In this digital age of selfies, live streams, and social media, does anyone put pen to paper anymore? The answer is yes! News feeds are fleeting, and character limits keep you from jotting down everything you want to recall about your trip. And after getting the dopamine hit of a hundred likes, do you ever go back and look at the photos and memories of your vacation again? Probably not, unless a “memory” pops up.
Luckily, you can remember any time when you bring along a dedicated travel notebook. These range from pocket-size to multiple bound volumes, depending on how often you travel and how much you want to write. Some travel journals come with preprinted questions and writing prompts to jog your memory, while others are a blank slate, with perhaps just lines, grids, or dots to provide a little structure for your thoughts and sketches.
Which is right for you? Check out our round-up of more than a dozen travel journals, notebooks, and diaries to find the best one to suit your needs and upcoming trip.
- Moleskine Classic Large Soft Cover Dot Grid Notebook
- Papier Travel Stamps Travel Journal
- DUNCAN & STONE PAPER CO. Travel Journal
- Rifle Paper Co. Five Year Keepsake Journal Set
- Clever Fox Travel Journal (Pocket Size)
- Baronfig Vanguard Softcover Notebook
- Letterfolk Trip Passport
- Peter Pauper Press Kids’ Travel Journal
- Field Notes National Parks Series
- Write It Down! Vacation – The Traveler’s Journal
- newestor Refillable Leather Journal
- Rite in the Rain Outdoor Journal
- Lochby Pocket Journal
- Upgraded Us Traveler’s Journal (A5 Size)
- Don Johnson Cruise Alaska Journal
If you’re looking for a travel notebook that will last, the Moleskine Classic will get the job done. Although it’s nothing fancy, it’s a workhorse that has held up well throughout years of travel, even while jostling around a backpack as we travel the world.
Its compact size fits in the tablet sleeve of your travel backpack or daypack, and the soft synthetic leather cover is lighter than a hardcover book. There’s an attached bookmark to mark your place and an elastic strap to hold everything together while you travel. Plus, it lays flat, so it’s easy to get your thoughts on paper without running into the gutter.
It comes in three sizes—pocket, large, and extra large—and three layouts—blank, ruled, and dot grid. We like the dot grid because it allows enough structure for writing but doesn't get in the way of sketching. You'll find a small paper pocket in the back of the travel notebook. While it’s far from sturdy, it can easily hold your passport, a few business cards, or the phone number of that attractive bartender you want to see again.Why We Like It
- Cover holds up well through travel
- Simple design provides flexibility for writing, sketching, and expense tracking
- Back pocket rather flimsy, so it might not hold tight to mementos you want to keep
- No writing prompts for inspiration
If you want to be inspired by your travel notebook, the Travel Stamps Travel Journal will get you excited about your next trip. The hardcover travel diary is covered with images of international stamps, and each one comes personalized, so you can label it with a name, the year, or just a fantastic quote from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
There’s space to record memories of six trips, with pages to make a travel budget, create itineraries, draft packing lists, and plenty of space to paste photos and record what you did on your trip. It’s not too big or heavy to bring along with you to take notes as you go, and if you get bored during a road trip, there are games in the back to keep you or your travel companions busy. You can also channel your inner child when you color in the countries you visit on the included map of the world.Why We Like It
- Every journal is personalized to create a nice keepsake of your trip
- There are instructions and a contact page in case you lose it
- Space for six trips may not be enough for frequent travelers
- It doesn’t lay flat when open and writing can get difficult toward the binding
When you want your travel journal to be something you can revisit in your golden years, you may want one that will look great on your bookshelf. While the Travel Journal is on the larger side to pack in your luggage, it’s the perfect size for sharing your memories with family and friends later on. It’s easy to jump to a specific trip since they’re each labeled with colored tabs printed at the top corner of each page, and an attached bookmark will let you know where to start recording your next adventure.
The linen hardcover travel diary comes in classy colors like Sage Green, Rose, and Sand, and you’ll find space to record up to 15 adventures inside. Since it has dedicated pages for photos as well as prompts to help you remember where you ate, what you did, and where you shopped, you can save your memories in one place instead of scattering them throughout photo albums, scrapbooks, and hard drives. Who knows? Your great-grandchildren could be inspired to start their own journeys after reading about your trip to Bali.Why We Like It
- Questions and prompts help you gather your thoughts easier than a blank page
- The embossed linen cover creates a high-quality keepsake of your travels
- It’s pretty large to bring along on a trip
- You may run out of room if your trip includes stops in multiple destinations
When your coworker is retiring to travel the world (or you are! In which case, congratulations!), gift them the Five Year Keepsake Journal Set to record their adventures. The cloth-bound books lay flat so it’s easy to record your memories each day, and they come together in a box set that will look great on a shelf once you return home. Sticker packs are also available to embellish your travel diary and make it your own.
Each page in this travel journal has space to record two days, so while it’s formatted more like a traditional journal, you can also use it to keep track of what you did each day of your trip. The journals also include a place to record your goals, so you can create a bucket list of places to see that year, plus places to keep track of special moments you celebrated and everywhere you’ve been. Each book has 200 pages, so you’ll have plenty of space to record your journeys wherever life takes you.Why We Like It
- It has room to record years of adventures
- It’s undated, so you can start journaling at any time
- It takes up more space than a single journal
- The layout is less travel-focused than other options
A pocket-size travel notebook can be easier to bring along on your next trip, and if you’re looking for a durable yet lightweight option, you might like the Clever Fox Travel Journal. Cute travel icons, from palm trees to paper airplanes, pattern the vegan leather cover, and an elastic strap holds it closed. Plus, there's a bookmark and another elastic to hold a pen in place.
This travel diary includes safety tips, a pre-printed packing list, and a travel checklist. You can also create personalized lists for five trips and fill out calendars, budget charts, and expense trackers. It even has dedicated pages to write down the transportation you took and the places you stayed. If that seems like a lot of preplanning to you, don’t worry—there are also pages to freeform record your adventures and stickers if you like to bedazzle your travel diary. A rear pocket is a great spot to slide ticket stubs and transportation cards to reminisce later about the day you got lost on the subway in New York.Why We Like It
- It’s small and lightweight to carry with you on a trip
- You can also get it in an A5 size if you prefer larger pages
- Most pages are dedicated to specific information
- Although there’s a pen holder, one is not included
A basic notebook with quality paper may be all you need in your next travel notebook. After all, if you have great ideas of how you want to remember your trip, or you like to sketch and doodle as well as write, it’s nice to have a journal that gets out of your way so the creative juices can flow. Choose from blank, ruled, or grid dot pages, depending on your preference and whether you need some guidance to write straight or prefer to go a little more freeform.
You can get this softcover notebook singly or in a set to make sure you don’t run out as you backpack across Europe. It’s lightweight and comes in three sizes: Pocket, Flagship, and Plus (or small, medium, and large), so you can pick the one that’s right for you. We really like the feel of the lush yet functional acid-free fine-grain paper, although we like the stitched binding a little less so. While it’s nice that it lays flat while you’re writing, it can unravel after some use.Why We Like It
- The paper feels really good to the touch
- It has a clean, minimal design so you can record whatever details you like
- The soft cover crinkles easily and it may start to show its age after lots of use
- The binding may not stand the test of time
Long-term travelers may appreciate a pocket-size travel diary to keep track of their world travels, and the Trip Passport fits the bill. This travel journal is about the same size as your passport, so you can slide it into the same pocket of your travel backpack. Then you can use the time in line to record a few thoughts about your trip while waiting for customs to stamp your passport.
Each record includes two pages: one with spaces to note who you were with, what you ate, and how you felt, and one dot grid page to write down your favorite memories in word or picture form. The soft cover is flexible, so you can slide it in a back pocket without feeling like you’re sitting on a brick, although it can easily bend and wrinkle. Of course, like the smile lines on your face, any crinkles and creases are just marks of your fun experiences and won’t detract from the memories you jot down.Why We Like It
- There’s space to record 20 trips
- Other versions let you keep track of museums or theme parks you visit if you want more specificity
- You have to write really small
- There are only two pages for each trip
It can be tempting to put off a once-in-a-lifetime trip with children if you worry they’ll be too young to remember the fun you had. With the Kids’ Travel Journal, they’ll have a great way to look back on that bucket-list trip, even as their memories begin to fade. This child-focused travel diary gives them a space to keep a detailed record of their trip, with pages to jot down where they go, when, who they’re traveling with, what they plan to see and do, and what actually happened. The hard cover will protect their memories when the journal gets shoved in the bottom of their backpack, and an elastic keeps it all together, even if they stuff it full of special candy wrappers, pressed flowers, and maps.
Games and fun facts in the back will keep them busy during a long road trip or overnight flight and may even save you some Googling when they ask how to remember the five Great Lakes or how long the Great Wall is. There are also conversion charts from Imperial to Metric, which comes in handy if your 8-year-old is insistent on putting on a coat because it’s 30 degrees in Rome. (Hint: that’s too hot for a hoodie!)Why We Like It
- This will help children remember a milestone trip
- Games and maps help keep kids occupied while traveling
- You may need a new one for every trip
- Design may be a little young while requiring more writing than little kids can handle
If your travel bucket list includes hitting all the U.S. National Parks, you might want to select a travel notebook with designs inspired by some of the most popular spots. The National Parks Series of Field Notes notebooks is available in six packs of three parks each, covering a total of 18 National Parks. Do you plan to visit Zion, Yosemite, and Acadia? Pick up the Series A Pack and record your adventures at each park in one notebook.
When you get home, you’ll know exactly where to find that funny story about almost stumbling into Old Faithful. Inside the front cover of each notebook is also a spot for your official National Park Passport Stamp, as well as a place to record when you went and who the notebook belongs to so a good Samaritan can send it home if you drop it outside of Dollywood on your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains (that's in Series C).Why We Like It
- You’ll have a good-looking record of your visit to a U.S. National Park
- Field Notes come in a variety of other styles and cover colors if you want something more generic
- They’re blank inside except for a grid pattern
- The soft covers can get worn-looking after a lot of use
Maybe you’re a camper who wants to keep track of every park you visit with your RV, or you want to note what you saw in small towns along Route 66. If so, the Traveler’s Journal may be for you. This thick travel notebook has a wide spiral binding to make it easy to write in and a durable cover that won’t bend or flip up.
Each of the 200 pages in the journal has prompts on the front to help you remember your trip, such as who you traveled with, what you enjoyed doing the most, and places to remember for next time, while the reverse side is left blank (but lined) for you to record other thoughts and notes. Even though it’s only one page, you have plenty of space to note what you want to remember since this travel diary is about the size of a school notebook. And if you have more to say, you can always go into more detail on the next page, although you’ll be giving up space for a future trip.Why We Like It
- It’s spiral bound and lies completely flat for easy writing
- There’s space to record many trips
- The same prompts repeat throughout the book
- The large size makes it more difficult to pack
You’ll appreciate the aesthetics of the Refillable Leather Journal if you love the feeling of soft leather in your hands or want to get medieval vibes as you record your journeys. It includes enough accessories to still your beating organizational heart, from a pen and holder to a distressed metal binder clip, elastic bands to keep everything together, three 96-page notebooks, and a card holder.
The notebooks slide through elastics on the spine to stay in place, making them easy to add and remove as you fill them with memories. You can get refills in ruled, grid, or dot patterns to record future travels and jot down your bright ideas. The leather protects their soft covers and holds everything together as you toss it in your travel tote for a day of exploring. You’ll have to come up with your own ideas of what to write, but we have faith you can do it.Why We Like It
- You can add additional notebooks to the leather cover
- It’s an all-in-one set to get started with a travel journal
- The leather cover will naturally distress over time
- It might be a bit bulky if you only need one notebook at a time
Bird watchers, nature photographers, and Seattle residents take note: this is the travel notebook for you. Rite in the Rain’s Outdoor Journal will allow you to, you guessed it, write in the rain. The all-weather paper repels water, grease, sweat, and mud, and Rite in the Rain claims it can even survive a spin in the washing machine. However, since the Outdoor Journal is the size of a traditional notebook, it’s unlikely to fit in your pants pocket where you could forget it anyway. On the other hand, that means it will most certainly hold up to spilled beverages, so you can bring it to keep track of what you imbibe as you drink around the world (even if that’s just around EPCOT).
Inside, the paper is printed with a grid pattern that features horizontal lines and vertical dashes, so you can take note of your favorite restaurant in Florence or get to work designing a better backpack as you wait for the train. There’s also a built-in ruler and some handy survival tips on the cover, in case you need to find the right size hiking stick. And we like that this travel notebook is made from recycled materials that can also be recycled when you’re through if you’re not saving it for posterity.Why We Like It
- Water beads right off the paper
- Bright cover makes it easy to spot at the bottom of your bag
- It’s on the larger side, but still easy to pack
- The all-weather paper feels a bit waxy to the touch
What if we said you could have your cake and eat it too? Or at least a travel notebook with some convenient travel wallet features? (OK, sorry if you’re hungry now, but some of the best analogies come with food!) If you want to get the best travel journal for international travel, the Lochby Pocket Journal can hold a little bit of everything you need. It comes with a 72-page pocket notebook wrapped in a durable waxed canvas cover.
What’s great is that the cover doesn't just hold a notebook; it has extra pockets, too. While you slip the back cover of the notebook into the right side of the cover, the left side has a pocket that can hold a passport, two more that fit cards, and a mini pen slot. On the front of the cover is a longer pen slot, a slightly thicker slot that can fit concert or festival tickets, and a larger pocket on the back secured at the top with a hook-and-loop closure. It’s potentially a good place for cash and coins because the opening is fairly tight.Why We Like It
- The waxed canvas cover appeals to a rugged aesthetic
- It’s refillable with another pocket-sized notebook when you’re through
- You may have to add additional wax yourself if it’s not coated enough for your preference
- The pockets are a little tight when brand new
When planning to travel long-term, you need more than just a few pages to record your trip. The Traveler’s Journal from Upgraded Us is a hardcover travel diary that lets you record up to 31 days for three trips. With pages for research and planning, budgeting, and more, you can remember why you decided to eat at that dive restaurant (Guy Fieri recommended it!) or where you wanted to be sure to watch the sunset. There are also reflection pages to record memorable moments and the best meals you ate, plus an expense tracker so you don’t go over budget two weeks in.
The hardcover travel journal is made with durable materials to handle the rigors of travel, and you can keep it all together with an elastic around the end. With the ability to record trips longer than a few days or weeks, we think this is a great choice if you’re taking a sabbatical, heading to see the world in retirement, or working for a few months overseas as a digital nomad.Why We Like It
- It’s good for long-term travel to a few destinations
- Each section includes a 31-day journal
- There’s space for three trips
- You’ll have to divide up the journal pages for more, shorter trips
Does your travel bucket list involve walking on a glacier or seeing polar bears in the wild? If so, a trip to Alaska could be in order, and many people choose to see it while on a cruise. Since it’s such a popular destination, finding a travel journal tailored to such a trip is not surprising. The author makes journals tailored to other popular destinations, too, so you may want to check them out when planning your next trip.
Although it only covers one trip, this is a detailed way to keep track of all of your transportation, what you want to do at each port of call, and your itinerary. There are even paragraphs of detailed information about places that cruises typically depart from, like Seattle and Vancouver, and typical stops, like Anchorage, Juneau, and Ketchikan. In the port excursion planner section are prompts to help you remember what you liked at each destination so you can tell friends and family. Hopefully, you’ll make new travel friends on the cruise, and if you do, there’s a place to record all their contact information so you don’t have to remember if their last name began with C, S, or Z when scrolling through your phone.Why We Like It
- It has detailed information tailored to the first-time Alaskan cruiser
- This travel journal creates a great memento of your trip
- It’s only helpful if you’re taking an Alaskan cruise, though there are travel journals tailored to other destinations available, as well
- The soft cover is a little flimsy
With so many choices, you’re bound to find a travel journal to remember your next trip. Whether you prefer more of a blank slate or want to follow detailed directions, there’s a travel diary out there for every type of traveler. Find yours, and you’ll never forget an experience.