Travel is important to you, so why not give it a physical place in your life with a dedicated dossier? Create a customized travel notebook to capture your dreams, collect trip information and record your adventures. It will help you plan journeys, turn them into reality and reflect upon the ones you’ve already taken.
First decide: digital or physical. As a freelance writer, I associate staring at a computer screen with work. For leisure time and dreaming, I’d rather have a physical notebook where I can doodle, glue pictures and save clippings. But you might prefer a streamlined digital dossier with scanned documents. Choose whichever idea sounds most appealing and easiest to use.
For a physical dossier, get a colorful 3-ring binder with a clear pocket cover where you can keep inspiring travel images and collages. You’ll also need some pocketed dividers and plain notebook paper. I also really like Mead Flex Hybrid Binders, which fold completely backwards like a spiral but also let you add pages at will – they’re pricey but they also come with pocketed dividers.
For lists and other pages, you can handwrite the information, type it up and print it, or use a combination of both. Channel your inner schoolgirl and use bright markets, colored pens and pretty post-it notes to make your travel dossier special.
The front page should be a list of your travel goals for the year, so that you see them whenever you open the notebook. Write down trips you want to take or plan, gear you need to buy, guidebooks you want to read etc. You can use the front pocket like an in-box for incoming information that needs to be read, organized or acted upon in the future.
Your travel dossier will have several sections, each with its own divider. Arrange them in any order you would like:
1. Future Trips – Your Bucket List. Make it long, wild, and as many pages as possible. Try to prioritize which trips you want to take next.
2. Trip Log – Record all the trips you take each year, even weekenders and visits with the fam. Depending on your age, creating a log of all your past trips might take a while – but it’s worth the effort to see all of your adventures accounted for. You may also want to keep track of all the continents, countries, states or provinces that you’ve visited – or lists of islands, beaches, deserts, mountain ranges, national parks, festivals, major sporting competitions, amusement parks, cruises, tours, amazing hotels, etc.
3. Travel Docs – Pocket dividers are handy in this section, which holds copies of your passport, vaccination records, packing lists and any other useful travel docs.
4. Travel Savings & Expenses – Keep one page that records how much you save for travel every month, and how much you spend on travel every month. You’ll also need a page or chart that reflects the total amount you save and any goals you have set. You may also want to keep a page of total expenses for every trip you take.
5. Miscellaneous Notes – Always a good idea!
6. -> 10. Upcoming Trips – Create a dedicated section for the top 5 trips that you want to take next, whether you’ve already bought your flight tickets or the trip is still in “wild hair” status. Use the pocket on the divider to save maps and random images/articles you rip out of travel magazines.
In each trip section you can keep itinerary ideas, destination research notes, lists of gear needed or expected expenses. Be sure to add an active to-do list for each trip planned. As your travel plans become real and your departure date gets closer, you can use certain images and elements of the section to create a dreamboard or travel collage for further inspiration.
Whip out your travel dossier anytime you need a little motivation or a reminder that adventure is on its way. Giving future trips a physical place in your life nudges them into your reality. Soon you’ll be updating your travel log and adding new sections to create space for another upcoming trip!