Travel journaling is one of the most unique ways (and fun!) to document all your amazing adventures. Below are some of the simple essentials needed to begin travel journaling.
There are only a couple of ‘must have’ items and the rest are all extras that will help to make your journal more interesting, colourful and personalised.
Let’s get into it!
Travel Journaling Essentials
THE ESSENTIAL: A journal of any kind. Plain or Lined. Large or small.
This can be any journal, big or small, lined or unlined, specific for travel or multi-purpose. However, there are some journals that are better suited to using as a travel journal and that have useful features, making it easier to bring along with you.
My favourite is the Midori Travelers’ Journal (which I use in most of my videos and posts), available in Australia through Milligram and overseas through many stores worldwide including Log-On and good stationery suppliers.
Midori Traveler’s Notebook
This journaling system is built around the idea of a reusable leather cover and small booklets that can be swapped in and out of the cover as you fill them. The refill journals come in different paper stocks such as white, grid, diary, weekly undated layouts and kraft. They also have accessories you can slip into the cover such as plastic zip pockets and card holders so that you can store some materials collected for your journal.
To get started with the basic kit (including a leather cover, 1 x refill, 1 x extra elastic and Cotton carry pouch) will set you back close to $80AUD. Refill books and Diary Inner books will cost $10AUD or more, however, more stationery brands are recognizing the popular size of the Traveler’s Notebook and are making their own (less expensive) versions and refill books.
I do like the Moleskine drawing journals and the Kikki.K 365 Journal too, as alternatives. Both these brands allow for larger travel journaling pages and the paper is nice and smooth for drawing and writing.
THE ESSENTIAL: One smooth writing pen & One waterproof black fine liner
You will need a pen, or pens. If you prefer not to spend too much on buying a variety of pens, I would suggest just buy the two most essential types.
Smooth Writing Pen
A smooth writing pen that you like the feel of, such as a gel pen or roller ball pen. You must be happy to do a lot of writing with this pen! Using a pen that has sticky ink or a hard handle can cause cramps and frustration when travel journaling for long periods, especially when you’ll need to write so much about your adventurous day!
You’ll need a permanent and waterproof black ink liner pen. This will allow you to draw anything in your book without the worry that it will smudge if something is spilled on it, or if you plan on using watercolour. As I do a lot of quite watercolour paintings when I travel, I love these pens because I can sketch my outline, draw over the top with the pen and then paint straight over the top without a worry. Make sure to also write with the waterproof pen if you plan on doing some watercolour on the same page.
The brands of waterproof pen I prefer are Micron, Uni Pin and Copic. I wouldn’t say that either brand is better or much different from each other, but I buy a couple in different thickness from 0.1 to 0.8. However, for beginners you only really need one 0.3 or 0.4 thickness pen.
As for the extra pens you can use, there are many variations from coloured fine liners, glitter gel pens, glitter glue pens, coloured markers, brush lettering pens, highlighters and crayons.
THE ESSENTIAL: Double-Sided Tape Roller & Glue Stick
These are needed so that you can stick things in as you go. The types of items you might be sticking into your journal could include postcards, ticket stubs, brochure cut-outs, polaroid pictures, drawings sketched on other papers and patterned papers. There are two kinds of essential adhesives you’ll need to take with you.
Double-Sided Tape Roller – used for heavier items, thicker paper, polaroids or embellishments.
Glue Stick – used for lighter items such as tickets and paper items.
Other adhesives you can include in your travel journal kit include washi tapes, glue dots, foam tape, cello tape, PVA glue and stickers.
5. COLLECTED ITEMS
THE ESSENTIAL: Transport Tickets, Boarding Passes, Brochures and Postcards
To make your travel journal personal and remind you of all the great places and activities you’ve experienced during your travels, it’s important to collect items you can paste into the journal.
Tickets from transports
Hotel Card Pockets
Business Cards from restaurants
There are many other stationery items you can add to your journaling kit, but they are only extras and not essential to start as a beginner.
Over time you can add these to your artist kit, making it more colourful and personal:
*For ease of travel, it’s best to buy mini versions, half-size and packable sizes, where possible.
- Washi Tapes (Printed paper tapes)
- Stickers of all kinds!
- Watercolour Paints/Pan
- Watercolour Pencils
- Coloured Pencils
- Sketching Grey Lead Pencils & Eraser
- Coloured Gel Pens
- Metallic Gel Pens
- Coloured Markers
- Brush Markers / Calligraphy Pens
- Stamping Pens
- Wooden Stamps & Ink Pad
- Glitter Glue
- Metallic Paper Clips
- Patterned Papers / Origami Papers
- Plastic Zip Pockets & Paper Pockets
- Paper Tags
- Tissue Paper
- Twine and Ribbon
- Split Pins
- Glue Dots
- Foam Tape
- Cello Tape
- PVA Glue
- Ruler & Stencils
- Stapler with Metallic Staples (Mini stapler best for travel)
- Single Hole Punch (to thread ribbon through tags)
Now you are all set-up to start travel journaling on your next adventure! It’s such a rewarding hobby that will be cherished for years to come by not only you, but also your loved ones. Your memories will be beautifully documented and there to read over again in the future, remembering the adventures you’ve had, the challenges you’ve faced while traveling that have made you a stronger and the worldly places you have visited!
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