Beyond Sketching: 6 Unique Travel Journal Techniques

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Keeping a travel journal is a great way to preserve memories of both far-flung and close-to-home travels. You've probably already thought of filling your pages with stories and sketches, museum tickets and cafe menus. But how about some dirt? For real! Check out our tips for really capturing the spirit of a place.

Add a touch of nature

If you're traveling in the red rock deserts of Utah, grab a little red dirt and rub it onto a page to add a natural element. Hiking in the spring? Use pressed flowers to liven up your journal. (Or faux flowers if they work even better — the sentiment is the same!) If you spend October in New England leaf-peeping, gather a few brilliant red maple leaves to press and include.

Just make sure you're allowed to pick or transport any flowers or other items you might want to use in your journal—many national parks and other areas do not allow plant collection, and some borders (international and even between U.S. states) do not allow people to transport plant material across.

Decorate with coins

If you're traveling internationally, save a few coins from your destination and use them to embellish your pages. They're cool to look at, and they tell a story when you add them to a journal entry about managing your travel budget, exchanging currency or splurging on something extra special.

Map it

Add a little geography to your travel journal! This could mean cutting up old Rand McNallys, free gas station maps, or even some you print off the internet. Use string, ribbon, sequins, stickers, dots, strips of cardstock, or other creative materials to chart your voyage.

Splash a scent

Catch a whiff of adventure (literally!) every time you open your journal. Splatter a little sea water on a page detailing your beach-side retreat, or spritz on a drop of your favorite Parisian perfume. They say scent is a powerful memory trigger!

Make it 3-D

f you saw a stunning rainbow in Costa Rica, commemorate it with a pop-up paper version. Create a pop-up mountain range to recall your time in Colorado or capture Chicago's skyline with a pop-up cityscape.

Add fabric, lace and ribbon

These romantic touches carry extra meaning when they're actually gathered on your travels. Lay out your page about cafes along with a lace doily you purchased nearby. If you're traveling to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, consider adding a swatch of your dress material (ask the person who does your alterations for a clipping). Or incorporate small pieces of traditional cloth from regions you explore.

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Beyond Sketching: 6 Unique Travel Journal Techniques