How to Buy a Travel Journal

A travel journal helps keep your memories of distant places, new people and different culture fresh, long after you've returned from your trip. Any old notebook would do for keeping a travel journal, but putting some time and thought into your selection ensures that your travel journal becomes a convenient tool instead of a hindrance.


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    Evaluate the travel journal's size. It should be small enough to carry with you unobtrusively, but not so tiny that writing in it or reading it is difficult.
    • If you're going to be traveling for a long time, odds are that you're going to be living in one or two pairs of pants and carrying one pack or purse with you constantly. Check to make sure any journals you're considering will either fit in your pants pocket or in your pack/purse, so you always have the journal ready to hand.
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    Eyeball the journal's format. Most journals will have evenly ruled pages, but if you plan to include sketches or keepsakes from your trip--such as local newspaper clippings, ticket stubs, postcards or receipts--you might prefer a journal with completely blank pages.
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    Open the journal wide and rifle through the pages. The binding should be sturdy and all the pages secure.
    • If the journal is ring-bound the rings should be large enough to let you turn the pages easily, and strong enough not to deform from being repeatedly packed, unpacked and handled.
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    Examine the journal's cover material and what the pages are made of.
    • Leather is both attractive and sturdy as a cover material. Fabric-covered covers are reasonably sturdy and attractive. Plastic covers might be less attractive but stand up very well to abuse.
    • Purchasing a journal with acid-free pages will help preserve your travel memories for longer. You can also purchase waterproof or water-resistant travel journals, if you're concerned about ruining your journal in wet conditions.
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    Open and shut the clasp on the journal--if it has a clasp--several times to make sure the mechanism is easy to operate and secure enough to hold the journal closed, even if you shake it vigorously.
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    Look for a way to slip a pen or pencil into the journal. The best travel journals will come with a built-in pen holder.


  • Consider purchasing a map of the country or city you're visiting. Fold the map into your travel journal and mark off places as you visit them. If there's space, you can also include the date of the visit and a one-sentence description of your experiences in each place.
  • When you use your travel journal, don't worry about making perfect entries. Instead, jot down at least a few quick notes "in the moment" when memories are still fresh. You can always use these notes as memory aids to expand your journal entry later.
  • The travel journal can be more of a concept than a physical object. You might be able to journal--concisely--on a smart phone, or you can use brief notes scribbled in a notebook to help you create an online travel journal when you have Internet access. Keeping an online journal makes sharing your adventures with friends easier, but only works if you have reasonably consistent Internet access.
  • Keep your journal using a pen with permanent ink that won't smudge, even when wet.

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Categories: Travel Tips