How to Document Your Travels: 7 Fresh Ideas
Updated: Feb 12
When I moved from my apartment back to my parent’s house at the beginning of August (in preparation for my move to Italy in September), I sorted through everything from my childhood in a major effort to purge. My sister and I had always shared a room at home, and we finally got our own spaces when I moved back in. This motivated me to go through my belongings and try to pare down how many material goods I had to my name.
While I was going through the remnants of my past, namely a large bin that had been under my bed for years, I realized that most of what I had saved (deemed worthy enough to keep) were travel-related items. I had a special box devoted to my trip to Boston when I was 11, an entire bag of museum pamphlets and postcards from a week in D.C., and rocks and seashells I had collected from coast-to-coast. It hit me then that travel had always been in my blood, and the excitement I felt leading up to trips something I learned young. All the time spent away from my ordinary life, on family vacations or adventures with friends, made up the most vivid memories for me.
Part of my love of travel is a result of how inspired it makes me, and holding on to the places are a way to keep that feeling alive long after the trip is over and I’m separated by miles and distance (physically and mentally). I have always been a writer and kept a journal, plus any tangible items I could collect that would help me recall a place…postcards, tickets, coasters, receipts, coins, etc.
I think it’s also important to document travel because it is always the time I really get to know myself, and make new discoveries about who I am. Realizations of where I’m at in my life journey. Like the quote ‘travel far enough to meet yourself,’ the act of getting away helps me clearly see who I am. Plus, it’s always fun to look back on places I visited and remember why I loved them or how I felt while I was there. Sometimes a postcard or a specific photo will do just that.
Below I’ve outlined for you the best ways I know how to document travel. My preferred method is definitely with a journal, and by making a messy scrapbook of every takeaway item. I hope this inspires you to be creative next time you go on a trip. The ideas below are especially helpful for anyone who is studying or living abroad soon. Tag me on Instagram (#theartfuleveryday) if you use any of them! xx Maggie
My absolute favorite journal is Moleskin. I got hooked thanks to my brother, and have been buying them ever since. They are the perfect size, and even though they aren’t spiral bound they are easy to write in on both sides. They also do cool special edition notebooks, like the Rolling Stones journal I took to Rome with me last fall.
messy travel diary
I love this option! It’s very easy to fill a blank sketchbook or notebook with everything taped in, notes all over the place about the cafes I loved and the museums I visited. I like to use washi tape to add a little style to it, and write down whatever thoughts I want in the margins!
casual travel diary
This is a good option for longer trips (think 10 days to a few weeks), where I typically would want to be journaling and saving everything from coasters to tickets to postcards. For my euro trip in January, I bought a small portfolio with clear sleeves, and filled it with my postcards, receipts/etc., the full trip itinerary with all my notes, and my journal from those days (I ripped the pages out of the notebook). It’s the perfect size and lovely to look back on all in one spot.
I think this option is perfect for longer trips or for someone living/studying abroad. I collected horizontal postcards from every place I went for this purpose, and bought a blank book (check art stores like Blick) and used clear photo corners to place every postcard in the book. That way if I ever need to take the postcards out, they won’t be ruined by tape. I love looking through it and remembering the beauty of all the places!
Another way to create a postcard book is by using a small scrapbook with clear sleeves, that way you can write your memories from each place as if you were sending the postcard, then read through them. I did this for my parents as a thank you gift for helping me study abroad, and they keep it in our living room at home.
My personal favorite photo book creator is Chatbooks (I also love asking my friends for their Instagram password and ordering these as a gift). They are beautiful soft cover books straight from your Instagram, and you can customize what shows up on each page. I love to include my captions and location, because they tell the story so well.
My favorite for Instagram prints is definitely Parabo Press. They come on beautiful card stock paper with a white border, and look great adorning a wall or door! I even ordered some for my launch party when I introduced The Artful Everyday to all my friends, and so now all my loved ones have some of my prints around their houses.
After studying abroad I had a lot of maps and museum pamphlets that were too big to tape into my messy travel diary, but I couldn’t get rid of them. So, I bought a larger scrapbook from Hobby Lobby and organized everything by location.
Check out Maggie's Insta stories (@theartfuleveryday) for a better idea of her journals from past trips…
What's your favorite way to save travel memories?