When it comes to documenting our travels, Instagram stories have become the trend du jour. Did you even go on holiday if there’s no Insta highlight to prove it? While hitting social media to share your (somewhat smug) holiday updates is always fun, to get truly immersed in your trip away, we’re all about travel journaling. From planning your travels to looking back on the best bits, this is how to write a holiday journal. No phone screens included. 

Planning your trip 

Before grabbing your passport and starting your adventure, you can already get stuck into your holiday journal. Bag yourself a scrapbook-style book, like our Softcover Photo Journal and a packet of pens – we’re going old-school. Start by documenting the basics: where you’re going and why, who you’re going with, and what you hope to see there. Think of it like prepping a mini itinerary, with ‘must-sees’ highlighted in one colour and ‘if there’s time, go see this’ in another. 

To journal: 

  • Where you’re going (and why) 
  • Who you’ll be travelling with – if it’s a solo trip, get that selfie stick ready 
  • How you’ll get there
  • The must-see landmarks – from the Mona Lisa to *that* pastry shop
  • How you’re feeling pre-travel – is it your first trip overseas? First time travelling with a partner? Prepping to test your language skills? Get all those emotions down. It’s cathartic

While you’re away 

You’ve landed at your destination – be that by plane, train, or (very tired) feet – and you’re ready to see it all. A quick check of your travel itinerary and it’s off to the local landmarks. If you’re taking your journal with you, scribble down notes as you go, or type them into your phone notes to write in full later. What was that fancy building called again? 

You can track how much you’re spending too, like how much it costs for an evening meal, or to travel by the area’s local transport. If you know someone who will be travelling there soon, you can share your journal with them to inspire their own trip; details like budgeting might prove really helpful. 

What to journal: 

  • The landmarks you saw – every statue, mountain, and native animal 
  • The food you ate – because you simply *had* to try every local delicacy. Why not stick a food menu for your favourite eatery inside?
  • The weather – yes, you definitely, totally, absolutely knew it was monsoon season…

The sentimental stuff

Photos take you right back to a moment (it’s why we’re always telling you to take them), so make sure you’re filling that camera roll to print later. Capture the colours, the culture, and the people who make your trip the best one ever. And when you’re not photographing, stack up on the memoirs too. Collect keepsakes to stash in your journal: plane tickets, museum passes, that *stunning* shell that just had to come home with you. These ‘pieces’ of your trip will help take future-you right back to your travels (when sat at your work desk at 11:27 on a Tuesday). 

What to journal:

  • Use all your senses – it might feel like you’ll ‘never forget this moment’ but… you probably will. Scribble down the smells, the textures, the sounds that wake you up and help you to nod off
  • The ups and downs – this is a diary of your adventures after all. Let those feelings flow, people
  • Get creative – why not add some illustrations? Try drawing the sunset or using colour to capture the mood 

Looking back on your trip 

So you made it home, with the sunburn, fridge magnet, and dirty hiking boots to prove it. Your travel journal is (almost) full and you can’t wait to flick back through it and remember the good times… 24 hours prior. Now’s the time to reflect on your time away, be it 2 weeks or 2 months. First up: your favourite moment. What was the biggest highlight? The moment that photos, memoirs, and words can only try to describe. Well, now’s the time to try and do that. 

Think of this as your travel journal conclusion, your closing thoughts, and overall highs (with maybe some lows). How do you feel after your trip away and how would you describe it to others? And for the last page of your journal? Write where you’re going next, obviously.