How to Make a Travel Journal
Note from the Nerds: While we were on our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, we asked Mrs. Nerd’s grandmother—another travel lover and blogger in the family—if she’d be up for writing a guest post about travel journaling. She said yes, so enjoy!
My granddaughter asked me if I would do a guest post for Two Nerds Travel, a blog that she and her husband co-author. She specifically asked me to write about how I make a travel journal, because she's seen me do it - when, before she was married, she accompanied us to London. And although some of you have already seen this little project, many have not. For me, it's a fun and easy way to take a few simple tools along in my carry on and end up with a completed souvenir to take home at the end of our stay.
You'll need three, maybe four tools: A good-quality sketch book (mine is always 6 x 9), a glue stick, a fine-tip black Sharpie, and maybe a roll of Scotch tape—which I forgot to include in the photo. Make sure to pack the glue stick in your quart Ziploc bag that contains your liquids because I'm pretty sure that a glue stick will scan as a liquid. I know that a bar of soap does. No kidding! Who would've thought.
I printed out a photo I liked, glued it onto the front of the sketch book, and laminated it to protect it. When you open the cover, there is a pocket on the inside. That was used for pages of address labels that I had pre-printed with the grandkids' addresses, so I could send them postcards.
On the backside of the front cover, I glued our flight itinerary, our travel itinerary, all the information for our accommodations, including phone numbers, and our emergency contact info.
As we travel here and there, I like to pick up brochures and little bits of ephemera that I'll put into my travel journal when we stop for the night. Then, I simply tear around the interesting parts,* throw the rest of the travel brochure away, and glue the interesting bit into my journal. I don't write in the journal until the pieces of paper are glued down.
*Scissors are verboten on the airplane, and don't let anyone tell you they're not. On one trip, I took a teeny scissors along, a favorite, which was allowed by my airline in Minneapolis, but when we were leaving Manchester, I found that it was not allowed by the airport, so they confiscated my pretty little scissors.
Okay, I'm over it now...I guess. But if you see some female agent at the Manchester airport walking around with a pretty little gold and silver sewing scissors, you'll know the backstory. You might want to glare at her for a second or two.
You can see on the left side of the photo above that I was staggering postcards, taping the tops and making it possible to lift the cards and read text underneath. It saves a lot of space. The Starbucks coaster and London Walks brochure sections are glued in; the Churchill pic on the right is taped along the edge so he can be moved to reveal the text underneath.
The collages above and below here are from last March, when I was not feeling up to writing in a journal at night...so I simply collected the ephemera and took it home with me to work on my travel journal later. Believe me, it's a LOT easier to do day by day than it is to do later.
And it only takes a few minutes at night to tear and glue, remember and write.
I'm showing you these so you get the idea of what the whole thing looks like when you're done with all the text and overlays. Some brochures I wanted kept intact, so I would tape one whole edge in and be able to read the brochure later—like the one about York Minster, below.
So, in these journals, some of the things I collected and used were:
- Packaging (Digestives, candy, etc)
- Ticket stubs
- Guide books
- Paper menus
- Business cards
Here, I made a pocket out of the biscuit packaging and put some ticket stubs and cards into it:
So that's all there is to it. In the handwritten journal, because it was made on-the-go, I have more postcards and fewer photos from my camera.
Oh. And as you can see, I'm ready for the next two trips! All I need to do is find that Sharpie and tape.
Oh yeah, there's also that airfare issue.