I loved the idea of a personalized travel journal so much that I made one for my brother-in-law and his wife and gave it to them, along with a Lowe's giftcard, as a housewarming gift earlier this month. And because Katie's birthday is in July, I made her one of her own as well, personalized with information about Kentucky and us so that they can make a trip to visit us sometime next year. Yeah, I know, totally not unique, but I figured (correctly) that she would like having one of her own too.
To make this personalized travel journal, I used a Smash Book that I bought at Michael's. These books are ideal for pasting in random things and have really fun pages. I used the retro-themed light blue Smash Book. But there are several other themes too, including a travel one (though it is more internationally themed). I was happily surprised when some of the pages fit my theme really well.
Here's what the journal I made for Katie looked like. If I was super creative, I would have decorated the outside too. I'll save that idea for the next time.
I started out similar to the way Katie began my travel book by listing reasons why she needed a trip. This can include stressful life changes, needing a vacation, needing a break from work, etc.
Then I wrote "Maybe you should take a road trip" with a Mapquest map I printed from offline and a little write-up about coming to see us. As you can see, I typed up most of my wording for the journal and glued it in because I'm not the biggest fan of my own handwriting. Though I love that the one Katie made me has her handwriting because it makes it a little more personal. So maybe I should have gotten over my handwriting hang-up.
You're on a road trip! I went through the entire journal first and planned what would go on all the pages before I glued a single thing down. I even ripped out some pages if I didn't like the design or if I wanted to use a certain page for something, but there were too many extra pages before the page I wanted to use. I cut pictures out of magazines and downloaded some clip art to use for different things as well.Towards the beginning of the journal, I included a Starbucks giftcard for some morning pep before they start their road trip. You can personalize this by including a giftcard for the recipient's favorite coffee shop. Or something completely different if they hate coffee. I know Katie doesn't love coffee, but she can get a chai tea or a smoothie instead.
The next page featured a road trip mix CD. (I put two in the journal). I love making road trip mix CDs and pride myself on finding the perfect songs for driving. I'll put my playlist at the bottom of this post in case you're interested. The pockets that go with the Smashbooks are perfect for holding mix CDs and gift cards.
Then, and this is something unique to the journals I made, I included a couple of activities for them to do while on the road to take up some time. The first was an on-the-road scavenger hunt where they can check off things they see while on the trip, like a person being pulled over by a cop or a sign with the word "welcome" on it. The other game is based on one that we used to play in college - the question game. We had a notebook where we wrote tons of questions in it and whenever we were bored waiting somewhere or on a road trip, we would pull the book out and ask each other questions like, "If you could change one event in your life, which would you choose?" or "If you could be friends with the cast of any television show, which would you pick?" It's a really fun game and a good way to pass time.
I also provided a gift card for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. You can do this with any restaurant that you know that the receiver with like and that will be plentiful on their road trip.
Then I listed some activities and events in our area. That way, they have some idea of what they can do when they come to visit us. I got most of these pictures out of magazines and brochures. If you want to make a similar travel journal, go to your local visitor's bureau to collect some items for it, like maps, brochures, and more. They're typically free and are a fun way to personalize the travel journal.
One of my favorite pages is this one with the horse (we do live in horse-country, you know) with a pocket to hold a Kentucky map. (Not that people use maps anymore.)
Finally, the end of the pages I filled out had directions for the last leg of the car ride once they exit the major highway. The page on the left has a photo of their house in Florida with the words "That was then," and then directions from their exit from the interstate to our house. I know they probably have a GPS, but the directions make it a little easier I think.
And the last page shows a picture of our house and our address with the words "This is now" on the opposite page. Cute, right?
I left the remainder of the journal blank so that she can fill it out with memorabilia from her time actually at our house. I really enjoyed making these travel journals and although I can't take credit for the idea, I think my version turned out really cute and that I had some fun original ideas to add to it. And I even came up with some new ideas between the time I made my first one and when I made my second one so they are different from one another too. And I am pretty sure that I will come up with another idea that I forgot to include once I've posted this and then I'll be disappointed that I didn't think of it earlier. So if you're looking for a unique gift for someone, a personalized travel journal is a really great idea. Who doesn't love a personalized gift just for them?
And here is my Summer 2012 Roadtrip Playlist:
1. "Marchin' On" - OneRepublic
2. "Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
3. "Howlin' For You" - The Black Keys
4. "The Cave" - Mumford & Sons
5. "Little Talks" - Of Monsters and Men
6. "Somebody That I Used to Know" - Gotye
7. "It's Time" - Imagine Dragons
8. "Some Nights" - Fun.
9. "I Won't Give Up" - Jason Mraz
10. "Something Good Can Work" - Two Door Cinema Club
11. "Knee Deep" - Zac Brown Band (ft. Jimmy Buffett)
12. "Tongue Tied" - Grouplove
13. "Everybody Talks" - Neon Trees
14. "Wide Awake" - Katy Perry
15. "Stereo Hearts" - Gym Class Heroes (ft. Adam Levine)