A good friend of mine once said she learned more about the world, its history, its cultures, and its beauty from traveling than she ever did in school or from books or videos. Experiencing something out of your comfort zone is an exhilarating experience. Exposure to new cultures and their food and customs teaches us to accept those cultures and appreciate the world around us.
Once you are home and friends ask you about your trip, at first, it is all current, and you have lots to talk about, but within a few weeks or months, some places you visited may be forgotten, or the names of cities, museums, different foods are hard to recall. This is where a travel log is very useful to help everyone appreciate the trip even years later. A Vlog or video log on a social media platform can provide instant gratification to you and your friends. They can keep tabs on you and experience your experiences almost as if they were with you.
Preparing a great travel log in booklet form or video form takes some effort and organization; however, it is worth having this record that can be referred to over and over again. In this post, we will explore some of the concepts about travel logs, how they are used, and tips for maintaining a travel log.
What Is a Travel Log?
Both companies and individuals use travel logs to track their travel. Many companies ask their employees to complete spreadsheets or online tracking systems to track the dates, locations, and expenses for their travel. These travel logs are data-driven and used by the company to track their employee’s travel, to repay employees for their expenses, and to claim these expenses on their annual tax filing.
Travel logs for individuals may contain all of the same information and a lot more. They are also known as travel journals. In a personal travel log or travel journal, travelers write about their experiences on their trips, the places they visited, meals they enjoyed, events, and historic locations they visited. Many will also include pictures of these locations and people they met along the way. These memories, stories, and adventures are captured in their travel log/journal and referred to for years after they return from their trip.
What is a Travel Log Template?
A travel log template is a blank, editable sheet that helps users create a friendly business travel log or personal travel journal according to their needs. Travel log templates save time and provide consistency for both employees and individuals who want to keep track of their travel and expenses. Companies use templates and make them available to their employees to use whenever they are traveling and need to report their expenses. Company travel log templates include basic information such as the date, time, expense, location, the reason for travel, and miscellaneous such as project or tracking codes needed for tax purposes.
Individuals traveling around the world on various trips use a travel log template to save them time and help them keep track of their budget, memorialize their experiences, and include both narrative and photos. The template can be used to begin a new record on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Why Keep a Travel Log When Traveling?
There are many reasons to keep a travel log while traveling. They include the following:
- Staying Organized
- Managing Stress
- Remembering Your Trip
- Achieving Goals
- Improving Memory
- Improving Writing Skills
Staying Organized – writing in a travel log helps everyone organize their thoughts and focus on things they still want to see or do. You may plan to see a variety of events in a given location. Writing about them helps compare and keep track of what you have seen and what you need to prioritize in the remaining time you have before moving on to the next location.
Managing Stress – many people find that writing about their day, both good and bad is a great way to vent and obtain relief from stressful situations. Writing about your experiences is a great way to reduce tensions that many people would internalize otherwise.
Remembering Your Trip – over time, we all lose memories of important details about our trips and experiences. Writing about your experiences, especially those that made an impression at the time, helps you to remember them by referring back to your journal regularly.
Achieving Goals – many travelers write down their goals for their trip, the places they want to see, and the activities they want to do. As you complete them, tick off these items, write about them and review those goals you still have to complete.
Improving Memory – seeing something, talking about it, and then writing about it is considered one of the best ways to strengthen memories of your experiences.
Improving Writing Skills – when we write something, we also know that other people may also read this material. Our pride ensures that we take the time to write well, clearly with good punctuation, spelling, and grammar.
Business Travel Log Vs. Personal Travel Log
Business Travel Log
A business travel log is a record of business expenses, purposes, and outcomes of a business trip. You can use a business travel log for official reasons, such as tax deductions by the IRS.
Personal Travel Log
A personal travel journal is a time capsule of your experiences, emotions, scenes, and reflections of your vacation. You write any exciting details of your trip in a personal travel log.
Essential Elements of a Travel Log
Essential elements of a travel log for companies often include basic information compared to a tourist travel log. Corporate travel logs include:
- Reason for travel and
- Miscellaneous items
– Project or tracking codes
– Tax information
Individuals include much of the same information; however, there is more focus on their experiences on the trip as well as planning details for their trip. In addition to the above topics, including items such as:
- Destination plans
- Room for documenting experiences
- Room for adding photos and other items of interest
How to Keep a Travel Log (Video)
How to Keep a Business Travel Log
Before writing a travel log, you need the proper documentation essential for any tax benefits or compensation.
Step 1) Mileage Records
Record all mileage expenses during your trip. Use a well-calibrated odometer to document the distance traveled using a car. Alternatively, when using air, water, or train transport, record travel duration and indicate the start and endpoints of your journey.
Warning: Don’t use estimates to record your mileage. The IRS has the mandate to review your log during tax inquisitions; therefore, only write what you can prove.
The case of the Moores (Moore vs. Comm’r, TC Summ. OP. 2012_16) shows the grave nature of mileage records. The tax court and the IRS declined their deduction in the ruling due to questionable and erroneous entries. Mr. and Mrs. Moore recorded all their mileage on a logbook for their real estate brokerage firm on 12 separate pages, one for each month of the year.
Tip: Use reputable mileage apps that record accurate mileage.
Step 2) Other Expense Respites
In addition to mileage records, gather hotel, food, stationery, and other minor expense receipts. Separate the receipts from personal expenses and the business’s expenses.
Step 3) Chronological Order
A well-designed business travel log employs good chronological order. No rule restricts you to using the exact sequence of events; however, when referencing your journal in the future and you are pressed for time, it saves the hassle.
Step 4) Review and Verification
Review the cost at the end of each trip and send the log to the accounts department for verification.
It is good practice to have multiple copies of the travel journal. Always keep the original business trip log in a secured file cabinet.
How to Start a Personal Travel Journal
There is no right way to keep a travel journal. Whether you are artistic or prefer to keep things simple, all you need is your thoughts, a good pen, and a notebook. Let’s guide you through how to set up an evocative travel journal.
Step 1) Collect Data
Collect all your photos, brochures, maps, plane tickets on the table.
Step 2) Collect Essentials
Choose a good pen that doesn’t blot the paper. Also, buy a travel journal, scissors, highlighters, and glue.
Step 3) Start Writing
Write your thoughts about the journey and attach descriptive photos and illustrations. Write about the smells of street food, the texture of the sand, and any sensory aspect you feel will best document your experiences.
Step 4) Attach Mementos
Pressed leaves, flowers, and rock fragments are some mementos you can include. Downsize the larger pictures and fix them on the matching page of the trip.
Step 5) Review
Review your log after every trip and constantly update it. The early evening before dinner is an opportune time to update a personal travel journal.
Tip: You can write the expectations of your trip beforehand and then compare the notes with the actual experience after on for a more exciting journal.
Travel Log Templates and Examples
Travel Log Templates (MS Excel)
Travel Log Templates (MS Word)
Travel Log Templates (PDF)
Materials You May Want to Purchase for Your Travels
Buy a hardcover lightweight journal that has a strong binding and can also hold photos and postcards. Include pens, markers, and highlighters to write about your trip and highlight some of those you want to draw attention to. If you are so inclined, include tools for sketching as well. You will need adhesives to attach photos, postcards, and other mementos to your journal. Other tools include scissors for trimming items, a ruler, a clear folder to collect and hold mementos, a map of the area you are visiting, and writing as you go in your journal.
How to Prepare a Travel Log
Follow these general steps the first time you use a travel log on one of your trips. After you gain some experience with travel logs, feel free to make adjustments to fit your likes and dislikes, travel style, and time to make entries in your travel log.
Remember that you are traveling and may not have room for extensive materials. Take the essentials and be prepared to replenish them along the way, particularly if it is a long trip. The following will help you prepare for beginning your trip with your travel log.
Start by planning your trip and use your journal to record your travel plans. Places to visit, restaurants you want to try, and various sights that are on your itinerary.
Leave room to add those you discover along the way. You can also record contact information for hotels and places you will be staying as well as transportation.
Write as you travel. It is easier to recall your experiences if you write about them immediately. Even after a few days, you may not recall details that were important to you at the time. You will not miss them if you write about them in your journal.
Jotting things down in point form will help the memory and make it easier to expand on each point later on. Add pictures to each point or section if possible.
Friends and family who read your journal will appreciate it if you write about what it was like to visit a location, what you learned, the things that surprised you, and what you found disappointing. Everyone gets so much more out of a journal when they can immerse themselves in your trip vicariously.
Tips for keeping a Travel Log
The following are a collection of tips that many readers may find useful:
- Begin writing in your journal before you leave home about the planning and the places you intend to visit
- Instead of making lists of things you did, tell a story about your experiences
- Include information about what you thought or felt about the places you visited
- Include the not so great experiences
- Write your thoughts while they are still fresh in your mind
- Take lots of pictures to help you recall your many experiences
- Summarize the best parts of your trip
- Include your experiences – the food, the people, excursions, impressions, and things of beauty around you
- Include funny moments
- Set aside time every day to write in your journal and summarize your day
- Jot down points if you are tight for time. These will be great memory joggers for later when you have time to fill out your journal
Other Types of Travel Logs
Technology and social media have progressed significantly. Today’s smartphones can take excellent photos, narrate videos, and convert spoken words into text. Various platforms support Vlogs and videos that can be uploaded in real-time. Your followers can see and hear your experiences instantly. Using a smartphone is convenient, and many provide excellent quality images which can be labeled with titles and notes. You may still want to carry a journal to make manual notes to help you, later on, add audio and text to your videos and pictures.
There are also purpose-built apps that can be downloaded to your smartphone to help document your travels. Add notes, videos, and photos along with captions to your images. Links to images can be added for your readers to explore online websites if they want more information. These apps also automatically capture the current weather conditions and the GPS location, which helps create a detailed online log for your readers and yourself.
Once you are home, you will have all of the details to update your manual journal with notes and images.
Travel Log Ideas to Inspire You
It helps to think about why you are keeping a travel journal. Of course, you are writing for yourself so that you can refer to your trip notes many times after you return home. Add sufficient details and information that will trigger great memories of your trips years later when you are doing a trip down memory lane.
- Many people find inspiration from comments they receive from others. Family members and friends enjoy reading about your travels. Writing interesting content in your travel log, which inspires your readers to keep coming back for more, drives many travelers to create excellent content.
- Add content as you go every day, even if it is just a quick note to jog your memory later. Add a date to each entry, the location, and any details that are important to you. Aim to set aside a time each day to complete your travel log to avoid getting behind and missing details that would be interesting to you and your readers.
- Inspiring others to travel and visit some of the locations you talk about in your journal can be very motivating. Add addresses, describe what you saw and experienced. Readers with like-minded travel objectives will appreciate this information and build their trip around your information.
- Creativity is the spice of life. Get your creative juices in gear and inspire others through your writing, images, and videos. Edit the images and videos to portray the most attractive and interesting content. In a way, you become the director and producer of creative content that will be appreciated by many.
Best Apps for Creating a Digital Travel Log
There are many digital travel apps available. They are handy and easy to use, and always available since most travelers always carry their smartphones with them to stay in touch and make travel plans. Family and friends appreciate that they can stay updated with your travels and even add comments on social media platforms. The following is a list of some of the best travel apps for smartphones currently available.
- Day One Journal
- Travel Diaries
Day One Journal – is available in a free version format and a premium format. The premium version provides unlimited storage for photos and journal entries, cloud-based storage, recording by audio, and the ability to print your journal in book format. The free version allows entry by hand and observes entries by calendar, timeline, or photos.
Travel Diaries – comes with lots of features such as enhancing text with photos, keeping entries private or public, the ability to convert the diary to a blog, and sharing automatically on social media platforms. It also has a book creation and printing capability from 40 pages up to 320 pages.
Drifter – the app was created by travelers who wanted a social network that supports photos, videos and encourages travel advice and reviews. It is great for solo travelers and folks that like to share experiences. There is still room for improvement, and the developers appreciate feedback and support.
Bonjournal – is available for iPhone users and provides a simple interface to record activities while on your trip. There are privacy settings to control what content is seen by whom. A great app for keeping track of your journey and sharing photos and ideas.
Momento – organizes your social networks connecting to eleven different platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Swarm, and YouTube. Your information can be kept private, or you can add your travel information publicly for your friends and family to see. Momento can also be used as a work/project journal to keep track of meetings, milestones, and project notes.
Mistakes to Avoid When Keeping a Business Travel Log
1. Not including the business purpose
Error: It is a business travel journal for a reason. Telling us the sequence of events for the entire trip does not make us better understand your travel log without the purpose for the trip. Writing a business travel journal without the business purpose is a common novice mistake that makes you seem inept as the go-to person for a business trip.
Solution: Succinctly outline your business purpose at the beginning of the travel log. Usually, the managerial cadre will review your travel log after a business trip. Keep that in mind and provide them with a guiding light to what your trip entails via a reason. No one wants to read up to page seven of any document unless it promises them an undervalued asset in crypto that will 100x in the next month. After you have established your aim for business travel, you can document.
2. Documenting every Tom, Dick, and Harry you meet
Error: “I met Ryan Reynolds today, and we bonded over our mutual friend Ryan Gosling.” We understand that it isn’t every day you meet the Ryans on a business trip; however, telling us your interaction with them while disregarding their relevance to the business is outright trivial.
Solution: Write down if you meet an exciting person who introduces you to a new business model. However, if you meet Ryan Reynolds and he doesn’t tell you how to maximize your business’s productivity, save that for a personal journal. Only write insightful interactions about people who affect your business trip purpose.
3. Using estimations
Error: Using business trip estimations instead of the actual cost.
Solution: Save all the slips. In the journal, stick all the tickets for all your purchases relevant to the business. Please do not ignore the minor expenses as they accrue over time and cause a significant dent in the company’s travel budget. Include any other proper documentation, such as online transaction records, in the business travel log.
4. Being ‘Fanciful.’
Error: Including too much business jargon that your business travel log readers have a difficult time comprehending.
Solution: Write your travel log in straightforward language and brief sentences. Try to write only business trip details such as a conference by the sea. Don’t write, “The Sea was cerulean while the orator propagated his voice.” However, do not sacrifice your unique writing style in a bid to use modest vocabulary.
5. A business travel journal without a travel itinerary is a scrapbook
Error: Failing to include the travel itinerary makes tracking through your business trip challenging.
Solution: Attach your travel itinerary that is relevant to the business purpose. Try to make the itinerary brief.
The following are some of the frequently asked questions that many travelers have when they are making decisions about using a travel log and sharing the information with friends and family.
A travel log is either a hardcopy travel book/binder or an online system to keep track of interesting experiences about your trip. Include all of your adventures, stories, and memories to help remember everything you experienced and also share with your friends and family.
There are many names used in the industry in addition to the travel log. These include:
ᐅ Travel Journal
ᐅ Journey Log
ᐅ Journey Plan
ᐅ Log Book
ᐅ Travelers notebook
Purchase a diary, writing tools, and any other materials you may need for your travel adventure. Use your diary or journal to plan your trip. Make notes of the places you want to see, places you want to stay, and how you will travel – by car, bus, train, air. Add other notes as appropriate for your trip. You may decide on using a combination of both written tools and online social media systems. Download the app and become familiar with the app before your trip. Enter all of the same information into the app. During your familiarization of the app, confirm that your smartphone has all of the required features needed to meet your travel log entries.
A travel log is either an online app or a document containing all of the details regarding your trip. A travel log can be used by companies for corporate travel as well as for folks embarking on a vacation. The travel journal can contain whatever you want it to. Most people add some or all of the following depending on their needs:
ᐅ Memories or stories and adventures
ᐅ Places they stayed
ᐅ People they met
ᐅ Budget and/or cost
ᐅ And more
What you need for a travel journal depends to some extent on what your objectives are, what you think you would like to remember and whether you are using a social media system/smartphone or a physical journal, or a combination of both. Items that you may need for your travel journal include:
ᐅ Durable, lightweight journal. Hardcovers are considered better than soft covers
ᐅ Art materials if you plan to add sketches of your travel
ᐅ Adhesives to secure photos, postcards, and other mementos to your journal
ᐅ Include a straight edge such as a ruler and a small pair of scissors
ᐅ Include a map that can be added to your journal
ᐅ Choose an app for your smartphone and verify compatibility with the phone and the social media system you use
Many people tend to add photos, maps, postcards, and mementos picked up along the way. Add notes about your experiences and plan to write every day to avoid missing essential memories about your trip.
Some folks will paste a map on the front of their journal for easy reference as they travel. Others add decals commemorating the locations and events they attended. Sketch artists add their portrayal of their trip, especially places they visited that made an impact on them.
One of the activities associated with planning your trip is to choose a travel journal for your trip. Give some thought about what you want to record and who you are writing for. How much time do you have, will you share some or all of the information online, and is it to be kept private or with limited sharing? Once you have determined the audience for your journal, write accordingly and provide information that will be interesting to those readers.
Some consumers use diaries and travel journals interchangeably. However, they are different and are aimed at different purposes.
A diary is a structured book used to enter records as they occur or to plan for events in the future. Many people use a diary as a daily planner to stay organized, while others use them to jot down notes and thoughts every day.
A journal is unstructured used most often for recording ideas, creative ideas, and jotting down notes on thoughts, travel, and goals. Many people add their structure based on how they intend to use the travel journal and their travel plans.
A traveler’s notebook can be softcover or hardcover, with pockets to keep mementos in and add pages if you need to add more writing space. Some include elastic bands to hold additional smaller notebooks and documents.
Documenting a road trip should be handled like any other trip unless, of course, you are the driver. Take breaks along the way to make notes in your travel log, take a few pictures, and add decals or mementos that you pick up along the way. Spend some time each night after you stop for the day to add notes to your travel log about your experiences and thoughts for the day.
- Deciding why you are keeping a travel log will help you to make choices about materials to purchase and the type of travel journal you wish to purchase.
- Decide who you are writing for, yourself, family, friends, and/or the public. Writing about personal items may dictate that you do not want to share all of your information publicly.
- Will you use a written journal, or online social media system, or both? Your decision will help you decide what materials to purchase and how you will make recordings daily.
- Use your log/journal for planning your trip in advance, and then add notes as you complete your travels.
- Many people find the best approach is to write in their logs each day. Your memories and thoughts are fresh from the day’s events, and you avoid missing key details that you found interesting.
- If you are using a physical travel log, ensure that you have room to add photos and mementos as well as decals from your trip.
- Evaluate a travel log app before you travel and add the app to your phone. Test drive the app and ensure you are comfortable with it before you leave.
- Many people use their smartphones to take photos and videos and then upload them to a social media platform or a dedicated online travel log. Before traveling, test your phone with the app you plan to use and become familiar with the app. You don’t want to waste time while traveling to figure out how to use your phone with the travel log app.
Travel logs are a great way to recall memories about your trip for many years. You and your family members will refer to your travel log/journal many times, especially if you want to compare notes with a friend who traveled with you.
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