Fun and Easy Postcard Travel Journal (+ 20 Writing Prompts)

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You know how you return home from traveling and you’re bursting with excitement about everything you’ve experienced? And after a couple days your nearest and dearest are already tired of hearing you say “well, when I was in…

Here’s a solution for your next trip:

Create a Postcard Travel Journal

I used to lug around whatever journal I was currently using but when I started traveling with a laptop, I wanted to avoid carrying additional heavy things. Which meant that my beloved, big, clunky journals had to stay home. I also wanted to share my travels but not my personal journal. And I definitely didn’t want to carry two journals.

These days I use my #MyGlobalLife pocket travel journals for itinerary notes, personal journaling, and the #GlobalYou365 journaling challenge. They’re small, lightweight, and super easy to slip into my day bag or even my jeans pocket.

For my travel journaling I now use lightweight, colorful, inexpensive postcards. Super easy and convenient and a lot of fun to flip through once you’re back home.

You Can Make One Too

Here’s what I do (it’s so easy). Each day I buy a postcard that represents where I am or what I’m doing that day.

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When I sit down for a tea break, have a few free minutes on the metro or am unwinding at night, I pull out my postcard and jot down a few notes from my day.

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I label each postcard with the date, location, and trip “Day #.” I keep the written postcards in a ziplock bag in my travel backpack or suitcase until I get home. If you’re on a long trip and don’t want to carry them around the world with you, just mail them home.

When I get home, I punch a hole in each postcard and use a metal binder clip to bind them together. (Tip: decide ahead of time where you’re going to punch the hole so you can keep that space clear of writing. I punch the hole where the stamp would go since I’m not mailing them.)

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I use an extra postcard to create a cover. (That purple one below? It’s part of a set I bought when I lived in Germany as a high school student!) I then use washi tape and a Sharpie to write my travel information on the cover. You could also simply use your “Day 1” postcard as your cover or get fancy with stickers and other embellishments.

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I then bind all of the postcards together using a metal ring. Don’t have a metal ring? You can buy them at any office supply store for a couple bucks. You could use a ribbon or baker’s twine.

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Leave your postcard journals on your coffee table or hang them on a bulletin board. They’re a great way to invite questions and conversations about your travels without feeling like you’re forcing the topic on anyone.

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Instant scrapbook!

Why I Like Postcard Journals

I’m a fan of traveling light, postcards, and keeping things simple. I’m addicted to postcards but rarely send any when I’m abroad (thanks, social media), which means I end up with boxes of them sitting in my attic. Postcard journals allow me to feed my postcard addiction in a positive way. It’s easy to pick up a few at a time and keep them in my day bag. And, because postcards are so small, I only need a few minutes a day to keep up with my travel journal. No more going home with a mostly empty travel journal!

20 Travel Journaling Prompts

Do you run out of things to journal about when traveling? Find yourself writing the same things over and over? Here are 20 travel journaling prompts:

  1. Top 5 moments from my day.
  2. What I ate today.
  3. Most surprising sight, smell, sound or taste from my trip so far.
  4. What do I hear, see and smell around me right now?
  5. What songs/kind of music have I frequently heard?
  6. Travel advice I’d give a younger me.
  7. 5 things I’d do while traveling if I knew I wouldn’t fail.
  8. 5 new experiences I’ve had.
  9. My packing list for the trip.
  10. What I wish I’d packed.
  11. What I wish I’d left home.
  12. 5 best meals I’ve eaten.
  13. Prices of items I’ve bought (e.g., snacks, toothpaste, a pen).
  14. Words I’ve learned in the local language.
  15. Conversations I’ve engaged in.
  16. What I’ve found at the grocery store that surprised me.
  17. Top 5 desserts I’ve eaten.
  18. Places where I’ve met new people.
  19. 5 things I’m learning about myself.
  20. Where I want to travel next.

Happy Journaling! 

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About the Author: Cate Brubaker

Cate Brubaker, PhD is the author of the Re-Entry Roadmap creative workbook and founder of SmallPlanetStudio.com. A former expat and current part-time nomad, Cate has worked in international education for 20 years.

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