Journal prompts for a travel book with better storytelling

Journal prompts for a travel book with better storytelling

A travel book can be full of wonderful images, but you shouldn’t forget the evocative stories that go with those images!

We highly recommend that you take a travel journal with you on your trip so that you can record memories each day whilst they are fresh in your mind.  This also makes it easy to add narrative to a photo book on your return.  There are dozens of travel journals on the market for handwritten notes or if you are taking a laptop, you could simply use a word document.  The more technically minded might create and update a personal travel blog.

When it comes to photo books there are certain questions you might ask yourself about all the practicalities of size and shape of a photo book and for those recommend our Photo Book Recipe as a guide.

However, today’s post is all about the questions that will help you create the narrative for a photo book.  Narrative captions are one thing, but the truly evocative stuff comes in longer form writing and they best way to capture those is to conduct an interview with yourself (or travel partner.)

You can use these questions as a guide to tuck in the back of your travel journal to prompt you as you travel, you could refer to them on your return home or a combination of both.  Remember to try to stay in flow and address follow-up questions as your travel tales branch out (as they most inevitably will).

 

PLANNING

  1. Are you a detailed planner with a full itinerary?
  2. Do you budget and save for long periods prior to your trip?
  3. Do you record your daily spending?
  4. Are you a spontaneous traveller that wings it?
  5. Why did you choose this destination?
  6. Do you do hours of research and book everything yourself?
  7. Did you use travel agents?
  8. Do you arrive hours early to the airport?
  9. Do you run late?
  10. Can you describe the feeling of anticipation the night before a big trip?
  11. What advice were you given about your destination from family or friends?
  12. Do you have any insecurities or anxieties about visiting this destination?
  13. What are you looking forward to the most?
  14. Are you an over packer?
  15. Do you always end up having to buy something you forgot to pack? (My husband and I often tell the story of the tiny $12 tube of toothpaste we had to buy for a one-night getaway!)

 

SHOPPING

  1. Do you have a traditional souvenir that you always buy or something you collect from each destination?
  2. Do you bring gifts home for family or friends?

FOOD

  1. Do you seek out traditional food or stick to resorts and hotels?
  2. Is there one amazing dish or meal that you associate with this trip?
  3. Was there something you tried that you absolutely hated?
  4. Was there a drink that was unique to this trip?
  5. Any drunken shenanigans?
  6. Was there a food that you thought you knew from home that looked or tasted completely different in this location?
  7. Was the tap water potable?
  8. Was the food reasonable priced or expensive?
  9. Was the service friendly and good?
  10. Did you gain or lose weight?
  11. Did any food upset your palate or gut?

TRAVELLING

  1. How did you get to the airport or tour departure location?
  2. Did you get airsick or seasick?
  3. Are you a happy or nervous flyer?
  4. What modes of transport did you take?
  5. What was the flight like?
  6. Did you get an upgrade?
  7. Did you arrive at an ungodly hour of day?
  8. Did you have a layover?
  9. Were there any delays?
  10. Did you sit next to anyone interesting?
  11. See anyone famous at the airport?
  12. Did you buy duty free?
  13. Was the advice you got accurate?

SIGHTSEEING

  1. What was your first impression of your destination?
  2. Do you stick to an exercise program while you travel?
  3. If you record your steps, did you do more or less than when you’re at home?
  4. Which iconic sites did you see?
  5. Did you visit off the beaten track/untouristed locations?
  6. Did you have a guide?
  7. What language did they speak?
  8. Did you visit any religious sites of significance?
  9. Do you practice your own Religion whilst travelling? I know I visited all sorts of amazing churches throughout Europe in the 1990’s as I made a point of going to Sunday Mass each week.
  10. Did you visit places of historical importance?
  11. Were the locals friendly?
  12. Evoke the 5 senses what did you see, taste, hear, smell or touch?
  13. Did you go to any local markets?
  14. Was their evidence of poverty or homelessness?
  15. Did you feel safe and comfortable on the street day or night?
  16. Did you stick to a tour group or explore on your own?
  17. Write about an everyday activity you observed?
  18. What might you miss when you get home?

ACCOMMODATION

  1. What was your accommodation like?
  2. Hotel? Motel? Resort? Tent?
  3. How many different locations did you bunk down in?
  4. Are you a good sleeper?
  5. Were the beds comfortable?
  6. Was the accommodation noisy? Clean?
  7. Was the service friendly?
  8. Was there anything unique about the accommodation?
  9. Would you recommend it to a friend?

Three parting tips about keeping your travel journal

  1. Write every day of your trip, even if it’s only for 5 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or interesting descriptive sentences you can fix all that later.
  2. Write the date and location at the start of every journal entry. Don’t try to rely on your memory (those complicated names in foreign languages and possibly thousands of photos can be overwhelming)
  3. When in doubt use the 5 W’s – when, where, who, what and why, for a quick easy journal entry that you can flesh out later.

Get all these journal prompts plus 25 more prompts in this handy free download.

Happy travels.

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