Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Road Trip 2014: Travel Journal Overview

Okay... I finally have it (mostly) finished and photographed!  I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVED doing a travel journal / smashbook while we were on our trip.  So much so, that I have found myself planning more road trips so I can do another travel journal!  Once I get my craft space organized, I do think I might like to try "smashing" everyday life stuff... but I need a space where I can leave it out before I'll attempt that.

So, here we go....
This is my unfinished cover :-)  I held off on decorating it, since it was going to take some abuse on the trip with being unpacked and packed a bazillion times.  As you may remember from my prep post, we decided on using the Creative Chaos journals from Michael's Recollections line.  I was very pleased with this decision.  The cover is sturdy, the pages are super thick and durable and I love that it is a three ring binder.  That gave us lots of options for including the stuff we accumulated along the way.

In prep post number two, I talked about the things I made and had printed.  I really liked having the daily dividers for multiple reasons.  I liked having a clear beginning and end to each day of the trip, I loved the map and the dividers just made the journal feel more "me" since I put them together based on my style.  What I didn't like was 1) they were a much thinner card stock and my writing (especially my route map) always bled through to the other side and 2) I wasn't a big fan of the blank white page staring at me when I went to decorate the other side.  Some I like better than others, but they always seemed so plain compared to the other pages in the book.

Below I've posted a few random pages from my book to give an overview of what it looks like.  Now that my journal and my project life pages for the trip are done, I'm going to do a day by day detailed post with my journal pages and project life pages.  So keep checking back if you would like to see a more in depth look at my journal.

Here's one from day two...
This was our first touristy stop of the trip and we were just getting in the habit of collecting stuff to "smash".  At this stop, we bought stickers and a postcard, plus picked up a brochure to include.  The three ring binder was already coming in handy... I just punched holes and added the post card.  We journaled on the back of most of the postcards we included.  Oh... and the "we" I'm talking about is me and my 12 year old daughter, Clara.  She had her own travel journal, although she prefers that I not share hers on here.  We had so much fun working on them together each night at the hotels.  We used so much of the same materials, but it's so amazing to see how different our books are!

As you can see below, I used my instax printer a LOT...
It was so convenient!  It didn't take up much room at all in my suitcase and was super easy to use.

In the photo above and the one below, you can see that we were getting better at finding random things to include in our books.  Above is our tram ride ticket and below, we picked up some animal information cards in Yellowstone...

One time on our trip we actually spent two nights at the same hotel, and by that hotel was a Wal-Mart.  I decided to save my instax film (which ends up being around $1 per photo) and have photos printed at the one hour photo in Wal-Mart instead.  I used an app to put four photos on a 4x6 print.  Just an FYI if you plan on doing this... I don't normally print at Wal-Mart, so I don't know if this is typical or not, but the only way I could print with them was to set up an account online, upload to their website and pick the print at store option.  I tried walking in and doing it all there, but they had no way to download photos from your phone in store.  It was a little frustrating trying to figure it out, but once I did, it was smooth sailing.
Printing the photos worked out really well, since one of the previous days was spent on a private ranch.  It was probably one of our best days of the whole trip, but since it was a private ranch, there were no brochures to pick up or no postcards to buy.  It would have been a pretty bleak set of pages for such an amazing day.  With printing at Wal-Mart, I got to include a ton of photos to document our time there.

Another use of the three ring binder...
Sometimes I would add brochures this way... especially if they were those thick one pagers.

Nothing new here, just liked how bright and busy it is!  :-)
But this is an example of that blank white page on the back of the day dividers I made.  This is one of the ones I'm happier with... some of the others, not so much.

Something we figured out a little too late...
We got really good at tracking down things to add to our books by the end of the trip.  This one we didn't put together until near the end.  The national parks have a passport program and they have stamp stations set up at each one for you to stamp your passports.  We have passports, but we NEVER remember to bring them with us!  Some parks will have little slips of paper for you to stamp so you can add them to your passport later.  We got a stamp at one park that had them, but had skipped getting them at those that did not.  Well... at our LAST national park stop, we got the bright idea to stamp the back of the postcard we had just bought!

And finally, the last photo for this overview...
Another feature of the Creative Chaos books that I really like is the pocket in the back (there's one in the front too, but mine is empty).  During the trip, I used it to hold my day divider pages and now after the trip, I use it to hold the brochures that were too big and bulky to add to the journal pages.

Let's see, what are my final thoughts about my first travel journal...

  1. I really truly enjoyed it and I especially enjoyed that my daughter was doing one too. 
  2. Three ring binder is the way to go for me.  I really don't think I could do it any other way.
  3. I didn't need as much "stuff" as I thought... scissors, glue stick, hole punch and washi... lots and lots of washi.  I really wish I would have packed more so I would have had more variety throughout the book.  I used a few stickers and journal cards, but a very small fraction of what I brought.  I think I would have used more if I was doing it after the fact, but since we did it on the go (staying current), we kept things simple.
  4. Having a travel journal kept souvenir shopping fun and inexpensive.  This was big for me with having Clara along.  She's a shopper and a total sucker for things like t-shirts and stuffed animals (which she only really enjoys while on the trip).  With the journals, we were first and foremost on the hunt for free things to include... brochures, info cards, stamps, etc.  Then we scoured the gift shops for just the right post card and then looked to see if they had any sticker packs.  We spent quite a bit on stickers over the course of the trip... but that amount was probably about the same as one t-shirt/stuffed animal souvenir from just one of the many places we stopped.  She was always thrilled with her smash book bounty when leaving each stop, even if we hadn't purchase anything more than a 50 cent post card.
  5. Having a way to add photos along the way was another big thing.  I really liked having each day done at the end of the day and not having to wait until we were back to print and fill in the gaps.
Hmmmm... I think that's it for now.  There may be more revelations as I go through each day, but that's it for now!

I'll add links to the other pages related to the journal as I post the pages:
Journal Prep Part 1 - What we bought
Journal Prep Part 2 - What we made
Journal Prep Part 3 - How we packed
Days 1 and 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11

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