A Guide to the 15 Best Travel Journals
Wondering which are the best travel journals for your next adventure? Check out our detailed list of the 15 best travel journals we could find. Some have pockets, some have accessories, but all have been put through our strict criteria of being durable and a good value. We are also going to look at what makes a good travel journal, some travel journal features you really need and know about picking one.
To some, a travel journal is just a journal. But probably not to you, especially if you googled ‘best travel journals (or notebooks)’ and are reading this article. It’s where you keep your treasured memories recounting the ups and downs of life on the road. It is a safe place for expressing your thoughts and feelings without the anxiety of potential judgement. It’s a means for uncovering and understanding the complex inner world you are traversing and your wide-ranging outer world.
In this digital age it’s easy to overlook the simple pleasures of life such as writing down your thoughts. The small screen on a smartphone or tablet doesn’t do justice to your boundless interests.
Besides, the last thing you need is one of your tech gadgets to run out of battery at the peak of your expressiveness and adventure!
So, for the travel enthusiast, a traveler’s journal is as important to your experience as a suitcase. Your journal is a part of you.
Others are happy simply collecting little remembrances from the road and want something to store these things in. Or maybe you’re an artist or a doodler and want to sketch your ideas on paper.
Considering that there is no real right or wrong way to record your travel memories, the fundamental similarity is that you want to keep them secure and protected from being damaged while on the road. And, of course you, want something that fits your needs.
Pick from our list of the best of the best. There is no particular order but each choice has special features which we will highlight so that you can make an informed choice. All the links will take you directly to Amazon to make it easy to shop!
Best No Frills Journal
Moleskine Passion Journal, Travel, Hard Cover, Large (5”x8.25”) Elm Green, 400 Pages
Ideal for everything from short weekend getaways to longer trips and vacations plus the quality of Moleskine. Divided into three sections: Travel Memories and Wish List; Short Trip; Long Trip. Packed with an 8 year calendar, travel planning timeline and even space for a travel budget. With 400 pages there’s lots of free space for your travel memories. Moleskine approximates that you can fit 6 long trips and 20 short ones in the journal.
Moleskine has designed this journal particularly for travelers and it is meant to be a keepsake – it even comes in a box for storage.
Best Travel Journal With Pockets
Refillable Leather Journal Travelers Notebook with 5 Inserts + Pen Holder and Binder Clip, (8.5”x4.5) Brown
A fashionable journal that is made of genuine leather. Ideal for a gift. A bounty of features: binder clip, pen holder that attaches to the journal, lined, plain and grid inserts, card holder and zipper pouch. In addition to the spacious storage, there’s the added bonus that this journal is refillable. Just swap out the pages when you’ve run through them.
Best Weather Resistant Journal
Rite in the Rain All Weather Side Spiral Notebook, (4 ⅝”x7”) Yellow Cover
Right in the Rain journals have long been the choice of those who write in bad weather such as backpackers and news reporters. 64 weatherproof pages and a cover made from flexible Polydura (a smooth plastic material) which is also weatherproof.
Take it to the beach or the rainforest and you will still be able to document your adventures. But make sure you use a pencil (water based inks are not waterproof) and your thoughts will stay unscathed.
Best Refillable Travel Journal
Refillable Handmade Travelers Notebook, Leather
Made from genuine and durable leather. Has 3 different refill inserts inside (lined, kraft, and blank) to meet all your daily needs. Each insert is 64 pages (both sides) and when one notepad is filled it is a simple process to remove and refill. The small size version is ideal to slip into a pocket, backpack or handbag. Waterproof pockets are perfect for things you collect along the way.
Best Mindful Travel Journal
You Are Here: A Mindful Travel Journal Diary
Writer Emma Clarke helps you get the most out of your experiences while you’re experiencing them. This journal’s purpose is to put you in the moment. “No one has ever seen the place the same way you are seeing it right now, right here in this moment,” she writes. The journal is a mix of prompts to keep you prepared and mindful. Spread over 190 pages with blanks to fill in and of course, many pages to complete with your thoughts.
Best Travel Journal for Prepping Your Trip
Erin Condren Petite Planner – Travel Planner, includes Flight Schedule Details, Packing List by Category, Journaling for Experiences and Spending
Track up to 4 weeks of travel with 28 daily spreads to log activities, meals, memories spending and more. Appropriate for long term vacations (or even a staycation). Includes both illustrative and functional stickers that can be used to stylize and personalize the journal. Even has pages for things to do a week before your trip to be well prepared.
Best Travel Journal for Scrapbooking
Siixu Colorful Blank Notebook, Unruled Personal Diary Journal
Stitch bound journal with pastel-coloured, watercolour-style backgrounds creating dynamic spaces for pasting, sticking and doodling all of your travel reminiscences. The journal comes in two designs one with quotes on the pages to inspire you and the other with simple swatches of colour on each page.
Best Travel Journal for Painting
Conda Double Sided Hardbound, Hardcover Sketchbook, Durable Acid Free Drawing Spiral Sketch Pad
Traditional hardcover sketchbook, with 120 blank pages and thick paper that will take oils, acrylics and watercolors without bleeding through. Pages are perforated and can be torn out so as to have individual paintings. This is a built-to-last journal and can take a lot of wear and tear. The cover is waterproof and it is available in various different sizes so as to channel your inner Van Gogh.
Best Travel Journal for Inspiration
Travel Listography: Exploring the World in Lists
The travel edition of the popular Listography series of journals. A great way to get stimulated for future trips when you’re home and have time to reflect and dream.
The travel journal has more than 70 lists from world cuisines to sample, to animals you’ve seen in the wild. A great source for adventure ideas and plenty of space to write down your thoughts. Easy to use as the pages lay flat. Vividly illustrated and a wonderful way to capture your adventures.
Best Vintage Style Travel Journal
Moonster’s Leather Journal Gift Set. Unlined Paper
Genine water buffalo leather and premium recycled cotton paper. Handmade in India. Beautifully crafted. Blank inside. Ideal for notes, sketching, doodling, scrapbook, photo. Perfect for gifting as it comes with a luxury pen and small gift bag. Versatile with classic styling. 120 sheets are off white and acid free and pens will not bleed through the paper.
Best Pocket Size Travel Journals
Rifle Paper Co. Pocket Size Journal (Set of 2)
You can still document your travels even if you’re short on space with these pocket size journals. At only 4.25”x5.5” they can be tucked in most any pocket or bag. Filled with 64 blank pages you can use them for multiple trips and, despite the small size, you will not compromise any of your details. Saddle stitched vellum interior. Two styles – passport with gold foil and world travel scenes. Handy when traveling light.
Best Travel Journal for Bullet Journaling
Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Notebook
Bullet Journaling is a system developed by designer Ryder Carroll of NYC to help you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future. With 249 numbered pages, this travel journal is ideal for bullet journaling and is compact yet sizable (5.57”x8.25”). It’s secured with elastic. 17 colors available from navy blue to bright raspberry.
The interior of the journal has three blank tables of contents which means you can organize your travel thoughts, scribblings and note-taking by creating your own index (which is the reason we selected it as the best for bullet journaling). The pages are gridded so you can easily have bullet points. The thread bound journal opens flat so you can write and draw at angles without damaging the spine.
Best Travel Journal for Writers
Lemome Classic Travel Notebook with Pocket and Page Dividers
While some journals are versatile for doodlers, gluers, drawers, and other creatives, this journal is mainly geared toward writers. Hardcover and elastic pen loop, it has a lay flat design that makes writing and note taking easy. It contains 90 double sided lined pages with a wide ruled set up. When you’re not using it, there’s a band to keep it securely closed. Measures 8”x4”x5”x7 and weighs only 15 oz. Has a pocket to hold business cards, notes, receipts, etc. This is the best if all you want to do is write. It also comes in various colors to keep everyone happy.
Best Travel Journal for Kids
Kids Travel Journal
Wonderful travel journal with colorful illustrations and playful prompts to get kids writing. Best for ages 6-12. Children can help plan a trip and take charge of their packing list. Can rate each day, write what they did, sketch what they saw, paste in photos, maps, postcards and more. Puzzles and games are scattered throughout the journal and it even has some foreign phrases and maps. An elastic band keeps it closed when not in use and provides some damage control.
Best Camping and RV Travel Journal
Camping Journal & RV Travel Logbook, Blue Vintage Camper Journey
This journal is spot on for documenting your favorite campsites. Prompts are really helpful (has a prompt for “friends you met at the campground”) including cancellation notes, parking, nearby restaurants and cellular connectivity. Easy to use format and nice cover artwork. Referring back is simple in case you want to return to a campsite…or not return. Durable construction. Plenty of space for comments. Overall great buy for the camping traveler.
How To Pick A Good Travel Journal
There are several things to consider when shopping for a travel journal for your next trip, vacation or adventure. Keep these factors in mind when shopping and how you think you may use your travel journal. Here are our travel journal buying tips:
Very simple and basic, but important when deciding what travel journal to purchase for yourself. Do you want something compact and light or are you going to fill it with momentos, tickets and sketches? Are you using a carry-on bag, a backpack, a suitcase, or the entire trunk of your car? A carry-on might mean compact. A suitcase might alleviate any worry about the size. Assess your situation and go from there.
This is important if your journal might be moved around in a suitcase or backpack for long stretches of time. If you don’t want your pages to get rumpled (and certainly if you are someone who likes to store mementos between the pages) then a solid closure is a priority.
This has to do with personal preferences and considerations as to durability. Some journals have a soft cover and are flexible while others have a hard cover. A soft cover is easier to fit in a suitcase or backpack while a hard cover will give you a writing surface wherever you go.
It’s easy to think that paper is paper, but actually there are many types of paper that have different uses. A thicker paper is probably best if you are going to use your journal as a sketchbook. Maybe you want something smart and first class; instead of bleached white paper some upscale, creamy-coloured pages might be a better fit. It is also possible to have waterproof, weatherproof paper so that you can write in unpleasant conditions.
Primarily it comes down to what you will be doing on your pages: making notes, sketching, doodling, painting, you name it. Thinking about what you want to do with your journal will help you decide the kind of paper that best fits your needs.
Type of Journal
Travel journals used to be ‘plain jane’ affairs. Pages only came in blank, ruled or squared. Present day pages in travel journals sometimes come pre-decorated. This may be right for some but for others any preexistent writing or graphics on the page takes away from their recollections.
Sometimes journals give prompts to inspire creativity. Usually these journals will ask you questions ranging from what you ate to the most interesting person you met. Be sure you know whether you want a blank journal or a journal that asks questions or has ideas on the pages to act as prompts to get you thinking.
Do you want a journal that’s refillable or do you want to purchase a journal every time you finish one? Both have advantages. With a refillable journal you get to keep the same covers as you exchange the papers out. But maybe you enjoy the experience of buying a journal every time you finish one.
Refillable journals usually come in two formats. Some allow you to remove and add individual pages. Other journals have the pages secured together and you have to remove all the pages at once. One is not better than the other but it’s something for you to consider and decide what is best for you.
Number of Pages
Generally, the number of pages matters most to those buying a non-refillable journal. Think about how much writing you might be doing and how often you want to replace a journal. Just remember, if you like more pages your journal will be thicker and heavier.
In many instances, a travel journal is no longer an elementary compilation of pages between two hard (or soft) covers. The best travel journals sometimes contain a vast array of interior organization to help you and your trip stay on an even keel.
From simply adding an interior pocket, to keeping meaningful tickets and pictures safe, adding plenty of compartments to slip in a variety of intimate physical mementos is a key feature.
Some travel journals come complete with calendars, space for to-do lists, maps, etc. This kind of a journal is more of a planner and, for some, more organization than they want. This again is a personal choice. Decide what you want and need from your journal.
There you have our picks for the best travel journals. Enjoy your trip and read your journals when you get home.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his clients websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.