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How To Pack So You Keep Up With Your Journal While Travelling

by Ambassador Team 07 Jan 2024 0 Comments

There are so many approaches to journaling on the road whether you are documenting your travels or keeping up your normal journaling habits. May Flaum here, and today I’m so excited to share with you how I’ve gotten more satisfaction and joy out of my supplies while I’m away from my home craft supplies. Back in 1998 I brought a cheap notebook and a pen on a week-long road trip across the United States and journaled every detail from what we ate to inside jokes, what was on the radio to misadventures with maps. The result? My complete and utter fascination with journaling and memory keeping ‘on the road’ began! I took those notes and moved them to a small scrapbook with photos from the trip - and it remains one of my most treasured possessions to this day.

Notebooks on my desk

The times have changed and decades have passed, but my love of having paper and a pen when I travel never has! I have honed a method of ensuring that I pack the best possible supplies for the trip based on where I’m going and what my goals will be and today I’m going to share my process with you.

If you prefer a video format - I’ve created a video to share my methods and show you how I’m using A&O products in my travel journaling.

Now the big question that has taken me so long to work out - how do I decide? I break it down into a few steps in a specific order so that I can decide what to bring and remove a lot of the guess work as well as simplifying my packing process.

Notebook for travel journaling

Journaling goals?

The first thing I ask myself is what kind of a trip is this, and will I be wanting to maintain my usual journaling, make a special memory keeping project for the trip, gather memories for a future (bigger) memory keeping project, or will I simply want a journal along in case I want to write, brainstorm, or if I’m inspired? These are of course not your only options - but you can see where I’m headed here. The “why” is the first question because it will dictate so much with regards to supplies, space, and what I decide to pack. It also helps me think about things like collecting ephemera, what sorts of photos and notes I want to try and gather during my trip.

Art Journal with Stickers

How much time will you have?

While we can’t always know for sure, but this is the next question I ask myself - and I really try to look at the trip and break it down. For example, if I am taking a flight across the country by myself, on a work trip and will have 3-6 hours a day alone in my hotel room I will have lots of time to fill! I could easily bring a number of supplies and maintain my usual journaling.

Now if I am taking a whirlwind road trip (and I’m driving) with the days packed with sightseeing, time with loved ones, and very little down time my odds of having significant time during my trip would be so limited - I’d not likely bring more than a simple notebook and pen.

Archer and Olive pens and supplies

How much space do I have?

Sadly, on all travels there is a limit on how much space (or how many bags!) of supplies I can bring for journaling. Before I start packing, I want to consider the space issue. Do I have just enough space for a pen and journal in my purse? Can I bring an A&O bag or pouch? Do I have space for a larger amount of supplies?

Will I use all of the space I can? It really depends! If it makes sense within my plans of course! Most of the time though, I am perfectly happy to travel with less.

Simple Travel Journal

Now, we pack!

This is the hardest part - but I will tell you that I have yet to wish I brought more supplies with me. I always remind myself - I can always add (washi tape, stickers, more anything) when I get back home! There isn’t a rule that everything must be done while I’m traveling - and for this reason I usually bring a small supply of sticky notes to put in “add — when back home” so I don’t forget what my ideas were.

What I bring tends to depend on the factors we discussed in this article so far - I focus on my goals/intentions the most. If I know I won’t have much time and just want a place to dump thoughts, ideas, and have a place to doodle I’ll bring 2-3 pens, my journal and that’s it!

Journal Stack all packed up

When to bring more? When my goals and space align for that. Here are some things I tend to bring more often than not:

I would recommend taking your own style and ‘must have’ as well as ‘most used’ products in mind when packing. We’re all a bit different - and as I will say again there is not a wrong answer here! Know what you use, and honor your preferences while you pack. If you tend to over-pack I’d recommend a cohesive color palette as well as writing down the limits before you begin so that you can hold yourself to a maximum.

Journaling supplies

What happens when it all goes sideways?

I’d love to tell you I’m the world’s most perfect journaler - that’s just not true! I’m flawed, I’m a chaotic mess a LOT of the time and I’ve got projects that did not get finished - a few that didn’t even begin! What do I do with that? The answer is - it depends. If it matters a lot to me, I’ll focus on filling up/in the missing journal information once back home. If not, I’ll let it go. If I began the journaling for a trip I might jot more notes, and save for future memory keeping at a slower pace. If I over packed? Oh well!!! I’ll make note of what I didn’t use and try to remember next time.

I can tell you this- I’ve only come home with one disappointing journal since starting my method of evaluating and taking a few minutes to think about my time and space as well as purpose. These few minutes have become so valuable to me, they help me feel better and bring the right things for my travel. Here is a printable to help you on your next journey.

free packing list

There are no wrong answers when it comes to your journals - and whether you want to bring loads of pens or travel light with an ‘in case the mood strikes’ notebook… it is all good my friends.

Looking for even more inspiration on traveling, layouts, and ideas? Archer & Olive has you covered! Here are links to three of my favorite past posts from the team here on the blog:

Ultimate Travel Packing List 

A Minimalist's Guide 

Spreads to help you plan your next adventure

There are SO many more - so be sure to check out the blog archives

Do you have any tips or ideas to share when it comes up to packing up and hitting the road with your journals? Do tell! Leave a comment here, or message me on social media I’d love to hear what you have to say. If you post inspired by this blog post please tag myself @craftwithmay on social media and also tag @archerandolive, as well as using hashtags #AOShare and #archerandolive.

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