Try A Travel Journal To Organize Your Fun

Start Your Travel Journal

Mini travel journal opened up showing a colorful calendar made with ink and highlighter

Travel journals are gaining more and more popularity but you don’t need to have a fancy expensive journal or specific supplies, or even a talent at illustrations and writing. All you need is a bullet journal and a few ideas on how to make pages come to life with a simple fountain pen and a few highlighters or markers. Follow along to see:

Doing A Daily Log In Your Travel Journal

Daily Log can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the kind of notes you want to be taking or how busy you daily travel schedule is. One of the most popular ways is to divide each page into 3 sections with a day each and outline what you experienced that day, based on several categories ( food, activities, sights).

Closeup of mini travel journal with colorful calendar dates made with ink and highlighter

Another option is to create a daily travel journal that outlines your plans for the trip and holds important information, like departure times, hotels, check ins, possible food choices and things to do and see for that day. I like to keep the daily log very simple by using a black fountain pen. And one or two colors from the Fresh Pick Highlighters pack, since they are easy to travel with and a pleasure to write with and they smell delicious!

Green and yellow theme travel journal with fountain pen and gel crayon highlighter

Make A Packing List

Packing Lists can be done in a variety of ways, as well, depending on whether you prefer to have the same list to go off of on all the trips, or want to create an individual list for each trip. If you tend to go on very unique adventures, individual list would be best. It can be broken down into several sections:

  • Essentials
  • Toiletries
  • Tech gear
  • Hiking Gear
  • Other
  • Carry On

Opened travel journal with list of travel items made with OOLY Calligraphy Duo brush markers

For our Peru trip, we had to create a special Hiking Gear list that included everything that would go into our Day packs and would need to be packed separately. So when we packed our Day packs we knew what to grab very quickly.

On my Peru page I experimented with the Calligraphy Duo Markers — so fun because they are double ended!

Have A Bucket List

Bucket lists for your travel journal can be based on countries or cities that get crossed off, highlighted, or commented as you visit them. If you go by country, you can include the cities you have already visited as you complete your list, or you can add cities you still want to visit. It is very rewarding to be able to look back at a list of places you have traveled, so I recommend having a separate list of Places Traveled and Bucket list, which simply gets crossed off to get the satisfaction of a to-do list.

Bucket list in a journal colored with OOLY Color Write fountain pens

I used a combination of a black fab fountain pen with color write fountain pens for my bucket list to make it more fun and colorful, and also highlighted the countries already crossed off/visited with the mini magic liners. The liners are small easy to pack and erasable too.

Everyone Should Have A Summer Bucket List

Summer bucket list is a completely different type of bucket list that everyone should have for every season, but summer especially since it tends to be the busiest and most treasured one. You can include anything you want that screams SUMMER and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. For families, this is almost a ‘must do’ to make summer extra special, even if your list includes things as simple as “go out to see movies” or “play with sprinklers in the yard”.

Summer checklist in a journal made with OOLY fountain pens and gel crayon highlighters

For a Summer Bucket List, I used my favorite black fab fountain pens and fresh pick neon highlighters. That is my ‘go to’ combination for quick and colorful journaling!

Make A Road Trip Planner

While this can get very detailed, I love planning out seasonal road trips using basic destinations and rough mind map of MUST VISITS at first. Once that initial route is mapped out, I go back and look at what else can be hit on the way and how many days we have for each destination and whether there’s something exciting that we can detour to. Or sometimes I even map out different routes, because seeing them helps me determine which one to select.

Summer road trip list made made with OOLY Color Write fountain pens

For these road trip mind maps, I love to use colored fountain pens or black fountain pen and color in the boxes with the colored pens.

Start A US States List In Your Travel Journal

If you love the idea of visiting every state in the United States, or enjoy writing down cool things to do in each state for when you get to go on that cross country year long road trip, you can make a list of all the states and include notes of destinations to visit within that state. It’s important to give enough room for each state, but if your state list is more of a bucket list cross out to do list type of thing, then just listing them out on two pages is good enough and still gives you enough space to make a few notes.

United States bucket list in journal made with OOLY Color Lustre metallic brush markers

I loved trying out metallic brush markers for the boxes of the states, they look so cool. But then switched it up by using pastel liners for a different look.

United States bucket list made with OOLY Pastel Liners highlighters

Use Your Travel Journal as your Trip Planner

When planning a visit to a destination, it helps to outline not only the itinerary, but things you would like to see, do and of course eat! I love creating separate pages for each destination for a quick reference on where to go when you’re hungry and what to do. It can help you plan the itinerary (you can move it to the next page if more space is needed).

It’s a great tool for creating a quick guide to your hometown to share with friends and family who love to visit, as well as keeping record for when people ask you for advice. Don’t let all that research go to waste. With a quick photo you can be the “travel guru” of your circle of friends! For this page I used my favorite combo of fresh pick neon gel crayon highlighter and black splendid fountain pen.

Woman highlighting in a travel journal with a gel crayon highlighter


Elena Ollick is Russian born Florida girl whose favorite pastimes are traveling with her 7 year old daughter, photography, volleyball and writing. Elena is the founder of an online magazine for women, Daily Mom, runs personal lifestyle and travel blogs, Every Avenue Life and Our Little Voyages, and spends half of her year exploring destinations and writing about them on a newly launched travel website, Every Avenue Travel