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Best Travel Journal

As freelancers abroad, we worked on our laptops. Exploring new cities, we relied on our smartphones for maps, local research, and picture taking. But, this incredible technology still doesn’t replace the absolute value of pouring your thoughts into a handwritten journal - just no replacement for that experience. With that in mind, our experiences confirm that the best travel journal is the hardcover version of the Moleskine Classic Notebook


Why Trust Our Travel Journal Recommendation?


Most of what we write about involves work-related travel themes. But, at the end of the day, travel’s still travel, even when you’re freelancing to finance your adventures. And, for close to two decades now, Chipp has accompanied his overseas travel with a journal, handwriting reflections on a daily basis. 


From volunteering in Nicaragua to hitchhiking through Europe to deploying to Afghanistan, Chipp kept a travel journal close at hand. During these adventures, he’s continuously reaffirmed a hard and fast rule of travel: writing about your travels lets you more deeply absorb the life lessons we learn on the road. 


A less profound but particularly relevant lesson? If you bring a travel journal, make sure it can actually withstand the rigors of your travels! After some issues with shoddy notebooks falling apart, Chipp accepted that it’s worth paying a little more for a rugged, reliable journal. Volumes later, Moleskine just makes the most sense.  


Why We Love the Moleskine Classic Notebook

A much younger Chipp spending time with his travel journal

Best Features


  • Elastic closure and ribbon bookmark: When you’re traveling, you usually just toss books into your backpack. This inevitably leads to flaps falling open and pages crumpling. Moleskine journals have an elastic closure band that prevents this from happening. And, as an added bonus, the ribbon bookmark lets you quickly open the journal to your current page. 


  • Rugged and durable cover: Related to tossing books into a backpack… Chipp’s used some cheap, paperback-style notebooks in the past. By the end of a trip, the covers on these less durable options are pretty much guaranteed to be ripped off, with the pages holding together by a thread. Moleskine’s travel journal has a rugged and durable hard cover that holds up in the toughest of situations. Plus, this sturdy cover serves the dual purpose of writing surface, letting you jot notes on scraps of paper with the journal’s cover as a platform. 


  • High-quality, lined paper: In addition to a durable cover, the high-quality paper has a level of toughness much greater than flimsy, loose-leaf paper. When you write, the lined paper doesn’t feel like it’s just going to disintegrate. It feels strong, letting you jot notes in all sorts of environments, toss it into a pack, and pull it out miles and miles down the road - none the worse for wear.  


  • Expandable interior pocket: Inside the Moleskine Classic’s back flap, an expandable interior pocket makes for a great place to slide paperwork and random travel paraphernalia. Want to save a train ticket from a cool ride? Throw it in there! Postcard from a beautiful place? Slide it into the pocket! Do you need this pocket? Nope, but it’s definitely convenient! 


Manufacturer’s Specs


Here’s a full list of the travel journal’s features published by Moleskine: 


  • Hard cover available in black, red, blue and other colors

  • Rounded corners, elastic closure and matching ribbon bookmark

  • Ivory-colored, 70 g/m², acid-free paper

  • 'In case of loss' printed on the flyleaf

  • Expandable inner pocket in the back

  • Reusable paperband B-SIDE featuring additional printed tools

  • Lies flat, opens at 180°

  • The history of Moleskine is inside

  • The paper of this Moleskine object is made of material from well-managed, FSC™-certified forests and other controlled sources


Story from the Road


When Chipp first started traveling overseas, it was typically on solo trips. Not going to lie, it can get lonely on the road, even when you’re exploring absolutely incredible places. Traveling with a journal is almost like having a friend by your side, someone to “talk” with in a foreign coffee shop.


During those early years, journaling quickly cemented itself as a therapeutic process - in addition to just a great way to memorialize your experiences. Years later, on a particular frustrating deployment to Afghanistan, Chipp put this cathartic role to the test. Overcome with anger and discontent, Chipp poured his frustrations into a rugged travel journal, something that withstood the rigors of military life. 


That notebook saved Chipp’s sanity. Hyperbole? No, not at all. So yeah, travel journals are important, and a quality one will withstand the toll - emotional and physical - you subject them to. 


Affiliate Disclosure


We’ve included affiliate links on this page. If you click on a link and end up buying something, we may receive a commission (without adding any costs to you). This helps us pay the bills, and we only promote products and services that we personally use and wholeheartedly endorse. Thanks so much for the support!


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