My Road Trip Journal + Travel Journal Supplies

In the spring Jordan and I went on a long road trip around the US: through the Southwest, up the Mississippi and back across to Oregon (you can read more about it here). We saw a lot of stuff along the way, and I knew I wanted to keep some sort of record while we were going. A car trip is a great chance to actually keep a journal, because unlike other kinds of travel which can be quite go-go-go, by definition you will be spending a lot of time in the car, which makes for a great opportunity to make a little something. Most of what you'll see in my travel book below I did in the car.

A quick word about supplies. I had been debating for quite a while about what sort of notebook to take, and the night before we left I finally decided to just use my "regular" notebook. These yellow mixed media notebooks by Strathmore, which I buy at Michael's, are my go-to for general doodling and sketching. I like that the pages are thick, so pen pretty much never shows through and also the spiral bound is convenient. Since both of those factors were important to me in a trip journal, I just picked up a blank one and figured I could decorate the cover eventually.

Travel Journal Supplies

Upon returning home with a successful journal I can report to you that these were the supplies I actually used:

  • notebook
  • small scissors
  • black pen
  • tape runner (much easier than other glue options when riding in a car)
  • washi tape
  • stickers
  • pre-made pockets
  • foam hearts
  • date stamp/ink pad/misc small stamps (I did most of my stamping actually after returning home, so I didn't actually need to bring them on the trip.)

As we were going and I was collecting bits of ephemera and postcards to glue in my notebook, I was taken right back to my childhood when I used to do the exact same thing on road trips. Why I stopped is a bit of a mystery, but I'm glad to have found my way back to it.

trip journal

Keeping the journal during the trip was actually a highlight of the whole experience. Obviously seeing new places is exciting, but the time I spent with the journal ensures that I'll remember a bit more of it, and is easily the best souvenir I've brought home. Also, it's super fun to do a little crafting in the car.

trip journal

I was validated in this and every scrapbooking endeavor I've undertaken when arriving at my parent's house in Memphis. I was showing off my progress so far, and my mother and sister were discussing if perhaps they too had been to Mesa Verde. Since they neglected to bring me on this (supposed) trip, there are no scrapbooks, and now no one can really remember when or why or how they came to be in Mesa Verde. This made the whole trip journal seem a bit less trivial and a little more necessary.

trip journal

I'm still hoping to make an album with actual pictures from the trip, but the pressure is off since I've already put many details into this little journal. So when I finally get around to my scrapbook, I'll have some good source material.

Can't wait for my next trip so I can make another!

Recent Comments

Maude Landan
Maude Landan Fri, 09/16/2016 - 09:58

Wow, what a neat (and very special) trip souvenir. I'm envious of your creativity!

christy cole
christy cole Fri, 09/16/2016 - 09:51

Love seeing your travel journal!!! So inspiring. I wish I'd done the same thing on my recent road trips but it's a little more difficult when you travel alone. All my time in the car is spent driving!!!

Susan Curtis
Susan Curtis Fri, 09/16/2016 - 06:49

I loved your travel journal Marisa. I've used a lined, handwritten journal for years. I always transcribe the journal when I get home into a word processing program, then save it. I put a printed copy with my final scrapbook of pictures, whether traditional scrapbooking or digital. It is a fabulous way to recall details of our trip for years to come and I'm always surprised that others like to read my journal as well. When on a long trip, the other thing I do is to write down a picture log. I use the picture number from my digital camera and make a quick note of the subject, location, etc., whatever I want to remember. It is an invaluable tool for later. Often, when I've moved my digital photos from one location where they're already captioned, to an external hard drive for safe keeping, the captions don't always come with the pictures, so I just drag out my picture log and there is all the info I need.

Shannon Maguire
Shannon Maguire Fri, 09/16/2016 - 05:58

Marisa you've just given me the best idea ever for our upcoming trip to Barbados! Although with a 1 1/2 year old any journalling/scrapbooking will have to be done after she's in bed or she'll take off with my supplies! I always feel guilty because it takes me way too long to scrapbook our vacations, so this is a perfect way to start. The supplies you took are easily packable and won't weigh me down too much! Awesome journal, thanks for sharing!

Elise Fox
Elise Fox Tue, 09/13/2016 - 08:22

Such a neat idea! Love all the postcards! :)

Cassie Reed
Cassie Reed Mon, 09/12/2016 - 20:42

I love seeing other peoples hybrid projects. this is awesome

Kathy Leppek
Kathy Leppek Mon, 09/12/2016 - 06:52

Love it! I've kept some trip journals but they weren't so fun looking!

Faith Anderson
Faith Anderson Mon, 09/12/2016 - 05:14

I have never done anything like this, but love the idea. Yours is wonderful.

Laurel Stone
Laurel Stone Sun, 09/11/2016 - 11:04

Fantastic! I've done something similar, but I left the opposite page (so the left page of a spread) empty so I could put pictures in when they were printed. I SO really want to take the road trip you did! One of my dream vacations!

Erin Crouch
Erin Crouch Sat, 09/10/2016 - 19:06

I love it! I wish I could do something during a road trip, other than watch the road! I get car sick! :/

Tina Shaw
Tina Shaw Fri, 09/09/2016 - 20:42


Emily Silverman
Emily Silverman Fri, 09/09/2016 - 06:08

Very cool! In college my sister and I went on a week long road trip every year, this would have been great for that! At least I did have a camera!!

Marlyn Ramirez 👩‍⚖️
Marlyn Ramirez 👩‍⚖️ Fri, 09/09/2016 - 02:30

this is truly inspiring!