Skip to Content

How to Make a Travel Journal? DIY Tips and Must-Have Supplies

During my travels, I’ve always kept a travel journal – but they always have been different in style. If you ask me how to make a travel journal, I’d say that the only limit is your own imagination.

You can organise your journals by destination (country, or city), by itinerary or for by date, for example in weekly or daily logs, the possibilities are endless.

There are some tips and supplies that might help you get started on your first travel journal. Today I share them with you!

TIP: For a complete list of our favourite travel journals, have a look at the bottom of this article!

How to Make a Travel Journal? DIY Tips and Must-Have Supplies || The Travel Tester



What is a Travel Journal?

Let’s start at the beginning and go over what makes a travel journal. There are just so many different types! It really depends on how you would like to use your own journal to decide the best one for you!

Perhaps you first think of a simple lined notebook where you write down your travel stories, but there are so many other ways to keep your memories from on the road.

Just to name a few:


You don’t have to be a master artist to have fun with a travel sketchbook. Just take a notebook with blank pages and start drawing (or painting!) what you see. You can use pen, pencil, markers, crayons, watercolours or other paint, whatever you like!

There are some great travel journals specifically made for making watercolour drawings, such as the Tumuarta journal and the Seawhite journal.

Here are some other journals with blank pages perfect for sketching: the Moleskine Passion Journal and this personalized monogrammed leather journal.

Bookishly sells cute A5 (6×8″/15x21cm) travel journals with vintage world map covers featuring an inspirational quote on Etsy. The books have 244 blank pages, you can choose gift wrap, they have free UK delivery AND even upgrade to a “Journal for Life”, where you can send them a photo of a full travel journal and they send you a new one free of charge!

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
One of my favourite travel journal pages! (made by a friend on my South East Asia trip)
The Travel Tester || Creative & Cultural Travel Blog


You don’t always need to be physically on the road to enjoy the beauty of destinations from all around the world!

From vintage travel posters to beautifully displayed souvenirs and home decor items inspired by your favourite places and from travel journals and crafts to exploring world recipes, music and dance.

With our creative articles you’ll get some fresh ideas on how to bring the world closer to the comforts of your own home.


If you aren’t a fan of drawing or painting, then perhaps making collages in a travel scrapbook is more your thing.

Nothing calms me down faster than ripping inspiring images and words out of magazines and flyers, or collecting little scrapbook items such as ticket stubs, napkins, packaging, etc. Simply arrange them in a nice way, add some text or embellishments like washi tape and you’ve got a great page!

I love using Project Life as a scrapbook, this is a system by Becky Higgins where you slide cards and photos into plastic pockets. It’s not widely available anymore, but I still love it.

Another great book to use for scrapbooking is The Adventure Book, which comes in two sizes.

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
my project life scrapbook from Okinawa, Japan
How to Make a Travel Journal? Tips & Supplies || The Travel Tester
vintage scrapbook that my grandparents made on their Egypt trip in 1983!


Ok, I kind of already mentioned it in the intro, but some traditional travel notebook ideas / travel diary examples couldn’t miss in this first roundup.

You can choose lined, dotted or blank paper and write down anything you want to remember from your trip.

Of course you can combine it with elements of the above, for example by adding little doodles, papers, perhaps flowers or feathers, or any other flat trinkets you collect.

The Robrasim refillable leather travelers notebook has a mix of different paper types (and also a handy pocket)

Wayfaren on Etsy sells Weekender travel journals, which measure 6×8.5″ (about 15×21.5cm) and feature 28 lined pages (56 front and back) with a pre-printed box for location and date. The covers come in ivory and navy.

My favourite dotted journal is the Leuchtturm1917.

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
Example of my travel diary journal-style from Australia.
These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
My first travel journal diary from Japan, where I combined my online travel blogs (printed) with paper souvenirs.


If you love to write, but don’t feel like you have the time or energy to fill entire pages with text whilst on the road, a travel logbook might be something for you.

Just write down short little things that stood out about your day, so you won’t forget them. Think about what you did and who you met, what the weather was like, what you saw, heard, smelled, felt or tasted. Use all your senses!

The Everywhere You Go journal by Compendium let’s you take a quick snapshot of a place.

The Trip Passport by Letterfolk is a small, 48-page pocket-sized journal. Each entry page is accompanied by a blank page and there is space to record the date, location, who you went with, first impressions, sights, wildlife and more! It measures 3.5×5.5″ (about 9x14cm), roughly the size of a travel passport.

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
The Travel Tester || Creative & Cultural Travel Blog


There is a lot that goes into running a profitable blog and there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes than you might not realize at first.

I’ve been blogging since 2006 and have a ton of tips to share! From brainstorming ideas to creating content all year round and from posting on social media to maintaining your website, tracking what’s working, networking at events and eventually working with brands…


Another cool idea might be to start a friends journal. What is a travel journal for friends? Let me tell you!

I actually did this on my first solo world trip, where friends gifted me a journal to take with me. Instead of writing in it myself (I already kept up a digital journal in the form of a blog) – I let everyone that I met on the road write a message in the book for me!

That made the journal super unique and personalized. And it’s still amazing to read back and remember all these people.

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


I also own a road trip journal, which I think is also such a fun idea! Usually on a road trip, you don’t have much time to keep up an extensive diary, so this pre-printed book is an easy way to keep track of all everything along the way you would like to remember.

Here you can find Axel & Ash Life’s a Road Trip Journal >

The Brand Clever Fox has a few fun themed journals, such as the Camping Journal and the Bucket List Journal >

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


You can really add a personal touch by choosing a journal that has a relation to the kind of trip that you are taking.

For example, you can buy a travel journal locally (like I did with the albums below, that I bought in Nepal and India from the market).

On markets across the world, you can also find amazing leather bound journals that right away give a whole explorer-vibe to your journal. You can also turn them into a personalized journal by having your name or the date engraved in the cover.

Here is a beautiful refillable handmade leather travelers notebook by the brand Robrasim >

Some great customizable travel notebooks are these from bamboo by Ruben & Jule of CamperVanStore on Etsy, this beautiful leather travel diary with a compass monogram by TealsPrairie on Etsy and the leather notebook covers by family-run business Galen Leather (their journal covers are compatible with Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917, Field Notes and Traveler’s Notebook – and they also sell refills)

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
My travel journals from India and Nepal
These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
Another journal from India and one that I got as a gift – with my name engraved in it!
How to Make a Travel Journal? DIY Tips and Must-Have Supplies || The Travel Tester
My grandfather’s travel albums are all marked with a sticker from the country!


I found these fun city journals by Moleskine that also make for a great travel journal if you’re visiting these specific places.

I haven’t found many of these, but here is one for London, Paris, Hong Kong and New York >

Moleskine also has a great general travel journal and traveller’s journal in collaboration with National Geographic >

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


Any finally, the good old photo album. When I grew up, the albums that could stack all the images from one film canister (*ugh*grandma*ugh*) were very popular – you would usually bring the album to parties for people to flip through! Nowadays, they come in all different shapes and sizes.

Here you can find all kinds of albums for those little Instax photos.

Did I already mention I’m a huge Project Life fan?

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
I printed this album with photos of my New Zealand trip at a local photo shop
How to Make a Travel Journal? Tips & Supplies || The Travel Tester
vintage travel photo album from my grandparents – Turkey 1981

How to choose a travel journal?

After choosing your type of journal, there are a few other things to consider when selecting your perfect paper trip companion, such as:


What size is a travel journal? Well, that depends on what you use it for! Personally, I am most happy with an A5 size when it comes to travel journals. The smaller ones I find hard to write in and don’t fit all my keepsakes, the bigger ones just take up too much space in my backpack.

Perhaps you only want to take quick notes, or want to travel real lightweight, then an A6 travel journal (with pockets) might be best for you. And if you only create your final travel notebook at home and want to go all-out, a bigger size, such as A4, or even larger, makes you happiest!

If you’re only creating a photo album of your trip, then you could for example also look into 1:1 sized albums, like the typical scrapbooks that are 12″ (30,48 cm) x 12″ or the 1.33:1 albums, for example 6″ (15,24 cm) x 8″ (20,32 cm).

I love this A5 Bullet Journal, also perfect for travel.

Incredible A4 travel journal.

Here are some cute Field Notes books – National Parks-themed!

This leather cover fits a 6″ Field Notes notebook perfectly.

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
Here are some of my personal travel diary ideas for you!


The type of binding of a notebook is the material that is used to make the upper (front) and lower (back) covers of the journal, also taking into consideration how the pages are attached to the covers/back of the notebook.

For example, a saddle-stitch bind is when paper is folded with a staple or thread through the fold. PUR binding uses a paperboard or heavy cover stock to attach pages to the spine with glue (like in a paperback book). With spiral binding, there is a loop wire going through holes in the cover and pages (Nick hates these, as he’s left-handed and somehow always finds the wire in his way when writing), and with section sewn binding or coptic stitch binding, you get a flexible spine so you can lay the pages flat to work on.

As for the cover, you can choose between a hardcover or a more flexible, soft cover.

There are so many more types of binding that the ones I’ve just mentioned. Which do you prefer?

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


I mentioned them already briefly: are you most comfortable to work on lined/ruled paper (and how close do you like the rules to be?), blank paper, dotted paper, or perhaps paper with a grid or pre-printed boxes or prompts to fill in?

What type of page type for a travel journal you choose all depends on how you’re going to use the notebook. Are you going to write in it with pen or perhaps print typed text? Would you like to use markers or paint? Make drawings? The possibilities are endless.

This is a great example of a travel journal with prompts.

The Promptly journals are filled with custom prompts and also have plenty of space for mementos & photos.

Super handy pre-printed pages in this Camping Notebook by Clever Fox. And they also do a cool Travel Bucket List journal that’s fun to fill out!

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


Paper thickness is measured in weight, which varies from country to country. In the United States for example, you have “U.S. basis weight” (in pounds), where they look at a 500-sheet stack of the paper at its original, uncut “basic” size. But this can be confusing as a consumer, because different paper grades have different basic sizes, so even when the weight in pounds is higher, it doesn’t automatically mean the paper is thicker, because the basis size can be different.

It probably makes more sense to look at GSM (“grams per square meter“). The weight is now determined by one sheet of paper at a size of 1 meter by 1 meter, measured in grams. All different grades of paper are measured at the same size. So a higher GSM always means heavier paper.

For reference, the standard weight of most A4 copy paper for your printer is 20 lb. / 75 gsm.

If you don’t want your pens, markers or paint to bleed through the pages, the thickness of your paper definitely matters, so make sure to test this!

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


Are there any other features you need when choosing your perfect travel journal? For example, I love notebooks with little pockets to keep my receipts and tickets. Or when they have a bookmark or pocket for a pen!

Tips for extra features in a travel journal could also be page numbers, dividers or dedicated room to write dates. What extra features can you think of that you might need?

TIP! Unique is The Travelogue by Luckies. This 64 page notepad journal also has check lists, travel tips and 8 miniature scratch maps, each representing different regions of the world. You can simply scratch off where you’ve been!

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester

What should a travel journal include?

I believe there should not be a hard rule on what a travel journal should include, as the beauty lies in the fact that you can so easily customize it to your specific taste and type of trip!

Besides the obvious elements such as date, location, some highlights of the day and perhaps additional information about the weather, people you’ve met, things you ate and activities you did, you can add anything to your travel journal or scrapbook that’s important to you.

If you are looking for some inspiring examples of things to add to your travel journal, make sure to check out our blog about creative travel journal ideas >

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester
creative journal idea: adding some local coins

How do I write a travel journal that is worth reading?


Travel writing can quickly become repetitive if you just list things you did in chronological order. So what can you do to make a story more interesting?

In a separate blog, I’ll give you my best tips on how to write a travel journal.

For more writing tips, check out “The Soul of Place: A Creative Writing Workbook” by Linda Lappin, “Lonely Planet Travel Writing” by Don George and “On Writing” by Stephen King.


If you’re looking for a bit of travel journal inspiration, then check out this blog in which I’ve handpicked some fun travel journal prompts for you.


There are also several travel notebooks out there that already have printed prompts in them. You can find the best travel journals with prompts at the bottom of our blog about travel writing prompts.

Spoiler: Some of our favourites are “The Adventure Book” by Nicole Nagelgast, “Life’s a Road Trip” and “Swept Away by Wanderlust” journals by Axel & Ash and the “Travel Journal“, “Bucket List Journal” and “Camping Journal” by Clever Fox.

Other travel journals with prompts we encourage you to check out is this one by Compendium, this one by Promptly, this one by Moleskine, this one by OneLineVoyage and this one by Duncan & Stone.

These Are the Best Creative Travel Journal Ideas to Try this Year || The Travel Tester


Perhaps you’re not so fond of writing – but you love to craft, draw or paint. That’s amazing! With the following inspirational accounts on Instagram, you’ll get plenty of travel journaling ideas that don’t involve writing:

How to Make a Travel Journal? DIY Tips and Must-Have Supplies || The Travel Tester
Egypt Scrapbook from my grandparents

How do you start a beginner travel journal?

So far, we’ve looked at: all the different types of travel journals (sketchbook, scrapbook, notebook, logbook, friends travel journal, themed journals, local journals, city journals and travel photo albums), how to choose a travel journal (by looking at size, binding types, page types, paper thickness and additional features such as pockets and bookmarks) and what to include in your travel journal.

I also shared writing tips, journalling prompts, and creative examples of travel journals without a strong focus on text.

Ideas enough, but how do you get started?

It depends a bit what type of travel journal you’re keeping, but my system for creating a (travel) scrapbook is as follows:

  1. I collect photos, notes and items while on the road (I keep them on a separate hard disk for the photos, my notes in a simple lined notebook or in my phone and the items in a plastic folder I can zip closed)
  2. At home, I organise my photos on my computer in folders by date and location, and I keep all loose items (brochures, ticket stubs, etc.) in a plastic folder in a box – for when I’m ready to start the scrapbook.
  3. Before I get started on the journal, I plan where all photos and notes are going to go in the album. If I’m working with project life, I already slide the loose items into the pockets they’re going to go and also write on little papers (that also slide into the pockets) which photos I want to put where – I keep these in a separate folder on my phone.
  4. When the planning is done, I print all the photos I want to use in the album.
  5. Then I write all the notes that go with the photos.
  6. If that’s all done, I collect all scrapbooking supplies (list follows below) and I cut, glue or write where necessary.
  7. And FINALLY – I embellish the pages with extra stickers, stamps or other decorations.
Organising all my scrapbook items by date
How to Make a Travel Journal? DIY Tips and Must-Have Supplies || The Travel Tester
Planning where items are going in my travel albums

Travel Journaling Supplies

We’ve written an extensive article on all the travel journaling supplies we recommend, but here are a few that shouldn’t miss in your own travel journal kit:

Travel Journal Decoration Ideas

If you’re wondering ‘how can I decorate my travel journal?’ then I’ve got a handy list for you with some ideas for travel journal embellishments:

How to Make a Travel Journal? DIY Tips and Must-Have Supplies || The Travel Tester
Let’s get started!

And there you have it! This is how I make a travel journal from scratch. I hope you found these DIY tips and inspiration helpful. For our favourite travel journals, please look below. And for a full list of travel scrapbooking supplies, check out this post!

The Travel Tester || Creative & Cultural Travel Blog || Work With Us


The Travel Tester loves to review books that teach you something about yourself or the world around us.

From travel guides and stories to books about business and self-development and from cultural stories to cook books from kitchens around the world… if it looks interesting to us, we’ll test it!

No matter where you’re going, with our reviews you’ll know exactly what to read next!





The Travel Tester || Creatief & Cultureel Reisblog


In The Travel Tester shop, you will find our favourite travel products and original gift ideas.

Whether you’re looking for the best travel gear, gadgets, electronics, packing solutions, clothing, shoes, travel books, health- or beauty products… we’ve made a personal selection for you!

We’ve also included our favourite tech items used to create this blog, as well as material that can help you in your self-development, such as interesting books and courses.


Saturday 9th of March 2024

Creating a travel journal is a wonderful way to capture memories! Your DIY tips are spot-on, especially the emphasis on personal touches. Including must-have supplies like a sturdy notebook and colorful pens enhances the experience. Thanks for inspiring us to document our journeys with creativity!


Friday 21st of July 2023

Creating a travel journal is such a delightful and personal way to preserve the memories of our adventures. I love how the article emphasizes that there are no rules when it comes to making a travel journal, only the limits of our imagination. It's true; each travel journal can be as unique as the journey itself!

The tips and supplies shared here are truly helpful for anyone looking to start their first travel journal. I particularly resonate with the idea of incorporating various embellishments into the journal. Adding travel photos, stamps, and even pressed flowers can truly bring the memories to life and make the journal visually captivating.

Cheers, Femi.