How to make a travel journal for a child: DIY instructions and inspiration: image of front page of journal, pen and paperclip bookmarks
Craft & DIY,  Travel

How to make a travel journal for your child

I recently made a travel journal for Miss M to document our trips this Summer and beyond. Why did I decide to make one and how did I do it? Let’s answer the first question before explaining how you can make a travel journal for your own child.

Miss M's travel journal and travel pencil case and leftover pompoms.

Our vacation

This Summer, we decided that Miss M and I would be taking a mother-daughter trip to Amsterdam. We had also booked a family vacation in Italy and would be stopping in Munich on the way back. I decided that a travel journal would be a wonderful way to help Miss M remember these trips and would cause her to reflect on what we had seen and done each day.

Miss M only turned 4 this Summer. She cannot read yet (at least, not fluently) and cannot write much more than her name and the names of those, who are important to her. We practice regularly. This meant that most of the travel journals, like this one, that were available to purchase were not really appropriate.

Many bloggers have also designed templates to help you make a travel journal for your child. Most of the templates are for downloading, printing and putting in a folder. Some were designed for older children and others were specific to road trips or the USA. We needed more flexibility and wanted something more personal.

So, instead, I decided to make a travel journal for her.

How to make a travel journal for a page: banner with journal entry image

What you will need to make a travel journal for your child

Supplies

  • A5 blank page journal
  • various pieces of coloured and patterned paper and card (A4 or larger)
  • an image for the front cover
  • coloured pencils
  • black fine liners
  • paper clips
  • ribbon
  • pompoms
  • stickers
  • elastic (approx. 1 cm width)

Tools

  • ruler
  • scissors
  • glue
  • hot glue gun
  • lead pencil
  • washi tape

This is what I came up with

Miss M’s travel journal is a work in progress that changes a little each time we use it. Today, I’m only going to show you Amsterdam because I haven’t gotten around to finishing Italy and Munich…

At this stage, the journal for each destination has the following five elements. This is how you can make each of these elements for your child’s travel journal.

Cover and passport

For the cover, I found a colourful map and added it to the title page, as you can see above. I also made a label for “Miss M’s Travel Journal,” but this label does not appear in the photographs.

On the inside cover, I added a passport page (below), with Miss M’s details. So far she has been to Amsterdam (obviously), Italy, Munich, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Australia (Melbourne and Adelaide) and Dubai.

How to make a travel journal for a child: sample passport page

Element 1: Tab pages

Travel journal for a child: Destination tab. A tab for Amsterdam made of striped paper with an overlay image of Amsterdam

In order to be able to easily find and separate each holiday location, I created a tab page for each one.

Basically, I cut out a piece of patterned card that has the same height as a page in the journal and is about 1 cm wider. In the ‘excess’ 1cm, I measured about 4 cm from the top to form the tab, then cut the remainder of the 1 cm ‘excess’ off.

(The next tab starts 4 cm lower, so cut the first 4cm of the ‘excess’ off, leave a 4 cm tab and remove the paper below that.)

Glue the patterned tab sheet onto a sheet in the journal. Label the tab with the name of the vacation (in this case Amsterdam). Miss M also added a heart sticker.

In most cases, the tab page will look a little bland despite the patterned paper. I took a simple photo, ran it through Lunapic (using the artistic floating filter), then overplayed some lettering. Alternatively, you can use photoshop, just use a photo or you can draw something (which was actually my original plan).

Element 2: Overview

How to make a travel journal for a child: Destination overview, here Amsterdam overview, with drawing of clog and tulips

For each destination, I set out the basic information (using a black fine liner):

  • where we went
  • when we went
  • who went on the holiday
  • where we stayed
  • how we got there and
  • any other basic information that seemed appropriate.

Add some pictures or photos to fill the extra space.

Element 3: Daily entries

How to make a travel journal for your child: daily entry. Example from our first entry for Amsterdam

Each day has a double page spread.

Each evening of our trip, we would add information about the day, what we saw, what we did, what we ate, etc. I’d make up a few questions and Miss M would provide the answers.

Of course, because Miss M can’t read or write yet, I wrote the questions or headings and wrote down her answers. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, my role will change.

On the opposite page, Miss M drew something related to the day, like what she enjoyed the most, something we did (like a boat trip), etc.

Miss M also added the love heart stickers where she wanted.

Sample questions

What can you write about each day? We like to vary the questions and prompts depending on what we did, but here are some suggestions.

Travel journal for a child: prompts and questions list

Element 4: Photos

How to make a travel journal for a child: photo collage and child's drawing

Unless you are super organised and have a portable photo printer like the HP Sprocket or a ‘polaroid’ instant camera like the Fujifilm Instax, you will have to wait to get home to do this one.

Photos, particularly of your little traveller, are a great way to personalise their journal and help them remember their trip. I made little collages with photos of the highlights each day.

Whether you print them out on a printer at home, have them printed on a machine is up to you. You can even buy postcards or use an app make your own postcard and have it sent to you.

Element 5: Entry ticket envelope

How to make a travel journal for a child: envelope made of colourful paper for ticket stubs from the trip.

We tried to save all the entry tickets we could. To corral them, I created a simple envelope from a piece of patterned card for each destination. If you have a collection of interesting, unused envelopes, you can use them too.

Bonus: Bookmarks

How to make a travel journal for your child, sample journal page with two pompom bookmarks

As an added bonus, I made some simple bookmarks for Miss M’s travel journal. One of her favourite things is moving them each day.

This is how you can make some for your child’s travel journal. You will need paperclips, pompoms, ribbon and a hot glue gun.

  1. Simply, glue a pompom to a paperclip. For a bit more fun glue three small pompoms together then glue them to the paperclip. To make sure they stick, glue a fourth mini pompom to the other side of the paperclip.
  2. Cut a piece of thin ribbon, about 10 cm long. Fold in half, thread the fold through the paperclip and then the ends through the gap created by the fold. Put a dab of glue on the ribbon to hold it in place.

Going on a trip soon? Make a travel journal for your child!

Not only is a travel journal a great way for you and your child to remember your trip in years to come, but it is also a great way for your children to reflect on what they are experiencing on the trip. If, like me, you need to tailor the content a little more, make a travel journal for your child!

All you need is a little time and creativity, but all of the elements – and the bookmarks – are quite easy make. Of course, the older your child is, the more input they can have on the content. Miss M has only just turned four and she loves helping to choose the photos, draw the pictures and, of course, attach the stickers.

Enjoy your trip sign-off
How to make a travel journal for a child: title with start of Amsterdam trip section as image and three bookmarks in use

2 Comments

  • Jenny Bhatia

    This is perfect for the kids. So important to get them involved in the planning process of travel. The more they know about a destination, the more interested they will be in learning even more. Journaling is one of the best ways for them to stay involved. Love the creativity.

    • Rachael Matthews

      Thank you Jenny! Miss M has really enjoyed filling it out and drawing the pictures and it has been interesting for me to see what parts of our holiday she has responded to most.

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