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How To Use a Bullet Journal To Plan Travel

There’s something about preparing to travel that will always make me grab my bullet journal to get ready. I, for one, am guilty of not being caught without my handy notebook during my long-haul flights and excursions.

As a self-confessed shoestring traveler, I make it a point to plan my trips to keep me organized while in a different place and document my itineraries. I learned this the hard way when, in one instance, I had something to look up on the internet when my phone just died on me. Still, using a bullet journal for your trips more than just saves your device’s energy; it helps you to stay in the present and enjoy the whole experience.

In this article, you’ll discover:

Woman journaling with a coffee cup in hand.

Why Plan Your Travel Itinerary The Analog Way ✍🏻

I couldn’t stress enough the importance of having a separate itinerary plan on paper. Whether you’re traveling on foot or via public transport, there’s a high chance you can’t depend on your roaming data and WiFi access. Such will make your mobile device practically useless and drained.

Another factor is the safety of your personal belongings. You’ll never know when you’ll lose your devices to theft or being misplaced somewhere. By having analog documentation of your travels and itineraries, you can still carry on with your trips without being delayed or inconvenienced by lost mobile items.

Using Bullet Journal To Plan Your Itinerary 📔✈️

I use my bullet journal for planning my travel itinerary because it’s handy and very flexible. I prefer using it over my travel and journal apps because I don’t get sucked into the vacuum of mobile distractions. 

Also, there are a lot of bujo collections that can keep me offline and focus on staying in the present. For instance, I have a few pages dedicated solely to “adventure pages” wherein I sketch landmarks of the places I visited and add captions next to the drawings. It makes me stay in the moment by immersing in the beauty of the place and trying my best to capture the scenery. I’d say it’s a more fulfilling thing to do than capturing it on film!

On the more practical side of traveling, I prefer copying in longhand the details of my flights and itinerary as arranged through my digital bookings. This way, I can easily access my documents in one place without rummaging through my belongings or relying heavily on my mobile devices.

Bullet Journal Spreads For Traveling

There are a lot of bullet journal spreads that you can use specifically for traveling. Below are some suggestions to get you started.

1. Packing List

I use this bujo spread for listing my travel essentials and ticking off the items I brought along with me on my trips. This way, I don’t panic over missing my belongings or forgetting where I put my travel documents in my luggage. It saves me from rummaging through my suitcase just to check if I indeed packed my first-aid kit, cosmetics, and toiletries.

I prefer to write my packing list in categories so that I can easily track which bag I kept the items in and for easier mental recall. It’s also advantageous if you create a packing master list that you can use for all your future travels without having to redo the whole template.

2. Lodging Tracker 🏨

More than just a keepsake of the places that accommodated me throughout my travels, my lodging tracker serves as important documentation of where I stayed for future reference. In this spread, I indicate the contact numbers of the lodging facilities I settled in for the night (inn, motels, hotels, Airbnb, etc.). 

It also includes the accommodation rates during my trips, which works as a budget guide for me to decide which lodging to stay in the next time. I prefer to also add the contact person for the lodging facilities so I can call back for emergency confirmation of my whereabouts.

3. Mapping 🗾

This is one of my favorite bujo travel collections. Here, I add a freehand drawing of the map of the city or countries that I plan to visit. If you’re not fond of sketching, you may simply trace a printed map onto your journal spread. This eliminates the need to paste maps that will in turn bulk up the pages of your bujo.

What I do with the maps is divide them into segments or locations. I will then color the area that I’ve recently visited, which motivates me to travel further and tour the rest of the attractions in my itinerary.

I use highlighter pens to shade the portion of the map that I visited, so I must bring at least four or five pens during my trips. This way, I get a visual overview of my travels in one journal spread.

4. Bucket List ✔️

My bucket list contains travel-specific activities that I want to do while visiting a tourist attraction or a particular city. I do this to motivate myself to make the most out of the once-in-a-lifetime trip, especially if it’s a cross-country journey. I would jot down things like “hike in the countryside”, “eat popular street food”, and “see this or that museum”. This way, I tend to maximize my time and experience immersing in a different culture and scenery.

Most of the items on my travel bucket list include the popular activities that tourists often rave about in a particular place. Sometimes, I would research first to see which other things or off-the-beaten paths I can try that will add value to my travel experiences and make them more memorable.

5. Future Log 💭

This is perhaps the most bujo thing in my collections. But for my travels, I use my future logs to plot my trips, especially if the journey will cover several days or weeks. For this log, I prefer dailies because I believe each day should be maximized during my holiday vacation.

6. Doodling Page Or Adventure Page 📝

I took a cue from some travel journalers who sketch the sceneries featured in their trips. Indeed, it takes a good deal of concentration and appreciation of the sights to sit at a spot for a few minutes and draw the landmarks by hand. After all, what’s the purpose of your camera phone, right?

Still, doodling or sketching my travels helps me savor the places I visit. It trains my mind to see the details of the touristy views that are often overlooked in photos. It also gives me an analog walk-through that I can go back to for reminiscing. For novelty, you can even add drawings of the local foods you’ve tried and add a little background for each dish.

7. Travel Quotes 🗭

Not to be all cheesy but there’s actually some wisdom to be had from the travel quotes I keep seeing on Pinterest. They motivate me to explore beyond my comfort zone and live life to the fullest, one trip at a time. Try incorporating these quotes into your travel bujo and see how uplifting they can be during your downtime.

Conclusion

Although technology in the form of travel apps and GPS has long been available to travelers, this isn’t to say you can’t rely on bullet journaling for planning your travel itinerary. In fact, even in 2022, it’s still a practical organizational tool for ensuring a stress-free getaway.

In this article, you have learned the reasons why you should consider planning your itinerary on paper, as well as how to use your bujo for documenting your travels with a few analog hacks.

So how do you plan your travel itinerary? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this!