Making a Family Travel Journal

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By Karen Humphrey, Notes from the Cookie Jar

“Mom, I’m going to take my travel journal to school, okay? I want to show my teacher.” The summer holiday is one of the main topics of conversation at the beginning of each school year. Friends and teachers want to know all about the fun. What better way to recount the experience than show them with a travel journal? Packed with pictures, drawings, writing and souvenirs, it is a fantastic tool for kids to share their vacation and it’s a terrific keepsake. What’s more it is a great activity for the road!

Travel journals are as individual as your child, but with the following tips, you can make one too.

Start with the book
A good journal is big enough to allow room for drawings, writing, photos, and souvenirs. If it’s too small, nothing will fit. My family finds artist sketchbooks to be the best because the paper is heavier and a good quality to draw on. They also hold up well when souvenirs such as postcards or ticket stubs are pasted in.

Educational additions
Down load a simple map of your route and paste it in the book. If you’re traveling through several states or provinces, create a section in the book for each leg of your journey. Use a brightly colored marker to plot your route and stickers to show important points along the way. You may also wish to include coloring pages of state flags and animals, along with interesting trivia about your family travel destination.

A picture says a thousand words
You may be surprised how judicial kids become when given a disposable camera and permission to take photos of whatever is important to them. Develop the photos en route, and you have an instant quiet time activity. Avoid disappointment; take a back up photo on your camera as well.

Fun additions
Paste a large envelope on the back cover of the journal, and it can do double duty. Not only can you stuff it with all sorts of fun dollar store stickers and die cut items, but it can serve as storage for things gathered along the way that aren’t as easily glued into the book, such as foreign money or, in our case, a few grains of salt from the Bonneville Salt Flats.

With a travel journal, the question, “what did you do this summer?” takes on a whole new meaning. A drawing here, a quote there, and a few pictures quickly add up to a wonderful book full of memories that can be shared with friends and family for many years to come. After all, isn't that what family vacations are for?

Travel Trivia
The age of the Saguaro Cactus is determined by: