The Art of Keeping a Custom Travel Journal

The Art of Keeping a Custom Travel Journal

I love to doodle! Here at Doodle Me Travel, I’m all about it… obviously!

Countless sources have talked about the benefits of doodling. Many cite increased productivity, creative problem solving, and concentration as key traits of a constant doodler. Whether you doodle in your school notebook or on sticky notes in the office, it’s likely that this is a habit you don’t plan on breaking any time soon. After all, doodling is fun, silly, and an entertaining creative outlet. You won’t get any doodle shame from me!

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If you doodle at home or in the office, why wouldn’t you doodle abroad as well? In fact, I’m here to tell you about the many creative ways doodling can be incorporated into your travels through keeping a custom travel journal.


The reasons someone might write down their personal thoughts and feelings in a diary are some of the same reasons someone may start a travel journal. Of course there are many ways to keep an account of your travels, but none as unique as one that showcases your own personal artwork. Photography and blogging may be great ways to capture the essence of a destination, but doodling adds that personal touch that is often lacking in the vast sea of travel photographs and posts.

That’s not to say that your travel journal can’t be completely digital, but doodling creates something that is unique to every other traveler’s experience.

Here’s how you can get started…

  1. You Don’t Have to be a (Good) Artist

    custom travel journal

I believe everyone is an artist, and the word “good” is extremely relative. However, I understand the nervousness around not wanting to do something because you don’t think you are “good” enough. This has more to do with confidence than ability. Remember, no one has to see it if you don’t want them to. I know drawing can be highly personal (which is why I think it can add to the travel experience) and sharing that can seem a little nerve wracking. Try not to judge your ability at the expense of something you love to do. Over time, you WILL get better and your confidence will grow. At the same time, I have yet to meet a single artist that is 100% confident 100% of the time. A travel journal isn’t about showcasing your abilities to the world. It is about being creative, inspiring yourself, and keeping an account of your unique experiences. Chances are you will inspire more people to keep a custom travel journal too!

  1. Find an Outlet

custom travel journal

This can be a physical journal, an online gallery, or simply a collection of scratch paper you pick up during your travels. The first step in beginning a travel journal is having a place to put your doodles along the way. I use a unique travel journal in combination with my Doodle Me Travel blog. This way, I can scribble down my thoughts and drawings on-the-go, or create some digital artwork on my tablet.  Sometimes it can be fun to collect travel brochures and doodle on those, or maybe you want to doodle on your own photos you take along the way. There is no right or wrong answer, so choose something that works best for you.

  1. Bring it With You

custom travel journal

The obvious step in keeping a travel journal is having it with you during your travels. This doesn’t have to be all the time, but it can be handy to have it with you when creative inspiration strikes. My journal is small and lightweight, so I can easily carry it with me in my day pack wherever I go. When I’m on a long bus ride or enjoying a beautiful view, I can doodle to my heart’s content. Keep it on hand and you will never be lacking of something creative to do.

  1. Notice Things

custom travel journal

My favorite part of keeping a travel journal is that it keeps be grounded. Taking a photograph may  capture the moment, but it is easy to just keep walking and looking for the next Instagram-worthy scene. In taking the time to doodle what you see, you spend more time absorbing what the moment has to offer. By doodling as you travel, you take in the smaller things, like the shading cast by a tree on a historic building, or the details on a person’s traditional clothing. A photograph makes an exact copy of what the eye can see, but creating a memory is something that can never be copied or replaced. Take the time to notice the things around you, jot down your thoughts, and doodle what you see and feel.

  1. Look, Remember, Redraw

custom travel journal

I love referring back to my travel journal to remember the things I’ve done and the places I’ve been. I like seeing my in-the-moment interpretation of a destination, and reading about how I felt while I was there. Often, I go back and add to drawings, like shading and adding some color. My travel journal is a constantly evolving thing. With every new experience, you will learn something, and that may change how you originally felt about a time, place, or person. Great memories and experiences replace bad ones and vice versa. Your travel journal doesn’t have to be linear or stagnant. When you revisit a location, perhaps add to that page, or start a new drawing all together. Allowing yourself that creative freedom is what doodling is all about.


Keeping a custom travel journal of your doodles along the way can be a great way to add that personal touch to your experiences abroad. I love doodling because it keeps the creative juices flowing no matter where I am, and helps me notice the finer details of a place that may otherwise go unnoticed. Whether you do your doodles online, in a notebook, or on a paper napkin, I hope you have felt inspired by this post to keep doing what you love to do!


custom travel journal

travel journal

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12 thoughts on “The Art of Keeping a Custom Travel Journal

  1. This is gorgeous and couldn’t be more timely as I sit down to write in my travel journal for a while… It’s more of a scrapbook really with bits and pieces stuck in, but now you’ve inspired me to add in a sketch or two!

    1. Thank you! That’s kind of how my journal is too. It’s where I put all the brochures and receipts etc that I just can’t let go of 😛

  2. Great Post, I also always keep a travel journal, both for my own inspirations and reflections and because it’s something I would like to be able to pass on to my children or grandchildren one day. I’m not much of a doodler but this post has given me some inspiration to try it 🙂

    1. Digital doodles are okay, too! Obviously, that’s what my blog is all about lol I think the creative outlet is good for use!

  3. I’ve been writing in mine since 2012! Its so nice to go back and read about what I was thinking and feeling during my trips! Definitely a habbit I will keep forever!

    1. That’s probably my favorite part about it- the emotions are still there and it’s a good reminder of how you were feeling at the time. Sometimes I look back at my photos and even forget where/when they were taken. Every note and drawing holds a memory, though. Thanks for the comment!

  4. My journal tends to be more text heavy and full of random funny words I encounter, but a great idea. I haven’t been doing it recently, but I’ll definitely need to start one for my next trip!

    1. Yeah it’s always a cute idea even if it’s a small one! Sometimes I make a little booklet of my favorite notes and photos from a destination. Saves money on ordering a whole album!

  5. I keep written travel journals (or just, well, a journal) and am always jealous of those who manage to keep theirs beautifully illustrated. I remember seeing an older woman sketching at a cafe in Cuba last year and thinking it was a wonderful form of documentation. Have bought a sketchbook this year, so will see what happens with it! Your doodles are lovely.

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