What if you’re going on vacation and want to record all your memories? Do you take your Bullet Journal with you, or do you start a new journal exclusively for this trip? What stationery should you pack? How do you prepare your journal for the trip?
Well, let me share what I learned from doing one myself. I’ll walk you through the entire process, and maybe you can get something from my experience (and mistakes!).
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So, the tickets are booked and you started the countdown to your next adventure! How exciting! I bet you also want to record everything that’ll happen to you in a travel journal. Sounds familiar? Because it does to me! I always want to do this!
I have traveled around with my Bullet Journal quite a bit, so I’m here to help you out, answer all your questions and hopefully, even help you to create and actually use that travel journal you dream of. The first time I traveled with my Bullet Journal, I expected to just record my most precious memories there. But it didn’t really work out that well. It wasn’t that simple.
Therefore, let’s start from the first question you should ask yourself …
Should You Take Your Bullet Journal When You Travel?
Your BuJo is probably a significant part of your life, which means that – most likely- it’s pretty heavy. Do you really want to carry it around with you?
Think about it – what pages in your BuJo will you be using during the trip? Be honest with yourself. And always remember that you go on holiday to relax and unwind. Do you REALLY need your notebook with all the collections and yearly goals and everything else with you? Will you be planning that much during your trip? Even worse, would you risk losing it in case something out of your control happens?
If you want your BuJo there with you to record your travels and experiences, why not just creating a travel journal in a different notebook? Your travel journal will be lighter, more accessible and personally, I think having a separate little travel journal for each trip you take is super cute.
How To Create a Travel Journal
If you choose to record your travels in a separate travel journal, you can get either another Bullet Journal style notebook, like Leuchtturm 1917 or Scribbles That Matter, or you can go with a travel notebook, which is definitely my choice.
Travel notebooks are smaller and have inserts, so you can have one notebook to travel around and just take a new insert for every new trip. Moreover, inserts can have different kinds of paper, so you can have some inserts for your daily reflections and some for sketches and photos.
The question remains…
Bullet Journal or Travel Journal?
Let’s have a final look at all the pros and cons of each of these options.
- You have your daily trackers and planning pages with you
- You can still keep track of your goals and achievements
- You include your travels in the journal that reflects your whole year
- You follow the original system and include everything in one place
- It’s heavy, you might not want to carry it around with you when traveling
- It has pages you don’t need on vacations
- You might not have time to fill out so much space on the pages.
- It might -GOD FORBID!- get lost 🙁
- It’s portable
- It’s easy to change inserts and use one journal for many trips
- Helps you to unplug and only enjoy the holidays
- Smaller pages are fun and easy to fill even in a short period of time
- It’s another separate journal you have to keep
- You don’t have all your other monthly pages with you, such as different trackers
Hopefully, this little comparison helps you to decide on what you want to use for your travels. Now that you’ve decided, let’s go into preparation.
Prepare Your Journal for Travelling
Start from all the spreads you need to make sure you are generally prepared for the trip: your packing list, places to see, things to buy for the trip and so on. Check my list of pages to plan your perfect vacation.
For more ideas and my personal travel journal setup, feel free to check out my Travel Journal Plan With Me post, that includes a PWM video as well.
That’s only your first step. The second thing you should do is to prepare your daily spreads or at least outline them. Believe me, during your vacations you most likely won’t have all the time you’d expect to spend on your notebook, and having a pre-made daily log where you just need to write down your emotions and add a picture will help you so much to stay consistent!
I got you covered on this department – the Resources Vault already has a free printable daily log you can use! If you’re not one of Planning Mashers yet, make sure to join us in the signup form at the end of the post and get access to TONS of freebies for your BuJo!
The important thing about your journal when you travel is to not expect too much from yourself. Don’t force yourself, and expect to journal every day as you’d do at home. Remember that it’s a vacation and your travel journal must bring you joy, not stress.
Stationery To Travel With
I have at least three giant pencil cases with different pens and markers. My husband hates them :). Choosing a few to take with me is torture! I love all my stationery babies!
However, you really don’t need all your supplies. Keep it simple, just take what you need: a notebook, a writing pen, and some adhesive tape to add all your tickets and pictures.
Now, let me be a little bit of a hypocrite here because I’m really not a minimalistic person. I definitely need more than the absolute basics. So, in case you do too – choose carefully! Think of the general look your pages have (by now you should already have some pre-made pages) and take the stationery you need to match it.
If you’re still not sure about the look, just take the few supplies you use most of the time.
My list of must-have things for my Bullet Journal while I travel is pretty small but I think it can give you a few ideas.
First – a case for pens and a notebook. I love this one, because it’s light and allows you to have your whole journaling kit easily packed. You’ll never forget anything and it’s really simple to take it out and start journaling.
Second – my HP Sprocket printer. Yes, I take a printer with me. Again, my husband was outraged when I told him. No, the fact that it’s smaller than his wallet didn’t really impress him. He is such a noob. Anyways! I print all the pictures on the go, and the paper for this baby is already sticky, so no need for an adhesive – you can add the pictures straight to your journal. I love this printer, but it does distort the colors a bit.
Finally my pens: Muji ballpoint pen for writing and 03 Staedtler fineliner for doodles. If I want color I take a few of Zebra Mildliners, since they are very portable and these are the colors I use the most.
Pack Your Supplies
Pack smart, make sure your stationery doesn’t take more than one medium sized pencil case.
A few tricks about packing your stickers and washi tapes. Cut down your stickers into smaller ones and put them into a small zip lock bag, that way you can keep them in your pencil case or maybe on the back of your journal.
With washi tape – wrap some washi around a popsicle stick or something like that. That way you only take as much washi as you need, plus it’s in flat form, so it’ll be easy to carry it around in a pencil case.
If you travel with rollerball pen or a fountain pen, you probably shouldn’t take those on a plane.
Rollerball pens, like Sakura Jelly Roll are said to be unable to withstand the changing pressure, so there is a chance they might explode. I learned this just recently and I tell you guys, it absolutely broke my heart. I just ordered the blackout journal from Archer and Olive and now I’m not sure how I’ll use it in Bolivia (we are moving there in two months) if I can’t take my gelly rolls. Life is suffering, I tell you.
Anyways. In case it’s just one pen, some people mentioned that as long as they are kept vertical with the tip pointing up they are fine. But better safe than sorry, so I’d recommend you to just leave those at home. I think I might still try to take those with me (what else can I do with them?!), so I’ll update you on my experiences.
UPDATE: all my pens arrived ok, except for the brush pens and highlighters. These had actually some ink going up the brush. They didn’t leak, but when I started using them I needed to clean excess ink first, otherwise, my page would be in ink blotches.
Our next culprit is the fountain pen. Because of air pressure, they tend to leak. There are a few things you should do to prevent that. First – travel with your converter completely full or completely empty. Second – keep the nib of your pen facing up. Third – don’t ever write with your fountain pen while flying.
To be safe in both cases, just put them in separate plastic bags, so if anything happens at least they won’t leak on other things or passengers.
Find Time To Journal
You’re finally there! Everything is so exotic and exciting and new and it’s so easy to forget to journal. It’s fine. Don’t make journaling a chore.
However, if you do want to preserve all these memories and experiences, make some journaling time at least once every two-three days. If you wait for longer believe me the memories will start evaporating.
Think of some dead time you have during the day. Maybe you wake up earlier than everyone because of evil jet lag, so use your morning time for a quick line of two in your journal. Maybe you can journal while waiting for the train or in a line for the tickets.
Don’t worry if your handwriting isn’t perfect, let all the imperfections be a part of your story!
Finish Your Journal When You Get Back
Even if you used to journal on a daily basis during your trip, chances are there are still some things you’d want to add. Maybe a doodle here and there or a splash of color. Maybe you want to print out and add the pictures or go through all the tickers and brochures and select which ones to keep.
Don’t put it off, or it will never be done (I write this as my poor poor incomplete Russia travel journal silently judges me). In time you’ll get into your usual routine, you’ll move on to other projects and the memories won’t be that fresh.
Finish up your journal the first week you’re back, while it’s all clear in your mind and you are enthusiastic about all the wonderful experiences you had.
I think more or less that is all you need to know to create and travel with a journal, be it your Bullet Journal or maybe a travel notebook.
Of course, I can’t let you hanging, so I prepared some free printables for you, they are already in the Resources Vault!
First of all, it’s a daily log you can use to track your day to day activities. The log is two days per page, and in each daily section, you can mark your budget, weather, itinerary and still have some free space to write down your daily impressions.
Before you print these, make sure to check my post on how to make printables fit your Bullet Journal.
In case you’re more of a free spirit, I prepared some stickers for you as well. First is a daily header sticker, where you can write the place, date and the number of the day you’re logging.
Second is a daily schedule, where you can assign things from your itinerary to exact times. The third big one is a little list, which can be your itinerary, or maybe you can use it when creating a packing list.
Finally, I added there a few fun doodles you can use to decorate your travel Bullet Journal pages!
If you’re not a part of Planning Masher yet, go sign up in the form below and get access to a wonderful community and lots of useful freebies for your Bullet Journal.
Have you ever had a travel journal? How did it work for you? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!
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