The Perfect Travel Notebook


As my travel planning is picking up steam, so does my day dreaming and enthusiasm. There are times in which I’m literally nauseous with excitement at the ideas and possibilities I think up, of traveling and work abroad. It’s made me realize that these planning experiences could be as relevant as the ones I’ll have during my actual travel, which means as I should treat them as equals and therefore start writing them down. This means that the time to find my ideal travel notebook is now.

Of course I am starting this blog and lots of experiences will be written here, but in the spur of the moment, that notebook is going to be all I have until I can get back to my laptop. Also, even though I’m probably in the running for worst artist in my 6 degrees of separation, there will inevitably be certain things that need a drawing, even if it’s just a bunch of arrows emphasizing an experience I just wrote about that deserves more than a simple bulleted line of text.

I’ve looked through a bunch of bookstores, arts and crafts stores, and Hallmark (I know, I got desperate), but nothing seemed to satisfy me. So I decided to at least write down what I wanted in one:

  • Durable and compact. I might decide to randomly write in a thunderstorm, it might fall off a cliff, it’ll definitely get some grease stains on it as I stuff my face with a meal that’s so good that I cannot wait to write about it. Whatever I throw at it, or wherever I throw it, it has to pull through because I hope it withstands not only my trip but also the many years I hope to cherish it for in the future.
  • Opens flat. I will not sit there with my wrist in a downward dog formation trying to write as I get close to the book’s sloped inseam. I need to be able to flow from page to page, which will also likely make it easier to write in uncomfortable situations. Travel doesn’t come with a desk. This probably means that I’m going to need a wired notebook.
  • Is PART planner. Notice the accent on “part”. I do not want a full out planner – a notebook which confines each day to a single page. I cannot be forced into treating an epic day with as much writing room as one in which I’m stuck on a bus. Ideally, it would only have a monthly/weekly calendar at the start or end of the book allowing me to chart out my plans, and free pages the rest of the way to write the actual details as they come. Also, I really want to start writing those few plans that I’ve made so far in that calendar right now because I’m so excited!!!
  • Separators: I would like it to come with 3 or 4 separators between the pages so I can organize it in different sections. I’m thinking
    1. Daily Experiences (obviously)
    2. Places I want to go
    3. People I’ve met
    4. Ideas I’ve had (will talk more about this)
  • Inserts. Every note book tells part of its story with the bits and pieces of the outside paper it has accumulated over the travels. These are often tickets/vouchers of places I’ve been to but who knows what other flat items I’ll need to store in there

Unfortunately, like most things, nothing is perfect and I could not find one like that. The one I eventually purchased looks like a pretty basic notebook but it fulfills the two most important points – it’s durable and it is wired and therefore opens flat.


I say that those are the most important points because the others, I can accomplish myself:

  • Is PART Planner. A calendar is really just a bunch of lines and, although it will take a bit of work, I figured I can some myself. Then, I found this awesome post on DIY Journaling Cards. Just print them out and bring a glue stick:


  • Separators: Those too, can be added, as stick on tabs, to your pages as you go. Better yet, I can put them anywhere in the journal that I like which means that my sections don’t all need to be the same size. I found a post on how to make some and the crazy thing was that it too was for a travel journal – great minds!
    • While searching for some, I actually found some which combine this idea with the calendar one: monthly tabs! These could be used for subsections within any section:


  • Inserts: By now I think you realize where I’m going with this. DIY all the way! Here is another post I found on how to do this:

Other ideas I’ve had:

  • Stickers.
    • Planes when I’m talking about a flight or trip to a new location.
    • Grateful stickers when I need to remind myself how fortunate I am
    • Many other ideas will come

Let me know what you think could also work!



One Response to The Perfect Travel Notebook

  1. Pingback: Lessons Learned on the Thai Trains - The Wandering CubicleThe Wandering Cubicle

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