To some people, writing about their travels is like sucking the joy out of vacation. Quite frankly, my kids are probably among those people. But years down the road, long after the last Mai Tai has been consumed, the memories that would otherwise have faded can live on in the words you’ve written. Traditional travel journals where you write diary-style are just too boring for me. So I’ve been on the hunt for a more engaging and interactive journals (for both kids and adults) and recently hit the travel journal jackpot!
Adult Travel Journal Pick
I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious-Minded is not only the COOLEST, but by far the most creative travel journal I’ve found, especially for international travel. It forces you to look beyond the monuments and tourist sites and actually notice and engage with the people and places that you are visiting. I would never think of going to a convenience store to buy a toiletry brand I didn’t recognize and start a collection. Or to ask someone to draw a map to a place they love in the neighborhood. The creative prompts force you to take in what people are wearing and saying, and to really observe the more hidden and extraordinary details of the culture that’s surrounding you. Additionally, it features a reference section with time zones and measurement conversions, places to write down itineraries, a restaurant review section and even some traditional journal pages where you can record your adventures. If this sounds like it would be up your alley, check out the author’s other thought-provoking journals Side Walks: A Journal for Exploring Your City and 40ish Weeks: A Pregnancy Journal.
Kid Travel Journal Pick
While kids can certainly participate in some of the prompts from I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious-Minded, the bulk of the content is geared towards adults. Instead, I recommend Oppenheim Best Toy Award winner, Kids’ Travel Journal (don’t let the less-than-creative name turn you off). What I love about this journal is that it helps educate and get kids excited for a trip before it even happens. With prompts about details of the trip, who is going, what to pack and what they know about their destination, kids become more engaged in the excitement of the travel process. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still encounter some whining, but they’ll come to appreciate it pretty quickly. There is space to write down important facts, draw pictures and log daily activities. It’s neat to see how their observations and interests evolve over the years. My favorite entry is from a trip to Italy when my kids were seven. Check out the picture. Notice how my daughter first wrote “bored” and then erased it and changed it to “excited.” Progress?