You’ll find an app for pretty much everything these days. But there is absolutely no substitute for being able to doodle, draw and write the old-fashioned way. I have always been a lover of beautifully designed stationery. I’m not kidding – for me, it is like porn. Putty soft erasers, quirkily designed paperclips and clean, pristine notebooks somehow just soothe my soul (and make me sob over our decision to live out of a backpack full-time).
So we decided to create this list of the best travel journals to document your adventures on the road! Whether you are looking for a long-lasting leather-bound notebook or more, we have you covered with our list of road trip journal ideas that will make you yearn for a simpler time!
Things to look for in a travel journal
If you are wondering how to make a travel diary and what exactly you will need to do it, then our research for this article has given us a few ideas you may want to consider in your travel journalling ideas.
Many people like the style of a trip journal that allows you to customize the contents. Different inserts can be included in the travel journal and bound together with elastic or with a ring binder mechanisms. This allows you to get really creative with your travel journal. However, some people also prefer standard book-style binding for a simpler choice of vacation journal. This also avoids the need to buy refills. It means you can keep multiple volumes of travel journal book. And you don’t need to worry about how to store the loose inserts once you are finished writing in them.
If you are looking for a leather travel diary, you will be spoilt for choice these days. Leather is a great option for your trip notebook, as it ages beautifully and it sturdy enough to protect the insides. However, for the vegetarians and vegans who prefer a different kind of cover for their tour diary, we put some extra options on this list for those who prefer not to use leather.
If you are packing for a long trip or going carry on only, then the size and weight of the journal will be important. A bigger journal will mean you have more space on the page to write or draw your thoughts, but it will weigh more in your bag.
Type of paper
Heavier paper can be great if you plan to do a lot of doodling with marker pens, but it also means heavier weight. A lighter paper may be fine if you are using your journal for writing with a ballpen or sketching with a pencil. You should also consider whether your journal should have lined, plain, dotted or squared paper. Depending on whether you wish to do a lot of writing or doodling, different choices will work for you. This is where a customized travel journal notebook can be handy, as you can choose inserts with different types of paper.
Inserts, pockets and extras
If you plan to keep ticket stubs as mementoes, or if you want to keep a travel photo journal, then you should consider some extras like a travel journal with pockets to store loose items. Many notebooks come with elastic binders to keep the book closed, bookmarks and pen holders.
Best Travel Journals – The List!
You can navigate through this post using the links in the list below, or just keep scrolling down to read everything.
- Midori Travelers Notebook
- Maleden Spiral Bound Travel Notebook
- Leather Bound Travel Journal Notebook
- Distinctive Goods Personalized Travel Journal
- Field Notes
- Moleskine City Notebooks
- Scratch Travel Journal
- Lemome Eco Cork Notebook
- Yakri Felt Journal
- You are Here – A Mindful Travel Journal
This is my all-time number one favourite travel journal and in my opinion, the best travel notebook on the market today. Midori is a Japanese brand that specializes in producing these gorgeously designed leather travelers notebook. Out of the box, the notebook itself is just a simple piece of leather, constructed with elastic down the spine and around the centre to bind it closed.
The spine elastic mechanism allows you to get creative by choosing from a range of different inserts to fill your custom travel journal. The Midori Travelers Notebook comes in two sizes, the full-size version and the passport size version. The covers are available in three standard colours – black, brown and camel. Midori sometimes also release limited edition travel journal covers in different colours. Use stickers, washi tape and decorative paper to make your Midori Travellers Notebook uniquely personal to you.
If you are shopping from outside the US, use this link to browse the Midori Travelers Notebook in your location
The Maleden Spiral Bound Travel journal is similar to the Midori, with customized inserts to suit your needs. However, it works with a ring binder rather than an elastic. It comes in a variety of designs, and at the size of A6 paper, it is small enough to fit in your pocket. It has a retro-style wraparound string closure, and come with an additional plastic pocket insert for holding loose items. This is an extremely popular journal, and in case you are looking for more budget-friendly travel diary ideas, it is far less costly than the Midori.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, click here to browse for the Maleden Spiral Bound Travel Notebook in your location
If you prefer to have a travel log with fixed pages rather than customizable inserts, but still want a beautiful leather travel journal, then this one could be for you. The cover is made from genuine soft and supple buffalo leather, with a closing strap made from the same material. The pages are hand-stitched into the leather-bound spine in an attractive pattern. The journal is A5 sized and comes with 240 blank pages of acid-free paper. A gorgeous choice for those who prefer a simpler journal.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse the Leather Bound Travel Journal Notebook in your location
This leather-bound personalised travel notebook actually comes as a set, including a pen. The design of this personalized travel journal is a simple leather-covered notebook where you can choose the engraving options for both name and font style. The pen is made of wood and is super cute. A personalized travel diary would make a fantastic gift for someone who loves travel and journalling.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse the Distinctive Goods Personalised Travel Journal in your location
A popular alternative to the small Moleskine notebooks. Field Notes are perfectly pocket-sized and as simple as it gets for those looking for fuss-free travel notebook ideas. These small notebooks come in a set of 5 with different coloured covers. You can choose which kind of paper you would like from line, squared or dotted.
Different manufacturers make leather covers for the Field Notes books, so you can choose to create your own Midori-style customized notebook if you wish. Check out the options we have provided below. If you have been wondering how to write a travel journal, then a great place to start is just by having one of these small notebooks in your pocket as you are out and about so you can capture your thoughts and ideas right as they come to you.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse Field Notes Notebooks in your location
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse the Field Notes Leather Journal Cover in your location
If you are heading to one of the major cities, then check out the Moleskine City Notebook range to see if they cover your destination! These pocket-sized, hard cover notebooks contain city street maps as well as public transport maps, which you can use to trace your routes. There are customizable tabbed sections for you to capture the places you have visited or people you met along the way. There are also blank sections for your more random scribblings and travel journal scrapbooking. Like all Moleskine products, the City Notebooks come with an expandable inner cardboard pocket and ribbon bookmarks.
This is a really lovely concept – you know those maps that seem to be everywhere right now, where you can scratch off the countries you have visited? Well, this is a world travel journal version of those maps. The journal is a kind of pack, made from kraft paper and contains 8 scratch-off maps, as well as the travel planner journal itself for you to write and record all of your adventures. The notebook has a planning section, as well as diary pages for you to record your thoughts and events. Although this is a great little journal pack it is more suited to someone planning a big, multi-country trip than someone who travels frequently from home. A great going-away gift for someone who may be gearing up for a gap year or similar.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse the Scratch Travel Journal in your location
This is a simple but beautiful journal. It has a cover made from natural cork that is as soft as leather. This makes it suitable for vegetarians or vegans who may prefer a tactile animal-free alternative. The journal has an elastic closure and pen loop, one ribbon bookmark and comes in dotted or lined paper. The pages are made from 120g acid-free paper that is thicker than normal, meaning if you want to use the journal with marker pens then the colours won’t leak through. The best travel diaries can also be leather-free!
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse the Lemome Eco Cork Notebook in your location
This is another animal-friendly cute travel journal, with a felt cover this time. The Yakri journal is customizable inside with ring binders holding the pages together. The inside of the cover has places to put business cards and features a pen holder. A button magnet keeps the cover closed. There are three different colour options, and you can choose from A5 size or the smaller A6 size.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse the Yakri Felt Journal in your location
This travel journal is a more interactive choice than a standard notebook for those looking at creative travel journal ideas. The book is a travel diary template that guides you to undertake different mindfulness exercises. It presents ideas for looking at things differently, appreciating things you may not usually notice and meditating on the feeling of being in a particular place. At the same time, there is plenty of space for you to doodle and write down your thoughts. A great choice for those who are feeling uninspired and looking for new ideas on how to travel journal.
If you are shopping from outside of the US, use this link to browse You Are Here: A Mindful Travel Journal in your location
So that rounds up our list of the best travel journals. Whilst there are plenty of other choices on the market today, many of the journals and diaries on this list have stood the test of time and are some of the most popular available, as well as some more unique choices. Whether you are buying a travel journal for yourself or as a gift for a friend, we hope that our trip journal review has been inspirational for you!
Sarah The Stationery Geek
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PS: I am really NOT joking about being a stationery geek. I now work almost 100% on my laptop these days. But writing this article has provided many unique travel journal ideas I can’t buy! If you share my love of stationery, then also check out UK site The Journal Shop. We have absolutely no affiliation with them, but these guys seriously know their stationery porn. If you are anything like me, enjoy!