One thing no true traveler can ever be without is a good journal. A well kept and well used journal can be something you look back on and cherish for the rest of your life. With the new era of online journals how do you figure out if you want to keep your memories floating around cyber space or inside a paper journal?
A paper journal is a great way to keep track of your travels around the world. These are great because you can carry them with you and write in them whenever you are in the mood. You will become very attached to your journal so you will want to make sure you have some way to protect it. A great way to do this is to buy a waterproof bag that your journal will fit in. This way your journal will be protected from rain and other things that may explode in your backpack pack. These bags are also nice because you can keep extra pens, pencils, and other things you may want to add to your journal later like stickers or fliers.
When looking for the perfect paper journal for your travels there are some things you want to make sure your journal has. One thing you will want to have so that you can be confident that your journal will stand the test of time is acid free paper. This type of paper will last much longer than standard paper. It will keep from yellowing with age and help keep your writing that you worked so hard on from fading into nothing. I have found that a journal with a spiral binding is the best choice. With book bound journals you will end up ripping the binding if you add to many pictures or mementos. With a spiral bound journal however, you can add as much as you want to your journal as the book will expand the more you add.
It is a good idea to bring a glue stick or some tape for putting your pictures and keepsakes on to your journal pages. Make sure your glue sticks are specially made for acid free paper so that it will help keep the paper in tact for years to come. If you are going to be traveling in a hot environment you may want tape instead of a glue stick. The glue will melt and may end up gluing your pages together on accident.
One fun thing about paper journals is that they come in an array of shapes, sizes, and designs. This is fun because you can choose a journal design that compliments your trip. For example, if you were going to travel in central America for a while you could get one covered with palm trees or ocean scenes. This of course has no real bearing on your journal except for the fact that it looks pretty and will make a great souvenir.
An online journal has special advantages as well. One of the biggest advantages of an online journal is that you can share it with friends and family quite easily. Online journals are great for friends and family because they are clean, always legible, and you can also add pictures or link to pictures.
There are so many things you can do with online travel journals. Most travel journal websites will let you decorate your web space with customizable templates. If you are a little html savvy you may be able to personalized your online journal even more. Some online journals have space for you to post your pictures directly on your journal pages. Other journal websites make you post your pictures on a separate photo hosting website and then add links to your pictures from your journal.
The major drawback to online journals is that you may not always be able to find Internet access. If you are brave enough to carry around a laptop during your travels then your problem is solved. You can just type your thoughts down until you have a chance to post them online. For the rest of us it is note taking time. I carried a small note pad around that I would make notes on about hostels, sites, things to do, and other random facts. Then when I would get to a hostel with Internet access I would start working on updating my journals. Take my advice and use a notebook for notes. Trying to remember every detail about things you do between Internet access is almost impossible and you will end up leaving out tons of information.
With online journal websites you have a few options. There are pay sites that are a little nicer and let you fully customize your site. You can also find free journal websites but these will not let you customize your site as much but they will at least get the job done. A lot of journal websites will give you the option to make your entries public, private, or for friends only.
A public entry is just what it sounds like. Anyone with Internet access could run across your page and read your journal entries.
A private entry is one where even though your entry is posted online, no one can view it. This is a way to keep your journal private and just for your self but makes it easy to access from anywhere in the world.
A friends only entry is where your entries can only be seen by selected friends on your travel journal website. These friends have to be members of the same website your journal is on.
If you are interested in getting something in return for your travel journals and advice try finding a website that offers a reward program. There are some free travel journal websites that offer you points for writing reviews of hostels, hotels, tours, sites, or just your random thoughts. You can then take these point and redeem them for anything from frequent flier miles to online gift cards. These websites are nice because they give you something for stuff you were going to write anyways. Its almost silly not to use these types of websites.