The Ultimate Guide to Travel Journaling
Have you always wanted to keep a travel journal but aren’t sure where to start? Maybe you’ve collected bits and pieces from your adventures and aren’t sure what to do with them? I hope this post will help!
First things first: You’ll need a journal. Whether you prefer blank pages or dot grid, a pocket sketchbook or a larger journal, Nikki’s Supply Store has you covered:
- Royal Talens square 140gsm blank sketchbook (12 x 12 cm)
- Royal Talens 140gsm blank sketchbook (13 x 21 cm)
- Bruynzeel 140gsm dotted bullet journal (13 x 21 cm)
- Leuchtturm 1917 80gsm dotted bullet journal (A5)
- Archer & Olive 160gsm blank sketchbook (A5)
- Archer & Olive 160gsm dot grid journal (A5)
- Archer & Olive 160gsm dot grid journal (B5)
If you’re going to take an Archer & Olive journal out and about with you, you may want to add a clear plastic bullet journal cover, to keep that linen cover looking good as new!
Nikki is using a Royal Talens mini square sketchbook as a travel journal, and it’s the perfect size for journaling on the go. You can see a flip-through of her New York travel journal pages here, and her Gibraltar trip here. I love how she’s incorporated a mix of writing, drawing, stickers, instant photos and mementoes from the places she’s visited!
Now you’ve got your journal, you’ll need some stationery to use in it…
Which stationery should I use in my travel journal?
Rather than filling your entire suitcase with stationery and spending the whole trip desperately scouring your five pencil cases for one particular item, why not limit yourself to a select few items, and a limited colour palette? It makes journaling on the go so much easier!
Nikki chose to use a different coloured Zebra Mildliner and a couple of co-ordinating washi tapes for each trip. Mildliners are a great choice for travelling as you get two pens for the space of one thanks to the double-ended nibs!
You could mix these up depending on whether you prefer to write and/or draw, but my suggestions for a pared-back travel journal kit include:
- Pencil plus a sharpener or spare lead. I use a Pentel Sharplet Mechanical
- Erasers. Yes, plural. It might seem excessive but I use both a large Staedtler and a Tombow Mono constantly when I’m sketching!
- Pigma Microns - my fav nib sizes for doodling are 01 and 02
- Your preferred every day writing pen, plus a spare - I yoyo between a Kaweco fountain pen and a Pentel Energel
- A couple of your favourite coloured pens in co-ordinating colours, whether that’s markers, highlighters, brush pens, gel pens, paint pens etc
- White Gelly Roll 10 for correcting mistakes
- An adhesive such as a Sakura glue pen or Tombow roller for attaching mementoes etc
- Washi tape for decoration and attaching items you want to be able to lift up / move. You could also use stickers for this!
- Small pair of scissors if you want to do a little scrapbooking
- Compact pencil case to keep it all in - I have this one in terracotta
While most of these supplies are perfectly suited to travelling, some of the items I’ve suggested will need a little consideration if you’re flying:
Can I take a fountain pen on a plane?
If you’re taking a fountain pen on a flight, you may want to follow these simple precautions to keep your pen (and the rest of your possessions!) safe:
- Keep your fountain pen in your hand luggage. Fountain pens are sensitive to temperature and air pressure, which can be more varied in the plane’s hold
- Advice varies on whether you should use a fountain pen during a flight. Most agree it’s fine but best avoided during take-off and landing
- If you’d prefer not to risk using your pen during your flight, try to keep the nib upright to prevent leaking. You could put it in a chest pocket, or even stand it in a cup on your tray table
- If you want to go one step further, you may prefer to remove the ink while you’re travelling, but don’t forget to take it with you!
- If you’re taking a bottle of ink (rather than ink cartridges) in your hand luggage, these will need to be included in your liquids zip lock bag
Can I take Archer & Olive Acrylograph pens on a plane?
You can take Acrylograph pens on a plane, but Archer & Olive don’t recommend using them during the flight. They also advise that after your flight, you should hold the pen with the nib upright, and gently push the nib down to release some of the air that has compressed in the barrel.
Can I take scissors on a plane?
Small, round-ended scissors with blades no longer than 6cm are usually permitted in cabin luggage, but it’s best practice to check your airline’s guidance before travelling, especially if it’s a really nice pair of scissors you’d rather not have confiscated!
Should I write my travel journal on the go, or create a scrapbook once I’m home?
This is entirely up to you, and you could experiment with both to see which you prefer. I personally would find it much easier to remember where I went on which day and what I saw and ate if I wrote it down, but you could always make some notes to refer to later.
If you want to sit and draw or paint your surroundings, I think you’re much more likely to really capture the essence of the location if you draw it at the time, rather than later from a photograph. As YouTuber Rachel Maksy says:
“It just hits different! Rather than just taking a picture with my phone or camera, actually sitting down and painting it really forces me to notice all of the details of everything. You almost remember the experience better than if you were to take just a photograph.”
You can watch her do a little “en plein air” painting in this YouTube video, and if that’s given you the sudden urge to try watercolours, these Sakura Koi watercolour sets are perfect for painting on the go! The box is small enough to fit in a pocket, and it comes complete with its own mini sponge and water brush.
Not travelling anywhere?
Small adventures are just as worthy of documentation as big adventures! Why not create a little memento of a day trip, a family visit or a picnic? My latest reel documents a little sketching expedition a few minutes’ walk from my home!
I hope that’s given you a little inspiration to dive into the wonderful world of travel journaling! Nikki and I would love to see your travel journals, especially if you’ve been inspired by any of the ideas in this blog post. Please tag @nikkissupplystore on Instagram, where you can find heaps more journaling and stationery inspiration. You can also follow me, @joy.margot, for more craft content and pictures of my cat, Juniper.