• S.Campbell - Editor

Using Travel Journals to remember, learn, and create.

Get your write on.

An essential part of any trip is helping travellers, young and old, reflect on what they learned so they can move past a good selfie on Instagram, to fully absorbing the time and place they’re in. Taking some time while traveling to reflect, can have an everlasting effect on them by helping them create new and original thoughts about the world around them.

Among all the possible tools you can use to guide them through this reflection, the travel journal is one of the most effective ones.

What is a travel journal?

The travel journal is a document that records memories, feelings, lessons learned, discoveries and everything around a trip, combining words and pictures to create a comprehensive travel register.

Why should the class create a travel journal?

Besides the opportunity for reflective thinking, it is an excellent opportunity to have them put their feelings and personal impressions down on paper. They will never remember their trip the way they are feeling right at this moment and it’s important to capture that feeling of that place at that time.

The journal is also a great way to teach them writing and how to organize notes to make them easier to refer back to at a later date. Also, having the students compare journals, if they want to, can help them find new perspectives or information they might have missed during the trip.

How to prepare the journal?

A travel journal can be anything! There are really no rules here. Travellers can write about their feelings, places, food, animals, cool art or graffiti they saw...you name it.

If you need some guidance though, a simple template for a travel journal could contain:

Pre-trip impressions and knowledge: what do they expect to learn from it? What have they learned in class that will help them on the trip?

Pictures: encourage group pictures, pictures of the scenery, photos of the people and places they saw during their travels and so on. These pictures are writing prompts, but also a great way to make the journal colourful and engaging.

Encourage note taking during the trip: give them flash cards, to jot down prompts like "on the X room of the museum, I saw Y, and it was interesting because of Z", or "Our teacher told us about X, and I didn't know that", or even straight info like "this place was founded in 1822". These flashcards are the informational basis for the journal.

Mementos: does the class have ticket stubs? Did they gather a supercool memento they found on the way? Is there a candy wrapper that is art itself to a young traveller!?!?!?

Encourage the class to collect and use them in the journal.

Best travel journal prompts

Need help getting your students ideas onto paper? These writing prompts are excellent icebreakers to get the writing process going:

What did I learn traveling today that I didn't know before?

What interesting people did I meet?

What did I like best? What I didn't like as much?

If someone asked me to guide them in this place, what would I show?

What did I miss today that I would have liked to have experienced?

Some amazing travel journal examples

You can show some samples to your class to get them inspired and reinforce that this is a place to exercise their creativity. This link has some great examples.

Then watch this video to learn some cool lettering and design techniques you can work on with your class.

Have you created travel journals with your class? Share some of your own samples here in the comments.


Vancouver, BC