What was the name of that restaurant? Where was I when I saw that beautiful waterfall? When you are traveling, there are so many aspects to your trip, it’s sometimes difficult to remember everything. One way to enhance your experience is through use of a travel journal.
Journaling about your travels creates mindfulness in your experience. Your journal can be as simple or extravagant as you make it. You can order them online or find them at craft or book stores, with cute graphics and writing prompts for different parts of your trip. You can make them yourself, with a blank notebook and a pen. This is also a good way to keep children engaged in the trip and giving them journal prompts or activities can almost make their trip like a scavenger hunt.
If you’re not sure what to include in your travel journal, here are some ideas:
1.) Travel planning – Start your journal with your planning process. Discuss what options you were deciding between and how you came to your decision. What was helpful in making your decision (travel websites, books, people)?
2.) Itinerary – Dedicate a page or two for your itinerary. You can cut out maps of the area and paste them in your journal, give a brief description of each location you’re visiting and things you hope to see there.
3.) Getting There and Back – Write about your experience getting to your destination, whether travelling by car, plane, train or boat. Did you encounter any hiccups in getting to your destinations? Did you meet anyone interesting? How was your trip home?
4.) Arriving at your destination- Sometimes your destination may knock your socks off. Other times, it may underwhelm. Maybe it surprises you in an unexpected but pleasant way.
5.) Lodging – Whether you’re staying in a hotel, cruise stateroom, or maybe even spending time “roughing it” at a campsite, describe your temporary home base and perhaps any other guests or staff that were especially memorable.
6.) Exploring – Most likely, you will not be sitting around in your room (and if you do, we aren’t judging! Relax!) If you explore the area, take tours, visit landmarks, make note of some of the things you experience.
7.) Tasty Goodness – Who doesn’t enjoy sampling local food and drinks at a new location? Journal some of the eateries or libations you experienced. Did you hear about some treats that you weren’t able to try this time? Write down a list of things you want to try if you are able to return.
8.) The people – Unless you’re having a stay-cation in your home town, you’re likely to encounter some differences in the people you meet along your journey. That’s part of what makes travel so interesting. What were some customs or traditions you found endearing or peculiar?
9.) Add swag – You could keep your journal simple with your written entries but why not add a bit more of your journey. Add ticket stubs or postcards, some photographs, or if you’re really creative, sketch one of your favorite scenes.
10.) The outcome – Once you have completed your trip, what are some of the things you are glad you included? What could you have done without? If this trip had an impact on you, how so? Also, where will you go next?
If you aren’t really a pen and paper writer, you can always journal in a similar manner on your computer or tablet. Either way, you can create a meaningful record of your experience that you can revisit in the future.