Travelling the world will undoubtedly give you many unforgettable experiences. But the details—the sights, smells, the random people you met, the little bits of colour you experience every day—can fade quickly with memory.
That’s why it’s great to think of some travel journal ideas. If you keep track of your journey in some fun ways, you’ll love re-living your travel experiences later.
Here are 5 creative ways to document your travels:
1. Keep a paper journal
Old school? Sure. But writing on paper is so different from typing on your phone or laptop.
You can scribble, doodle, and write in a more personal way. It’s way more tactile and real.
Get a nice notebook such as the ones made by Moleskine and you’ll soon feel like Marco Polo writing from far away lands. Instead of the usual spiral-bound notebook, these have a durable leather cover and lovely high-quality paper. Now, put away your disposable BIC pen and get yourself a decent rollerball pen; your words will just be flowing onto the pages.
Try to keep your writing simple. It doesn’t have to be incredible travel literature!
This is just for you to store some memories. If you keep it fun and light, you’ll be more motivated to keep it up. At least, keeping some quick notes has really worked for me.
2. Do a fun photo series
Everyone takes photos during their travels. But why not take it one step further and come up with a little photo project?
For example, take a photo of yourself in the same pose in front of every landmark you visit. Or take a picture of every person you meet or every meal you eat. Or make a sequence of selfies, gradually showing your travel beard growing with every day of your trip.
Bringing a little toy along can be fun to take perspective shots with. I recently met someone who had a Godzilla toy and was taking pictures framed in such a way that the plastic Godzilla was seemingly attacking every building.
Another wonderful example of this are these LEGO travellers, who you can follow on Facebook and Instagram:
3. Create a video montage
If you’re packing a GoPro camera or a smartphone or photo camera with video capabilities, you can record videos and turn them into one big sizzle reel at the end of your trip.
A cool thing to do is to take the same shots repeatedly at different stages of your trip. If your camera has a selfie stick (monopod) you can take a video of yourself while slowly swivelling around to show the environment in the background, then mash up many of these in a row for a great montage effect.
The video below (YouTube link) is by Jonny from Germany who I recently met while travelling in Indonesia (if you look very closely, you can see me in a couple of shots). It’s a great example of a cool travel montage:
4. Create your own postcards
If you’re looking for a way to share your experiences with friends and family at home, but which doesn’t take much time, creating your own postcards is just the thing!
The PostSnap app lets you turn any of your travel photos into a real printed postcard that can be sent anywhere in the world. I am normally not a huge fan of the kind of postcards you can buy in souvenir shows, as they are usually pretty cheesy, but making your own postcards is a whole different story.
It’s fun to surprise people at home with a physical postcard that feels so much more personal than a message on social media. You can even send yourself a postcard of a particularly memorable moment, so that by the time you get home, you have a great memory to stick onto your fridge or pin board.
5. Start a blog
Setting up a travel blog doesn’t have to be difficult or require much technical knowledge; you can set one up now so that you can share the link with friends and family before you head off. (See also: How To Start A Travel Blog In 10 Minutes).
The great thing about travel blogging is that you can use every tool at your disposal, whether that’s text, photos or video. For some, travel blogging can eventually start making money, and for others, it’s the ultimate portfolio piece for getting a job in writing, SEO, or social media.
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Really enjoyed reading your ideas. Where is the perspective photo at the top of this page taken? I haven’t seen landscape like that before.
Hey Nikki. That was taken at the salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia! 🙂
We found another fun way to document travel!
Check it out here!
I often create my own postcards. Much more personal.
Good stuff. Really enjoying reading.
How about sharing 5 Fun Techniques To Document Your Travels on Your Pictures? Where you focus exclusively on travel photography tips?
Love these ideas – funny perspective photos are always great to look back on your travels. I have to say, we’ve never thought of creating our own postcards – maybe we’ll have to send one to ourselves home the next time we are on our travels.
Any recommendations for windows software to create the video montage? I took 40+ GoPro videos while in Southern Africa and would love to join these along with some pics I took in a nice montage, with some music in the background.
I’ve used GoPro’s own software (GoPro Studio) which is OK. If you just want to put some clips together, it works well enough. The software is limited in some ways though, for instance separating the audio track from the video is not possible (which surprised me as it seems like a very basic feature).
Windows Movie Maker is a free video editing program that also isn’t too bad. You’ll either already have it installed with Windows or you can download it from Microsoft’s website. Good luck… editing can be a lot of fun 🙂