The Ultimate Staycation Travel Journal

by | Blog | 4 comments

Maybe Dorothy was on to something when she said, “There’s no place like home.” Even if you can’t take an extravagant vacation right now, you can see the sights without breaking the bank — and create a fabulous travel journal to tell the tale.

Do you take your geographic location for granted? Are there places in your town you’ve never seen? It’s easy to get jaded when you’ve lived somewhere for years. But looking at your locale through the eyes of a tourist can be a boatload of fun. Creating a “travel” journal of the experience is even better. It can also re-ignite your love of your city and give you lots of new activities to enjoy.

Here are a few ideas for a staycation.

Be a Mega-tourist

Break out your fanny pack, sunglasses and street map and hit the town. Pick up a local guidebook and haunt all the tourist traps, with a fresh eye. You’ll learn things about your city you never knew. Plus you’ll gain a new respect for the place where you live.

Take lots of photos and write about your experience. Collect items from the day like ticket stubs and maps. Be sure to buy lots of postcards. You can even fill them out and mail them to yourself during your travels.

Explore the underbelly

If you’ve already done the tourist loop, try the other extreme and go off the beaten path. See how “local” you can get — have coffee at a tiny neighborhood bakery. Visit a farmer’s market in another part of town.

If your city has an International District, go window shopping there. The foreign sights, sounds and smells will feel like you’re vacationing in a faraway land.

Invite a friend to visit

Showing someone else your city is another great way to truly enjoy the local treasures. Plus it gives you an “excuse” to hit the tourist traps, if you need one. I’m always excited when people come to visit because I can take them up in the Space Needle.

Involve your friend in your travel journal – make it a group effort. The journal will become a treasured memento of their visit.

Adventures in journaling

When you return from your “trip,” write about the experience in depth. You can include a collage of ephemera from the day, like ticket stubs and photographs. Try creating a hand-drawn map in your journal, with your own versions of landmarks.

Summer is a great time to get out and travel. Give it a shot without leaving home! You’ll gain a new appreciation for your town and capture the occasion to enjoy all over again later.

Have more ideas for travel journaling on the cheap? Leave them in the comments below!

This post was inspired by a Journaling Saves reader suggestion. Have an idea for a great entry? Tell me!


  1. Sue Rawlings

    This article gave me an idea.
    I’m 76 years old, visually impaired and have no means to travel (my hips and knees do not comply with walking very much).
    I am going to take a trip via the internet and visit places I have always wanted to see. I can even go back to Alask, a place I loved to visit when I was younger.
    Thanks for the article that gave me an idea to enjoy life even more.
    P.S. Of course I’ll make a travel journal.
    How’s that for inexpensive travel???

  2. Kristin

    Sue – that’s a fabulous idea. I bet you could even find video tours online of places you’d like to visit. I never even thought of that. Even Google Earth can be an interesting adventure — I often get sucked into looking at different cities that way. Bon voyage, and have fun with the virtual travel journal!

  3. Leah

    Kristin, thanks so much for the reminder. I’m only recently moved to Bellingham, and am just emerging from the dust cloud of settling into a new place. Your suggestions are good ones!

  4. Kristin

    Leah – I’ve been trying to get to Bellingham for years now. A kind of indie-rock pilgrimage. Maybe this summer I’ll be able to make it out that way. And I will definitely make a little travel journal for the trip! Let me know if you have any recommended spots as you begin to explore your new home.