Ace the Travel Diary Game: 4 Tips for Documenting Your Travels

person writing in a travel diary surrounded by items to help her document travels

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” This is how Ibn Battuta, a 14th-century Moroccan scholar, and traveler, encapsulates his 29-year wanderlust. His travels led him through most of the Islamic world, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and China. Upon returning to Morocco after 29 years of traveling, he shared accounts of his journey through a book titled “A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling,” usually referred to as “Rihla” (journey). While most of us will not be able to travel as extensively as Ibn Battuta, his accounts and stories about the places he visited are worth emulating. However, memories have a habit of fading over time. This is why keeping a record of your travels is a must. With a record or photo to remind you about a particular trip, walking down memory lane is easy. So, keep your travel memories vivid with these tips for documenting your travels.

Take videos and photos

girl traveling with camera and documenting her travels

The advent of digital technology has made taking photos and videos a lot easier and fun. However, lugging around a bulky kit can be impractical. It is best to invest in a reliable and lightweight travel camera. Take as many pictures as you can. The more photos you take, the more you learn the craft. This also allows you to develop your style and eye for taking pictures. (Although a camera can be fun to master, your cell phone may be all you need. Use what makes you most comfortable.)

You can also follow travel photographers for inspiration and join photography clubs and workshops to hone your photography skills.

Keep Souvenirs and Mementos

Mementos and keepsakes are a great way to invoke memories. Engage your senses when picking souvenirs. Want to take home the flavors of the place? Get recipes or ingredients so you can recreate the taste at home. You can also bring home scents and fragrance to remind you of a place you visited. Colors and patterns unique to your travel destinations can also be a good option. Think of Japan’s kimono fabric, Cambodia’s Ikat fabric or Turkish and Persian rugs. Essentially, our brains can retrieve memories better when our senses experience something familiar.

Carry a Journal with You

Write on it, scribble, draw and sketch. Jot down stories and jokes you heard, names of interesting people you encountered, their stories and struggles. Note new sounds, sights, tastes, and textures encountered during your trip. Use a few pages for tickets or scraps of fabric to add tactile detail to your entry. Be as organized or as cluttered as you want. Ultimately, it’s your journal so it has to contain details that speak to you.

Awesome Travel Memories are Best Shared

Learning how to document your travels is just the first step. It is true that your travel diary is a record of your personal experience and you can choose to keep it private. However, awesome travel stories are worth sharing. Sharing travel stories can be a great way to bond with your family members. Likewise, a travel diary can be a great way to showcase your personality to your friends.

If you do decide to share your travel diary, here are three ways to do so:

1. Blog about your travels

You can share tips and pointers to other travelers looking for ideas about a certain place. Loved the quaint restaurant serving the best cheesecake you’ve ever tasted? Write about it on your blog. Not only are you helping fellow travelers discover hidden gems, but you are also helping local businesses get discovered by other travelers.

2. Publish your photos on photo-sharing social media like Pinterest and Instagram

Social media has made a lot of impact on the travel industry. When planning trips and adventurers, travelers no longer rely on expert reviews and guidebooks alone. Now they refer to social media buzz and trending photos. Likewise, because of the presence of photos on people’s feeds, more and more people are inspired to travel.

3. Print photos as photobooks

There are online services out there that allow users to layout their own pictures and add personalized captions. As soon as you choose your book layout, the photobook is sent to you via mail. Shutterfly and Snapfish are some of the companies that offer this type of service. Travel photo books make great coffee table books for your friends and visitors to browse through.

Travel feeds the soul, widens our horizons and helps us appreciate life more. Through traveling, we are also able to learn more about other cultures. On your next adventure, capture as many sights, sounds, and experiences as you can so you can relive the experience all over again.

About the Author

Imee Rabang is a blogger/writer and bilingual poet from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Philippine culture and supports causes that promote language and national identity. She juggles her time between work, parenthood, and community outreach programs. She also dabbles in photography and graphic arts in her free time.
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