was slightly obsessed with all things Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. She had learned he grew up in boring old Mercer, PA {not so far from the same boring town we lived in} – so we decided to go up one day to check it out.

It was very neat to think hey, here’s this little town in Pennsylvania just like our little town in Pennsylvania, he was a band dork, we were band dorks. It is always neat to see these sorts of places, especially if it someone who is inspiring to you, because in a way you can see the kind of environment that inspired them to become the creative person they are.

34. Music Playlist

Speaking of Trent Reznor – let’s talk about another favorite aspect of traveling for me – plenty of opportunity to listen to music!

I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a long ride than to come prepared with a good music playlist.  If you’re riding passenger on long trips, a good music playlist and a sketchbook is a great way to help pass the time.

I also like to listen to different music that is popular in different areas. It’s way more fun to listen to Blue Grass music if you are in the Mountains of Virgina or a little country music on the city streets of Nashville.

There are so many different types of music around the world, and all of it can be very inspiring to listen to while writing or creating.

Need more ideas for how to incorporate music into your journals? Our list of creative music inspired art prompts can help inspire you!

35. Textures

Make a page about different textures you might encounter on your trip. Maybe it’s the sand between your toes, the concrete on the sidewalks or the familiar softness of your favorite shirt in a place where everything is different. 

You can even optionally include some of these textures into your journal, especially if you encounter things like fabric swatches or handwoven items.

Another idea is to use different textures from objects around you as unique stencils and stamps. You can do all sorts of mark making with different textures in your book!

36. Coffee

While I suppose this could fall under “food” – coffee for me is more than just a tasty caffeinated beverage. Draw a Picture of Coffee with the different backdrop of the place you visit. Save ephemera like napkins, coffee stirrer or receipts from shops you visit.

Pay attention to ways coffee is prepared and served. If you are visiting a place that grows and produces coffee, this too can be very fascinating to learn about and try different flavors native to the area. 

37. Souvenirs

Do you collect anything? Some people collect pennies, spoons, key chains, salt shakers – you name it! Collecting is a fun low-stress hobby and traveling can be a great way to find new things.

If you are a collector of something, it can be fun to make a page about different sorts of things you like to collect. If you don’t have a collection yet – what is one you might you be inclined to start or find interesting? 

Many different places you might visit often also have souvenir shops with all sorts of interesting things for the area. Even if you’re not a collector, you may enjoy sketching or making a list of the sort of things you notice. 

 38. Pick Up a Newspaper – Local, National & Global News

It’s always interesting to read the news somewhere you aren’t. It gives you a greater understanding of what types of things the residents who live in a place might experience on a regular day to day basis and what is important to them.

Another bonus is often times when you visit a new area the newspaper may syndicate different feature columns than your papers back home. This could mean new recipes, different horoscopes, puzzles, comments, and opinion pieces.

Newspapers are also great to use in collage and art you might be inspired to create, especially if you have very limited access to art supplies.

39. Smells

What does the place you’re visiting smell like? Maybe you can smell freshly baked bread drifting across the plaza, or it’s the smell of the ocean next to you, or even just the smell of pine trees in the woods. 

Paying attention to how all of your different senses experience the place can help you remember the adventure all that much more.

40. Include Conversations With the People You Talk To

One thing I enjoy doing when traveling is meeting and talking to new people and listening in on what people might be saying at the different places we visit. 

It’s funny, but some of the conversations I remember are not exactly quotable, but totally memorable enough to document in a journal. One time when we were at a beach an old man was talking to us and told us we needed to visit a place that was about 6 hours away.

“They have the most unbelievable peaches! Miles and miles of orchards…” he said. Well, after talking to him we decided to go that way the next day and yes, they did have peaches, but we were mostly awed by the unbelievable beautiful beaches!

Had we not talked to that stranger on the beach that day we never would have discovered one of our favorite beaches in the U.S.

41. The Local Dialect

I live in the Pittsburgh area and we are sorta famous for our unique dialect. Many local shops sell Yinzer stickers and other Pittsburghese types of things that are always popular with tourists and would make great journal fodder.

If you happen to be somewhere, pay attention to different words and phrases people use for things. You might be surprised how many sayings and words you pick up that aren’t in any foreign language dictionary!

42. Quotes About the Area and/or General Traveling

There are all sorts of great quotes that can be a great way to add to the journal. You can include general travel quotes in your journal while you are getting ready for the trip – or of course you can always add these once you are back. 

43. Interview The People Traveling With You

It’s always interesting how two different people can have two different options and memories about a trip!
Traveling with kids? Ask them their thoughts – and of course don’t forget to encourage them to create their own travel journals!

44. Hidden in Plain View – Important or Sensitive Information 

It’s always a good idea to have a paper copy of important info while you are in a different place – especially if WiFi access or phone reception might be hard to come by. 

While I don’t recommend keeping sensitive info in plain sight in a journal, sometimes you can give yourself cryptic ways only you would know to have a reference for things like addresses or bank account info.

Some ways you can do this is by drawing the numbers in a certain specific pattern, or you could even make up your own secret code. 

45. Reference Lists & Safety Info

I’m sorta neurotic about safety, so I like to include helpful safety info in my notebooks, especially because we spend so much time outdoors. This might be something as simple as a mini first aid guide or a list of emergency numbers for the area. If you are traveling in a foreign place, you may even want to list some emergency contacts in the notebook.

I also like to print out this type of information to keep in planner binders. For the planner I keep in our camper, I included printed information for dog medications and first aid, since our dog has a habit of finding bees nests, eating fishing rods and getting into all sorts of trouble.

46. Currency From Different Countries

Many foreign countries have different types of currency that can be very interesting to keep in a journal. If you have a few smaller value notes leftover from a trip they can be a great thing to put in a journal or slip into a clear pocket you attach to the pages.

47. Track Your Budget

Budgeting might not seem exciting, especially while supposedly on a vacation! Still, it is definitely an inevitable part of life that doesn’t go away just because you are somewhere different! 

Fortunately, it can be way more fun to do when you find a way to express your creativity in your journal or planner. Keep records of expenses while you are traveling and think about different ways you can save money.

If you haven’t left for your destination yet, there are lots of great ways to plan a trip without spending a lot. Make a page about how you will save for an upcoming trip or make a list of ways to you can see the world without going into debt.

48. Random Fun Facts

Do you enjoy games like trivial pursuit? Something that can be fun to do before you leave is read up on different fun facts about an area, or you can even just jot down these things as you experience them in the place you visit.

Random Fun Fact Example: We can thank computer scientist Scott Fahlman at CMU in Pittsburgh for the widespread use of the smiley face symbol. 🙂 Pittsburgh is also home to another famous smiley face – the Eat ‘N Park Smiley

49. Local Business & Industry

Do you ever need to travel for work? Business travel can sometimes create all sorts of new interesting opportunities to see sights and document parts of a place that don’t exactly make it to the city guides!

Many cities are also famous for different things related to businesses and industries. Factory Tours can be super fascinating and educational – they also make for a great activity during rainy day travels.

50. Movies, Plays & Film

Many places you wouldn’t expect have been featured in movies – other times there may be films or movies that take place in the very same places you visit.

One example is the time we visited Savannah, Georgia. My husband loves the movie Forest Gump so naturally this meant we had to visit Chippewa Square and the famous park bench at the Savannah History Museum when we explored the city.

51. The Clothes We Wear

Just like food and money, most of the time we typically need to also wear clothes. You don’t have to be a fashionista to appreciate unique clothing styles in different places you visit.

Depending where you travel to, the culture and weather can be very different from where you live and so the style of clothes and things people wear and do can be fascinating. 

Don’t forget to also pay attention to the clothes you are wearing. Maybe it’s a raincoat because it’s raining or you bought something special to wear for the trip.

52. Travel Shoes

Going places usually means lots of walking and standing – which means the pair of shoes you wear can make all the difference! Sketch a pair of your shoes and take note of whether they have reliably served you well in your travels, or if they’ve caused you pain, agony and misery. 

53. Hobbies & Interests

When I visited NYC my top must-see destination was the Sketchbook museum at the Brooklyn Art Library of course!

One of the ways I documented that visit was to put a safety pin in one of my pages once I got home because I noticed one of the journals there was completely bound with safety pins and I thought that was pretty unique and I didn’t want to forget it! 

Your different hobbies and interests can always overlap in travel – and sometimes in the most of unexpected ways. If you have a specific hobby or interest you enjoy, take some time to research different clubs and organizations in the area. You can find groups and points of interest for almost anything!

54. What’s Trending Now

Do you notice any interesting trends about the place you visit? Maybe there is an activity that is popular or something you notice everyone is doing.

This could be something like a TV show everyone is watching, something seasonally related or it could even be many of the homes decorated with certain pieces or in a certain style.

55. Funny Stuff

One thing you should always bring along any adventure is a good sense of humor. I love this one picture we snapped while we traveled through VA – antique tables made daily!

There are also lots of great travel-themed jokes you could use in your journal.

What travels around the world but stays in one corner?
A stamp.

{Sorry, I couldn’t resist, I love punny bad jokes!} Speaking of stamps…

56. Postage Stamps: Send Yourself Some Mail Back Home

Postcards and foreign stamps can make for an excellent addition to any type of travel journal. You can mail yourself a letter or post card, or even pick up some post cards where you are visiting to add to your pages.

Shown above: A photo of some of the vintage postcards I have in my ephemera collection. If you have friends and family members who travel a lot, be sure to offer to pay for postage and ask them to mail you things!

57. Color Combos

Do you love color? Different places can be great inspiration for unique color combinations or even noticing things you may ordinarily ignore. Take a look at your surroundings and try to create a color palette based on what you see around you.

58. Rainbow Page

Another fun travel journal idea is to try to make a page that includes something of every color of the rainbow you see while you are on a trip. This could be done with ephemera or even just making notes and drawing in your sketchbook to add in photos later.

59. Inspiration is Everywhere

What do you see that inspires you to create while you are traveling? Maybe you notice an interesting pattern on textiles being sold at a shop or you like the way the vase on your table looks at a restaurant.

Take note of these little details that inspire you and sketch or jot them down. These can be great sources of inspiration for those days you need a little kickstart to create.

60. Bottle Caps, Drink Labels and Coasters

Many bottled beverages have labels and unique bottle caps that can make for great things to include in a journal. You may also notice several restaurants have coasters that are nice to save after your meal.

Bottle labels and coasters are two types of things that are normally thrown away but can make for great ephemera to include in your journal and help document the trip.

61. All the Different Shapes

Another idea for different places you visit is to create pages based on different shapes. For example, you could have a page for things that are round, such as wheels, windows, or stones.

You could also easily do this for things that are square, rectangles, triangles, etc.

62. Define Some Travel Words

What does adventure mean to you? What do you consider to be a journey?

There are lots of different travel-themed words and they often mean different things to different people. Write your own definition for words, or you could even find these words in a dictionary and cut them and paste them to the page in your book.

Here’s a couple more words you could use on the page or define:

  • Quest
  • Voyage
  • Cruise
  • Ride
  • Trip

63. Why do you love travel?

People travel for different reasons, and of course the reasons we enjoy it are also usually unique to us. What do you like the most? Is it meeting new people? Seeing something different? Learning new things?

Write or illustrate your favorite things and the reasons you enjoy discovering new places.

64. Stickers

Stickers can be found anywhere, whether it’s a price sticker on something you buy or even a marketing sticker they give away at a promotional event. Some places you visit may even have shops that sell unique stickers for the area.

65. Technology & Apps

There are many apps and websites that can make traveling a lot easier, and it can be something fun to document in your journal. These apps can help you find new places or even possibly read reviews and get special coupons and deals. 

Another thing to think about is how the place you are visiting uses technology. Do they seem advanced or are they behind compared to where you currently live?

66. Trip Stats

Another fun thing to record in your journal are trip stats. Your might record your odometer reading, number of miles you traveled, or if you have a fitbit you could make a note of how many steps you walked that day.

67. Try Zentangle

Zentangle is a super portable form of art and very relaxing so perfect if you’re going on vacation to unwind. All you need is some paper and your favorite Micron 01 pen.

You can start with basic shapes or just tangle freely on the pages of your journal. Who knows – some places you visit may even be home of certified Zentangle instructors and classes may be available during your trip!

68. Practice Creative Lettering

There are so many great ideas and ways to have fun with creative lettering in your journal. You can try different styles of letters, mix up big and small writing. 

Hate your handwriting? Our post on creative lettering ideas can give you lots of inspiration for ways to add unique text without necessarily mastering calligraphy.

69. Stencil It

Stencils are flat and portable – so very easy to bring with you along your travels and keep right inside your notebook. There are TONS of inexpensive stencil sets on Amazon or you could even try making your own journal stencil templates.

A couple of stencils can definitely can help you with making shapes, layouts, and different designs in  your journal – no fine art skills required!

70. Bodies of Water

Water is always a source for inspiration, relaxing, and feeling refreshed – and where there is life, you are sure to find water! As the author of How to Read Water points out, you can learn just as much about water from a puddle as you can from the sea. 

Create a page in your journal based on what you like to do in the water – whether you go fishing, swim laps in the pool on a cruise ship or just admire the sailboats out on the bay.

71. Make a List of Things to Research

While you are on your trip, you might find yourself curious to learn more about stuff you encounter. Make a list or note of this in your journal so you can read up on it when you come back home.

Before you go somewhere new it’s also a very good idea to research different laws, customs and practices. This to-research-list can be a great thing to add in your journal before you leave to remind you to actually learn about these things before you get there!

72. Visiting a Sports Town?

Sports teams around the world have some very loyal fans and this can be another thing worth documenting if you are in a place that takes their sports seriously. In some areas it’d be impossible not to take note of arenas and stadiums!

Even if you’re not a sports fan, you may notice where you are visiting what important sports games are happening and what teams people proudly wear on their t-shirts, jerseys and hats. If you do visit an event, don’t forget to save your ticket stubs and program with the team roster!

73. Stick to the Grid

Grid lined pages can be nice to have when you are writing or drawing, because they also make it super easy to try to draw things when you want to be mindful of things like ratio and perspective relationships.

You can also have fun just arranging different elements in a grid-like fashion – draw your own freehand grid and fill each box with different memories or images you cut and tear out of a local magazine or newspaper.

74. What Are You Really Good At When Traveling?

Do your planning skills shine as you come up with the perfect trip itinerary? Have you mastered the fine art of packing a suitcase with all the right things? Have a knack for strumming up conversation with the locals? Or, maybe you’re just really good at getting lost! 

Whatever your strengths and skills are when it comes to travel, these should be celebrated and certainly worthy of being documented in your travel journal! Draw yourself an award, make a list of your best strengths, and celebrate all the hard work that goes into exploring.

75. Gratitude

You can never go wrong keeping track of things you are thankful for. See our list of gratitude journal prompts for even more ideas of ways to incorporate thankfulness in your journal pages.

76. No Place Like Home

Sometimes distance makes us all the more appreciative of home. What things do you miss the most while you are away from home? Draw pictures, doodle, paint, or make a list! 

77. Wish You Were Here

Sometimes when we go someplace new we can’t help but think of family or friends back home. Is there anything specific where you are that reminds you of someone? Write about it or tuck those little pieces of ephemera you find on a page.

78. What Went Wrong

It’s tempting to only document the good parts of a trip but sometimes the mishaps of travel become great funny stories after a few years…like my husbands famous melt down over a lack of parking or that time we went camping and got flooded out. 

These sorts of things aren’t exactly fun in the midst of the trouble, but years later we can look back and at least say the trips were memorable!

79. What Did You Learn?

Every trip is an opportunity and discovery is synonymous for learning. What did you learn during your trip?

Maybe you learned something new about the cultures, customs and history of the place. Or, if staying local… maybe you learned to always bring sunscreen or bug spray or how to avoid rush hour traffic.

80. Document Digitally

While I will forever be a pen and paper kind of girl, I know I also enjoy the convenience of digital art journaling – especially when it’s not always easy to pack lots of supplies! This is especially true for trips that aren’t necessarily for fun or I know I’ll be spending a lot of time indoors.

You can edit and arrange photos in a photo editing app or software program, or you can even enjoy the creative fun of painting digitally. I love using my laptop and Wacom Intous tablet to paint with Photoshop. You can also have a lot of fun creating designs with an iPad and Apple pencil. 

81. Draw a Clock

Clocks are fun and easy enough to draw – all you need is a circle! It can be fun to compare clock times all around the world, especially if you have ventured to a different time zone.

Another idea is to doodle clocks for when you want to make note of times on your itinerary and schedule.

82. Make a Chart

Charts are a creative visual way to display information and a great idea for adding some art to your travel journal. You could create a table of train and bus times, a pie chart for how you spent your time on the trip, or a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting your first trip somewhere to the second trip there.

For those who are particularly dorky like me, you might even consider making a histogram or scatter plot in your journal!

83. Healthy Matters

If you are into all things health, wellness and fitness in everyday life, it would only make sense for this to overflow into your journals while traveling.

Whether you note healthy foods you eat, exercise, changes in your mood, how much you sleep, number of glasses of water you drink each day, or have a list of medications to take daily, noting these things in your journal can help you stay on track with all the excitement and routine disruptions from traveling.

84. Design Your Own Travel Symbols & Icons

There are many common symbols and icons used for travel – an airplane, a map, a suitcase, a backpack, a compass, cars, directional arrows, trains, etc. 

All of these things are a great starting point to give you some ideas for things to doodle in a travel journal. You can make them flat, line-art style, or even make them 3-D complete with shading. 

85. Travel Role Models

Do you know someone who is a great inspiration for your travel aspirations? This could be a person who inspired you to be more courageous and explore new foreign places, or could just be someone you know who has real-world experience in traveling the globe and taught you a lot of things. 

86. Favorite Travel Blogs

Speaking of people who inspire us to travel – I know many of the places I find inspiration are various travel blogs I like to follow! Seeing their pictures is always great motivation and inspiration to go to new places I may not have considered on my own.

Whenever I am not sure of where I might like to go or what to do when visiting an area, I also love to read different blogger’s guides on attractions to visit and travel tips to make it a smooth trip.

87. The Road Not Taken – Add Some Poetry to Your Pages

There are lots of great travel inspired poems you can include in your journal, or you can even try your hand at writing your own poems.

Not a natural wordsmith? Prefer to stick to something more visual? Check out our post on found poetry in your journal pages.

88. Challenge Yourself 

Sometimes a little bit of a challenge can make even the most mundane of places a bit more exciting. You could challenge yourself to take a photo every day, or challenge yourself to visit a different neighborhood or part of town each day you are in the city.

You could also challenge yourself to commit to a certain type of art each day – a doodle a day, or a watercolor a day, or a pencil sketch a day.

Challenges should be fun – so if the idea of this sounds like a chore or one more thing to add to already a jam packed schedule, skip it or save it for the next adventure.

89. Paper Clips & Binder Clips Are Your Friends

Paper clips, binder clips and other page fasteners are wonderful and practical things to include in your journal. They are super handy when you are on the go to attach all sorts of papers and notes – no glue stick required!

Also, they make TONS of travel themed paper clips. I mean, I don’t know if you would really need 40 of them, but how adorable are these airplane shaped paper clips? They also make ones that come in assorted animal shapes

So many different styles of paper clips, I actually made an Amazon Idea List with some of my handpicked favorites – I couldn’t believe I found over 40! See all my favorites on my list: All the Pretty Paper Clips

90. Pins, Patches & Badges

I love collecting small novelty pins, patches and badges – but I don’t always have a great way to display or wear them. One way around this is to add them to your journal pages!

You can decide to either pin or sew the item directly onto the page, or you can attach it to a small piece of fabric that you attach into the page. You can often find these at gift shops or even while you are at different places that give them away for free as promotional materials.

91. Have a Stamping Good Time

There are LOTS of ways to use rubber stamps and ink pads in a journal. But… I also like to keep my supplies very minimal, especially when on the road. Something I like to do to prep my journal pages is stamp things in advance. 

You can use simple ink dabbers to create patterns or add a distressed effect to your empty pages – and of course if you already have travel themed stamps this is a great opportunity to put them to good use, whether before or after the trip!

In the page above I tried to use some of my rubber stamps and realized one of my very well-loved ink pads was finally starting to dry out after years of use.

I used the ink pad itself to stamp the page with the remaining ink on the edges to create journaling block areas. I also used the edge of the ink pad to make the lines – perfect for impromptu lists or quick daily notes.

92. Travel Tags

There are all sorts of tags that can be useful while traveling. Luggage and suitcase tags are also a great way to add some interesting stuff to your favorite journal pages. 

You can also opt to use paper tags – I love to start with small round tags like these ones and use them for doodles or quotes. Standard shipping tags like these are also like mini blank canvases waiting for your creative touch! 

93. Travel Bingo: Inspired by My Favorite Road Trip Game as a Kid

A long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth without technology, we played a game called Auto Bingo in the car. If you drove past something like a railroad crossing or a cow, you would slide the little marker over the picture when you spotted it and try to get them all before the end of the trip. 

This gave me a great idea to make a list of different things to look for while I’m at a certain place and then check it off if I saw that thing. It’s a like a scavenger hunt game – can you find these things in your surroundings?

94. A Boost of Encouragement

We tend to glamorize travel a lot – but sometimes it can be hectic, chaotic, stressful and even a little bit scary.

As much as I love traveling, I don’t always like the packing & preparing, and I also admittedly have no sense of direction – I still get lost on roads less than 10 minutes away from my house!

If this sounds like you, adding some encouraging words and positive affirmations can be a wonderfully uplifting thing to see if you are in unfamiliar territory or stressed out.

95. Spiritual Sense

If you are a spiritual person, or maybe just someone curious to learning about the different spiritual practices of different cultures, there are many ways this can be reflected in your journal.

You could include prayers and blessings for travelers, visit spiritual places of interest, or even just spend a few moments in quiet meditation. It can also be interesting to explore and document the various practices and traditions in the culture you are visiting. 

96. Which Way Up? Arrows & Directional Signs

I love the treasure-map style dashed and dotted lines with arrows. They really grab a person’s attention when they look through your completed journal. It makes one ask: now where does this lead?

Arrows can be used in so many different ways for a lot of different travel journal page ideas. Call attention to a specific phrase or photo, or add them to continue a story on another page. In some ways, you could make your journal a sort of “Choose Your Own Adventure Book” where the reader {or even yourself} – can explore a place in a different kind of way.

97. Attention Please! Highlights

If you are the sort of person who might fill an entire page with a LOT of words while journaling your thoughts and experiences, highlights are a fun way to call attention to things that are important or most notable.

You can choose to highlight things like dates, or just pick words and phrases you like. If you don’t have or want to use highlighter markers, you could also accent different things by using colored pencils and pens or simply by circling and underlining different things. 

This can also be a very fun thing to do with newspapers or other printed ephemera style things you might find in your travels.

98. If You Had to Do It Again…

Would you go on this trip again? Do you want to go back? What would you want to do differently? What would you want to do the same? These are all great questions to think about while you reflect on the trip on the return back home.

99. Return to Reality

What did you have it do when you got back from your vacation? Sometimes remembering responsibilities and “real life” can make us all the more appreciative and nostalgic for the time spent away!

100. Actually Print Out Your Vacation Photos

I’m totally guilty of taking a bazillion pictures…and then never printing them. They go on my external hard drive/cloud storage to never be seen by another human being again…that’s not good!

One of the things I’m making a more concentrated effort to do is actually print out photos we take. You can choose to print them from home on your own home printer, or upload them to your favorite photo print website.

101. Where to Next?

Did this trip make you want to visit any other new places you hadn’t considered before? Where do you want to go next? Or, perhaps, after all these adventures, maybe you are content to stay-cation for awhile?

I know this is a super long list, and if you made it this far, I hope you found these ideas inspiring and encouraging! Travel journals are a ton of fun to make and I’d love to see what you create!!

And of course, if you have ideas for things to include that aren’t on this list – I’d love to hear your creative ideas in the comments below!

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  1. What an absolutely FANTASTIC list! I do a lot of journaling when I travel and already do several of the things on this list, but there are tons I’d never even thought of. I’m particularly in awe of the color palette idea. Brava!

  2. This is the BEST post – thank you sooooo very much! Although it is overhwhelming how much there is because I am a newbie when it comes to this kind of art form, it has given me so many awesome ideas and inspiration and I will try to do some but not all LOL! Thank you again!

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