How do you document your travels? Traveling is one of my core values, but I never knew how to document any of my adventures that captured, not only images, but also stories and mementos. Last year I went to the Chicago Planner Conference and I learned about Traveler’s Notebooks and it really changed the way I looked at travel memory keeping.

A month after that conference I went to Cuba and decided to try out this new technique and guess what?! I loved it! It also acted like a sketchbook while I was there. It was weird, like I could have it all – a way to document pictures, stories, insert mementos, and sketch. Why didn’t I think of this before? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here are some techniques I used during my vacation and recommend:

TIP 1 – Monster sketch: Bored on the plane? Use the cocktail napkin to sketch a monster with your travel buddy. You draw one part then pass to them, they draw and then pass it back to you. You never know what you’ll end up creating! Cut out the finished piece and paste into your journal.

Monster sketch

TIP 2 – Add items you can flip: Did your Airbnb host leave you a cute note? Why not add it like I did as a memento you can fold out? It adds a nice bit of interactivity to your journal. I like to attach the memento with a fun decorative piece of washi tape.

Flip it open!

TIP 3 – Add dried flowers: For this one you need to be smart about it. You don’t want to add anything with seeds and be the reason your homeland now has a new invasive plant species. Dried flower petals should be fine, like the rose petals I added below.

A fun organic touch…oh and look some staggered plane tickets I can also flip!

TIP 4 – Use brochures: Take a brochure and cut it up! Cut out pieces that you think best capture that location or a fun fact you always want to remember. I did that with the Museum of Rum brochure.

Loving their logo as well, which of course had an interesting story behind it

TIP 5 – Graffiti: You can also sketch any cool graffiti you see instead of just taking a picture. I feel like this also makes you remember that moment in time better since you have to focus on your drawing. You’ll remember not only drawing the piece, but how that location felt from the energy to the sounds and smells.

Sketch of graffiti from Barber’s Alley… look at that mustache

TIP 6 – Sculptures: Same goes for sculptures you see. Draw a quick sketch, doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’ll be happy you did it.

Sculpture from one of the many public squares and a lion head knocker from the Capitol

TIP 7 – Catch-all: You can really add anything you want. As you can see below I added a sticker I bought at the public market (bottom left), a business card from our walking tour guide (bottom right), and a paper flag that came stuck in a sandwich I ordered (top middle).

Business card, sticker, and flag, oh my!

The hard part was keeping space for photos. I knew I was going to use 2×3 wallet sized photos, so I’d leave an area roughly that size while journaling. I also had these adorably tiny post-its to write a brief description of what picture I had in mind for that space. I’d stick it there and that helped when I filled in the blanks once I was back home.

If you are interested it seeing a full flip through of my Cuban Travel Journal you can check that out here.

How do you all keep memories from your travels? If you keep travel journals are there any tips or techniques you’d recommend? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Keep traveling and creating,


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