Thursday, June 05, 2008

Travel Journals

On family trips we keep a travel journal. We've been doing this since 2001 and now have a stack of notebooks we treasure. There's no right or wrong way to do it, and our journals have changed some since we started.


Our basic format is to do a page for each day of our trip, with drawings, quotes, observations, or ephemera from the day's activities. And we always write down the day's mileage, whether it's an 800-mile marathon out West, or 15 miles moseying around a national park.


The trip book is where you put the postcards you just had to buy in the Redwoods--who could resist that slug?


It's a place to record the most awesome things, the things you might want to come back to with your own children. It's great to have a set of rubber alphabet stamps with you in the car, to make things look better.


Everyone is welcome to contribute, and I love to see what they think is important:


Practical considerations:

• Choose heavy paper. Spiral lies flat; bound is sturdier. A little bit of a trade-off. We found a notebook that alternates heavy watercolor paper with bond paper for written notes. Perfect!
• Pack Prismacolors with a sharpener, black pens, watercolors and a brush, scissors, tape, and a glue stick for souvenirs.
• Alphabet stamps and an ink pad.
• A running list of birds and animals is a great page to include.
• Loosen up. Let the kids at it however they want. It will be priceless.

28 comments:

Mod Girl said...

Oh, I love it! While cleaning out some storage boxes a few weeks ago I happened upon my own travel journal from when my family vacationed in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I was just out of 8th grade. What a treasure! As I read the memories and senses of that time came flooding back.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

I love this. And my boys wouldn't have been able to resist the slug, either. :)

Claire said...

What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing.

Also - "don't kiss MEAN FOXES" - advice for life!

Angela Fehr said...

One can never have too many sketchbooks, IMO. I love the Robert Bateman spiral bound for their nice, thick paper - I can even paint on them. I might just pack it for our road trip at the end of the month.

Polly said...

This is brilliant. I keep a travel journal as well, but in a moleskine with just text and some drawings (but mostly my prose). I love this fresher, looser approach, especially because we now have a son--I foresee many family vacations in the future.

Can you share the brand of journal you have found with the watercolor pages? I'd like to see if I can find it around here.

these are priceless! love 'mommy in an apron!'

Sharonnz said...

What a great extension on our new nature journal journey;-)

Renna said...

What a neat idea. I wish I'd thought of it back when we vacationed with our kids each summer (kids who are now grown).

Kristine said...

Great idea...one to keep in mind when we take a trip w/grandkids in the future. Thanks for sharing!

Jacki said...

My mother-in-law does this very same thing, and I am going to start this year, with our trip to visit the inlaws in Denmark.

Edi said...

Great idea! We do put together a scrapbook page(s) when we get home from the trip - but it would be good to have something with us to record all the stuff that we might forget by the time we work on the pages.

Chas said...

Fantastic Idea!!!
We are going on a smallish trip next month.. I am going to plan for this!
Thanks for the wonderful ideas!
Love,
Chas

http://www.homesteadblogger.com/chas

Elaine said...

What a great idea. We are going on a little trip in the next few days as well as a big trip by the end of summer and this sounds perfect.

eleanor joyce said...

Lovely! Just yesterday I ordered alphabet (antique typewriter font) stamps from Amazon. Thanks for sharing these pages.

Susan L said...

This is great! Clever and fun and real. :-) I've always kept my own travel journal (in the thin Moleskines, like Polly), as have the kids, but this is a whole-family treasure.

Susan

Anonymous said...

Ah! Prismacolors are like candy!

Laura said...

My mother cultivated this love of writing and doodling in me from very young. She would let us draw pictures while she read stories from the bible (which turned into me illustrating my own bible, right over top of the text. Something I still do during sermons today.) And notebooks of lists, prayers, stories, poems, ideas, travel notes, recipes...I'm only now realizing that it was my mom who opened that door for me, showed me my own way to process information. Now, I'm 23 and I never go anywhere without a notebook with blank pages, ESPECIALLY not on a trip, big or small.

Margo said...

WOW (to quote the journal!) - I am going to do this! Far easier than trying to reconstruct the trip later (um, I still have photos and ephemera from a Switzerland trip in 2000 in a box - the kernel of the memories is lost, I'm sure). I could see printing out some photos when we return home and putting those on the pages left. Great, great idea.

Daisy said...

Great idea! My mom used to "make' me keep a journal on family vacations, since I was the "writer". I complained, but kind of secretly liked doing it. Now they are such a treasure to look back on and read! I will have to revisit this tradition with my kids. Thanks for the reminder!

momawake said...

I really love that idea. Now I just need to get my family into it. Or I could just start with myself and my own enthusiasm. Maybe it'll rub off on them. Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

I totally want to do this with our kids on the next trip (in a couple weeks). I second the request for the brand of journal with the watercolor and regular paper.
Love, love your blog!!
-Katie

k said...

Love it. I have kept my own travel journal. And my children got inspired to keep theirs. Now you inspired me to have a "family" travel journal. Thank you!

Erin said...

Oh what a precious thing to have! My family made one for a trip we took when I was 6, but I wish we had kept up the tradition. It would bring back so many memories.

Elizabeth G. said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful travels!

Sometime when you have the time check out my brand new blog at:

www.homemusings.blogspot.com

My daughter's is at:
www.theworldanditsroses.blogspot.com

Take care,

Elizabeth

Sleen said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I can't wait to get started--I've been meaning to get a travel journal going for YEARS. Taking a traveling set of rubber stamps is what will get me to do it! :) I am happy just thinking about it.

Christine said...

I have kept a travel journal every summer for the past five years, and it is something that I plan to continue in years to come. My favorite past of journalling is cutting pictures out of brochures and pasting in my tickets to monuments and musuems. This way the journals are beautiful and full of memories.

Amy said...

A number of years ago, when there were only 4 of us, we took a month long trip up the east coast to PEI. I kept a 3-ring notebook with a page for notes for each state we traveled through and the provinces and divider pockets to put tickets, brochures, etc. I also stopped as often as possible to email friends and family our adventures for the day(s) preceeding. When I got home, I printed those out and put them in the notebook. What joy to go back and read over that.

Anonymous said...

Lovely. I like this idea. We have been traveling a good bit this year. I have been encouraging the little ones to collect post cards and having them do the JR Ranger Programs at each National Monument and Park. I wish I had thought about having them do something like what you suggested.

Safe Travels.
Carmen from www.xanga.com/camarige

Kathy said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. I've posted about it at www.restorationplace.typepad.com
We're not traveling anytime soon, but I'm adapting your idea for all our local "travels" and outings. My children will love it!

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