The Write Practice

21 Road Trip Writing Prompts

by Joe Bunting | 133 comments

Summer is the season for road trips. Whether you are on the road yourself or only dreaming of a vacation, today we have some road trip writing prompts to make the time fly. Try one out today!

21 Road Trip Writing Prompts

This prompt was originally posted in June, 2012. Today, I'm traveling overseas and thought a few of you might also be on the road! We've added twenty prompts to the original one, but I kept my own practice from 2012 at the end. Enjoy!

Road trips yield great stories. Why? Because a road trip forces you, your family, your friends, or your characters into uncomfortable and new situations. Add to that the potential for various complications and conflict, and you have all the ingredients for a terrific story. 

Whether you want to write the story of a road trip you took, or one you're planning, or a scene from your work in progress that involves a road trip, you can use the elements of plot to help you. (See our full guide here.)

Start with a character who has a goal, and then let the complications and conflict ensue. Bring their actions to a crescendo of crisis (will they make the best bad choice to get what they want?) and deliver the climax and denouement .

A road trip has a built in external goal: you want to get to your destination, usually in a specific way for a specific purpose. But all those details can get hijacked by internal conflict, car trouble, wild roadside stops, and any other complication you can dream up. Give it a try!

Twenty-one Road Trip Writing Prompts 

  • My original prompt was simple: Write about a road trip.

You can still do that one. But here are twenty more to take for a drive. (See what I did there?)

2. A parent and adult child have to take a road trip to sort out important family business. What happens?

3. Two co-workers have to drive to a work event one state away, but the trip goes terribly wrong.

4. A group of college seniors embark on a final road trip before graduation, but at the beginning of the second day, they pick up a hitchhiker who looks a lot like one of their professors who died the year before. 

5. A newlywed couple borrows a travel trailer and sets off on a cross-country roadtrip, when…

6. A young twenty-something trying to get home makes the mistake of stopping at…

7. An older couple has to move closer to family and takes a route that has some unusual memories.

8. A multi-family caravan road trip is derailed when a sink hole drops them into another dimension.

9. A motorcycle road trip through the Rocky Mountains turns deadly when…

10. A photographer sets out to capture pictures of the last five family-owned motels along a historic route when they discover…

11. A child convinces their grandparent to drive a thousand miles to return to a family home, but when they arrive, they are shocked to find…

Ten more road trip prompts for journaling

12. Tell about a time you took a wrong turn on a road trip.

13. Describe your dream road trip. Be sure to include details about the vehicle and riders along with the route and sights along the way. 

14. What was the best thing you ever ate on a road trip? The worst?

15. If you could only take a single route to a single destination for a road trip every summer for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

16. Describe a time you learned something new on a road trip. 

17. Create your dream road trip playlist. Which artists and albums would you include and why?

18. Write about the characteristics that would describe your worst-case-scenario road trip buddy. (You can approach this either way: the person who would be best in a crisis OR the worst person to ride with.)

19. Find pictures of the open road in your favorite region and describe how it feels to be in that setting. 

20. What is your favorite book or film that includes a road trip and why?

21. Write about your favorite season or time of day to be on the road and describe it. 

For this writing practice, choose one of the prompts above. Set your timer for fifteen minutes . When you’re finished, share your work in the Pro Practice Workshop here (and if you’re not a member yet, you can join here ).

If  you post, please read and comment on a few posts by other writers. Share the love 🙂 

Here's my practice from 2012:

We're driving from California to Georgia this week, my dad and me. The first time since I was sixteen and only spoke six words to him the whole trip. We drove to Big Sur and then to Cambria where we stopped and listened to jazz in a little club along the road. It was the first time I had really listened to jazz. The piano player was blind. He could play well, the whole band could play well, but all I remember is feeling sad and alone and observant.

This time we're driving to Georgia through New Orleans where we'll sit in a smoky bar on Canal Street and listen to jazz. We drove through Texas today. Texas is normally a two day state, but for us it's a three day state. He wants to take it slow and relaxing so we'll stop in San Antonio and then Houston before making it the Mississippi Delta. I'm impatient to go faster and farther, a flaw of youth I suppose.

In El Paso we ate the worst Texas barbecued brisket either of us have ever had. Me, because it's the first Texas barbecued brisket I've ever had so it was both the best and worst. And he, because it was so dry and tasteless he had to chase it with shots of BBQ sauce just to get it down.

After El Paso we drove along Texas roads so long and flat you stop seeing road entirely and completely disappear into the black asphalt, the golden land, and the blue eternal sky that seems to dissolve the land itself.

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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21 Road Trip Writing Prompts

From The Right Practice:

Road trips yield great stories. Why? Because a road trip forces you, your family, your friends, or your characters into uncomfortable and new situations. Add to that the potential for various complications and conflict, and you have all the ingredients for a terrific story. 

Whether you want to write the story of a road trip you took, or one you’re planning, or a scene from your work in progress that involves a road trip, you can use the elements of plot to help you. (See our full guide here.)

Start with a character who has a goal, and then let the complications and conflict ensue. Bring their actions to a crescendo of crisis (will they make the best bad choice to get what they want?) and deliver the climax and denouement.

A road trip has a built in external goal: you want to get to your destination, usually in a specific way for a specific purpose. But all those details can get hijacked by internal conflict, car trouble, wild roadside stops, and any other complication you can dream up. Give it a try!

Twenty-one Road Trip Writing Prompts 

  • My original prompt was simple: Write about a road trip.

You can still do that one. But here are twenty more to take for a drive. (See what I did there?)

2. A parent and adult child have to take a road trip to sort out important family business. What happens?

3. Two co-workers have to drive to a work event one state away, but the trip goes terribly wrong.

4. A group of college seniors embark on a final road trip before graduation, but at the beginning of the second day, they pick up a hitchhiker who looks a lot like one of their professors who died the year before. 

5. A newlywed couple borrows a travel trailer and sets off on a cross-country roadtrip, when…

6. A young twenty-something trying to get home makes the mistake of stopping at…

7. An older couple has to move closer to family and takes a route that has some unusual memories.

8. A multi-family caravan road trip is derailed when a sink hole drops them into another dimension.

9. A motorcycle road trip through the Rocky Mountains turns deadly when…

10. A photographer sets out to capture pictures of the last five family-owned motels along a historic route when they discover…

11. A child convinces their grandparent to drive a thousand miles to return to a family home, but when they arrive, they are shocked to find…

Link to the rest at The Write Practice

Team Wanderlust | 12 June 2020

13 travel writing prompts to inspire you.

Use these travel writing prompts, initially created as part of the Wanderlust Writing Challenge, to help inspire your writing, dream up new story ideas, or simply get your creative juices flowing...

Welcome! You've landed on Wanderlust 's travel writing prompts. Hopefully, you're sat at your laptop (or have your pen in hand) and are ready to write.

Originally created for the Wanderlust Writing Challenge, these prompts are designed to help you flex your writing muscles. All of them will help you to explore past travels as something to write about, and hopefully spark a few ideas for future stories, articles and journal entries.

Don't forget to let us know if you've used one of our writing prompts. Tell us  @wanderlustmag on Twitter , or on Facebook . To find about the Writing Challenge, and when the winners will be announced, head here . 

Explore your senses

Nothing like the sight - and sound - of a lion on safari (Shutterstock)

Nothing like the sight - and sound - of a lion on safari (Shutterstock)

For your first prompt, let’s open up the senses. Write no more than three sentences about one of your favourite destinations. Include all five senses in your description.

What can you see, hear and smell? Was the sun shining, and did you smell crisp, clear fresh air? Were cars whizzing past in a bustling city centre, or were you struck by the wild roar of a lion on safari? What did you eat while you were there – how delicious (or not-so-delicious) did it taste? Did you touch anything – how did it feel?

Save your sentences in a safe place, like a Notes folder or a Word Doc, so you can refer back to them.

Describing people

Practice writing about people (Shutterstock)

Practice writing about people (Shutterstock)

Often, our travels involve meeting kind strangers or quirky characters. Before you write about them, it might be easier to describe someone you know. Pick someone you’re close to – be it a travel companion, a friend at home, a family member, etc – and write out 10 words you’d use to describe them.

Think about their personality, the way they walk and talk, their laugh, not just their physical appearance. Now take two or three of those descriptors, and use them in a line or two about the person.

Reflect: Looking back, do you think you chose the best adjectives? Have any others popped into your head today, maybe that would be suited to describing the people you met on the road? Write them down and keep them somewhere you can look back on.

A picture tells 1,000 words

Today's prompt requires reflecting on travel photographs (Shutterstock)

Today's prompt requires reflecting on travel photographs (Shutterstock)

Whether print or digital, pull out your last (pre-lockdown) travel photo. Take a good long look at it – what’s happening in the shot?

Write a short account of that experience, just before and just after you snapped the photo. As much as you like, but a few lines is more than enough. What was it like? What were you doing? How do you feel about that experience looking back now?

Don’t worry about trying to make it sound ‘fancy’ – instead, imagine you’re recounting the experience to a friend or fellow traveller.

Reflect: Did you find it easier to write when you imagined telling the story to someone? Or harder? It’s great to journal and record travel experiences for yourself, but your entry at the end of the challenge is about writing a story for other people – friends, and fellow travellers – read and enjoy.

Sentence starter

Not sure where to begin? Try this sentence starter (Shutterstock)

Not sure where to begin? Try this sentence starter (Shutterstock)

As  we've learned , an engaging first line and paragraph is important for hooking the reader's attention. Especially when it comes to travel writing. So, h ere's a sentence starter to get you going.

Try starting a piece of writing with the sentence:  Of all the things that could have gone wrong, this could only happen to me.  You'll need to revisit a trip that didn't quite go to plan to make it work.


Inside a market in Fes, Morocco (Shutterstock)

Inside a market in Fes, Morocco (Shutterstock)

When we're travelling for ourselves, we don't often think to make a note of the conversations we have, though professional travel journalists and authors will often take a notebook and note conversations, times, dates and places.

For the latest prompt, try to write up what you remember of an interaction with a local, or a fellow traveller, from any past adventure you've been on. Where were you: haggling in a market? Meeting at a restaurant? What do you remember them saying, exactly? Can you only remember the outline of what they said? If so, jot it down.

What was it about? How did they describe things? Did you learn something from the conversation, and if so, how would get that across subtly in your writing, without saying it outright? Imagine how you'd recall the conversation to a friend or colleague, and try to write it that way.

Write as much or as little as you like. Keep your writing somewhere safe, so you can refer back to it.

Highs and lows

Kayaking through Lan Ha Bay? Definitely a high point (Shutterstock)

Kayaking through Lan Ha Bay? Definitely a high point (Shutterstock)

On any trip, no matter how spectacular, there'll be high points and low points. You may be ticking off a bucket list adventure, or enjoying one of the world's great wonders, but nobody is immune to the annoyance of a delayed flight or missing suitcase.

Ups and downs are still part of our travel experience, whether we like it or not. So, decide which trip you'd like to write about (surely, when you think of a 'low point', one springs to mind?) and try to take your reader on a short journey, starting with the lowest point.

The purpose? To help you write a knockout ending - with the 'pay off' being the absolute highlight of the trip. What went wrong, and how did you get past it? Was it all worth it in the end?

What's the weather?

A rather angry-looking Sydney lightning storm (Shutterstock)

A rather angry-looking Sydney lightning storm (Shutterstock)

Picture the worst weather you’ve experienced on your travels: biting cold, stifling heat or endless flurries of rain. How did it feel? Did you get drenched? Maybe it was so severe you had to seek shelter, or find a water supply?

Write as much or as little you like for this prompt, but you must start with a straight-into-the-action description of the weather around you.  See where that takes you.

If describing the weather doesn't come naturally, make an attempt to one instance of pathetic fallacy. It's a writing technique where you attribute a human emotion or feeling to something in nature, like an animal or, indeed, the weather. Here's an example: The sandstorm raged on.  Often, it mirrors the narrator's own feelings.

Sentence starter #2

What's the kindest thing anyone's ever done for you? (Shutterstock)

What's the kindest thing anyone's ever done for you? (Shutterstock)

No pressure to remember conversations or practice literary techniques for today’s prompt! Phew . Today, we just want to focus on the kindness of strangers, which was also our theme for the  Wanderlust Writing Challenge.

Simply begin a short (or long - up to you) piece of writing about your life, leading on from:   The kindest thing anyone has ever done for me is…

Reflect: How did this prompt go down? And was your experience connected to travel, or was it something that happened in your home life? We'd love to know, tell us on Twitter , Instagram or Facebook

Pack your bags

Write about packing for a trip (Shutterstock)

Write about packing for a trip (Shutterstock)

Wherever you travel, however you travel, and no matter how long you travel for - packing for your trip is essential. Today's prompt is all about turning that unavoidable constant into something a bit more creative. It's simple: write as much or as little as you like about a packing for a recent trip. 

Ever packed for a long weekend the night before, and argued with your travel companion about a misplaced passport? Felt overwhelmed by a to-do list for a trek or three-month expedition, and forgotten most everything on it?

How do you feel when you pack: are you calm and excited for the adventure ahead, or do you feel wistful as you come across old plane tickets and paper maps, as you re-pack your trusty travel case? Perhaps you simply hate this part of travel, and want to (comedically) vent your frustration. Put it all down on paper, and see where that takes you.

Sentence starter #3

Where did you last land? Time to tell the story (Shutterstock)

Where did you last land? Time to tell the story (Shutterstock)

Keeping it simple with another sentence starter. Write as much or as little as you like about a travel experience, following on from: As soon as I landed in... 

A seafood barbecue by the Mediterranean Sea (Shutterstock)

A seafood barbecue by the Mediterranean Sea (Shutterstock)

Foodie travellers, rejoice! This prompt is for you. Your challenge is to write a few lines, a short paragraph, about a particularly enjoyable foodie experience you've had.

A  region or country's cuisine is part of its culture, and for lots of us, a big part of our travel experience. So, aim for lots of vivid detail: what were your surroundings? Was it made by a local chef?  What did you eat? What ingredients could you taste?

Was when you ate it important (say, after a challenging hike), and how did it make you feel? And important, did you dare to try the national tipple after your meal? 

The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia (Shutterstock)

The Simien Mountains in Ethiopia (Shutterstock)

Describe the most breathtaking, awe-inspiring landscape you've ever witnessed, putting our travel writing tips into practice.

Don't fall into the trap of over-fluffing your descriptions, with fancy words you'd never use in daily life. At the same time, make a real effort to avoid these  all-too-common travel writing phrases . Time to stretch your vocabulary. Write as much or as little as you like, but aim for at least a few lines.

Reading your work

An Arctic village. Will you describe the people, the food, the landscape - or all three? (Shutterstock)

An Arctic village. Will you describe the people, the food, the landscape - or all three? (Shutterstock)

Your writing prompt today isn't about writing. It's about reading, which is incredibly important if you want to be a travel writer. Not just the work of others, but your own work, too.

Firstly, give yourself a pat on the back if you're here and you've used some of these prompts – challenging yourself to write when you're just starting out or are starved for inspiration isn’t easy! 

Secondly, read through what you've written based on these prompts. Choose your favourite piece of writing and continue it - write the full story, flesh it out and see where it takes you. Enjoy.

P.S. Do let us know if you would like us to keep updating this article with more prompts. W e always love to hear from you  at [email protected].

More travel writing inspiration to enjoy:, how to describe people in your travel writing, 10 classic (and expert) writing tips for travel articles, related articles, looking for inspiration.

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creative writing road trip

9 Creative Writing Tactics to Enrich Your Travel Writing

writing about travel on the mountain in-the-mehli-forest-himachal himalayas

My Top Travel Writing Secrets I Probably Shouldn’t Share

I have been writing about travel for two years now four years now ( update 2022 ). When I started this blog, I wrote about personal growth and life inspiration. But because I travel constantly and I relish writing about nature, people, and experiences, I began writing travel articles on On My Canvas. ( I’m an itinerant writer now.)

When I first ventured into travel writing, I panicked every time I put down my solo excursion tales and travel guides. I didn’t know how to write about traveling. I didn’t have the right tools. I remember telling my partner it would be a long time before I write good, relatable travel stories readers will enjoy. ( my ideas about good writing .)

But even as a beginner travel writer, I wrote subjective articles such as  why I travel  and how can we stop ourselves from turning into the worst dictators (inspired by Cambodia). I have always preferred penning down personal travel memoirs rather than writing about the five things to do.

Some of my travel writings turned out to be good and some bad. So while this piece on  the love and hate relationship with India  won accolades, I’m still ashamed of this  Vietnam photo essay .

I continued writing about trips to Southeast Asia and South America . As I published frequently, I started getting a hang of  travel writing.

Now instead of fumbling with how to write a travelogue or a guide, I was rejoicing at heartwarming comments and emails from readers.

A beginner travel writer messaged, “Probably your blog is the most useful one I have come across. Most of your posts are stories and experiences rather than what you see in usual blogs. It helps the readers connect.” 

So many writers loved my 11 best tips for bloggers I was overwhelmed. I pitched guest posts to many travel websites. All of them accepted my articles as soon as they read my travel stories. I got the Best Travel Writer award on Medium (which expired as I have stopped publishing on Medium). After reading my blog, editors and freelance clients reached out to me. Some editors said, to quote, “No doubt you’re an excellent storyteller.”

When anyone compliments my travel writing or says I have immense writing talent, I quietly remember the nights and days I spent bent on my computer writing, editing, reading aloud, deleting, rewriting, poring through writing tips for beginners , and so on. I want to stand on a rooftop and scream that writing is less of an inborn talent and more of a muscle that strengthens as we exercise it more.

I would be lying if I say I didn’t write before starting a travel blog. I began my writing career as a fiction writer. The first-ever rules I learned about writing were creative writing tactics. So to say, I launched into the travel writing world on a creative writing broomstick. 

Now I’m not Stephen King or  Ruskin Bond , but I write short stories, personal essays (like this one ), and poetry , too. Some of my work is published .

Within a few months of writing about traveling, I heard many times that I was not doing travel blog writing.

A reader’s comment read , “Beautiful written, your prose is lyrical that reads less like a blog and more like a novel.” That reader has a Ph.D. in literature.

I was writing travel stories and memoirs using my creative writing skills. And travel writing and blogging about travel are all about storytelling — at least they should be.

In this writing guide, I am sharing the indispensable creative writing techniques that have helped me write engaging travel stories.

In a storytelling workshop recently, the six attendants said I should have added more exercises to the class. I took the advice to heart. I have included a writing exercise with all the travel writing tips. Complete the exercises while reading or bookmark the article and get to them later. But remember, you can only master these travel writing tactics if you practice. 

Travel writers, fasten your seatbelts as I am going to take you on a ride. 

black-and-red-typewriter saying stories matter.jpg

1. Write about travel, but don’t forget to Tell a Story

Stories hold words together.  Without a story, words are black noise on paper.

Do you know why we don’t look forward to academic texts and instructional blogs? Why do we enjoy reading Sapiens even though it is a non-fiction book about our entire history?

The former don’t have a story and the latter has.

Expecting your readers to enjoy your story-less writing is like expecting them to enjoy bland food.

Travel blogging needs more storytelling (as I keep repeating and even Jodi from the popular Legal Nomads travel blog started emphasizing a decade ahead of me) . To blog doesn’t mean to give information only. To blog implies to weave our experience in a tale that readers not only can’t keep down but believe in (since the beginning humans have got others to join them for a cause by telling stories).

A story arc goes like this:

  • a scene or an event introducing the story and the characters (exposition)
  • a buildup on the scene using the characters and their background (the rising action)
  • a high-tension point (climax)
  • arriving at the end while resolving those tensions or providing (and refusing) the characters’ desires (the falling action)

This video by Chungdahm Learning explains the story arc well.

For example, m y travel narrative of climbing the Volcano Villarrica begins with these lines: “The alarm rang at 3:30 am. In the dark hostel dormitory, I peeked out of my blanket and cursed myself for signing up to hike the 2,800-meter active volcano.” 

By opening the travelogue with a hint of the oncoming adventure, I make readers curious.

Then I share why I was climbing the volcano and that the hike was challenging — I lay the background.

Bringing the travel memoir to a middle point I say, “A thought that I might not be able to complete the hike knocked my head.” — This is a high-tension point because from here on either I will give up or achieve my goal.

I make the characters clash — “After a few hours of trudging up the volcano, I wanted to give up. So when Alejandro and Alison told me I had gone too far to quit, I didn’t relate with their relentlessness. Why couldn’t I watch the summit from a lower altitude and enjoy the majestic vista bordered by icy volcanoes?” — Though the character conflicts are subtle, this much tension is usually enough to drive a travel story.

I take the travelogue further by talking about how the guide and my friend cheered me — the falling actions. The story ends with me making it to the summit.

“ Every story is about something bigger than ourselves,” Neil Gaiman says, and I concur. The main point of the story was not trekking the volcano. It was about conquering my greatest fears and pushing myself to climb despite them. Ask yourself why do you want to write your story. Remember the reason while writing the travel tale.

One of the loveliest comments I received on the travelogue says, “I really enjoyed reading your story. It made me want to hike the volcano but it also made me slightly terrified of it.”

My purpose was achieved. I wanted to inspire people to climb the thing for I knew what an incredible experience they would miss if they gave in to their fears.

We have to narrate our travel guides like stories or a collection of many anecdotes. And for every travel article that cannot be a continuous story — such as logistical pieces like how to get a visa to Malaysia, things to do in Dharamshala et cetera — I begin by telling a related incident and then write down the information strewing many more tales throughout.

Writing Exercise —  Look at your drafts or a published piece. Or write about traveling to a place you loved. Write/rewrite as if you were telling the story to your best friend.

the lion and the gypsy traveler Henri_Rousseau_010 used in an article on writing about traveling.

How cool would be to tell this story! The Sleeping Gypsy and The Lion, by Henri Rousseau / Public domain

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Show, don’t tell was one of the first writing advices I got. 

What does “show, not tell” means?

When you “tell” (not show), you dictate information to the reader, rather than letting her deduce it. 

When you show, you paint a picture of the scene rather than throwing all the facts at the reader .

In the  travel blog on Manikaran, Himachal, I could have written — The Gurudwara is white. The Parvati river flows by its side .

But I wrote — The milky gurudwara complements the white froth of the unstoppable Parvati bellowing by its side.

A few more travel writing examples on telling and showing :

If we tell, the story feels less like a story and more like a boring monologue spilled out on the page. But when we show, the reader watches the scene unfold in front of her, becomes a part of the journey, and draws her own conclusions.

To show what is happening, write using your senses. See, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Now write what you find.

Writing Exercise  —  Pick up an existing work or continue working on the travel piece from the first bullet. Or write about what you see now. Don’t tell, show. You cannot use the words sad, angry, hungry et cetera. Use your senses.

Franklin_Carmichael_-_Lone_Lake travel to emphasize how to write about travel

When you are writing about a trip, describe not just the people but also the mountains and the lakes. The Lone Lake by Franklin Carmichael / Public domain

3. Be Descriptive – One of my most important rules while writing a travelogue

This point is a continuation of the above tip on showing, not telling. 

To create a story, we need to give details about the setting, the scene, and the action.

In the  travel blog on Manikaran, Himachal I could have written — Tourists were getting photographed. It was a beautiful place with narrow streets. Shops lined the roadsides. People were shopping. Sikhs were visiting the Gurudwara. Mothers were taking their children to the hot water springs to bathe them.

But here’s what I wrote: 

“ Young girls dressed up in traditional bright Kullu dresses and Himachali topis waited to be clicked. Streets were lined with kitschy souvenir shops flaunting neon plastic toys, rudraksha malas, and brass bracelets.

Devoted Sikhs with their  Kirpans  hanging around their waist walked swiftly towards the Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara. Hindu families strode to the Shiva and Ram temple to bathe their young ones. The children trailed behind eyeing the hot jalebis and crispy samosas displayed at the roadside sweetmeats’ shop. “

In the first method, the writing reads boring, incomplete, and doesn’t help us see the place. I could be describing any religious site.

In the second method, I have added colors. I have not only used my senses to show, but I have focused on the little details that make Manikaran the place it is.

Zoom in and then use the five senses to show what is happening. 

Writing Exercise   —  Pick the story or the paragraphs from the above exercise. Edit the piece while filling in the details. So now you want to draw more lines, more leaves, more grass, and pour in some more color.

Augustus_Leopold_Egg_-_The_Travelling_Companions used for an article on travel writing.jpg

Traveling 160 years ago. The Traveling Companions by Augustus Egg / Public domain

Inspirational Read: How to Keep Going When Writing Seems Hard

4. Be specific

Specificity adds nuance and makes the scene real. Ditch common nouns and use proper nouns. 

She kept her copy of ( a book ) The Color Pur ple on the table. 

Celebrations were spent huddled around the barbecue with  ( a drink ) terremotos in hand. 

When I got tired, I walked back to the homestay and listened to ( music ) Anoushka Shankar fill the treehouse. 

There was ( a car ) a white ambassador with a broken headlight on the road.

Writing Exercise  — Take any travel article and replace all the common nouns with proper nouns wherever it makes sense.

a beautiful landscape Franklin_Carmichael_-_A_Northern_Silver_Mine.jpg

To help the reader relate, talk about your fears and apprehensions often. Franklin Carmichael / Public domain

5. Tell what you care about, but don’t ignore others

Consider this paragraph: “I arrived in Manikaran at noon. I wanted to take a long hot bath in the thermal pools so I walked to the temple. But as families and their children had already crowded the bath, I got out early. After the bath, I was hungry so I ate a samosa. The rudraksha males were beautiful so I went to one shop to buy. “

A lot of travel blogs read like the above. 

Why would anyone be interested in my monologue? People would rather binge-watch Netflix.

Virginia Woolf said ,

“Your entire devotion is due to your story. You cannot leave it to attend to some personal grievance. Let not anger tug at our imagination or devotion and deflect it from its path.”

We only read when we can relate with the writing while getting entertained (I will talk about entertainment in another point). And readers would only relate to our writing if they can imagine themselves in our shoes.

If our writing is relatable, it will be enjoyable, too. The reader would laugh along and would be embarrassed when we fall flat on our faces at the crowded Andheri railway station. 

To make the writing relatable, we show what is happening with us, but we don’t skip the world. So the floodlight is on us, but the rest of the stage isn’t dark either. And in this space the reader can scooch in wherever she likes.

Rewriting the above lines:

“ When I arrived in Manikaran at noon, the town was bustling with activity. Tired from the journey, I headed to the temple to bathe in the natural hot springs. Some twenty children were playing in and around the temple pool. The mothers yelled to get the children out of the water.

Postponing my desire to take a long bath I was out of the water in a few minutes. Soon I was on the street. The thick fragrance of the freshly fried samosas pulled me towards the sweetmeat shop. There was a long queue, but I got my samosa. Right opposite the shop, an old man sold rudraksha malas. The sunlight seemed perfect to click the ruddy necklaces. so I walked to him. Who knows, I might buy one this time. “

I’m still talking about myself, but while describing the people, places, and scenes I come across.

Writing Exercise   —  Read what you have written. Do you hear “I,” “me,” “I,” “me,” or does the story care about others, too? Make a friend read the draft. Ask her what she thinks.


Quiet a landscape, eh? How will you describe it in words? Karl Paul Themistokles von Eckenbrecher / Public domain

6. Weave the facts throughout the story 

Fiction writers never give all the facts and data in the first paragraph of the story. Travel writers shouldn’t stuff all the logistics and information at once either. Otherwise, the piece will become a read-before-sleep rather than a read-because-you-can’t-stop concoction.

Read this: “ The museum was opened in 1871. With the ticket, we got an audio tour of the museum. The museum had four walls, all painted white, and four galleries. The first gallery is of the realism paintings. Then comes the second gallery with oil paintings. The third gallery is of natural paintings. By the fourth gallery, the writer d..o..z…e..s.s. off… The reader d.o.z…z…e.s off…   “

Now consider this :

“ The ticket to the museum said it opened to the public in 1871. Out of the four museum galleries, I first walked towards the realism paintings gallery.

…Journey in the realism paintings gallery…

After half an hour, I exited the realism to enter the world of oil paintings, the second gallery. The audio tour was so helpful I haven’t had to look up anything on Google, yet. Et cetera. Et cetera. “

As travel writers, we have to share information and facts. But we can’t burden the reader with all the information in one go. Unfurl the truths of the place slowly. When you write about a trip, weave the dates and the data in your narrative.

Writing Exercise   —  Check your piece for facts. Weave them subtly in the article.

daisies on a book.jpg

7. Show more than you are comfortable with – Writing travel articles would need you to open up.

Personal essays and travel stories read real when we share how we feel. Of course, it is hard to open up on a public platform. Nor do we feel comfortable knowing others can see into our personal lives.

But to become a travel writer, you have to compromise on privacy. You have to let people inside your head. Else you will not be writing books but would only be protecting your identity. 

Here is something personal I wrote about my first solo travel in Thailand : “One morning in Chiang Mai, I was walking in the middle of a street. Clutching my bag, I was trying to read menus written in Thai. Just then, on a phone call back home, my mother said she would never forgive me and hung up. She wanted me to return home immediately but I wanted to travel more. “

I wasn’t comfortable sharing the entire conversation. But to progress the narrative and give context to my subsequent feelings and actions, I shared a less dramatic version of the phone call.

If we are not writing about a travel experience from a personal point of view, the piece would just read like a report on the destination. 

Don’t be shy. Share how you feel so that people can relate. After all, you are not the only one struggling with angry mothers and Thai menu cards. 


Readers want you to hook them from the beginning. Christen Dalsgaard / Public domain

8. Don’t bore the reader. Make her laugh. Make her cry. But never bore her.

We read to get entertained.  We read to forget ourselves for a while and get lost somewhere else. Reading is another form of meditation.

Recently in a storytelling workshop, I asked the six attendants why they read.  Their reasons ringed close to entertainment though they never used the word.

There is nothing wrong with reading for fun. Even though we might be learning alongside, growing as a person, getting out of the mundane, and venturing into different worlds, we wouldn’t read unless we were having fun.  ( these 21 books changed how I look at life .)

By enjoying a book, a story, or an article, I do not mean the reader would always be rolling on the floor laughing. She might cry. Her heart might get broken. She may miss her family. She might regret something she did ten years ago. 

As writers, our job is to make a reader feel all those emotions she was hiding from — that is the entertainment.  At the end of the read, the reader should feel as if she has just come out of another world (the one we will serve on a plate).

How would you make sure your travel writing isn’t boring? 

Read your work aloud. Cut every redundant and dull word and line. Be more frugal than the Michelin star chefs.

Laugh upon yourself if you have to. Talk about your fat nose. Tell us about how you were blown away by the wind. Open up about that embarrassing morning when the hostel bathroom was occupied and you had eaten too much salsa picante . 

Use metaphors. They will be a hit and miss in the beginning but you will soon make sense. 

In an essay on changing my career to become a writer , I wrote — Parents didn’t allow their children, especially girls, to go out and play with friends, and Voldemort wasn’t the reason. Men ogled women on the streets freely, and I was grabbed a few times even in crowded places as soon as I hit puberty.

I talked about why children weren’t allowed to go out by sharing a dark reality but putting in a little punch of Voldemort laughter there. 

Here’s another example of travel writing from an essay on being clueless in Chile when people spoke in Spanish :

Suddenly, I was the toothpaste cover girl: silent and vacuously smiling. Like the referee in a tennis match, I turned my head from one speaker to another to understand the expressions. I was the excluded newcomer in the class; rarely asked for advice or answer unless directly involved. Avoiding conversations was a new skill that I was assimilating. The quick cat who used to jump at everyone (literally with words) was out of breath and was watching silently from under the bed .

Unless my piece entertains me, I keep editing it. When you can’t enjoy your writing how would anyone else enjoy it? 

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_On_the_Desert_-_Walters used in an article on writing about travel.jpg

The scene could be soft and slow. But you have to write it such that people don’t get bored. On the Desert by Jean-Léon Gérôme / Public domain

9. Read like a Writer

As I am writing more, I am reading more, too. I have talked about the importance of reading in my 27 tips on improving writing skills , too. (my best non-fiction books from 2020 and best fiction books from the same year.)

Not just reading, but reading as a writer is one of the most important practices for any writer.

When I started reading travel blogs, I was overwhelmed. They were so many. How could I ever finish? But I realized I could read only some of those blogs. The rest were either boring or too short or just talked about how the writer enjoyed the place and didn’t give enough information, and so on (no offense to anyone for I am just sharing my reading experience).

I picked up the dos and the don’ts of good travel writing from my own experience as a reader.

While reading, notice what made you laugh or which part of the travelogue made you put the article aside. Was there an awkward word? Was the information weaved into the story? Would you read more of this writer? Why?

Learn from other writers. 

Here are books that have helped me progress as a writer (or at times have helped me write at all),

  • Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari — I’ve included this one because Sapiens establishes how humans could (cognitively and otherwise) evolve by telling stories to each other
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl — One of the best non-fiction memoirs I’ve ever read by such a young author
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life — for inspiration to write, and also to let go in the avalanche of warmth that flows out of this book
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  by Stephen King — Learn from the best. King always knows how to cut the noise.
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke — Another book which suffuses me with strength, courage, and belief all writers so badly need. 
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf — Inspired by A Room of One’s Own, I even have a meditation on Woolf’s advice on writing and life . Virginia’s essay is a must read for all writers (and those aspiring to write).
  • The Letters of Vincent van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh — In these priceless letters to his brother Theo, Vincent inspired everyone to pursue their art with utmost devotion. I read the letters frequently to fill myself with courage, focus, and belief.
  • Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg — The title says it all. But this one stays with me wherever I go.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Junior and E.B. White — for learning the basics of grammar and, literally, how to write
  • Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University — another must have on non-fiction. I’m always reading this one yet I have so much more to learn 
  • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser — a must have in my opinion
  • Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (99U) — a brilliant book from the creatives around the world on how to manifest the creativity inside us in our work

Now go get them.

for as Vincent said , what is more artistic, doing it or not going it?

Writing Exercise   —  Pick up any travel story. Maybe take one from my blog  (could be this BR Hills piece ) or any other blog you love. Print it out. Now keeping the tips for travel writing discussed here in mind, read the story. Underline the descriptive words. Circle the boring parts. Mark the sentences that tell instead of show. Understand where you got bored or what kept you going. Now do it with one of your pieces. Rewrite the things that don’t feel right.

world map camera passport travel .jpg

I hope these ideas on how to write about travel help you write better. Word by word, my friend, word by word.

Follow Up Reads: My best Blogging Tips from 2 years of blogging , Creative Routines for everyone , and an inspiration on pursuing our dreams

Are you writing about traveling, too? Do you now have a better idea on how to write a travel article? Let me know in the comments.

Like this post? Please pin it so that others can find it on Pinterest. Thank you. 

My 9 best Creative Writing tactics that I use to enrich Travel Writing. Writing about travel | Travel writing tips | Travel Writers | Traveler | Travel blog | Travel Blogging | Writing a travel article | Writing a travelogue | Travel bloggers | Tips for travel writing | Become a travel writer | Travel stories | Writers Community | Write better | Tell Stories #travel #writing #travelwriter #writingtips #travelblogger #travelblog

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5 thoughts on “9 Creative Writing Tactics to Enrich Your Travel Writing”

नमस्कार क्या आप मुझे बता सकते कि कहानी को लिखने का सही तरीका क्या है क्योंकि मैं बहुत दिनों से ट्राई कर रहा हूं पर लिख नहीं पा रहा हूं।

Hey priyanka, It was a great blog. I liked the whole blog specially the second point of Showing instead of telling. Keep going

Very good information blog! it is useful to me to write a Travel blog and thank you for posting.

Hi Priyanka, This is a wonderful article. Congratulations! I have just completed a travel book called ‘The Last Train Through the Heart of the Americas,’ for which I am trying to find a publisher, so I can very much relate to the travel tips you give in the above post, as I had to learn most of them the hard way. My book has been 30 years in the making and still isn’t published…. And I too worked in investment banking before setting off on travels to India, South-East Asia and South America. Although you are in India and I am in Canada, we have some things in common. You have used lovely illustrations in the blog post too, which added to the pleasure I got from reading it. And that’s how I write my pieces as well, keep rewriting and rewriting until it amuses me, and hence the reader. All the best, Ian Birch

Hi Ian, thanks a lot for your lovely message. We have so much in common it surprises me. And I have some many good friends from Canada. Your book will soon get published 🙂

Also, appreciate your feedback on the pictures. I take some time to find good images and paintings that would complement the piece. Here are some old paintings that are getting dust on Wikipedia so I thought to share them with all.

Good luck. Stay in touch, Priyanka

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31 Travel Journal Prompts + Creative Travel Journal Ideas

Looking for travel journal prompts and creative travel journal ideas ?

Then you’re in the right place! 

Especially right now as travel is limited and people are searching for ways to travel at home, such as through relaxing staycations , keeping a travel journal can be a great way to relive your favorite trip memories. 

Moreover, it can keep travel alive, allow you to explore the world from home, and help you stay curious. 

Keep reading for a list of fun journal writing prompts related to travel as well as tips for creating something tangible that truly helps you feel inspired. 

Table of Contents

Downloadable Travel Journal PDF

Before we dive into the post, though, I want to offer you the chance to grab my free printable travel journal . 

printable travel journal prompts

The trip journal includes 56 prompts in total. 

This inspiring printable and fillable journal is great for exercising your creativity while traveling from home as you remember your favorite trips. 

Grab it, and then feel free to message me on Instagram ( @jessieonajourney ) to let me know which travel journal writing prompts were your favorite and why.

I plan to update the journal in the future — and you’ll get any revisions I make — so your feedback is appreciated!

What Is A Travel Journal?

A travel journal is a place where you can document your trip memories, whether you’re spending 7 days in Cancun , going on a solo USA road trip , off completing the world’s best hiking trails , or something else.

These can be paper or digital, bound or looseleaf, thin or thick. And— when it comes to how to write in a travel journal — it can include just text or a variety of mediums.

The point is, it offers a way to record what happens to you on the road — though you’re welcome to take your entries and give them a fictional twist for fun! 

creative travel journal ideas

Choosing Your Travel Journal

I may be a little biased, but if you’re looking for the best travel journal with prompts, I recommend grabbing my free printable journal here . 

Because I made it fillable, you can also use it as a travel journal online!

Additionally, there are loads of inspiring options online if you’d prefer to purchase one. A quick note that the below journal links are affiliate links. 

On Amazon, I love this vegan leather option as well as this mindful travel journal .

Additionally, I’m a huge fan of the travel journals at Modcloth. Click here and search “journals” to view their latest collection.

Creative Travel Journal Ideas

Wondering how to be creative in your journal?

First of all, remember that a journal doesn’t just have to be writing. Use markers, paints, stickers, glitter, and even momentos from your travels to really bring the text to life. 

Of course, don’t forget about travel-themed accents, too, like stamps, tickets, postcards, and maps — you can even cut out sections of a map to showcase your favorite destinations. 

travel journal writing prompts

If you’re artistic, you might also consider bullet journaling and other techniques to make your journal more visual. 

In terms of keeping your travel writing fresh, having details to pull from can be a huge help.

When possible, try to experience a place with all five senses so you have more to draw from later. I personally like to take notes right after any experience I think I may write about later. 

Keep in mind, being fully present in this way is also just an overall healthy practice. 

If you’re having trouble remembering details, try to sit in silence and do a visualization. Personally, when I do this exercise I aim to not only see myself in a place, but to put myself back in the place so that I am seeing the scene through my own eyes. 

Feeling writer’s block?

Sometimes all that it takes is a change of scenery to get inspired again. Try going for a walk or trying a new cafe to see if that helps.

If not, put the journal away, give yourself some mental space, and pick it back up tomorrow. 

And if you’re proud of what you’ve written, feel free to post it on social media, share it in an email with friends or, of course, keep it to yourself. 

travel journal examples

How To Keep A Travel Journal: Quick Tips 

As an avid journaler myself, these are some of my personal tips for having fun, feeling creative, and staying inspired while writing.

As with travel tips and trip styles, everyone has their own process when it comes to journaling, and something that works for me may not work for you. Feel free to try out this advice, keep what works, and let go of what doesn’t.

Overall, the goal is that you get something beneficial out of these pages.

Tip #1: Journal when you feel most creative.

For instance, you might choose some mindful ways to start your day and have completing daily journal prompts be one of your morning rituals. 

However, if you find you feel more creative in the afternoon or evening, plan your writing for then.

Tip #2: Don’t edit as you write.

Allow your first draft to be all about getting your ideas and thoughts down onto the paper and getting into a creative flow state.

You can always tweak things later.

Tip #3: Remember the power of lists.

This is one of my favorite trip journal ideas!

Writing in lists can be helpful when you’re:

  • having trouble getting started
  • wondering what things to put in a travel journal
  • feeling like your sentences just aren’t flowing together

This way, you can at least get your ideas down and edit them together in a cohesive manner later on.

Tip #4: Write stories.

While this isn’t mandatory, those who are curious how to write a travel journal that’s worth reading should consider writing your thoughts as stories instead of in a stream-of-conscious fashion. 

To write a story, make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Actually, if you really want to do it right, you should also consider character, plot, setting, and tension.

For a lesson in storytelling, make sure to check out this video on how to improve your creative storytelling skills for more engaging writing:

Tip #5: Go beyond text.

Wondering what to put in a travel journal?

Realize there is no right or wrong answer to this question!

Keep it text-based, or add paintings, drawings, stickers, momentos from your trip, and more. 

Personally, I’ve started writing out my journal entries and then drawing them to add some additional creativity and really bring the pages to life. 

travel journal template

The Best Travel Journal Apps

Prefer a digital journal option over paper? 

There is an app for that! 

I’ve talked about my favorite travel safety apps before, but here are a few of my favorite apps for keeping a travel journal:

Travel Diaries .  This free app allows you to create both public and private journals. The layouts are customizable, and you can easily add text, photos, and even maps. 

One really neat feature of this app:

You can turn your travel diary into a physical creation to be shipped to your home!

Day One Journal . This is another great travel journal app that makes it simple to record your memories using photos, videos, drawings, and even audio recordings. 

The “On This Day” feature allows you to go back in time to revisit your favorite trip moments, while automatic backups ensure your content never gets lost. 

Unique app feature:

You can handwrite in your journal using your finger or Apple Pencil. 

This travel app has both free and paid premium versions. 

how to keep a travel journal

Polarsteps . Dubbed “the personal travel log in your pocket,” Polarsteps is an app that helps you plan your trips as well as record them along the way in a visually-appealing manner.

In fact, this app puts an emphasis on adding experiences to maps and using video to document, so you can really bring your trips back to life later on. 

A feature I love:

You can turn your travel memories into a stunning hardcover book to keep!

Unique Travel Journal Examples

Looking for some travel journal inspiration?

Here are some mood boards with journal examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

These are also helpful if you’re wanting to learn how to make a travel journal.

By the way:

Check out the bottom right photo in the top collage if you’re looking for travel journal layout ideas.

travel journal examples

Travel Writing Prompts – Quick Picker 

If you’re like me and often feel indecisive when choosing a prompt, I’ve got a fun little tool that can help:

The above video moves through the list of writing prompts quickly.

To use it as a quick picker, press play, turn your gaze down, and then stop the video at a random moment.

Then, voilà , you’ve got your travel writing prompt chosen for you! 

31 Travel Journal Prompts

Whether you’re physically traveling or at home dreaming of the road, use these travel prompts for your journal.

I love these prompts for when I’m feeling stuck and am searching for things to write in a travel journal:

1. Remember a time when you met people while traveling that felt like family. Describe your time with them in great detail.

2. Write a postcard to a friend from a place you’ve loved visiting.

3. Think about a problem that exists in travel. Now, invent a solution to the problem. Hey, could this journal help you come up with your next million-dollar idea?

4. If you could go on a trip with anyone, dead or alive, who would you go with? Where would you go and what would you do?

5. Share a time you were lost or that you lost something while traveling. 

6. How has travel changed or shaped you? Note: This is one of my favorite self-discovery journal prompts!

7. Start your travel story with the following: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

8. What is the first vacation memory that comes to mind? Come up with your memory in 10 seconds or less!

9. Think back to the most beautiful place you’ve ever been to. Now, describe it using all five senses.

10. Write about a multi-destination trip — from the perspective of your backpack.

11. What is a sticky situation you’ve gotten out of on the road? Hint: Allow this to also be a reminder of your strength!

12. What is a fear you’ve overcome while traveling? How?

13. Take your story from the previous prompt about overcoming a fear while traveling and rewrite it from the perspective of an onlooker.

14. What has been your craziest transportation experience?

15. Write a review of the best hotel you’ve ever stayed in.

daily journal prompts

16. Write a review of the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in using humor.

17. Write a letter of gratitude to someone who showed you an act of kindness on the road .

18. Write about the last trip you took — from the perspective of yourself in the year 2600.

19. Write about a hike you loved doing using all five senses.

20. “Travel makes me feel _____.” Why?

21. Write about a trip you took last year from the perspective of your favorite book or movie character.

22. What is the biggest lesson that travel has taught you? Share a story that brings this to life.

23. Pretend that you were given an extra day on a trip you loved. What would that day have looked like?

24. Choose a trip you haven’t written about yet. Now choose a different time period, and write about the trip as if it happened in that time period.

25. In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about travel?

26. Think back to an interesting conversation you’ve had while traveling and begin your story with that dialogue.

travel journal writing

27. Transport yourself to a beautiful beach you’ve visited. Suddenly, a message in a bottle washes up onto the shore. What does it say? How do you react?

28. Here is a road trip journal idea! Write about a road trip you went on, but have someone else from the trip be the narrator. Hint: If you traveled solo, have the car or an onlooker be the narrator.

29. Think of a time you went on a trip that took you out of your comfort zone. Write the end of the story, then the middle, then the beginning.

30. What is one piece of advice you’ve been told by a local while traveling? Have you applied it to your life? Why/why not?

31. If you were to write a travel memoir, what would the first chapter look like?

Bonus: Pair Your Journal Prompts With Self-Care

In my opinion, the best way to enjoy time spent journaling is by pairing it with other self-care activities.

In the video above, I share my top 10 favorite self-care tips and rituals for travelers — though they can also be enjoyed at home!

My recommendation:

Make a day of it! Use the journal prompts and the self-care rituals to create your own DIY retreat .

Want more travel-themed prompts?

Don’t forget to grab my free downloadable Inspired Storyteller Travel Journal — featuring inspiring quotes, writing tips, and 56 fun prompts to help you recount your favorite trip memories and write creatively. 

best travel journal with prompts

Do you have any travel journal prompts to add?

What are your favorite creative travel journal ideas, related posts:.

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These prompts are just the inspiration I needed to capture my thoughts about travel. Not only do they tap into my travel memories, but they feed my creative spirit. Who says you have to actually go anywhere to be well-traveled? 😉

I have trouble keeping a journal, but have always want too – these are such good prompts ill have to give it another try!

Wow, what an incredible article! I’m so grateful to have come across this treasure trove of travel journal prompts and ideas. The suggestions provided here are truly inspiring and have sparked my wanderlust even more. From capturing the sensory details to reflecting on personal growth, these prompts cover every aspect of a fulfilling travel journal. The beautiful descriptions and practical tips have motivated me to start documenting my adventures with a renewed passion. Thank you for sharing such a valuable resource that will undoubtedly enhance my future travel experiences. Keep up the fantastic work!

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38 Travel Writing Prompts for Travel Writers

Whether you’re experiencing writer’s block or stressing about the headline for your next travel writing pitch, we’ve got your back!

You should always check out the publication’s you’re pitching to get a feel for the style of their headlines for your best chance at success (and do some SEO research if it’s your own site), but here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing…


[3] Days in [City] for [Nature] Lovers

The Perfect Long Weekend for a Romantic Trip to [City]

Itineraries for Kids of Every Age in [City]

How to See the Best of [City] in [2] Days

[7] [Movie] Filming Locations to Visit in [City]

1st Person Narratives

How I [Found Myself Again After Divorce] in [City]

How I [Explored My Roots] in [City]

Exploring my Hometown as a Travel Writer

My Search for [the Perfect Beach] in [City]

The Quest to Save [the Oneida Language] in [City]

Searching for [The Wolves of Nearly Extinct Fruit Dove]

Off the Beaten Path

[7] Restaurants Only Locals Know in [City]

Live Like a Local in [City]

Get Lost: Why I Ditched the Map in [City]

The Longest-Operating [Hotel] in [City]

Packing Lists

[12] Must-Pack Items for a Trip to [City]

The Carry-On Capsule Wardrobe for [City]

Packing for [3] Climates in One Carry-on

[9] Summertime Packing Must-Haves

Where to Find Black History in [City/State]

Where to Find the Best Coffee in [City]

Summer Arts Guide to [City/State]

The 5 Best Things to do in [City] When It’s Snowing


New [Art]-Themed Hotel Opens in [City]

See the [Exhibit Name] at [Museum Name] Before it Closes

[City] Celebrates It’s Centennial with Fun-Packed Weekend

Annual Festivals/Events

Don’t Miss This Year’s [Festival/Event Name] in [City]

How to Attend the [Festival/Event Name] on a Budget

5 Hotels That Put You Near the Action at the [Festival/Event Name]


Travel Hacks for Making the Most of Christmas in [City]

Experience [Holiday] in [City]

Celebrate New Year’s in Style in [City]

A Black History Road Trip Across [State]

It’s Leaf-Peeping Season in [State]! Where to Find the Best Colors

Summer Fun in [City]

An Inside Look at [City/Resort/Activity]

Live Like [a Celebrity] at [Resort]

[7] Cities Where Vegans Eat Like Kings

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Free Creative Writing Prompts #20: Travel

On a rainy day (like it is in Chicago on the day I'm writing this) sometimes there's nothing more you want to do than to get out of town. Whether it's for a vacation, a business trip, or for a family matter, travel can take you through a lot of different emotions and past memories. This is a treasure chest of writing ideas waiting to happen for most people who've bounced around the country (or several) during their lifetimes. While not all of our travel memories are happy, these free creative writing prompts can hopefully make them productive. Feel free to use any of them to create some writing in the form at the bottom of the page.  Free  Creative Writing Prompts : Travel

1. What is the best vacation you've ever been on? Who were you with, where did you travel to, what were some of the sights that you saw? Write down every detail and pose a hypothetical trip with the same people if you went back today.

2. What is the worst vacation you've ever been on? What fights occurred, how lost did you get, how much money did you lose, etc.? Pose a hypothetical of the trip going perfectly and see what major things would have changed.

3. What is your most memorable airport/airplane experience? Did you sit on the runway for a long time? Talk to a runway model on the plane? Have to run...way far to get to your gate on time? :) Use lots of details and try to remember all of the emotions that you had at the time.

4. Talk about a time in which you had to show someone foreign to your neighborhood, town, country, planet around the area. Do you feel as though you were a good tour guide? What did this person (or alien) think after your demonstration?

5. Create a story in which you are in a foreign country in which you don't speak the language...and you've lost all of your belongings (cash included). How do you deal with this situation?

6. Why is travel so stressful? What would you have to do to take all of the stress out of traveling for yourself? A closer airport? Calmer family members? Your own jet? Talk about it as if it was happening and detail your first stress-free traveling experience.

7. Did you ever have a foreign love experience? If not, make one up and talk about how you met, how your love progressed, and what it was like leaving him or her (if you ever did leave!).

8. Have you ever traveled back to the "mother country" to discover your family's roots? If not, make up a story in which you did and see how much you can find out about your ancestry. Did you learn anything about yourself and the kind of person you are on this trip?

9. Talk about a road trip that you've had. Who was there, where were you going, and what seedy rest stops did you go to along the way? If you haven't been on such a trip, create the ideal trip for yourself by getting your best friends together and going to your favorite driveable location (that is at least 100 miles away).

10. You are in the airport and you are about to travel home for the holidays. Except one problem. You're snowed in! Talk about your night (or nights) at the airport and if you meet any strange and interesting people.  As I always encourage with these prompts, you can use them both for writing and as a way to grow. Plan out that trip that you've always wanted to take that you know will be a growing experience. Or just create that novel you've always wanted to pen out. Either way works fine by me :). As long as you are creating using these free creative writing prompts, I am sure that you are using your time wisely. Happy writing!  Bonus Prompt  - You have been granted the ability to fly! I mean, like Superman! Where do you travel with this newfound ability now that you don't need to save up frequent flyer miles? 

Related Articles Free Creative Writing Prompts from the Heart, Part 1 Free Creative Writing Prompts #2: Love Creative Writing Exercises #2: Relaxation

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The art of travel writing: How to turn your notes into a story

Hiker at Lord Howe Island

Travel writing is one of the most misunderstood, and romanticised, jobs on the planet. That’s where this three-part Masterclass series comes in. To shine a light into its dimly lit corners, correct a few misconceptions about travel writing (and writers) and hopefully inspire you to write about your travels.

As I see it, travel writing is the lovechild of journalism and creative writing. Of course there are as many ways to write as there are travel writers, but the best stories have a spark that makes you just want to keep reading.

Before we get onto crafting a travel story, remember that great travel writing is great writing, period (as they say in America). It’s clear, every word pulls its weight and it takes you somewhere (and not just to a destination).

The “Big Five” of travel writing

A smiling woman on Lord Howe Island.

Hanging out on Lord Howe Island.

There are five common kinds of travel story that can help you make sense of your travel notes, each with a built-in structure:

  • Lists and “roundups”. These showcase a selection of experiences or destinations sharing a common theme. Quirky, odd-numbered lists such as “21 reasons you should live in Berlin” and “29 Insta-worthy places to go” are increasingly popular, particularly online, but the Top 10 is a classic that never goes out of style.
  • City guides and hotel reviews. These stories are usually short and written to a template set by the publication such as “48 hours in…” or a “Three-minute guide to…”.
  • Journey stories. If your trip takes you from A to B, whether by road or camel train, on foot or by cargo ship, the journey is your structure. That is, you can write about it roughly from start to finish, condensing some bits and expanding on others to create interest. A word of warning: diary-style stories are generally easy to write, but can be boring to read unless there’s a reason you’re writing in a day-by-day format.
  • Stories with sub-heads. Sub-headings help you structure a longer feature, organising your ideas into clusters. Breakout boxes are also handy, a good place for information that might otherwise break the flow of the main story.
  • How-to stories: Don’t forget destination-less travel stories such as “How to” and stories based on issues or travel trends.


Finding story angles

The sixth kind of travel story is a feature, which requires an angle or theme. That is, you have to know what the story is about . Finding good angles comes with practice, but here are a few ways to nose them out:

  • Know who you’re writing for . Getting to know the publication and its readers can help you know what they want to know. What interests them? What can you tell them about this destination?
  • “How was your trip?” What’s the first thing you told your friends and family members, or posted on Facebook, after your last trip? It could be something that surprised you, something you loved, something that happened to you, even something you know people back home might find interesting. Whatever it is, it could become the backbone of your story or at the very least the hook you start it with.
  • Just write. Sometimes the best way to find out what your story is about is to start writing and see where that takes you. Other times it helps to write down all the main ideas you want to include in a kind of mind-map. Different stories often require different strategies.
  • Mind-travel back. Read through your notes, look at your photos, take some time to think about the trip and jot down any themes or highlights you might be able to string together into a story.
  • Narrow your focus. Don’t try to cover too much in one story. Instead of writing about the San Francisco food scene, for instance, write about the foods unique to San Francisco (like fortune cookies; who knew they were invented in San Francisco’s Chinatown?).

Once upon a time: The hook

A woman sitting near a lake in Sierra Nevada

Hiking in the Sierra Nevada.

The next most important part of the story is how it starts. This is where you “hook” the reader and make her want to keep reading, so it pays to spend more time crafting that first sentence or two.

Fortunately, travel writing has a few road-tested hooks. The most common way to start a story is to drop the reader in the middle of the action: “I’m standing naked on the rooftop of a Bangkok hotel with no idea how I got here” (or something).

The hook can also introduce the main idea of your story or make an observation about the place or about travel, or life, in general. It can be controversial or confessional. You can even ask a question or start with a quote. Or find some totally new way to start a story that no one has ever tried before.


From travel diary to travel story

Now for the main course: building a story. To do this, you need a structure, a framework on which to hang the various points and ideas you want to share about the place. Do this successfully and you create a story that’s bigger than the sum of its parts, one that will take your reader on a ride.

Travel diaries are a fantastic raw material, but a travel story requires you to do more than say what you did each day. Otherwise it’s like giving someone some flour, sugar and butter and a couple of eggs and saying, “Here’s a cake”.

You need to group things together and lift out details, make decisions about what to focus on and what to leave out, to make your story glimmer with interest.

A few tips to help you organise your story into a cohesive whole:

  • Be selective. You can’t write about everything that happened, everything you saw, every fascinating person you met. You need to be selective, and be brutal: include only the highlights, the most memorable experiences, the best encounters and leave out the rest –or put those into other stories later.
  • More ideas, less description . A popular misconception about travel writing is that it has to be full of adjectives and colourful descriptions. It’s really about ideas and insights, well communicated. One of my favourite writing quotes is: “Words are the carriage, not the queen.”
  • “ Up-down” writing. Too much detail gets claustrophobic, but too much overview makes a story feel distant. The trick is to alternate between the two, zooming in on details or a moment in time, then zooming out to the big picture, to keep the story moving.
  • Avoid clichés. Travel writing has more than its fair share of phases that have worn out their welcome. You know the ones, but two to avoid at all costs are “paradise” and “a land of contrasts”.
  • Be yourself. One of the trickiest balancing acts in writing is knowing how much of yourself to put into a story. Too little and the story is soul-less. Too much and it can sound self-indulgent. As in life, aim for the middle way…


Bring it home

A woman in a canoe in Canada.

Canoeing in Canada.

A good story ending ensures you don’t leave your readers dangling at the cliff-edge of the second last paragraph. You’ve brought them this far, after all.

A few ways to end your story:

  • Refer back to the beginning; this neatly completes the loop or narrative
  • Sum up the main points, in a way you haven’t yet used in the story
  • Mention something you’ve learned from the trip: a conclusion or insight that came from your experiences
  • Share a “moment in time” as you did in the hook, only this time your intention is not to lead the reader into the story but to leave her with a lasting image or feeling.

Remember that all writing is a process and good writing takes practise, discipline and time. Be prepared to write bad drafts; we all do. The secret to good writing is good rewriting, as American essayist EB White once said; that is, knowing what doesn’t work and fixing it, again and again, until it does.

The best travel stories aren’t just about what you, the travel writer, did or what a place looked like. They take us to the heart of that place, to its true essence. They make us feel something and inspire us to travel and to look at the world, and life, differently.

In the words of Pico Iyer, one of my favourite travel writers, “Writing of every kind is a way to wake oneself up and keep as alive as when one has just fallen in love.”

Some of the best stories come from the road. Make your own on a small group adventure with Intrepid – explore our range of trips now . 

All photos by Louise Southerden. 

Feeling inspired?

creative writing road trip

Louise Southerden

Louise Southerden has been a professional travel writer and author for more than 20 years and is passionate about travel that makes the world a better place. She’s also an author and award-winner; in fact, in 2019 she won the Australian Society of Travel Writers’ Travel Writer of the Year award – for the fifth time. To follow her adventures in simple, sustainable living, see No Impact Girl .

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Charity Hume

  • June 4, 2014

Take This Creative Writing Road Trip

A Decrease font size. A Reset font size. A Increase font size.

From The Canterbury Tales, to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road , the transformations that happen when we hit the road and leave our daily routines behind can open a whole new dimension of experience. In the course of a journey, we meet new characters, experience obstacles and solve the challenges that unfold in the course of our journey.  Road trips are not always easy. Flannery O’Connor blends the concept of horror and social realism, along with a dash of ironic humor, in “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” when she tells the story of a family road trip gone horribly wrong.

This summer, take a notebook on your own creative writing road trip with you and take notes.  Eavesdrop on the back seat squabbles and the decisions about what to order in the truckstops. Tell the story of a road trip in all its realistic detail.  Include the bickering in the car, the argument over how to drive safely, or try to capture the reflective connected silence between a parent and a child that unexpectedly bonds them after a year of fighting.  Use your own memories of journeys, and tell the back stories that begin to weave their way into the narrative as you recall some of the adventures. Before you begin, think of the transformations you experienced while you were on the road, and find the material that you think will give you the most dramatic material.  That drama can be subtle, an internal “letting go” of a relationship that is over, or it can be more dramatic, Thelma and Louise on the lam.  Enjoy the journey, and see where the road leads you with the characters who accompany you on the way.

  • road trips , tramsformations , creative writing , writing prompt , Ferdinand Hodler

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She Goes The Distance

40 Creative Travel Journal Ideas & Writing Prompts to Save Your Best Travel Memories

40 Creative Travel Journal Ideas & Writing Prompts to Save Your Best Travel Memories

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by Michela

It’s so easy to let our travel photos get buried in our camera roll or to say “I’ll remember this night forever” and forget the details that made it so special just a few months later. That’s where keeping a travel journal becomes such an important part of your trip! These travel journal ideas & writing prompts will make you fall in love with trips all over again and keep your favorite memories alive.

Travel journaling is therapeutic, fun, and provokes self-reflection and creativity. While we travel, we can be pretty busy – exploring different places, sleeping on planes, meeting new people. But just because you’re busy during your trip doesn’t mean you can’t keep a travel journal!

Keeping a travel journal is even more rewarding when you can make it personal with mementos (and other travel journal ideas I’m sharing below!)

creative writing road trip

And if you’re just here for the prompts, you can jump to the bottom of the post or download the free ‘Where She Goes’ Travel Journal Prompts list from The Travel Library .

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Let’s get into everything there is to know about travel journaling and the creative ways you can go about your trip memory-keeping.

Some of these links are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through that link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read my full disclosure !

All About Travel Journaling: What It Is, How To Do It, & Should You Keep A Travel Journal?

Keeping a travel journal is simply about recording memories from a trip. You can even keep track of and plan future trips in a travel journal (which I, as someone in love with lists, do often!)

There’s no one way to journal about travels. You could write during or after your trip, keep a travel bullet journal, track you running bucket list, save travel tips for your next trip – the important thing is to be creative and reflective!

Travel journaling is an amazing tool to see how travel has influenced us to grow as a person, from conquering fears to gaining self-confidence.

It can be used to beat the lonely times of solo travel or try to escape the post-trip blues by reliving those memories just made.

While we travel, there are so many highs, lows, emotions, funny moments and more that we say we will never forget. But to really never forget them, we have to reflect on them and document them! That’s where keeping a travel journal comes in handy.

The Best Travel Journals

There are lots of different options for travel journals. You could use a plain basic notebook or write in a travel diary with printed prompts and exercises. So, how do you know which one to choose?

The truth is, you can go through a lot of travel journals. Maybe you’ll get the chance to experience multiple different kinds! If you are naturally more creative, choose a mostly blank travel journal to which you can add personal touches.

If you struggle with what to write about, opt for journals with prompts built into them (or scroll down to the prompts below and download the list!)

Two travel journals that are both cute and interactive are the Wander Always Journal and the Page A Day Journal . These have prompts and activities within them, so there’s a bit less room for creativity. But, it also makes the process easier and faster with these bonuses.

Another travel journal that is perfect for those wanting a more sleek and clean look is the WNDRD Trip Planning Journal . As it says in the name, you can use this notebook for journaling and for trip planning with the specially printed planner pages.

Travel journals can also be great sentimental gifts for friends and family (or for yourself – I won’t tell!)

Travel Journal Apps

Everything has an app these days, right? Travel journaling can even be done on your phone! Some apps for travel journaling include:

  • Travel Diaries

There’s also a sweet app called Journi, where you can create photo albums with diary entries and track your trip on a map. Then you can print or share these mini albums! You can group your photos while traveling or after so that they are easy to find. This way won’t be lost in your camera roll!

Creative Travel Journal Ideas

If you want to do more than just write in your travel journal, then there are many ways to make it special and personalized!

These unique travel journal ideas are meant to get you thinking about how to make your love for travel or the travels themselves come alive.

Look for inspiration everywhere. Maybe you have a ton of extra coins lying around from your trip to Italy . Or you saved those flowers you picked near the coast of France and they are now dried. These can all be accessories used to bring your travel memories back to life in your journal!

Photo Pocket

creative writing road trip

The first travel journal idea is to add a photo pocket to the back or front of your journal. This is a super simple way to create a little storage of your photos without having to spend time doing a complete album!

Simply take a piece of cardstock or stiff paper and cut it into a rectangle large enough to hold your photos. You can even create a scoop like mind so they peek out.

Then add adhesive to the bottom and sides and attach it to wherever there is a sturdy spot on your journal. Voila, you have a place to put all those photos instead of letting them get buried in your phone!

Scrapbook Layout

While the first idea to making your travel journal more creative was a simple way to include photos in your journal, this version takes a bit more time and creativity.

In your travel journal, you can either leave space on the pages as you write or write and layout photos at the same time to create a commemorative mini travel scrapbook.

You’ll need small adhesive, scissors, and some creative juices flowing to transform blank pages into something beautiful.

Decorating your travel journal is another way to give it more personality and bring out the fun of your trips.

You can opt for inexpensive sheets of stickers or find specific decals you fall in love with to tell the story of your trip!

Good places to buy unique stickers and decals are Etsy , Amazon , and Society6 .

Here are some of my favorites for an aesthetic travel journal cover and pages!

  • Go Travel Decal
  • Trip Planning Stickers
  • Vintage Vinyl Stickers
  • Gold & Black Aesthetic Travel Stickers

Add Your Own Art

Take the design of your travel journal to the next level by channeling your inner artist. Use paint to decorate the outside. Doodle your favorite places on the pages or the cover to bring you back to a place.

Whatever artistic addition you can make to your travel journal, the more personal to and reflective of you it will be.

Preserving Tickets, Passes, & Other Mundane Mementos

creative writing road trip

One of the best travel journal ideas is to preserve all of the extra bits from your trip – things like train tickets, museum passes, and local maps – to add to your writing entries.

They may seem useless after your trip, but these tokens of your travels are the real elements that bring your memories to life. Seeing a word can help you imagine a place, but physically touching your metro pass or gallery ticket takes you right back to the moment you used it.

Tape these small papers to page corners, stuff them in the photo pocket, or even use them as little bookmarks to organize your journal.

Choose Something to Collect

Make your travel journal completely unique by sticking with a theme. This idea for travel journals will take some time to execute throughout your travels, but it can be a special way to remember each place you’ve been to.

Whether it is stamps, postcards, or boarding passes, build up a consistent collection of them from wherever you travel.

Then when it comes time to assemble your journal, you have a cute consistent theme and a visually appealing diary to document every place you have been.

Travel Journal Prompts for Reflection & Memory-Keeping

Travel journal prompts are ways to combat writer’s block and inspire creativity. To make these prompts easier to reference, you can download the free printable of ‘Where She Goes’ Travel Journal Prompts from The Travel Library, where you’ll also have access to resources like my girl’s packing list and Lightroom photo presets.

The Journey

  • What was the journey like to be here? What happened on the way to your destination?
  • Did you learn anything new on the journey?
  • Who did you meet while traveling to this place?
  • What was your favorite part of the journey?
  • Did you reach here by car, plane, train?
  • Was it a long journey? How did you feel once you reached your destination?
  • What songs did you listen to on the way that take you back to this trip?

The Destination

  • Describe your current surroundings.
  • How does this place make you feel?
  • Why did you want to be here? Did you want to be here?
  • What surprised you most about this place?
  • Who are you traveling with?
  • What have you learned about this place since arriving?
  • What’s a funny story you would tell your friend about this trip?
  • Where did you explore off-the-beaten-path?
  • Did you try any unique foods?
  • How would you describe this place to a friend or family member?
  • Name one thing you never want to forget about this place.
  • What is a memory you’ll cherish forever from this trip?
  • Did you enjoy your trip? If not, why?
  • What did you learn about yourself after visiting this place?
  • What could have gone better?
  • How do you feel after leaving? Would you return?
  • Name three things you are grateful for from this trip.
  • Describe your favorite photo from this trip.

General Memory-Keeping

  • Write about the first travel memory that comes to mind.
  • Doodle a monument or favorite place you have visited that made you want to pinch yourself.
  • Describe your first travel experience. What were you feeling? Scared? Excited? Anxious?
  • Make a list of all the people you’ve met while traveling.
  • What’s one thing you would change about travel?
  • What’s one thing you want to do better while traveling?
  • Where’s your favorite place to travel with family? Describe it in vivid detail.
  • Describe a place you’ve visited through using all five senses.
  • If you could choose one place you’ve been to stay forever, which one would it be?

Final Tips for Travel Journaling

creative writing road trip

Hopefully with all these travel journal ideas and writing prompts, you feel more comfortable and excited to document your travels! Here are some extra tips to make travel journaling work for you:

  • Keep your travel journal with you as you are on the go. This may seem obvious, but when you think about it, we don’t want to pause our day to go write about what’s happening that very second. Instead, have your journal with you to doodle your surroundings or write down specific feelings you have at the moment. You can elaborate later!
  • Write down keywords to escape writer’s block. If you have trouble getting started, jot down a few words that come to mind when you are looking at a prompt. Often when writing, we get overwhelmed by what the finished product should look like that we can’t even start! Start as small as keywords and as your ideas come in the writing will flow.
  • Use every sense for details. An easy way to get more creative and describe a moment well is to think about it from the perspective of all five senses you experienced with. What sounds did you hear, things do you see, flavors did you taste?

Let me know what you think of these travel journal ideas, prompts, & tips with a comment!

Save this guide to Pinterest for later reference!

creative writing road trip

The more memories we make, the more important it is to jot them down so we have them forever. Tell me if you’re excited about travel journaling like me!

creative writing road trip

Michela is a travel writer and photographer living in northern Italy. She is passionate about helping people make the most of their travels by sharing advice gained from her personal experiences, off-the-beaten-path destinations and time-saving quick itineraries. Browse her top articles or have her help you plan your itinerary to your dream destination!

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Elementary Assessments

Elementary Assessments

50+ Fun Travel Writing Prompts

Spark discussion about interesting travels in your classroom using these fun travel writing prompts.

Not only do these writing prompts about travel reduce writer’s block, they allow students to express themselves, develop writing skills, reflect upon personal experiences, and share travel stories.

What’s more, these travel writing prompts encourage even the most reluctant writers to move their pens!

So pencil into your writer’s workshop block this week a few of these writing prompts about travel.

Travel Writing Prompts

1. Do you think it’s important for people to travel? Why or why not?

2. You’re going on a trip to the safari! What experiences do you hope to enjoy during your travels?

3. Write an email or series of text messages to your parents convincing them to take you to one of your favorite destinations.

4. Retell your most exciting holiday travel experience.

5. Tell about your favorite place to visit. Describe how it looks and feels.

6. Of all the places you’ve ever traveled to, which would you like to revisit and why?

7. Imagine yourself lost in a foreign country. Describe what experiences you might encounter while trying to navigate the country.

8. Write a short story about traveling in a wagon pulled by horses.

9. Next summer, where would you like to go and why?

10. Imagine that you have a car that will take you anywhere you want to go for a day. Write a story about your adventures.

11. Recall something funny that happened on a family vacation.

12. Share two or three places you’d love to visit one day. Why are these places interesting to you?

13. Write about a travel experience that started well but ended terribly.

14. Think about a place approximately 100 miles from your current location. Plan a road trip to this place with your best friend. What will you two do there?

15. What’s the most boring trip you’ve ever taken?

16. Draft a travel guide for new visitors to your city recommending the best sightseeing activities around town.

17. Describe the best vacation spot.

18. Share something you have learned from one of your traveling experiences.

19. Imagine traveling to a new foreign country. What activities, sights, sounds, and smells do you experience? What challenges and adventures might you face?

20. Would you rather take a trip to the beach or to a volcano? Explain.

travel writing prompts

21. Tell about a favorite food that you tried when traveling.

22. If your class could take a field trip to only one place this school year, where would you choose to go and why?

23. How did traveling to a new place change your mindset about the world in some way?

24. What are the main highlights to see and do in your state or country?

25. Write a letter persuading your teacher to take students on a field trip to a favorite museum.

26. Share about a time when you or a family member forgot to pack something important for a trip. What was the final outcome?

27. Describe your least favorite vacation spot.

28.Create a story centered around these five words: souvenir, travel, family, foreign, holiday

29. In your opinion, why do you think it’s helpful to respond to travel writing prompts?

30. Which country would you love to visit one day? What do you want to do there, and who will accompany you?

31. Imagine that your parents are sending you away for a two-week summer vacation. Write a short story about this travel experience.

32. Create a series of travel writing prompts that you think your classmates may like.

33. If someone offered you a free plan ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

34. Describe your town or city to someone who has never visited.

35. Write about the day in the life of a person recently-arrived to a new country.

36. Share an interesting experience you had visiting another state or country.

37. If you could travel through time, would you visit the past or the future? Explain.

38. Imagine that it’s 50 years into the future. Describe what you experience. How is life different compared to today?

39. Pretend that you have a time machine that goes into the past. Which era would you choose to visit and why? Describe your experience.

40. If you could transport yourself to any place on earth, where would you go and why?

41. You will travel underwater to spend one day with a mermaid. Write a short story about the adventures and challenges you encounter.

42. Compose a poem about a favorite travel destination.

43. Describe the perfect travel experience.

44. Provide examples and non-examples of budget-friendly travel.

45. Summarize the last vacation you took with your family.

46. What are the pros and cons of traveling during the summer?

47. What kinds of snacks do you like to take along on a road-trip and why?

48. Design a bumper sticker to advertise a favorite travel destination.

49. Write a “recipe for happy travels.” Include the ingredients, measurements, and directions.

50. What is your favorite way to spend a staycation?

51. In your opinion, what are the benefits of traveling to other parts of the country or world?

52. While responding to one of the travel writing prompts while on vacation, your pencil whispers, “Let’s fly to Disneyland instead of staying here.” Write what happens next.

53. Pretend that you’re in a foreign country for a week. Write a diary entry about one of your days there.

Final Thoughts: Travel Writing Prompts

Now you have a treasure-trove of travel writing prompts to use for various writing activities.

Why not record travel experiences in this col travel journal.

If students enjoy these travel writing prompts, they make like this cool travel journal .

See more themed writing prompts .

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Write a Good Travel Essay. Please.

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Kathleen Boardman

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Editor’s Note: We know that many of you are looking for help writing travel experience essays for school or simply writing about a trip for your friends or family. To inspire you and help you write your next trip essay—whether it’s an essay about a trip with family or simply a way to remember your best trip ever (so far)—we enlisted the help of Professor Kathleen Boardman, whose decades of teaching have helped many college students learn the fine art of autobiography and life writing. Here’s advice on how to turn a simple “my best trip” essay into a story that will inspire others to explore the world.

Welcome home! Now that you’re back from your trip, you’d like to share it with others in a travel essay. You’re a good writer and a good editor of your work, but you’ve never tried travel writing before. As your potential reader, I have some advice and some requests for you as you write your travel experience essay.

Trip Essays: What to Avoid

Please don’t tell me everything about your trip. I don’t want to know your travel schedule or the names of all the castles or restaurants you visited. I don’t care about the plane trip that got you there (unless, of course, that trip is the story).

I have a friend who, when I return from a trip, never asks me, “How was your trip?” She knows that I would give her a long, rambling answer: “… and then … and then … and then.” So instead, she says, “Tell me about one thing that really stood out for you.” That’s what I’d like you to do in this travel essay you’re writing.

The Power of Compelling Scenes

One or two “snapshots” are enough—but make them great. Many good writers jump right into the middle of their account with a vivid written “snapshot” of an important scene. Then, having aroused their readers’ interest or curiosity, they fill in the story or background. I think this technique works great for travel writing; at least, I would rather enjoy a vivid snapshot than read through a day-to-day summary of somebody’s travel journal.

Write About a Trip Using Vivid Descriptions

Take your time. Tell a story. So what if you saw things that were “incredible,” did things that were “amazing,” observed actions that you thought “weird”? These words don’t mean anything to me unless you show me, in a story or a vivid description, the experience that made you want to use those adjectives.

I’d like to see the place, the people, or the journey through your eyes, not someone else’s. Please don’t rewrite someone else’s account of visiting the place. Please don’t try to imitate a travel guide or travelogue or someone’s blog or Facebook entry. You are not writing a real travel essay unless you are describing, as clearly and honestly as possible, yourself in the place you visited. What did you see, hear, taste, say? Don’t worry if your “take” on your experience doesn’t match what everyone else says about it. (I’ve already read what THEY have to say.)

The Importance of Self-Editing Your Trip Essay

Don’t give me your first draft to read. Instead, set it aside and then reread it. Reread it again. Where might I need more explanation? What parts of your account are likely to confuse me? (After all, I wasn’t there.) Where might you be wasting my time by repeating or rambling on about something you’ve already told me?

Make me feel, make me laugh, help me learn something. But don’t overdo it: Please don’t preach to me about broadening my horizons or understanding other cultures. Instead, let me in on your feelings, your change of heart and mind, even your fear and uncertainty, as you confronted something you’d never experienced before. If you can, surprise me with something I didn’t know or couldn’t have suspected.

You Can Do It: Turning Your Trip into a Great Travel Experience Essay

I hope you will take yourself seriously as a traveler and as a writer. Through what—and how—you write about just a small portion of your travel experience, show me that you are an interesting, thoughtful, observant person. I will come back to you, begging for more of your travel essays.

Take Notes in a Cute Journal

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Keep track of all the crucial details- and even the ones you might forget, in a durable and refillable journal.

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Your 29-word “road trip” stories

creative writing road trip

Australian Writers' Centre Team

  • May 5, 2021

Flash fiction is big right now, but what about micro-fiction? This tiny format almost borders on poetry at times and seeks to make the biggest impact in the fewest words – something all too familiar to the ‘Twitter’ generation. Last week, we asked our community to create for us a story with no more than 29 words – on the theme of “ROAD TRIP”. And in just one day we received almost a thousand entries! 

We have read them all and discovered that most seem to fit into three loose categories – happy or nostalgic road trips, hated or uncomfortable road trips, and well, downright DARK tales where people are either killed or about to be! So, on that cheery note, here is a selection of our favourites – enjoy!

Packed into the car like they themselves were luggage, the Fosters bickered. The broken air conditioner gave Mary a headache, and the permanently silent radio drove the rest mad. 

– Artie Kuyper

I never saw it coming. A road trip is normally brilliant, but not this one. If I’d have seen the stone I wouldn’t have fallen flat on my face!

– Mikey Mike

Dusty feet, dusty swag, dusty heart. Left or Right. Return to those left behind or keep right on going. Damn the road, damn the dust, damn my heart. Right.

– Simon Lewis

Pink Cadillac Sitting in the back My cousin and I laughing Not moving There is no engine in this car But we are driving fast To a place unknown

The car was a prison. I had waited months for this; now I wanted out. How can something be romantic when you don’t have a choice?

‘Smile,’ he said.

Freedom. Feeling the warmth of the sun. Fresh breeze tickling my cheeks. I’m alive. I don’t want to go back. I’ve lost everyone. I have to keep moving.

– Brigitta Hegyi

The endless, winding road. The smell of her hair on the wind. The warmth of her hand. ‘No better place,' I smile, tilting the urn out the drivers window.

– Fionna Cosgrove

I studied the Mexican map. “We’re in Progreso.” Mom looked confused. “Near the ocean?” I shook my head. “The Gulf.” Her mouth fell open. “We took a wrong turn.”

– Leah Mueller

Zip through the fresh air. Trash by the road? Dinner. Yum. Sun on my wings. Eyes close. Air rushes. Uh oh. Wind sucking. Truck coming. Windshield too close! Splat.

We heard a clunk and saw a part of the engine roll down the steep hill in Scotland. “Do we need that?” he asked. “I’m not sure,” she replied.

– Catherine Sheridan

“33” “40” Slap “Mommmmeeeeeee! Hayden hit me!!!” “Those were cows. You lose.” “They WEREN’T” “They’re Cows.” “Horses” “Stop it” “Mom, she…” “Girls, QUIET!” “But She…” “Cows!” “ENOUGH!!!!!”

Car chewing up long roads scenery a constant blur. My mind wandering the lanes of memory. For one last kiss before your soul travels roads beyond this life.

– Melly Farek

Palms are sweaty on the wheel. It’s pitch black on the road. I pull over and lock the doors. A scared voice asks “why have we stopped?” I smile.

– Madison Paull

I squint, attempting to decipher the lines on the map. The Grim Reaper, one hand on the wheel, looks over. “Don’t worry”, he smiles, “I know the way home.”

– Belinda Saville

Up at dawn, car packed, cat kenneled, coffee in a sippy cup, tires checked, GPS on, open road beckons, but hark! Covid restrictions. Back to bed.

– Susan DeSandoli

“Are we nearly there yet?” Just twenty minutes into the journey shortly followed by, “I really need a wee.” “Oh Dad, cross your legs and concentrate on your driving!”

– Michael Wright

“Can you find a red car?” “How many cows are there?” “You all have enough biscuits.” “Don’t kick my seat!” “Don’t pinch your brother!” We need a bigger car.

– Meg Warrington

Three kids crammed in the backseat fighting and parents half arguing in the front. What I would give for that time back? I miss the closeness of it all.

– Nadya Sotnychuk

“Help! Let me out!” the mumbled voice came from the boot. “Be there soon!” Annie yelled out in her sweetest voice from behind the wheel. Best road trip ever.

– Natalie Coleiro

Years saving, months planning, routes debated, hotels booked. Car serviced, clothes packed, windows checked, doors locked – we’re off! Rain falling, wipers wiping, hours driving, seconds dozing… …blue lights flashing.

– James Dunford

It was just perfect, finally, she was on a trip down the coast with the man she loved. The wind in her hair, her gun in his ribs. Perfect.

– Melissa Brown

My ankle dangles out the window playfully. I catch him looking and smile. He smiles back. I'll do it soon. He should know better than to pick up hitchhikers.

– Tarik Bacchus

blurry green blurry green house cow cow cow house blurry green horse cow horse horse cow windmill house screech kangaroo carcass blurry green

– Bruna Gomes

A list of forgotten items, remembered during the road trip. My drink bottle. Kids iPads. Baby’s dummy. Dog’s lead. Husband’s shoes. Enough booze to last the holiday.

–Dayle Fogarty

Your hands. One on the steering wheel, the other caressing my thigh. A white circle of skin on your wedding finger. In the rearview, I watch the past disappear.

– Selina Hill

Freshly licensed, she was excited about the drive. She never saw the Semi in her blindspot. She made it, just barely. Now she's got a new set of wheels.

– Rajko Bacchus

Dad yells “ROAD TRIP!” We grab our bags and hop in the car. We are so happy, yes we are! A year of adventure … I wonder how far?

– Hamo (11 years old)

The Irish backroads had enough of rain and recessions. Feeling neglected, unloved and wet, they tripped off, leaving pot-holed, grassy byways behind. I hope they're somewhere nice and dry.

– Mary Sheehan

Did I turn the iron off? Did I turn the iron off? Did I turn the iron off? Did I turn the iron off? Turn the car around.

– Kristy Schirmer

We all like to travel. We love to see all the places in Australia.

– Leo (8 years old)

Yellow car spotting game. Road trip Melbourne to Sydney. First yellow car just south of Gundagai. Road trip Sydney to Orange. Thirteen yellow cars. No kidding.

– Diane Wilson

Stacking, packing, listing, tracking. You need to be prepared when you're backpacking. Time to go, let's get cracking. Stop the car! there is something lacking. You forgot the kids!

– Chris Hall

Regret. Such a gnawing feeling of your insides, particularly when it could've been avoided. Why did I do it? No one needs to watch Road Trip a second time.

– Samuel Foster

The road to Jindabyne was long and winding, interrupted only by a thump from the boot. “What’s that,” asked Jerome. “A cliche,” answered Denise.

– Lynette Minucos

Gumtrees coalesce against the lip of the highway, our car hosting stained glass windows of green and sky. My brother sees only hours of bore in their bearings, slouching.

“We are going on a road trip.” I said. I couldn't understand what she was trying to say but, I guess her muffled screams meant she was excited too.

– Asian_Panda

Reaching the lookout, she got out of the car and walked to the seashore, inhaling deeply. The fresh, tangy sea breeze and the waves' crashing sounds replenishing her soul.

611 kilometres. Comfortable silence. Grey tarmac. Red dust. The odd tree, standing lonely. It was the return journey she was dreading. Alone herself. After she’d said goodbye.

– Louise McNee

“What’s a bastard, Mum?” Six-year old Lily’s voice filled the void after the engine stalled yet again. “Your father!” Mum replied bitterly, “for taking us on this road trip.”

– Helen Manias

A mist rose like ghosts in a cemetery, obscuring my view. Missing the sign, my car left the road and floated momentarily. The weightlessness before the plunge was unbearable.

– Rita Riebel Mitchell

Mum nudged me awake. It was early, before dawn. I shivered in excitement. Outside, the car already packed. Dad liked to be on the road before the morning traffic.

– Tiffany Plummer

I had never seen this man in my life. I didn't even know who he was. But yet, he had promised me candy.

The radio weather report painted a picture of blue skies and bright sunshine with amazing surf. Through the windscreen the kilometres of cars not moving was not as scenic.

The “quick drink down the pub” somehow became beers in Ballarat, then bourbons in Bordertown. John never remembered reaching Adelaide, but when he awoke he was unemployed and single.

– Marc Howard

We give up. What do you spy, with your little eye, beginning with “L”?' ‘Lectric pylon.' ‘That's it! I'm turning this car around right now!'

– Andrew R. Krey

About the journey not the destination. Every day a new location Bellyaches, spills, service stations Rattles bumps, aggravation Tyres now needing inflation Not about the journey, where's our destination?

Life's road trip endures many bumps, hurdles, bends and dead-ends. Friends come and go, careers fumble, partnerships waver and finances struggle. Life's road trip is what you make it.

– Alison Miller

Mum, why is there poo in shampoo? Mum, do birds wee when they tweet? Mum, why does father sound like fart? Family roads trips. Measured in questions. Not hours.

– Janine Robertson

Dawn, sky shimmering, road winding up between marching sugarcane. At the summit, in fog and shivery air, we watch the slow-sliding green river, searching. Finally, platypus splashing delight

– Danielle Baldock

The engine is rumbling beneath us as the radio begins to crackle. I reach my hand out for the dial. He does too. Our fingers touch and we smile.

– Ellen Milankovic

Breathless, I dismount at the summit, a panorama of beauty in front of me – marred only by one thought: Look what we took from the people of this land. 

– Bernice Shepherd

It's the art of going nowhere and everywhere, with someone or no one, in the here, then, when? It's a hair in wind, music tongue, time numb, road ode.

– Tracie Lark

No number of paper plate wheels stopped the cardboard folding inward. The road trip ended before it had begun, triggering a tremendous tantrum that rumbled throughout the house.

– Rachel Cartledge

‘That bank teller was quite lovely.’ Clarence gripped the steering wheel. ‘We’re going to make it. Just me, you, and the open road.’ A police siren blared, closing in.

– E. S. Sibbald

Pass me those chips. How good’s this song? We’re almost there. Maybe two hours. No, you can’t see electricity. Look, cows! Did we just miss the bloody exit?

– Gem Hathaway

‘There’s one.’ ‘There’s two!’ ‘Oh, and another one!’ ‘Mum you have to say spotto!’ ‘Fine! Spotto then.’ Spotto the dead kangaroo was definitely easier than spotto the yellow car.

– Amy Stapleton

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? NO!

– Sue Brown

The hearse on the freeway seems out of place. A road trip taken after the journey has already ended.

– E.G. Nesbitt

Here? Nah, too close to civilization. Another eighty clicks. Here? Nope. Dry riverbed. Could get washed up come the rains. Sunset. Here? Perfect. Open boot. Shovel. Body bag Dig.

– Graham Yates

“We’re lost!” “Don’t be ridiculous. You’ve got the GPS.” “It’s telling me Perth in WA, not Hobart.” “Well, which way’s North? We’ll hit water eventually.”

– Wendy Barrett

The mountains and ocean warmly greeted us today, like they really knew us. We drove around those beautiful bends and this time we weren’t just visiting, we were home.

– Doll Quinn

Windows down, zephyrs throw our curls and slice our laughter. We can fall apart later: hurl spite; compare sins borne of chaos. For now, salty air, innocence and invincibility.

– Hayley Young

I drive the long way round, through my childhood and teenage years. Visiting hours: 2-4. I arrive on time. Maybe today will be a day you remember my name.

– Fiona McKay

Looking through the window at the landmarks of yet another town, I began to wonder if I’d ever find a home like the one I found in his arms.

Mother was atypically chatty today. I tried, unsuccessfully, to ignore her 100-mile kvetch about my job, my life. Strange. She hardly ever spoke to me when she was alive.

– Michael Seese

A road is not always the shortest distance between two points. Crows fly while we twist and turn. Answers are never straight forward. Crows missed whatever point there was.

– Thomas M Brooks

I write a letter every day and post it home. People I’ve met on the road, landscapes traversed. So that when I return, the story of a lifetime awaits.

– Bianca Millroy

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Inside the Travel Lab

21 Creative Travel Journal Ideas & Prompts for Your Next Trip

February 29, 2024

Creative travel journal ideas Pinterest cover

Journaling is a great way to make the most of any trip. Here are some of our favourite creative travel journal ideas.

creative writing road trip

Travel Journal Ideas

Photos and videos aren’t the only ways to capture your travels. A travel diary can help you enjoy the trip you’re on and help you relive all those memories once you’re home. After all, how often do you look back through your phone’s photos?

I’ll be honest. Completing a travel bullet journal is something I often dream about more than I manage to complete, particularly when travelling with young children. But over the years, the travel journals I have managed to complete have brought me great joy and prompted my ageing brain to remember sights, smells and tastes more vividly than ever.

So, don’t get hung up on making it pretty and perfect. Just concentrate on enjoying your trip and use these travel journal ideas to deepen that enjoyment. Don’t let them turn into one more burden or chore to complete!

Vintage travel journal open on a table

What is a Travel Journal?

A travel journal is whatever you want it to be, baby! Or in more standard talk:

A travel journal is a personal, written account that documents an individual’s experiences, observations, and emotions during their journeys. It serves as a dedicated space for recording details such as daily activities, cultural encounters, and reflections on the places visited.

Typically, travel journals include a mix of narratives, anecdotes, and practical information. Whether handwritten or digital, a travel journal is a valuable tool for preserving travel memories, fostering self-reflection, and creating a tangible record of one’s explorations and discoveries around the world.

Although, don’t think you need to write reams. We’ve plenty of creative travel journal ideas if writing doesn’t happen to be your thing. We’re all about the easy way to fill those travel journal pages.

Leather-bound travel journal and pencil

Where to Find the Perfect Travel Journal

The romantic in me says that the best travel journal is found on the road. But the practical side of me knows that it’s easier if you pick one up before you go.

In my experience, you want a book that will stay flat when you fold it open and ideally have a tie or piece of elastic to hold it together again, to stop things falling out.

I also like travel journals with a space for a pen as that makes it more likely that you will actually have a pen with you when the time comes to write. In my experience, the best way to make sure that something happens is to remove as many obstacles as possible.

Personally, I prefer blank pages but I know that many prefer grids or lines. And I’ve never got to grips with a digital journal but if they work for you, then great!

A hard cover can protect from the bumps and bruises of life on the road but, then again, a soft cover is lighter to carry around.

Here are some lovely travel journal examples you can find on Amazon:

  • Vegan Leather Beechmore Travel Journal
  • Adventure Travel Journal with Prompts
  • Moleskine Hardcover Travel Journal

Note: if you buy through any of the links on this page, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Why Bother Keeping a Travel Journal in the First Place?

Firstly, because it’s fun! However, keeping a travel journal also has a number of other benefits.

Such as…

Memory Enhancement:

  • According to a study published in the journal Memory, the act of writing helps to consolidate and enhance memory. By documenting your experiences, in your own travel journal, you’re more likely to remember details of your journey. And that fits with what I learned when I was studying Neuroscience at Cambridge.

Stress Reduction:

  • A study by the American Psychological Association suggests that expressive writing can help reduce stress and promote overall well-being. Journaling about your travel experiences allows you to process emotions and relive positive moments.

Increased Cultural Awareness:

  • Research conducted by the Cultural Intelligence Center indicates that keeping a travel journal can contribute to the development of cultural intelligence. Writing about local customs, traditions, and interactions with residents fosters a deeper understanding of different cultures.

Reflection and Personal Growth:

  • Psychologist James W. Pennebaker’s research on expressive writing reveals that reflecting on experiences through writing can lead to personal growth and self-discovery. A travel journal provides a space for introspection and learning.

Enhanced Creativity:

  • Again, the busy American Psychological Association suggests that engaging in creative activities, such as writing, can boost cognitive function and creativity. Documenting your travels in a journal encourages creative expression.

Capturing Details:

  • Studies on eyewitness testimony indicate that people tend to forget details over time. Keeping a travel journal helps in preserving the specifics of your experiences, ensuring a more accurate recollection later on. Not that we hope you’ll end up in court. More, that we hope you’ll remember the highlights of your trip.

Improved Communication Skills:

  • Journaling encourages the practice of effective communication. Documenting your thoughts and experiences helps refine your ability to articulate ideas and stories.

Digital Detox and Mindfulness:

  • A study by the Pew Research Center found that 85% of adults in the United States use the internet. Keeping a physical travel journal offers a break from screens, fostering mindfulness and a deeper connection with your surroundings. Little details can bring about a big sense of calm.

Goal Setting and Achievement:

  • Again, the good old American Psychological Association notes that setting and achieving small goals, such as completing a journal entry each day, can boost motivation and self-esteem. A travel journal provides a structured way to set and accomplish writing goals.

Legacy and Sharing:

  • According to a study by, 77% of adults believe it’s important to preserve their family history. A travel journal can serve as a legacy, allowing future generations to gain insights into your experiences and perspectives.

So, how about that? Not just a pretty page after all.

21 Gorgeous and Creative Travel Journal Ideas

OK, let’s get to the fun part! Creative travel journal ideas!

A collection of colourful ticket stubs

Collect Ticket Stubs

Ticket stubs may not seem so glamorous at the time but they’re one of those travel journal ideas that’s quick and easy to do, with great rewards later on. If you find yourself too busy on the trip, just shove (ahem, collect) them as you go along in one envelope. Once you’re home, you can then arrange them in a scrapbook or bullet journal along with notes and photos.

Carry Some Lightweight Supplies

It’s easier to keep up with your travel diary if you have the right tools with you. No-one needs to carry about an entire artist’s briefcase but a few pens, pencils and a roll or two of washi tape can help make it manageable.

Not sure what washi tape is? It’s like sellotape only comes with a pattern and is much more forgiving when unrolling and using it. You can pick up some washi tape here . It’s a great option to make sure things don’t always fall out along the way.

Brush up on Some Writing Tips

A travel diary shouldn’t feel like homework. But it will be more rewarding to write and definitely more pleasurable to read if you brush up on some writing techniques before you go.

We run a range of writing courses to get you started, including:

  • Freelance Writing Masterclass
  • Write Better, Write Now
  • The Writing Boost

So, whether it’s a quick weekend away or a road trip journal that spans several months, you’ll feel more confident about what goes into your own travel log.

Budapest and London postcards on a travel journal

Pick up Some Postcards

This is one of my favourite creative travel journal ideas.

Now, we’re not talking about standard tourist postcards here (although, obviously, that’s fine if that’s what you want to do. It’s your travel diary, right?!)

We’re talking about flyers and postcards for art galleries, live music, exhibitions and special events. Business cards from cafes. Anything you saw and enjoyed and which gave you a taste of the place.

Notes from Dominican Republic, The Gambia and the US on top of a travel journal

Collect the Cash

Spend more than a few days in a destination and the local money soon becomes a background event that you stop noticing. But when you’re back home, it’s a connection to the place.

So, if you can spare some of the lower denomination notes, it’s a great idea to tape a few into your travel journal.

A selection of Isle of Wight maps on a table

Keep the Maps

You know those maps that are folded back and forth, torn, soggy and scribbled over? Keep them! It’s amazing how quickly you forget the detail of a place but a scribbled note and the white fluff along a folded map seam brings it back right away. New places, new maps.

Stacks of colourful cardboard drink coasters

Make the Food to Go

At the risk of sounding like a hoarder, look out for sweet wrapper, chopstick wrappers, beer labels and more that really fit the local food you had in a destination.

I always look out for local flavours in particular, so this method of scrapbooking (sounds better than hoarding) works well for me.

Flower Press Stress

Sometimes, pressing flowers or leaves works wonders. And, sometimes, it just makes a mess. This is one of those travel journal ideas that you need to do just right: ideally with a big patch of sellophane rather than just a strip of washi tape.

Be careful, though. Some countries, most notably New Zealand and Australia, are very strict about flowers and seeds crossing their borders. Probably best to avoid this if you plan on heading there.

Hand-drawn sketch of a city skyline

Sketch Skills

Small sketches and beautiful drawings can really bring a travel diary to life. If you can draw, that is.

If not, never fear. While we can’t all be the best at everything, we can all master a few basic techniques.

It’s a good idea to just relax and have a go.

Colourful post-it notes with different languages on

Learn the Lingo

As everyone knows, with a few local phrases, you’ll get a better reception wherever you go. Yet, with age, it’s alarming how quickly that knowledge fades.

Write down those phrases while they’re fresh! It’s a fun way to nurture those brain cells.

Stick in Those Lists

Have you used a packing list? A leaving the house checklist? A bucket list? To-do list? If so, stick them in! They’ll be surprisingly interesting to look at come the end of your trip. Don’t let your trip planning go to waste!

And if you don’t? Check out our collection of packing lists and pre-travel checklists here .

Use Some Travel Journal Writing Prompts

When inspiration fails, fall back on these. Don’t worry if you feel cheesy. No-one has to read this but you.

Travel Journal Prompts Before You Go

  • Outline your expectations and goals for the upcoming journey. What do you hope to achieve or experience during this trip?
  • Share your pre-trip excitement and any pre-travel rituals or preparations you engage in before embarking on a new adventure.
  • Detail the research you’ve conducted about the destination, including its culture, history, and notable attractions. What aspects are you most eager to explore?
  • Reflect on any pre-trip concerns or uncertainties. How do you plan to address them or prepare for potential challenges?
  • Describe the anticipation you feel about trying the local cuisine. Are there specific dishes you’re looking forward to sampling?
  • Outline your itinerary and the key activities you have planned for each day. What landmarks or attractions are a must-see for you?
  • Consider the local customs and etiquette of the destination. How do you plan to respect and engage with the local culture?
  • Share your thoughts on the packing process. What essentials are you making sure to bring, and what strategies are you using to pack efficiently?
  • Reflect on any language barriers you might encounter. Have you learned a few basic phrases or expressions in the local language to enhance your experience?
  • Write about your overall mindset and emotions as you approach the trip. What are your hopes, fears, and anticipations for the upcoming adventure?

Man writing in journal by a lake

Travel Journal Prompts For on the Road

1. Describe your initial impressions upon arriving at your destination. 2. What local cuisine or dish did you sample, and how would you rate your experience? 3. Reflect on a memorable encounter with a local resident or fellow traveller. 4. Share a moment when you stepped out of your comfort zone during your journey. 5. Detail the sights, sounds, and scents of a particular place that left a lasting impression on you. 6. Write about a unique cultural tradition or festival you experienced during your travels. 7. Describe a hidden gem or off-the-beaten-track location you discovered. 8. Share a humorous or unexpected anecdote from your trip. 9. Reflect on a challenging situation you encountered and how you overcame it. 10. Write about a place that surpassed your expectations and why. 11. Document a day spent exploring nature, whether it’s a hike, day at the beach, or wildlife encounter. 12. Discuss the impact of local art, music, or architecture on your overall experience. 13. Capture the essence of a local market or shopping district you visited. 14. Reflect on how the local history and heritage influenced your perception of the destination. 15. Write about a moment of tranquillity or relaxation during your journey. 16. Share your thoughts on the transportation methods you used and any interesting experiences. 17. Describe a sunrise or sunset that left you in awe. 18. Document a day focused on immersive cultural experiences, such as workshops or language classes. 19. Write about a place you’d love to revisit and explore further in the future. 20. Reflect on the personal growth or insights gained from your travel experiences.

Travel Journal Prompts for Once You Get Back

  • Reflect on the overall experience of your journey. Did it meet, exceed, or differ from your initial expectations?
  • Capture the emotions you feel upon returning home. What aspects of your routine are you excited to resume, and what do you miss from your travels?
  • Share your favourite moments from the trip and how they contributed to your overall satisfaction.
  • Write about any unexpected discoveries or surprises that occurred during your travels.
  • Reflect on the impact of the journey on your perspective and personal growth. In what ways do you feel changed or enriched?
  • Describe the local cuisine that left a lasting impression on you. Are there any dishes you wish you could recreate at home?
  • Outline any challenges you faced during the trip and how you successfully navigated them.
  • Consider how the cultural experiences have influenced your worldview. What lessons or insights will you carry forward from your travels?
  • Share your thoughts on the souvenirs or mementoes you brought back. Do they hold special meaning or memories?
  • Write about your plans for future travels. Are there destinations you’re now eager to explore based on this recent experience?

We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of creative ways to catalogue different places and, more importantly, what they meant to you.

For all we’ve talked about the benefits of travel journaling, the important thing is that it’s fun. Don’t let your travel journal become a chore. Like all goals and tools, it’s just a way to help you fall even more in love with life.

Journal entries should make you think or make you smile. And that’s enough.

Why not bookmark this article on creative travel journal ideas on Pinterest for later?

More on Preparing for Your Next Trip

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Why not pin these creative travel journal ideas on Pinterest for later?

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creative writing road trip

Write A Road Trip To Help You Plot A Book

Are you struggling to write a book? Do you have an idea that seems to go nowhere? In this post, we suggest you write a road trip to help you plot a book .

Are you struggling to write a book? Do you need help?

I have a great suggestion for you. Write about a road trip.

Writing a book is a lot like going on a journey.

Like a road trip, a novel has a destination. It also has a cast of characters, a timeline, obstacles, and potential for conflict.

Travel changes us. Often, a road trip teaches us something about ourselves. In a good novel, your character learns something or changes along the way.

You can use this formula to help you plot a book.

Why A Road Trip?

When you travel, you are forced to think about a destination. You need to plan, which is good for plotting. You usually have other people in the car with you. You may like these people or you may hate them, but their proximity allows lots of opportunity for the conflict you need in a plot.

How To Write A Road Trip

  • Choose a character ( protagonist ).
  • Choose a destination.
  • Give the character a reason for getting there. ( inciting moment )
  • Tell us why they are motivated to get there. ( story goal )
  • Put the antagonist in the car with your hero. Or get them to follow your protagonist. (Their story goal should be to prevent the protagonist from reaching the destination.)
  • Allow the conflict to develop from this arrangement.
  • Choose a friend and/or a love interest to accompany your main character.
  • Write down three BIG things ( 3 Surprises ) that will potentially prevent this character from getting to the destination. Examples: Accident, Car breaks down, Falling asleep at the wheel, Getting lost, Motel is full. (The antagonist should be the cause of the big surprises.)
  • Add smaller hindrances. Examples: Run out of fuel, Argument with love interest, Sidetracked along the way, Thinking about the past, Credit card is declined.
  • Create a world in the car ( setting ). Other settings along the way will be secondary.
  • Draw a map of the journey.
  • Create a timeline .
  • Break the journey up into scenes  and  sequels .
  • Reach the destination. Or not. ( ending )
  • Write the story.

Why not try it? You may be surprised at how much you learn about plotting.

You can use this formula for any genre. If you are writing fantasy , change the car into a carriage or a dragon or people travelling on foot. If you are writing a science fiction novel, change the car into a space ship. If you are writing crime, let the detective chase the criminal or put them in the same car.

When you write a road trip to help you plot a book , you confine your opposition characters in a space and give them a destination. Ironically, going on a journey prevents you from straying off the plotting track.

Try to stick to the formula if you’re struggling with plotting in general.

Once you understand the basics of how a plot works, you can tweak it and change it. You can even create your own plotting formula.

Top Tip : Find out more about our  workbooks  and  online courses  in our  shop .

creative writing road trip

© Amanda Patterson

If you liked this article ,  you may enjoy

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Healesville Events in March 2024: Dates, Itinerary & Tickets Price

In March 2024, Healesville will be a hub of vibrant activities and events, offering a diverse range of experiences for locals and visitors alike. The town will come alive with a variety of cultural, artistic, and culinary events that will cater to different interests and age groups. From food and wine festivals to art exhibitions, music concerts, and sporting events, there will be something for everyone. The events will not only showcase the rich heritage and culture of Healesville but also provide an opportunity for people to connect, learn, and have fun. The March 2024 events in Healesville are expected to attract a large number of attendees, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking unique experiences. Detailed information about each event, including dates, venues, and ticketing, will be available on the website. The events are designed to promote community engagement and boost local tourism, contributing to the economic growth of the town. So, mark the calendar and plan a visit to Healesville in March 2024 to be a part of these exciting events.

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It’s not too late to plan a trip to see the solar eclipse

Eye protection for april's total solar eclipse.

If you’re among the millions of people who will get the chance to witness April’s total solar eclipse, you’re going to want to use eye protection. Vitreoretinal surgeon at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Dr. Avnish Deobhakta joined FOX Weather on Sunday to explain the dangers of viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection.

The solar eclipse in April is bringing a surge of travelers to several American cities. 

The 120 mile-wide path of totality will stretch from Texas to Maine over the course of about an hour on Monday, April 8. 

With so many major U.S. cities in totality’s path, traveling to witness the phenomenon is especially accessible for millions of Americans this time. In fact, 32 million of them can just step outside.

For those not living nearby and just now thinking about getting a peek, it’s not too late. But be prepared to pay premiums or get a little creative with your itinerary. 

Here’s some tips: 

Solar eclipse flights

Enthusiasts have been mapping out their destinations already for months. Back in January , Kayak reported seeing a 304% increase in flight searches and a 15x increase in hotel searches for the dates around the eclipse versus the same time last year. 

Going, formerly Scott's Cheap Flights, said Cleveland, Austin, Buffalo, San Antonio and Indianapolis are historically the cheapest cities to fly into along the path of totality based on their data .

Prices also depend, of course, on where you are flying from. 

Going also suggests flying into a nearby airport for less and road tripping to your destination. 

With less than three weeks to plan, using points or miles to snag last-minute deals might be a way to make it work for your budget, too. 

RELATED: The April solar eclipse is one month away: What to know now

Solar eclipse hotels

Surge pricing on hotels in high-interest areas is common, and not just because it’s a last-minute booking at this point. Prices have been inflated for weeks. 

AAA booking data showed hotels in the most popular cities along the path of totality are 48% more expensive during the eclipse weekend than they were the same time last year. 

"A Motel 6 in Ennis, Texas, which is a very, very small, quaint - we'll call it the small, quaint town - it had a room available, but it was $400," Lisa Miller, a consumer strategist and president of a marketing consulting firm, found, too, as she was searching this week. 

Staying outside of high-interest areas and being willing to drive day-of could make the trip more affordable. For example, you could fly into Houston and then drive in either direction to Austin, San Antonio or Dallas into the path of totality. 

But do your homework on car rental prices as well to see if the savings make a difference.

AAA says its car rental partner Hertz has increased staffing ahead of the eclipse and repositioned cars to high-demand areas. 

Solar eclipse Airbnbs

Across the path of totality, Airbnb has seen over a 1,000% surge in searches for stays. And interestingly, they’ve also seen a wave of new hosts adding properties to the platform, Airbnb told FOX Television Stations in an email, which means an Airbnb stay could also be a way to beat out hotels’ surging room prices. 

As of this week, Airbnb said 40% of its listed accommodations along the path of totality remain available for booking. 

And if this would be your first time trying an Airbnb stay, you’re not alone. One in ten guests traveling on the big eclipse weekend are first-time bookers.  

RELATED: Where you are likely to see the April total eclipse based on cloud-cover forecasts

Solar eclipse road trip


Traffic jams up on the Kennedy Expressway leaving the city in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Another option if you live within several hours of the eclipse’s path is to plan a road trip. 

"Driving may be your best option, if flights are too expensive or sold out," said AAA. 

And if so, make plans to get gas outside of the high-trafficked areas. During the 2017 total solar eclipse, some gas stations ran out. 

And remember, if you won't be in the path of the total eclipse, you’ll still see a show no matter where you are in the U.S. that day.

In Seattle and Portland, Oregon, about as far away as you can get from the totality path, one-third of the sun will be swallowed.

There will also be numerous live streams for those stuck with clouds or outside the path, including one from LiveNOW from FOX . 

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.


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    Flower Press Stress. Sometimes, pressing flowers or leaves works wonders. And, sometimes, it just makes a mess. This is one of those travel journal ideas that you need to do just right: ideally with a big patch of sellophane rather than just a strip of washi tape. Be careful, though.

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    Write about a road trip. Write A Road Trip To Help You Plot A Book. Writing a book is a lot like going on a journey. Like a road trip, a novel has a destination. It also has a cast of characters, a timeline, obstacles, and potential for conflict. Travel changes us. Often, a road trip teaches us something about ourselves.

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