5 Tips for Writing an Interesting Travel Journal

Dec 11, 2018

Traveling can be an amazing experience, and because of that it makes for great writing. During a trip, you will see and experience many new and unfamiliar things, learning more about yourself along the way. Instead of letting these memories fade away, try preserving them in a travel journal. Travel journals are an easy way to relive your unforgettable vacation, and they’re a useful tool for sharing your experiences with the people you care about.  

Here are five tips for writing an interesting travel journal.

Begin before you leave

Don’t wait until you’ve arrived at your destination to write — plan some things in your journal before you leave. Brainstorm ideas for what kinds of activities you’d like to do or research hotels, hostels, restaurants, and places to go sightseeing — it’s a great way to start your journal. Don’t forget to write what you’re expecting for your vacation and how you’re feeling before you leave. Having these thoughts down will help you remember as well as keep you excited for the journey.

Create a story, not a list

“Don’t just rattle off the things you saw in a list. Instead of writing a list of places and things you experienced, tell a story. Create a narrative that includes how you were feeling, what your senses were picking up, and be as descriptive as you can,” suggests Sarah McDowell, travel writer. Try to  put the reader in your shoes; they should feel as if they were right there with you. Pick the most interesting things that happened to you in a day and write about them, instead of focusing on mundane detail. Describe how different your life is from before you left home.

Don’t wait until it’s over

Try and write as much as you can while the memories are still fresh in your mind — preferably every day, after you’re finished exploring. Make notes on your phone during the day if you don’t have time to sit down at the laptop.

Before you go to bed, think back on your day and what the highlights were. What kinds of interesting people did you meet? What surprised you today? What reminded you of home? These questions are a great place to start! Pick a few interesting things and write about them and how they made you feel. Memory fades, so get your thoughts down while they are still vivid.

Write about what went wrong

Your travel journal does not need to be a chronicle of how everything was fantastic and worked out perfectly. Some of the best travel stories are about when something went wrong, and you had to adjust. Maybe you learned a lesson or something new about the culture you’re learning.

Talk about the strange and the unpleasant experiences you had. They might feel unfortunate at the time, but they can make for amazing travel stories. Maybe you got lost and had an adventure finding your way back to your hostel. Perhaps you ate something unfamiliar and it didn’t agree with you later. Try and find the humor in these little disasters and turn them into fun journal entries.

Use online writing tools

Writing is something many people find difficult. Luckily there are plenty of resources to help you improve the quality of writing in your travel journal. Here are some good ones to try:

ViaWriting – Grammar can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be something that holds your writing back. Use this grammar resource to make sure you’ve got it right.

StateofWriting – You will find lots of useful suggestions about writing on this blog. Give it a look and see what other writers are doing to improve their work.  

Journaling is for everyone

A journal is a great way to collect your travel memories and preserve them. It can also be highly engaging for the people reading about it back home (if you choose to share it with them.) Remember: your journal is a place to tell a story, and good stories highlight interesting and unique experiences. In the future, you’ll probably be more interested in your first parasailing trip, than what outfit you wore that day.

Safe travels and happy journaling!

About the Author

Grace Carter is a travel editor who enjoys many types of writing. She manages blog content and works with a team of proofreaders. Also, Grace creates courses on journaling for an academic website.

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