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How to preserve your memories in a travel journal

One of the best things about traveling is the anticipation before the trip. Another is reliving the memories later.

If travel is on your agenda this summer (or winter depending on where you live), it’s a perfect opportunity to write a travel diary. You’ll capture memories of your holiday and likely return with material you can turn into stories, poems, or maybe even a travel story you can sell.

Pack these travel writing tips for your next trip:

1. Observe and write with all your senses. Note the scents as well as sights. Record what you hear. Once when I was traveling through a village in southern Greece, I saw an older couple walking up the road with a flock of sheep. When I remember that trip, I hear the ringing of the bells that were attached to their collars. If I hadn’t gotten out of the car to photograph the couple, I wouldn’t have heard the sound.

2. Share your impressions. Write about the journey, as well as how you felt when you first arrived at your destination. What surprised you about your trip? Note your thoughts about the weather, the people, scenery, food and where you stayed. These notes can come in handy if you return or want to offer recommendations to others after the trip.

3. Avoid the touristy areas when you can. Get off main roads and soak up the local flavor of the places you visit. Strike up conversations with the locals.

4. Note bits of history about the place you’re visiting. One of my friends started a blog when she and her husband decided to sell their house and travel around in a recreational vehicle. She includes historical notes about the areas they visit, and I’ve learned interesting facts about places I’ve never been. This history deepens and gives context to your experiences and memories.

5. Be sure to experience your travels. If you’re recording your memories online in a blog or travel journal website, you’ll find it’s easier than ever to find Internet access wherever you travel. And while it’s great to write a journal, don’t let it get in the way of just being in the moment of your travels.

For more ideas and inspiration, check out these books:

The Best Travel Writing, Volume 9: True Stories from Around the World
The Travel Writer’s Handbook: How to Write – and Sell – Your Own Travel Experiences

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