How to Use a Travel Journal

I take my travel journal on all our trips. Whether it's to somewhere I've been a lot, like DC, or somewhere new. In this post I'll show you how to use a travel journal as well as the point of one.

What Is a Travel Journal?

To start, allow me to explain what I call a travel journal. It is simply a sketch book that you use to record your travels through drawings and writing. There may be other names for this, but that is the name I use.

How To Use It

Before you can get started using the journal, you need to get some supplies. First, the sketch book itself. It doesn't have to be fancy, but I do suggest getting a nice one that won't fall apart in minutes. It should be big enough you can sketch in it easily, but not so big it won't fit in a bag comfortably. Mine's 8" x 6" which works great for me. Make sure the pages are thick enough that ink won't show through to the other side.

You'll also need pencils and pens. For a pencil, find a HB or 4B one. This will give you a nice line. If it doesn't come with an eraser you'll need to get one of those too. A pink school eraser works fine. For a pen, all you'll need is a ballpoint or gel pen.

I carry all my supplies, except the notebook, in a small bag with a wrist strap. It's just long enough to hold them. This way everything is easy to carry and quick to grab. (Oh, and don't forget a pencil sharpener.)

My sketching supplies

Using a travel journal isn't hard. Part one is take it on every trip. Old or new, near or far. Part two is sketching at least once on every trip. It doesn't matter what it is, so long as you do it. You can also write about your travels beside the pictures. I only write the date and place but you can do what you want.

But Why?

That might be the question you're asking about now. What is the point of keeping a travel journal? For one, it gives you a really cool record of where you've been. Anyone can collect postcards or tee shirts. Not everyone has a sketchbook full of their own artwork documenting their travels.

Second, it helps you learn to be observant. You'll be looking for things to sketch while you travel. See a piece of art you like- sketch it. How about an interesting piece of nature? The same. It's fun and eye opening.

And lastly, it will help you improve at drawing. Don't be discouraged if you can't make your sketches look like you want at first. Only by practicing will you get any better. Your sketches don't have to be perfect either.

If you want more on journaling like this, I suggest Sketchbooking: How to Create a Delightful Journal of Your Travels At Home or Abroad by Barbara Stetcher. It helped me learn not to worry so much about perfect drawings. 

Remember, don't give up on yourself. Just keep practicing. Over time you'll see yourself getting better.

What do you think of travel journaling? Is there anything you want to know that I didn't cover? Comment and let me know.


  1. I don't go on trips, so to speak, much but this is a really interesting concept. I do a similar thing with a small notebook of mine, where I jot down little things I notice in my day. Maybe I'll have to try a travel journal too! XD

    1. Your notebook sounds like a cool idea too. Glad you liked the travel journal idea.

  2. I've never tried this, but I'm going to New York City and Philadelphia in a few weeks so I may have to try this. ^ ^

    1. Your trip sounds fun. Hope this idea helps you. Thanks for commenting.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts