Honestly, I haven’t used travel journals much, and I think that’s probably a big mistake. I have to write down each and every little nit-picky thing that must be accomplished for the day in my planner. If I don’t put pen to paper, I’m lost without a thought in my sleep deprived brain about what I need for the day. So why not use the same strategy when I’m traveling? Doh!
Before now, a travel journal was just one.more.thing that I had to remember, pack, keep track of, and protect from flying food and other luscious infant substances. But since I seem to want to keep traveling and telling you about our adventures, maybe I oughta make a note or two. Just sayin’.
And, just maybe making a pretty place to put my thoughts will help with that? Fingers crossed!
Here’s how I made my journal – you should make one too. Don’t have any trips coming up? Make one anyway. It doesn’t have to be just for traveling. Your journal could be anything you want it to be – thoughts, notes, grocery lists, whatever. Just make sure you like it, so you’ll be more inclined to write in it.First, you’re going to need some materials: cardstock, paper, scissors, tape, glue, ruler, pencil, eraser, and, oh right, a notebook. Actually, you probably could just staple a stack of plain white copy paper right smack in the middle and fold it over to create a little booklet. But my stapler is teensy weensy, so I went with a ready-made notebook that cost me a whopping 49 cents. Next, you need to make a cover for your notebook. Since I only had one sheet of desirable cardstock, I decided to make a template from IKEA packing paper. Better to completely bomb out on something I’m going to recycle anyway than to irrevocably trash my one and only piece of pretty (thick) paper.
To make a template, trace the outside of the piece of cardstock you will be using. Then, line up the notebook inside of the cardstock and trace the edge of one side, then the spine, and then the other. Lop off each of the corners and a v shape at the spine so that the cardstock cover will wrap around the notebook’s existing cover.Wrap the template around your notebook, and make sure the cover will fit the way you’d like. Even if you’re satisfied, I’d recommend expanding the outline of the notebook’s cover by an additional 1/16″ or 1/8″ all the way around the outside. Better to have a little extra than to have the card stock fit too tightly. Now, lay your template on the card stock. Trace the areas to remove in the corners and at the spine. Grab the scissors and snip, snip. Gently fold the cardstock around the notebook’s cover, and glue the edges. Find some complimentary (or contrasting!) cardstock and cut it to fit over the ugly old notebook cover. We can’t have that ruining our travel journal vibe.
Now it’s time to have some fun, and really make the design your own. Think about how you will use your journal. I am always collecting receipts, ticket stubs, product tags, etc., and I never know where to put them. An envelope inside the cover is a great place to stash these items to write about later.
Create an envelope for these treasures by folding a piece of colored paper as shown. Cut off the top with decorative scissors. Use regular scissors to cut out the squares in the corners. Fold over the two side edges and place a little glue near the bottom flap in the corners. Next, swipe your glue stick around the folded edges, and then press it down inside the front cover. But, we don’t want to stop there, now do we? Let’s add a bigger envelope in the back.. and while we’re at it, let’s make this one with a flap.
Fold the paper the same way we did with the front envelope. Then grab another piece of paper (either the same or mix it up with a different color or pattern) and fold to be the same width as the bottom piece. Fold it in half to create the top flap portion. Cut the corners in a triangular fashion, if desired, to cut down on bulk. Before gluing the envelope to the back cover, poke one brad through the top piece, and one brad through the bottom piece. If your envelope paper is thin, strengthen the brad with tape on the back side.
Attach the top flap with glue first and then the bottom piece. Add a pop of color underneath the lid if you’d like. Finish with a thin ribbon or string to keep the envelope fastened.Many of the travel journals I’ve seen have themed pages (what we ate on Tuesday, our top 10 on Saturday). This stifles my creativity. I find I have more to say if there’s just one question to start, and not a whole template to fill in.
If you’re more of the template persuasion, have a gander at my Pinterest board featuring loads of travel journals and other Vacation Memory Makers.
I found these really, REALLY good prompts at GoNOMAD.com, and when I get ten kid-free moments, I’ll scribble them on the front page. Then, it’s just a matter of picking a prompt and doodling about our day. (Full disclosure: the link above does have a few words in it not suitable for children, so use with caution.)You’re almost done! Just add embellishment to your little heart’s desire, remembering that the prettier your journal, the more likely you are to use it. Later on, I plan to add tabs to separate the different trips using this tutorial.
I’m looking forward to filling this notebook up with memories, starting with a trip to the Netherlands next month. Yay!