A travel journal is not only a fabulous keepsake after a memorable family trip, it also comes in handy during those inevitable down times on any vacation. Whether it's on the plane, in the museum cafe, or back at the hotel before bed, a good travel journal will help keep the little ones occupied. So, are you the type to buy one? Or make one?
• The Tour Diary by Allison Cole. This perfect-bound book with 80 pages includes charming illustrations, mini calendars, weekly overviews, reference pages etc. and costs around $9.
• Are We There Yet? Road Trip Journal by Gilbert Ford. This spiral bound, paperback is 128 pages full of tips, games as well as room to journal. It costs around $11.
• Etsy Travel Journal by Making This Home. This handmade, well-designed, 60-page journal includes journal entry prompts, maps, stars etc. Make it more of a kids journal with some cute vacation themed stickers.
• The Children's Travel Journal by Ann Banks and Illustrated by Adrienne Hartman. These 48 pages, at around $20, include journal entry prompts and boasts a memento pocket.
OR MAKE IT:
For some people, planning and organizing for a trip is almost as fun as the trip itself. If this is you, you might want to start with a wire-bound, blank sketch book customizing it according to your destinations and the likes and interests of each child.
Here are some ideas for starting it and filling it in:
• Paste in keepsake envelopes in the back pages for anything that can't be affixed to a journal page.
• Dedicate an envelope for themed stickers and printouts that can be glued in along the way. Fill it with pages from word search or maze books. Check out trunki for free printables of activities and graphic idea starters.
• Include lists: packing list, reading lists, itineraries etc.
• Add travel quotes here and there.
• Include a calendar of your traveling days. This helps children to visualize "how many more sleeps".
• Look for keepsakes to paste in, such as postcards, stamps, menus, ticket stubs etc.
• Take pictures of the souvenirs you acquire and leave a space for the photo to be added when you get home.
• Include a grab bag of journal entry starter ideas:
"The weather today was"
"I made a friend"
"I learned a new word"
"I tried a new food"
"The best/worst parts"
"I'm homesick for"
"The funniest thing happened to me"
"Today I saw/smelled/heard/felt/tasted"
"Illustrate the difference: draw a picture of a building, vehicle, view, that differs from home"
"Make a collage of found brochures, newspapers, magazines at your destination"
"Draw a pictures of each of your travel companions"
Also, check out Martha Stewart's elegantly simple idea where you don't have to bring anything but a hole punch and a good loose-leaf ring.
Whether you buy it or make it, don't forget to pack an accompanying case sporting blunt scissors, archival glue stick and/or clear tape and/or mini stapler, colored pencils, and pencil sharpener. And let the fun begin.