I get it. When you travel you just want to go, be there, experience your vacation fully. Me too. You don’t want to be writing stuff down or paying attention to anything, including your health. But hear me out. The little effort it takes to keep a travel journal can drastically impact your current and future travel experiences.
I am a person who likes to be lazy and not think about things, especially on vacation. But I also know that the more intention I put on something, anything, the more I get from it. Therefore, I have to find the balance of accountability and relaxation, which will ensure I actually have the best trip possible.
And a travel journal helps with this accountability (and a whole lot more).
What keeping a travel journal can do for you…
- Packing Lists- It’s helpful to go back and look at past packing lists rather than just trying to start from scratch. In my journal I keep a list of things I always bring, a list of items for a specific type of trip (beach, work, camping etc…), and a ‘wish I brought list’ that I update while traveling.
- Tips- Keep track of the travel tips that you want to implement while traveling. Tips like: bring books about the place you are visiting to increase connection to that place and culture, drink more water by adding tea bags to enhance flavor, or research farmers market for fresh veggies and local fruits.
- Travel Ideas- Whether a pic of a magical hot springs from instagram catches your eye or you read a blog post about an epic spot to watch the northern lights or hear a friend’s story about their recent trip to Fiji, it is good to keep track of these so the next time an opportunity comes up to travel you have some ideas and aren’t a total deer-in-the-headlights. Also sometimes you learn about side trips and activities to take while you are on a trip. Don’t write these on random pieces of paper, this is what your travel journal is for!
- Notes From Other Travelers- Fellow travelers are always sharing information on what to and what not to do. An excellent thing to keep track of so the next time a friend asks you where to go in Guatemala, you are ready.
- Goals- Have goals going into a trip. Put some intention into your vacation to insure you are feeling your best and get the most out of it. I like to add my general travel goals (# of steps, flossing, water, greens, meditation) then I go through the ingredients for fulfilled travel to add in any other goals to increase enjoyment.
- Schedules and Travel Details- Write down the bus and train schedules/ lines from the 5 minutes of internet you got at the cafe. Also be sure to write down open and close times to museums, parks, etc… and how to get there.
- Itineraries- Have a tight day? Write down each step of the way. And keep it all together in your handy notebook.
- Suggestions For Next Time- If you were to come back here, what would you do again, not do at all, want to try? My mom always writes down the best camping spots in a campground when she gets home so that next time she can book that spot in advance. So smart.
- Budgeting- Keeping track and feeling solid with finances is one of the ingredients of fulfilled travel. Having a place to write down your budget allows you to know if it’s ok to splurge on that exciting side adventure or nice hotel.
- Journaling- Whether it is a detailed description of your day or a quick play-by-play, writing down your thoughts and experiences can add gratitude, relief, awareness, and connection to your travels.
- Sketching- For people so inclined, sketching is a fun way to remember a place, person, situation, or experience. And so fun to look back on.
How To Use Your Journal Here is a quick little off-the-cuff video I made…
When Planning A Trip:
- Look Through Past Notes. Go back through your notebook from your last adventures. Note if you want to utilize any info for packing, travel tips, goal making etc…
- Create A New Trip Section. Include space for packing lists, goals and tracking, and ideal activities you want to do with room for more notes.
- Write Goals For Trip. Start filling in specific, doable goals for this trip. Read more on Lifehacker.com on how to create and continue healthy habits.
- Create Tracking Sheet. This can just be a simple grid with a place to mark off which goals were met each day. Ahh the joy of crossing something off!! One great thing to track while traveling is your steps. I have a little pedometer that I wear that tells me if I have hit my goal. A great goal to shoot for is 10,000 steps (that is what the steps experts say) which is equivalent to about 5 miles. You would be surprised to see how many steps you walk when traveling. Think of all the time through airports, finding your hotel and exploring. Only walked 5,000? Then stay off of the moving sidewalks. Go for a walk that evening when you arrive. Did you reach your 10,000? Great!!! Relax and go for 12,000 tomorrow! Tracking something so tangible, like steps, is not the only aspect to exercise, of course, but it is a great way to check in and encourage to keep moving.
- Have a Travel Notes Section. This is where you write ideas, schedules, tips, where to go and where not to go etc…
- To Do List Before You Go. Need to buy a few things before you go? Research scuba diving outfitters? Have a shut-down-the-house plan?
- Post-Trip Notes. What did you wish you brought? Didn’t end up needing? Lessons learned? How did your health goals go? What would you do again and what would you do differently?
Keeping a travel journal not only provides you with an intentional way to create and experience your trip, it also excites you for your next adventure!
Where will you go next? How will you use your travel journal to keep you healthy and happy???
- How To Smile Your Face Off On Your Next Trip
- The Secret To Exercising More While Traveling
- How To Stay Healthy While Being A Badass: With Adventure Kayak Guide Jaime Sharp