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There’s nothing like heading out on the road on a new adventure — until you realize you don’t have anywhere to record your experiences. A travel journal is the perfect way to document your days on the trail, trekking through a new country, or navigating a new city — and as old-school as it is, there’s nothing like putting pen to paper at the end of an eyes-wide-open day. Travel notebooks tend to be a little more sturdy than regular notebooks (they have to withstand plenty of transit battery, after all), and some also include prompts for adults and kids who might need that extra boost to put pen to paper.
There are a ton of travel journal options out there, so we did the hard work of rounding up the best of the best. There’s virtually weatherproof notebooks for those heading into a rainier climate, traditional leather notebooks for those who like an elegantly rugged aesthetic, and even workbook-style journals for kids keeping their writing skills sharp during summer road trips. Keep reading for the best travel journals to pick up today.
Our Top Picks
Best Weather-Resistant: Rite in the Rain All-Weather Side-Spiral Notebook
Rite in the Rain journals have long been a favorite of those who are frequently writing in bad weather: backpackers and news reporters among them. We love its durability for a travel journal as well, whether you’re on the trail in unpredictable meteorological moods, holding on during monsoon season, or simply spending a week in Scotland. The 64 weatherproof pages stay intact in the rain, and each leaf will repel water, mud, and grease to hold memories that stay put even in the worst conditions — and the cover, made from a flexible Polydura shell, is also waterproof. We also love Rite in the Rain’s proprietary binding, which keeps its shape without bending or starting to unspiral in the bottom of a backpack. You can write on the notebook’s pages with a variety of implements, too — as long as the ink isn’t water-based. We suggest a space pen or a regular No. 2 pencil for best results.
Best Leather: Moonster Leather Journal
iIth more than a thousand reviews and a five-star rating on Amazon, Moonster’s leather notebook is as well-loved as it is elegant — and practical on the go. The water buffalo leather cover and binding is made from is soft and supple, and the light battering travel inevitably involves will give it a wonderfully vintage patina (if you’d rather keep it more on the pristine side, you can also rub out quite a few of the markings the journal will likely pick up). Each book comes with plenty of pages — 120 sheets or 240 pages if you’re using both sides — and they won’t bleed through thanks to the 125gsm paper weight. If you’d like a notebook that has a little more spatial room, there’s an eight-inch-by-six-inch model available — or, should you be gifting this to a lucky traveler, the notebooks also come with the option of being purchased in a gift set with box and pen.
Best Smart Journal: Vellee Reusable Smart Notebook
If you want to be sure you’re preserving your travel memories for years to come—or are writing a travel memoir—Vellee’s reusable smart notebook is for you. This genius notebook allows you to scan what you wrote in its pages with an app, then transfers them to a cloud system (like Google Drive or iCloud, as well as Dropbox and Evernote) to be retrievable in both PDF and JPG form. Once you fill up its 20 wide-ruled, 20 dot-grid, and 20 blank pages, you can just use a damp cloth or hairdryer to erase the words. Intriguingly enough, rather than being made of paper, the notebook’s pages are made of stone and can be reused up to 500 times. We love the variety of page types, so you can write and sketch to your heart’s content. Pen-losers be warned, however: This book only works with Pilot Frixion pens, so be sure you have a few on hand.
Best for Long Trips: You Are Here: A Mindful Travel Journal
Sometimes — as amazing as they are — a weeks- or months-long trip can kind of wear a traveler down: It’s the constant logistics-planning, looking-ahead, always-on-the-move nature of it that can almost have you wishing for a vacation from your vacation. It’s good to be able to break away to take a look at just how incredible the journey is in the moment, but it can be hard to get out of the travel groove to do so — and that’s precisely what this notebook helps with. The pages, along with plenty of space for writing, offer different mindfulness techniques to “zoom out” and focus on the experiences you’re having in the now and encourages you to stop and smell the roses (after all, that’s part of the fun of travel). We love the prompt variety, too—some exercises are silly, some are a bit more reflective; some involve drawing, others involve a few sentences.
Best Refillable: Rusteque Refillable Travelers Notebook
This all-purpose notebook is an elegant and practical tool for any traveler to capture memories in, and travelers who often swear by Midori’s notebooks often praise the quality of this book at a significantly lesser price. It’s made from 100 percent leather that holds up functionally through the rigors of travel (and, aesthetically, gets beautifully aged along the way), and should you manage to get through the included pages, it also comes with a couple other sets of page inserts so you can swap them out and keep on writing. The notebook also comes with a ton of freebies that get you all set up to write from the moment it arrives on your doorstep: It includes a free fountain pen and leather pen holder, a metal bookmark so you never lose your place in the pages, a cardholder insert, a zipper pocket — and a lifetime guarantee. (It also arrives in a gift box should you be gifting this to an adventurer.)
Best for Travel Inspiration: Travel Listography: Exploring the World in Lists
The travel take on the well-beloved Listography series of journals, this handy tool is a great way to get inspired for future trips when you’re back at home with time to reflect and daydream. It’s a quick and easy way to reflect on where you’ve been and what you’ve done while helping figure out what your next destination might be. There are more than 70 lists in this journal, from world cuisines to try to animals you’ve spotted in the wild. Aspiring travelers love that the book helps awaken their sense of adventure and gets them dreaming, while hardcore travelers love jotting their experiences down in it as a type of minimal-effort time capsule. Couples and travel buddies love this as a date-night activity or way to get ideas for forthcoming adventures. On a practical note, we like that the pages lay flat so two can easily pour over its pages.
Best for Kids: Kids’ Travel Journal
There’s no better way to get kids writing than, well, to get them writing — and that’s precisely what this clever travel journal, filled with colorful illustrations and playful prompts, does. It makes a great tool to take along on summer vacations especially when kids are out of school and maybe not getting the daily writing practice they otherwise would have. With this travel journal, kids can help plan the trip and take charge of their packing list — and once on the trip, they can do fun exercises, like rating each day, gluing in ticket stubs and photos, and sketch things they saw along the way. It’s also great for keeping little ones entertained, thanks to the puzzles and games scattered throughout the book, foreign language phrases, and some cool maps. Thanks to the elastic band, the book cover will stay closed when it’s not in use, which helps ensure pages won’t get too banged up.
Best for Women: Everywoman’s Travel Journal
We weren’t necessarily convinced that there needed to be gendered travel journals (it is, after all, essentially a simple notebook) until we saw this. The Everywoman’s Travel Journal has both lined and blank pages for writing and drawing, but it doesn’t stop there: There’s also great information tucked in about security, dress, and even naturally based fixes for some of the more common ailments adventurous travelers run into. Other extras abound: The book has all the travel advice you want in one place: There are tips about how to pack and shop, as well as manners in different countries — and ways to help numb the effects of jet lag. There’s also a great pocket inside that will hold everything from important documents to receipts and postcards. Although the orange color can be divisive, we love the fact that we can easily spot it in our tote bag or purse while on the go.
Best Moleskine: Moleskine City Notebook
Moleskin’s City Notebook series are great for the traveler who can’t bear to leave their everyday carry Moleskine at home — but want to keep their travel reflections separate. With cities like London, Istanbul, Prague, Madrid, and San Francisco, there’s a version available for plenty of major travel destinations. Inside the notebook, you’ll find plenty of ways to organize your trip, both while you’re in the planning stages as well as on the ground. The pages (76 of which are blank for journaling) include large-scale maps of the city along with a street index, a map of the city’s metro system, and 12 translucent, repositionable sticky page overlay sheets so you can keep track of your routes. We also like the archive that lets you organize where you’ve stayed, eaten, shopped, and visited, so you always have the information on hand when your conversation turns to “that one really good restaurant in Bloomsbury.”
Our writers spent 2 hours researching the most popular travel journals on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different journals overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 40 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 2 of the journals themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.