How to create a travel notebook

How to Create a Travel Notebook

How to create a travel notebook

Our plans this Memorial Day weekend include a much-too-short road-trip. Sort of a mini-vacation but with not enough time to do all the things we’d like to do. On trips like these, where we’ll be spending many hours in the car, I like to plan travel notebooks for the kids specific to the route we have planned.

When my girls were younger this served mainly as way to keep them occupied in the car as well as learning about the states we were traveling through. Some of the activities (such as License Plate Bingo and scavenger hunts) also got them looking out the window noticing things, rather than having their heads down looking at a screen all the time.

Now that they are young adults they still like to have me plan things like this for our trips. Two of their favorite activities are trip tallies and scavenger hunts.

Here are some of the things I include in our notebooks:

Basic Supplies

  • a 1″ 3-ring binder for each person
  • 3-ring zipper pouch to clip inside binder to contain supplies
  • a couple of pencils with erasers
  • twist-up colored pencils
  • scissors
  • glue stick

Extra Supplies

For older kids/adults who enjoy journaling and/or scrapbooking…

  • blank paper
  • hole punch for adding extras (like postcards or brochures) along the way
  • gel pens
  • travel-theme stickers
  • washi tape

Trip Tallies

As we start out on a trip we make a list on a blank lined sheet of paper of things that we will be watching for and counting. This varies from trip to trip. We almost always include wildlife and then add on other things that pertain to our current trip. Once, when we took our travel-trailer, we counted other travel-trailers we saw going the other direction. Another time we counted how many people we saw walking their dogs. Since this is a Memorial Day trip we may count American flags this time. We use the old-fashioned tally marks… 4 marks in a row then a slanted 5th line across them for 5. At the end of the trip I like to list our tallies on my blog.

Scavenger Hunt

You can find Travel Bingo games at the Dollar Tree. These are great for young kids! But as my girls got older they decided it was more fun to work together than to compete to find the things on their Bingo boards. The next time I just made a list of super specific things to watch for… a church, a red barn, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, a Wal-Mart semi, specific makes of cars… the older the kids got, the more specific they liked it. On one trip they finished checking off everything on the list and immediately begged me to make another list. This also tends to generate a lot of discussion and debate: Does a billboard for McDonald’s count? Is a pond the same as a lake?

Printable Notebook Pages

I select several state-specific printables for the states we’ll be traveling through and put them in the binder in order according to our route. I also include more general worksheets for travel games and puzzles.

Have you done Travel Notebooks before? What would you add to my list?


  • Jennifer Flanders

    Hi, Karla! Yes, we’ve done travel notebooks in the past. I always include a map with out route marked out so that the kids can follow our progress on long road trips. I love the idea of picking a different “trip tally” for each journey, though. That’s brilliant!

  • She's Just A Mom

    This sounds like a lot of fun! I may have to try this out. Thank you for sharing it. I would add some coloring pages or space for games like tic tac toe because my kids love those 🙂

  • Kristen

    I love this idea…I have lots of random notebooking worksheets on the states so I could totally do this for our kids. And with my youngest wanting to learn how to write, she can join in, too. Pinning this to remind me to do on our next road trip.

  • Kathryn

    I love this! Another game that my kids and I like to play is taking turns writing a story. One person will write a paragraph or a few sentences and usually stop mid sentence and pass to another person. The next person will pick up the story and stop mid sentence and pass it along, etc. until someone ends it. We usually use a spiral notebook. We have made some of the most wild, creative stories. I love it when we “find” one of our trip notebooks and look over our old stories. So much fun!

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