I love journals, notebooks, all types of paper products and everything in between. When I stumbled upon a Traveler’s Notebook on a blog, I immediately knew it was for me and I had to try it. It was months before a planned trip, so I started doing the research to see what I needed to chronicle our trip to Europe. It had been years since our last trip overseas and I knew I wanted to do a better job documenting the sites ahead.
What is a Traveler’s Notebook?
A Traveler’s Notebook is just that: a notebook to document your travels. The size is approximately 5″ X 8 3/4″. In it’s simplest form it consists of a leather cover that includes elastic bands inside the spine of the cover which can hold multiple notebooks, and an elastic strap that goes around the outside holding everything together and shut. The brand I chose was the Traveler’s Notebook by Traveler’s Company, Japan and I bought it online through jetpens.com The cover is made in Thailand where other brands also have theirs made. Their notebook inserts are listed as Midori, which is a popular name brand for traveler’s notebooks, but the cover is not. Even though I usually buy American made products when possible, I wanted to start here. My research kept taking me back to leather travel journals made in Thailand. My next one will be made in America.
How I Prepared My Traveler’s Notebook
Preparing my notebook was fun! I started by cutting out pages from an old set of World Book Encyclopedias. I followed the itinerary and added bits and pieces about the cities we would be visiting. This added some color and it was fun reading about our stops in advance even though the facts were a little outdated. In the back of the notebook, I added the flight schedules, hotels, and the itinerary. This was a 13-day trip which included 5 different hotels, so it was great to have this information at my fingertips. After the larger paper pieces were added I started filling in with stamps and stickers. My favorite Scrapbook Factory carries travel stickers and stencils so I added the main cities and then used stencils for more accents.
How I used my Traveler’s Notebook
The picture above is what I carried with me during most of our excursions in addition to my 35 mm camera and my phone. I bought the plastic pouch to add to my notebook and that’s where the double-sided tape, scissors, and pens were kept. The other purchase made to add to my traveler’s notebook was a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera. It’s the small black camera pictured above. I had no idea this camera existed until I started researching travel notebooks. Mine was ordered on Amazon because I couldn’t find a black one in my area and then at Christmas, I saw large displays of them at Urban Outfitters. They must be The Rage!
I thought the instant pictures added a lot to my notebook. I could snap a picture, enter it in for that day and add some notes. I also loved how they offered such a candid look. On this particular trip, we had travel time between cities and this is when I would do my cutting and tapping. There was a flip down table in front of me that was perfect for working on my journal. The trip was through EF Tours, which offers educational tours for students. This particular tour was a group of 26 adults. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide on the entire journey sharing his love for his homeland and beyond. What he had to offer was priceless and definitely worth recording.
I carried the traveler’s notebook along with my Instax camera and phone in my purse. Tom usually had the 35 mm so he made the lugging manageable. Most of the time I would be standing while taking notes or jotting down tidbits and statistics while touring on a bus. This made it very difficult to have perfect penmanship but I didn’t care. I love my notes!
The pictures above are examples of how I used the encyclopedia clips, Instamatic pictures and cut up postcards. The train tickets and cut up postcards were added after the trip. I kept the Instamatic pictures in the correct date sequence while traveling and added to the pages later. You will see in the video below that some pages have more writing than others.
I added these pictures to show the supplies in the zipper pouch and the itinerary on the back 2 pages.
Closing thoughts on my Traveler’s Notebook
Without sounding too cliché, I won’t leave home without one. I know this was 13 days of educational site seeing, but I believe some type of note taking is priceless. I tried keeping a journal on a trip years ago to Japan (5 days) and was not very successful. I have beautiful pictures and postcards, and memories but I didn’t capture the little details that need to be written down when you see and hear them. I even regret not journaling during trips in the states. No trip is too small to document. I would like to add that the stickers, stamping, and all the extras are not necessary. If you googled travel journals and notebooks you would be amazed at how extravagant and detailed they can be. I was just on a mission to have a comprehensive document that was brief and somewhat concise knowing that it would give me lots of enjoyment and smiles for years to come.
This is a picture of me taken at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial in Dachau, Germany. This is pretty much how I looked during most of the trip. My purse slung over my shoulder with my journal in hand and cameras. As I mentioned earlier, Tom helped a lot. I’ve included a 2-minute video that shows me paging through my notebook.
I hope you are inspired to journal on your next trip. Remember, no trip is too small to document and looking back on your notes will for sure add a smile to your face.
Have you kept a notebook during a trip? If you have, please consider sharing your experience in the comment section below.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Rose