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What Is a Travel Diary?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 23, 2024
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A travel diary is an individual's record of his or her travels. This may be kept in a personal journal or diary and only read by the individual, or it may be kept online in a blog format. The individual may then share the travel diary with his or her friends and family, or with anyone else who wants to visit the web site and read about the individual's travels. Many people keep travel diaries so they better remember all the details of the trip, and keep track of where they have been, particularly if they are frequent travelers.

There is no right or wrong way to keep a travel diary. Some people just buy a simple, pocket sized notebook and jot down basic notes throughout their trip. Others will buy a designated travel journal, some of which even include specific writing prompts, and write lengthy descriptions for each day or special event of the trip. When journaling in any form, it is important not to get bogged down in the way it is "supposed" to be done, and just write in the way that seems the most natural. No matter how many notes an individual chooses to take on a trip, it will still serve as a helpful reminder for the different things that happened while traveling.

It is not necessary to just stick to text in a travel diary. Many come with places to insert photos, or may include a pocket for other memorabilia as well, such as ticket stubs or concert programs. Keeping all the memorabilia from a trip in one place is a great way to revisit it later, and many people choose to combine a travel diary and a photo album into one, making a sort of travel scrapbook. This is another thing that is great to share with other people.

Keeping a travel diary on a web site can be a great way to connect with other people who are interested in traveling, or to share adventures with friends and family who may live far away. It is easy to upload photos to a web site as well, to make it even more descriptive. Individuals can choose whether they want to protect the web site with a password, and only make it accessible to certain people. Alternatively, a public travel blog makes the information open to anyone. If keeping a travel blog online, be sure to back it up regularly just in case, to be sure all the travel memories are not lost.

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Discussion Comments

By Mor — On Dec 31, 2011

While I love the idea of a leather bound travel journal, I usually keep mine on the internet now. That way everyone I know can keep in contact and know exactly where I am on the trip.

I don't think very many people will actually read it all that often, because I don't make too much effort at keeping it entertaining. I mostly write up what I would like to know, and then put up my pictures and things like that.

But, my family really appreciates it, especially when I'm not able to talk on the phone all that often. Sometimes you only have short periods when phone contact is possible and you're not always going to get someone to talk to. Being able to see on a website what they've been doing can really fill in the gaps until they are back again and can regale you with stories in person.

By indigomoth — On Dec 31, 2011

@KoiwiGal - What I find helps is keeping a travel journal in the same book as my day to day plans. I fill it up with what I need to know before I get there, but leave it blank in places so I can fill out the details of what happened.

That way I know I'm going to be looking at the book the whole time while I'm over there, so I will be constantly reminded to fill it out.

And I wouldn't worry too much about the occasional depressed or angry entry. It's all part of the trip and we all get upset at times.

There's no point in glossing it over, although I agree you might not want to fill pages and pages of your book with sad writing.

Which is another good reason to do it this way, as you'll only have a few pages for each area and you'll have to pick and choose what you say.

By KoiwiGal — On Dec 30, 2011

I always mean to keep a travel diary and almost never succeed in doing it properly. I tend to end up with a diary where I've written a lot in the first few days or so, and not so much in the final ones. Or it might stop altogether.

The other thing that I need to stop doing is using it as an emotional outlet. Often I'll feel homesick for a while on a long trip and start writing in my travel diary about it.

Then, when I come to read it later, it's full of boring stuff about how bad I felt for a while, with nothing about what I had seen or done.

I know it's good to have an outlet, but a travel diary should be a permanent reminder of your trip. Pages of depressed writing aren't exactly going to be interesting once you are over the glumness.

Next time I go traveling I'm going to try to keep my entries short and sweet and leave the bellyaching for a real diary.

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