Finding the right travel journal for kids

We’ve spoken to Liam’s teacher about whether she wanted to give us some work for him to do while we’re away, since he’ll be missing 6 weeks of school, and her response was to suggest he keeps a travel journal of what we do, or his impressions, each day while we’re away.

When I was about 8 my Dad and his girlfriend took me and her daughter (who was my best friend) to the snow for a few days, and they bought us each a drawing book and a notepad and we were supposed to write/draw in them each day. Even though I have kept a journal since I was about 9, I still remember how stressful I found that process, partially because I couldn’t draw to save my life, and partially I assumed that whatever I did would be compared to my friend’s efforts and found lacking. That shouldn’t be seen as a reflection on my Dad or her Mum, but only on my own insecurities.

Anyway, I don’t want Liam to have an experience like that. However, I do want to get him something he can draw as well as write in – because unlike me, he loves to draw. And, I’m considering whether to get something for Mikaela as well, but of course she can’t write yet, so I’m not sure if it’s worth it. I’m thinking she could stick things in it, like ticket stubs or postcards.

I’ve looked for kid’s travel journals on Amazon and Fishpond, but with limited success. I’ve also been down to the local newsagency and found a bunch of travel diaries (most of them not specifically aimed at kids though), most of which I thought were overpriced, and not that useful.  Here is what I have found so far:

Travel Journal in pale blueThere is The Children’s Travel Journal on Amazon, with lots of prompts and things to fill in (which I would have loved as a child), but it doesn’t have many blank pages, much less one per page per day as a general daily journal, which is what I am looking for. It does have sections like “planning” and “packing list” for filling out before the trip, and then pages for “first impressions”, “the route”, “what we did”, “the language” and so on, which could be a good way of structuring a journal, particularly for a child who maybe isn’t sure what to write. But it doesn’t have any daily pages, and it assumes you have one destination, not several as we do. At the moment this is $14.9616.16 (2019 price) on Amazon.

Kid's Trip Diary by Loris and Marlin BreeThen there’s the Kid’s Trip Diary, which looks like fun, and again, I’m sure I would have loved this as a kid, but it only has pages for 28 days. It does have a lot of list type pages to fill out before you go, which could be fun for a child for whom the wait for the trip seems interminable. It has a ‘special note to parents’ at the front with a checklist of things to take with you. It’s all good information, but seems to assume that your child will not read those pages (mine would!). At the moment this is US$6.95 on Amazon. You can also purchase the Kid’s Trip Diary on Fishpond, currently for AU$7.7212.86 (updated 2019) with free shipping Australia wide, but that is more than 50% off, so I don’t know if that price will last.

In the newsagency I found:

kids travel journalThe Kids Travel Journal by Mudpuppy Press, which is also on Amazon. This one was closer to what I am personally looking for. It has less pages of lists to fill in, and more daily pages for your trip. It does have a world map to mark your route and stops, pages to fill in about your country of destination  (only one country though), a page to write about your journey and arrival, postcard address pages and so on. Then it has more than enough daily pages for our purposes – I stopped counting after 60. It also has a few pages for drawing, but not enough.

The main downside of this one is that the daily pages are very structured. Each one is divided into three sections with the headings: ‘What I did’, ‘What I saw’ and ‘What I ate’. I’d rather Liam had the opportunity to write whatever impressions he might have for the day, and maybe draw pictures some days or paste in ticket stubbs or other souvenirs. Price at the local shop was AU, $22.99, price on Amazon is US$8.50 $9.60 (2019).

It's not the destination, it's the journeyMy favourite option so far is the Fountain FOK Travel Journal.  This is not aimed at kids, so hopefully I am not just projecting my preferences onto Liam. It has I found this online for AU$11.95, but I’m pretty sure it was under $10 in the shop. It comes in three different covers with different famous landmarks. It has a personal information page at the front, followed by a checklist page, postcard address pages, itinerary pages and then stacks of lined blank pages with a plastic pocket in the back. The lined pages don’t have anything printed on them, so could be a page per day, or several pages per day, as necessary.

I know this is in someways more a grown-up style book than they others, but it also leaves a lot more room for creativity and for also using it for scrapbooking, which I think Liam will like.

What I would really have liked to find is a book similar to this, but with a kid’s style theme, and alternating lined and blank pages for writing and drawing. There’s still the possibility that I might just buy them each an A5 visual art diary for around $4 each from Big W, and let them have at it. I will ask Liam whether he’d preferred lined or blank pages and go from there I think.

4 thoughts on “Finding the right travel journal for kids”

  1. Thank you for this post. I’m currently looking for a travel journal for my little girl, She will only be 18 months but I want to start the journal for her on our 1st holiday to Florida in September. They are never to young to have something like that. I want to use it as a scrapbook sort of thing as she will be to young to remember.

    I hope you founf something to use.

    1. I think having a journal for your toddler is a lovely idea Ellie. I didn’t do it for mine, last trip (she was about 18 months then), because I just knew I didn’t have it in me to get it done – hard enough getting the 5yo’s done, since she couldn’t write yet. The next trip though, later this year, I will have 4, 8, & 12 yos, and they will all have one each!

  2. Hello thanks for your great article on journals. It really helped me eliminate ones that wouldn’t work well for our extended overseas trip coming up which involves four countries. Do you know if there are any new products out that might suit such a trip for my 8 and 10 year old children?I haven’t been able to find anything. I did discover some great little journals by Sukie and these have lots of little souvenir pockets which I love. The only issue with them is that they are not spiral bound and I think it would be better, particularly for my youngest if it was. So at the moment I am leaning towards the one you purchased for your son. Thanks, Nicole.

  3. Hi Kirsten
    Just over a year ago my husband and I were in the same position as you – trying to find a good travel journal for our school aged children to take on an extended trip. We read your blog and looked at other journals but ultimately couldn’t find what we wanted. The problems you outlined were the same for us.
    Fast forward 16 months and we have created our own series of journals. We think they address most of the problems you identified in your blog – 70 journaling pages, space for drawing & collecting keepsakes, multi destination, and a variety of educational pages with prompts for research. There are no prompts on the daily journal pages but we do have a list of suggested topics at the beginning of the journal for those who need ideas.
    We only launched two weeks ago and have already sold over 30 copies so we think there are definitely others who have the same needs as us. Given that your blog is at the top of the Google search for ‘best kids travel journal’ and was one of the first places we looked in our own search, we were wondering if you would consider reviewing our journal and adding to your blog?
    Here is the link to our website which shows some sample pages but we would also be happy to send you a copy.

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