Are you searching for the best travel journal or best travel journal app? Whether you’re the kind of person who jots down notes during the journey, sketches what you’re seeing or collects scraps of tickets and brochures along the way, it helps to find an awesome travel journal or digital travel journal app for the job.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s available and which physical and digital travel journal might fit your needs.
As I’ve journeyed around the globe, I’ve developed my own “system” for recording my various travel experiences. Part of it involves my camera, part a travel journal and part my travel blog.
I’m not saying it’s the best way to record the journey, it’s merely the way I do it.
Everybody has their own journal system.
You will most certainly see and experience a destination different than I will. You will also have a different preference for how you want to remember it.
Perhaps you like to doodle.
Or maybe you’re like me and you prefer to sit alone with some awesome noise-cancelling headphones to write with pen to paper.
Maybe you’d rather have everything digital and backed up to the cloud.
There are so many different methods, which is why there are so many different kinds of travel journals. Don’t look at this list of the best travel journals and best travel journal apps and get overwhelmed.
Determine how you want to record your travels and then find the journal or app that fits your needs.
You can use the links above to jump to a specific section, or continue to scroll down to discover new recommendations to write out your experiences or record them in a digital journal.
Note: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may be compensated if you choose to buy one of these journals.
Best Travel Journals | For Those Who Want Physical Books
There’s nothing quite like writing or drawing in a physical book. At least, that’s my personal opinion.
Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent travel journals available for you to choose from. Here are some of my favorites as well as those that some of my friends and fellow travelers have used:
1. Moleskine Voyageur Travel Journal – Recommended
Moleskine is known for their amazing journals, and the Moleskine Voyageur travel journal is no different.
In addition to all the blank pages that are available for you to write or draw about your travel experiences, this Voyageur journal also includes:
- Additional Travel Sections such as budget pages, planning pages and packing lists.
- Double-Page World Map to keep track of where your travels take you.
- A Back Pocket to store any ticket stubs or other scraps.
Moleskine gives users the option to integrate to their online platform, but this really doesn’t add much to the journal. However, the quality of the journal and the paper is great.
Whether as a gift or for your own personal use as a travel journal, the Voyageur is one of the best options available.
As you’ll see on Amazon, the Moleskine Voyageur has a number of different style colors to choose from.
2. Maleden Leather Travel Journal
This eye-catching Maleden travel journal doesn’t just look good, it feels amazing. The soft, premium leather cover makes this feel more important than a simple diary. You’re a world traveler and this feels like it!
Although this leather travel journal lacks a lot of the features that the Moleskine does so well, there are two features I love:
- Spiral Bound pages make it easier to take out or add pages!
- Zipper Pouch to put all the scraps and make sure you don’t lose them.
The blank pages of the Maleden Travel Journal are perfect for drawing or scrap-booking. If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t want lines to confine your creativity and ability to doodle, this is the right option for you.
p.s. If you’re still not sure about this journal, I recommend you click through to the Amazon page where the reviews and answered questions are extremely helpful.
3. Atlas Travel Journal
The Atlas Travel Journal is one of the most highly-reviewed travel journals on Etsy for a reason – it’s an amazing journal!
In addition to the beautiful vegan leather, the journal has a number of creative features such as:
– A world map that can be colored in when you visit a specific country (24″ x 16″)
– Interchangeable inserts so you don’t have to buy a whole new one when you use up the pages here.
– A random international coin. And if you visit the country and take a picture with the coin, Atlas will even Venmo you money to buy a drink or ice cream in that country!
It’s a fun way to carry your journal around with you and it feels like a quality piece. You’ll be proud to take it out and write in it no matter where you are in the world!
4. Indestructible Field Book – Best Travel Journal All-Weather
Although not technically a “travel journal” per se, I’ve included The Indestructible Field Book as an option for those of you adventure travelers who don’t expect the luxury of perfect conditions in order to use your travel journal.
There’s nothing fancy about this booklet. It’s 48 lined pages that are both tear-proof and waterproof.
You write using a regular ball point pen and it won’t bleed or fade. If you’re going to be hiking, around water or even traveling around Southeast Asia during the rainy season, you can take your chances with a beautiful, leather-bound journal. Or you can eliminate any worries with a weatherproof notebook.
BONUS: Kid’s Travel Journal
For those of us who travel with kids (I have two young boys myself), giving them a Kids’ Travel Journal to allow them to record their memorable experiences is huge.
You’re not only creating memories, you’re creating habits (and you might be surprised how much they love doing it!)
The Kid’s Travel Journal is pretty simple but lots of fun. In addition to pages for recording the adventure, kids will also find:
- Road Games to keep them entertained during a long flight or car ride.
- Planning Pages to help kids get excited about where they’re going to visit.
- Fun Graphics that make it feel more like a personal coloring book than a serious journal.
There’s a back pocket where your kids can keep the things that are most important to them. You might be surprised at what they consider “interesting”!
If you’ve got kids joining you on a family journey, this is definitely worth the price.
Best Travel Journal Apps | A Digital Diary for Travelers
There are so many advantages to using a digital diary or travel journal app:
- GPS tracking;
- Immediate digital photos;
- Cloud sync;
- …and on and on.
If you’re the type of traveler that would rather type than write, these are my favorite travel journal apps.
1. FindPenguins Tracker & Journal – Best Overall Travel App
FindPenguins is a beautiful travel app that automatically tracks your travels using a combination of your device’s GPS and artificial intelligence.
The app then takes that information to create fun statistics about weather (the hottest place you’ve been), countries visited, distances traveled, etc.
You fill in the gaps with what they call “Footprints”, which are essentially blog posts that allow you to attach videos, photos and more. Your travels can be kept private, shared with friends or made public.
And that’s not even the best part!
When you’re finished with your trip, you can have the FindPenguins app compile a beautiful, printed book (paid) that includes maps, your photos, your Footprints and other great statistics about your trip.
The app is free to download and try, but to take advantage of the full set of features, you’ll want to upgrade to Premium, that costs either ~US$5/mo or ~US$33/year.
2. Day One Journal – Best Journal App
There is a standard for digital travel journals, and that bar was set by Day One. If you’ve never seen this app before, you need to try it.
There’s a free version that works well, but I highly recommend you upgrade to premium (I don’t get any sort of bonus commission for saying that).
With Premium you get:
- Multimedia Journal Entries that include writing, photos and even audio recordings.
- Cloud Sync that allows you unlimited photo and journal storage.
- Beautiful Design and excellent visual organization of all the entries.
Of course, one of my favorite features is that Day One syncs across all your devices, which includes phones, tablets and even your Apple Mac. This is huge for me because I would much rather take pictures with my phone while I’m more apt to write a journal entry on my iPad.
3. Polarsteps – Travel Tracker App
Polarsteps is a beautifully-designed app that acts more as a glorified GPS tracker than a travel journal, but I still think it’s worthy of this list.
The primary feature of Polarsteps is that you don’t have to do anything – it works by itself! You take pictures just like you normally would and keep your phone with you wherever you go.
When you’re done, Polarsteps automatically plots your journey on a map complete with your pictures of the trip.
One on hand, this could be annoying to the traveler that wants to jot down notes or create a sort of digital diary entry. If that’s you, don’t get this travel journal app.
However, if you’d rather use your phone as your personal tracker – one that friends and family can follow along with – Polarsteps a great app.
At the very end, you can even purchase a book based on your journey that is part travel map/route, part photo journal.
4. Journo Travel Journal App | Best Group Travel App
As the self-proclaimed “#1 Travel Journal App,” Journo has a lot to live up to. Thankfully, it does a pretty good job.
What sets this digital travel journal app apart from all the others on the market is one thing: collaboration. Journo allows you to collaborate with other users to create a shared trip experience.
Create beautiful journal entries with text, photos and GPS coordinates. The app automatically plots your trip on a map and if you’re collaborating, you’ll see your the entries and photos for your friends/family as well.
The only two downsides to this app are the pricing (annual subscription model similar to Day One) and they only offer iOS apps for iPhone and iPad. Thankfully, they have a 14-day free trial and they’re (still) working on an Android app.
5. Bonjournal – Minimalist (& Free) Travel Journal App
If you’re looking for a free travel journal app, Bonjournal is the app you’re looking for.
I like to think of this app as a minimalist, stripped-down version of Day One (see above). You have the ability to add photos and write journals on each day.
The app is available for both iPad and iPhone. The developer seems to have plans to add an Android app but that hasn’t happened yet. Since there are no paid upgrades, there’s no incentive for the developer to get this done quickly, unfortunately.
By far the best feature of Bonjournal is the ability to export your journal entries as one PDF with all your writing and photos. It may not look like a gorgeous magazine layout, but at least you can print it!
Conclusion | Best Travel Journals and Apps for 2021
There are plenty of great physical travel journals and travel journal apps on the market. The biggest challenge is choosing the one that works for you.
Thankfully, none of these travel journals cost tons of money, unlike what you’ll have to spend to find the best travel camera. Even if you don’t like what you get, you haven’t wasted a bunch of money.