Why Journaling Will Help Make You A Better Traveler

Journaling is a fun and easy way to record your travels, understand your experiences, and reflect on what you've learned. You don’t have to be an experienced writer to give it a shot.


Photo © Noémi Macavei-Katócz

Journaling helps you explore your own thoughts, beliefs and values. It is an opportunity for reflection on your own conscious growth and development.

Travelers find themselves in new and exciting situations, and this lack of routine creates a heightened sense of awareness and perception.

Traveling is a great time to journal as you will constantly be experiencing fresh insights and experiences.

Why should travelers journal?

Journaling has long been used by successful people throughout history, as a means of self-reflection, growth, and development. Jim Rohn, the late personal development coach, described journals as one of the three treasures to leave your children.

Journaling provides the perfect opportunity to look at your decisions differently and reframe negative experiences. It gives you the chance to remember, process, and develop from your travel experiences.

You should write in your personal voice to communicate what you are experiencing. We usually confide our thoughts and feelings in close confidantes, family, and friends.

However, as travelers, we don't always have these opportunities when traveling and meeting new people. Writing in a journal has the same effect as confiding in someone and can boost your mood after releasing pent up emotions or frustrations.

What is a travel journal?

Anything can be kept in a journal – there are no rules.

Inside your journal you can keep records of stories, people you’ve met, places you've been, goals, dreams, travel itineraries, plans, drawings, ideas, contact details, inspiration, quotes, poems, art and memorabilia. 

The more varied the information and style you put into your journal, the more fun you’ll have creating it.

We often collect ticket stubs, coins, souvenirs and photographs in the back of our journals. Adding a visual layer to your journal makes it easier to evoke a sense of place.

How to start

A common technique is to write the subject in the middle of the page and recall everything about that one particular experience or place.

This triggers lots of memories you can use for writing.

From the list, choose the memories that had the biggest impact on you, where you learned the most, and where you changed any beliefs and perceptions. Then begin with the date and place you are in.

Leave all judgment at the door when writing – it’s for you and nobody else. Being honest with yourself is the key to a good journal.

The deeper you go into your own experiences, the more benefit you’ll reap from a journal.

Journaling is best when done alone, in a quiet place with some relaxing music, and no time restriction.

If you want to capture more of the different cultures you experienced on your travels, invite fellow travelers to contribute towards your journal by giving them one page each.

Start writing your journal today and have fun expressing yourself, developing, and of course, writing. 

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  • Piccolo said

    Not a bad idea. This also helps with goal setting; you might achieve more of your travel goals if you write them down and review them on a weekly basis.

  • Marissa | Marissa Teachable Moments said

    I like the idea of adding a visual element. I'm not a great illustrator, but ticket stubs, pictures, coins will do the trick.

  • Gabi Coatsworth said

    I'm not sure I agree with the way to start a travel journal. It's the small details, not the big picture, that will make you remember exactly where you were when you wrote it. Try sitting in a cafe and begin with the table, your cup (china? Plastic? With saucer?) and then add the smell, the sounds, a couple of the other patrons, the waitperson, the street and so on. You'll be amazed how easy it is to write, and write well.

  • Raghav Upmanyu said

    Laura and Gabi,

    This sounds like a pretty sensible advice. Will give these a try.
    Thank you. :)

  • Nella said

    Thank you, good article.

  • Tiffany Parker said

    I'm looking forward to doing this so much.

  • Erik Dossett said

    I found a journal from my grandfather when he was doing survey work in 1929 in Juneau, Alaska. I treasure it - photos and notes from history. I am trying to leave something for my future descendants - another reason to Journal.


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