Summer Memories: Keeping a Travel Journal of Your Summer Vacation

Summer is a magical time. For many, this season provides that once-a-year opportunity to travel somewhere exciting, exotic or relaxing. You may get to spend time with friends or family, or even luxuriate in a few days all by yourself.

Regardless of the type of summer vacation you plan this year, remember to pack a travel journal to record all those incredible experiences.

Use these tips to help you make the most of your travel journal:

1. Choose a blank journal in a style you like. Whether you want a fanciful print on the front, a tactile, cloth-covered book or simply a solid color cover, find a journal that suits your taste. You can most likely find a wide selection in your local bookstore.

* What will work the best for you? Decide in advance where and how you’d like to carry your journal during your trip. If you like to write, you may want one with full-size pages. On the other hand, you may be happier with one that fits in your purse or even your jacket pocket. You can jot down notes and fill in the details later.

* When purchasing a travel journal, remember that size does matter. Depending on where and how you travel, weight may also be a concern.

2. What do you want to record? Because travel is usually such a change from your routine, you might think you’ll never forget a moment of your trip. But a few years afterward, you won’t remember many of the details. You may want to capture these details in your journal:

* Complete date information including the year

* Where you went: the country and city

* Where you stayed: names and addresses of people’s homes or hotels and suite numbers

* Sights you saw

* Places you’d hoped to visit that you’ll catch the next time

* Descriptions of interesting foods you tried, including where you ate them

* Sights, sounds and smells as you walked down the street

* People you met

* How you got around the city: public or private transportation, and what kinds

* Souvenirs purchased for yourself and loved ones

* Details like, “The bed in the Smith Hotel was so lumpy, but I was exhausted and slept like a log” are interesting asides that you’ll later be glad you wrote.

* Most of all, record your feelings about your summer trip experiences, which will help you better recall your cherished moments of the vacation.

3. Take every opportunity to note your travel experiences. Make notes daily. Notes made soon after an event tend to be more specific, factual, and complete than those made at the end of the week.

* When in a cab or traveling by bus, pull out your pen and journal and write about what you’ve experienced so far that day.

* If you’re an artist, you could make a sketch or two of sights you’ve seen.

* At breakfast, jot down information about the evening before. Or mention what you plan to do that day.

* You may prefer to write your notes after you get back to the hotel for the evening.

4. During your vacation, collect flyers and brochures. They can help you fill in details of your experiences.

* For example, you might’ve already forgotten the name of the restaurant where you ate those delicious sandwiches at lunch. But if you remembered to keep the receipt or a brochure from the restaurant, you can refer to it later for the details.

* When you go shopping and you see brochures listing the stores and showing the floor plan, grab one to use later when you’re journaling about the day’s activities.

* These flyers can also help you put together a scrapbook when you return.

Keeping a journal of your summer vacation will preserve those precious memories forever. You’ll return to it over and over again to re-discover the special experiences you had. And someday, your children will be thrilled to read these personal accounts of your trips.

Try using a travel journal during this year’s summer vacation and make the most of your experiences!