How to Start A Traveler's Notebook

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Start a Traveler's Notebook on a Budget

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Start a Traveler's Notebook on a Budget

First of all, why do you even need a Traveler's Notebook? Because as the saying goes: "So it is written, so it shall be done."  And I, for one, am an avid believer that you attract what you expect, reflect what you desire, and manifest what you write.Let's go!

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Travel Tips
  • For flights, Skyscanner is excellent for comparing the best airline deals.
  • For accommodations, our family trusts for reasonable prices.

Power Of Attraction

I have always believed that we are the writers of our destinies. By writing down my dreams and goals, the world would line up the right people, time, and places for it to happen.  And one by one, those scribbled desires in my notebook came true throughout the years. It surprised me how some of them incarnated but I love them even more in that way. 

In this post, I'll be sharing with you how to start your own traveler's notebook, what things to write down, and how you can make it your personalized trip planner.

10 Things to Write in Your Traveler's Notebook

I like my notebooks to be minimalist, giving me space for my huge and messy handwriting. It has to have enough real estate to write my vacation checklists, such as jotting down visa requirements before filling out travel applications.   Sidenote: "Vacation Checklist" was the original name of this website.  

I used these notebooks to plan everything for my trip — before, during, and even after I got back home. The more prepared you are before the trip, the sweeter your travel experience will be once you finally: hop on that solo trip to Asia; take that boat ride to Boracay; car-raoke along that road trip to all the US national parks with your friends; or that long-awaited backpacking trip to Europe.

1. To-do List

Before your trip, write down specific things you need to do here, like booking a ticket, finding a place to stay, and listing which activities to enjoy while there. Also, write down the visa application process and requirements needed, which vary depending on which country you're visiting and the kind of passport you have.

2. Things to Bring

When traveling, I like everything simple. My things have to be light, functional, and still cute to look at. Therefore, my perfect notebook fits easily in my backpack, is slim enough like a t-shirt, and has room for my glorious calligraphy.

Bonus tip: if it looks simple, then it's less likely to be stolen.  Imagine owning an expensive, pure-leather, heavy notebook only to have it catch the eye of a handsome thief.  Oh dear, my heart- I mean, my notebook!

"Things to bring" is one of the most important things to write in your notebook because you don't want to run out of clothes, do you?  Make sure if you plan to do laundry, that you have enough clothing that can be mixed and matched.  If it's winter, pack enough layers to stay warm.  And do not forget to pack an emergency first aid kit with basic medicines for things like pain/headaches, an upset stomach, and/or cuts.

10 easy ideas for your traveler's notebook

Paris Notebook Collection

3.  Things to Buy

Before the trip, also list the right equipment.  I sometimes write it with my grocery list for the next time I go out.

If it's a summer trip, I make sure my phone has a waterproof phone holder for activities like snorkelling. Underwater pictures can be mesmerizing.

If climbing a mountain, getting the right socks is of utmost importance for proper cushion and moisture-wicking and to avoid blisters.

4. Planning the Trip

The heart and soul of your trip! Nailing this will forever immortalize the experience(s) to come. This part doesn't have to be perfect; knowing key times will decrease your chances of getting lost/late and save you time and money.

a. Flight Details
Write down the flight departure and arrival times. Include the address of the airport and how far it is from my booked hotel or hostel.

If you're looking for plane tickets check out Skyscanner, it's a great platform that our family used to compare flight tickets and we always get the best deals there.

b. Accommodation Details
Take note of the hotel(s) address and things available around there, especially the nearest grocery stores, restaurants, and bus/train stops. 

You can simply ask the receptionist when you get there too. However, during my Asia trips, I mostly stayed in backpacker hostels which can be pretty busy, not to mention the possible language barrier. Better to come prepared. 

I also try to contact them via email to inform them about my arrival and if they offer any discounted activities. Sometimes they don't really respond due to the volume of bookings they receive and any staffing shortage. I've been lucky to interact with them before my trip at some backpacker hostels. 

c. Transportation
List possible times your bus/train/boat arrives and leaves so you don't miss an activity.  Always give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes if you get lost, get stuck in traffic, or are looking for parking.  Better early than late.  Of utmost importance: check for the last trip and fares!  So you still have time and money to get back. 

For car rentals, we trust Enterprise to give us the best deals during our trip.

For Car Rentals
Take note of your pick-up address and the time allotted.  Our last car rental told us to bring the car back by a certain time with a certain amount of gas.  Make sure to set aside money for fuel and parking.

5. Budgeting

This is another section that needs some emphasis too. If you're on a tight budget, this will be on your priority list and everything will revolve around these numbers. I did that for most of my travels. I don't want any surprise costs on my trips, but I always bring emergency cash and a credit card if needed.

Set aside a minimum and maximum spending amount for meals, transportation, entrance fees, activities, souvenirs, and emergencies.  3 meals a day + snacks add up quickly, so keep track!  As well as tips for restaurants and activities.

6. Activities

My favourite part of my trip planning! This is mostly the reason why I fly to a certain country or an unknown island or a non-touristy location. I make sure to do my research well as my travel destinations are often not well-known to mankind and I might get stuck there alone, never to see the light of day again if I'm not careful, ahahaa.

Again, write down the address of where you're going, the fastest ways to get there, and the easiest way to get out. If possible, check for basic ideas a local would know.

Email or call to confirm your booking(s) a week beforehand.  Set alarms and/or calendar reminders for things you plan to do (i.e.- bungee-jumping, river rafting, or even city/food tours).

7. Reminders Before the Trip

a. Flight
Make sure to write down your booking reference number, be at the airport two hours before your flight, and allocate time for your travel to the airport.

b. Accommodation
Write down your hotel/motel/resort/BnB booking number. Contact your place to inform them about when you'll be arriving — it really does help.  

8. Write About Your Trip

During the trip, you can use your notebook for journaling. 

Write about your excitement, worries, and expectations during the trip. You can even draw on it or add some pictures if you want. For me, I simply do bullet points or bullet journaling and check off my activity list. When I'm done, I add in some prices so I can share them here in my blog with some pointers for my readers. I also include some side notes about my favourite parts and memorable moments.

When you're on those long flights, get out your notebook and write down your thoughts. 

9. Take Note of Inspirational Quotes and Phrases

When you're on those gruesome, bumpy bus rides, try to write down some inspirational quotes and phrases you heard or read. Your handwriting might be crooked but you'll treasure this kind of note one day.  Maybe you'll be reminded of that one time you laid eyes on the most beautiful lake you have ever seen in your life, commemorated by some shaky narration. If you're like me, I sometimes prefer this short version compared to a long paragraph about it. 

10. Write your next travel adventure

After your trip, you can still use your notebook to plan out your next trip. Simply start with the question "Where am I going next?" or the phrase "My next adventure is to..."

Explore an extensive range of planners, journals, and notebooks that cater to both children and adults. To find out more, visit

Have fun and be safe ^__^

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