Choosing the Best Travel Journal Notebook
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Choosing the Best Travel Journal Notebook

Hi friends! Tamsien here from Babbling Books, and today
I’m going to be creating the ultimate guide to choosing the right notebook to create your
travel journal. I’ve had a lot of questions from people about
‘what is the right notebook to use for travel journaling? What is the best notebook to use for travel
journaling?’ And I guess the answer is going to be: It
really depends on what kind of trip you are going on, what kinds of journaling you like
to do, whether you want to Bullet Journal, or more of a creative scrapbook-y style of
journal. There are so many different options. But what I want to do today is take you through
a bunch of different types of notebooks. I’m going to test them all out individually
with the same kinds of pens, the same kind of markers, the same kinds of glue and show
you what they look like with all of these different mediums applied to them. So you can really make an informed decision
about what is going to work the best for your travel journal. Or indeed for any other kind of journaling. For this video I have teamed up with the Australian
stationery company and store Milligram. You can find out more information about them
in the description box below. They have provided me with 4 very excellent
journals, that I am going to test out. And I also have 2 types of journals which
are ones that I already owned and had purchased myself. So I’m going to be showing you each of those
notebooks individually and I’ll leave timestamps in the description box below so if there is
a particular kind of journal that you just want to see you can jump straight to having
a look at that. I’m going to get started now and I can’t wait
to see how the different sizes of paper and the different textures and colours look when
I test them out with all these different techniques. This is the Nuuna Notebook Voyager M. It’s
135 by 200 millimeters, and it has 176 numbered pages, which makes it the largest notebook
that I am going to be testing as part of this video, in terms of the number of pages. It has a dot grid design which is typical
of bullet journal style journals. And it has some other interesting features
which I think are quite useful for travellers. The first one, which is obviously the strap. It’s an elastic strap with a plastic section. And it’s designed to hold a pen and your phone,
or some other small device. Could even be used to hold another smaller
notepad. It holds it on there quite strongly, and you
can see that it’s not moving at all. I think this is a really useful feature, if
this is the style of journal that you like to keep. And the added bonus of having this strap is
that it will help keep your pages all nice and neatly flat. Another interesting feature of this journal
is that it has these lovely shiny silver metallic page edges. This is a really nice touch, and the notebook
itself feels lovely and smooth. So first up I’m going to test out some different
kinds of pens and highlighters, and watercolours. Then I’ll flip the page over and give you
an idea of whether or not they’re bleeding through, whether there’s any ghosting, which
is those shadows that you can see of something that has been written or drawn on the page,
and I’ll also check when I am using the fountain pen whether or not there’s any feathering,
which is when the ink bleeds along the fibres of the page. So what we can see here is that there is a
slight bleed through from the highlighter, just at the tops of some of these points,
there’s also a little bit of bleeding through from the Copic multiliner when it’s pressed
quite hard and from the fountain pen, both when I am doing long strokes and when writing. There’s actually not that much buckling of
the paper in the section where I’ve used watercolour. As long as you don’t use too much water I
think this paper would be fine. The main pen that didn’t bleed through at
all was the Uniball Micro. And you can see that there is ghosting from
all of the different kinds of pens here. Now I’m going to put together a test page
as though this is a travel journal. And I’ll use this to test out a couple more
techniques that you might use. So this is my test spread. So when I look over on the other side, the
glue that I used, which is just a generic glue stick, hasn’t really buckled the pages
or caused too much warping, there’s a little bit of warping there from the moisture of
the glue, but nothing too significant. The double sided tape works perfectly. You can see that there is a bit of ghosting
from the ballpoint pen and very very slight ghosting, and a tiny bit of bleed through
once again from the highlighters. There’s ghosting from the ink pad and stamp,
but there isn’t bleed through from the stamp, which is better than what I expected. So overall I’m really happy with this page. One thing that I have noticed, and that I
do want to point out is that the page numbers are really great, but the margins are quite
wide between the edge of the page and where the dot grid starts. So it’s starting to look a little bit, sort
of strange in terms of my layout, just very different to the Moleskine journal that I
am used to. So this is the Kunisawa Find Notebook. It’s A5 sized, and it has grid lines throughout,
and only 80 pages. For comparison this is the Nuuna notebook,
and you can see that the Kunisawa Find is slightly larger and is a lot thinner, owing
to the different amount of pages that we have. This notebook also has shiny edges, though
they are a copper design. Inside it has a quote that says “I do not
seek, I find”. So let’s have a look and see how this is appearing. So we’ve got a little bit of ghosting on the
highlighter, but no bleedthrough which is great. The Copic multiliner there is a fair bit of
ghosting, because it is quite a dark pen. And the Uniball micro has also got some ghosting. But no bleed through on either of those two. The fountain pen is still bleeding through
a little bit here, and you can see it is ghosting quite a lot. The watercolour has less ghosting but is really
quite significantly sort of warped and bubbling the page. So I definitely wouldn’t recommend this paper
for watercolour. And you can see on the other side that when
it comes to feathering there is actually a fair bit of feathering on the fountain pen. This is the Kunisawa Find with a sample page
layout. Let’s check how these different elements have
gone when we turn over the page. So there’s a little bit of ghosting from the
rubber stamp with the charcoal colour ink. There’s actually quite a lot of ghosting and
a little bit of bleed through from the ballpoint pen which is really quite surprising and not
a particularly good sign. The glue has slightly warped the pages, more
of a warp than the Nuuna notebook, but nothing too significant. I wouldn’t be too concerned about it. Once again the double sided tape has made
no mark and there’s a slight ghosting from the highlighters. Something that I’ve noticed and really like
about this notebook is that the grid lines go all the way to the edge, and they are nicely
spaced apart. So my writing felt more comfortable between
these gaps. Comparing it to a plain white piece of paper
you can see that there’s a soft yellow colour to the pages. It’s a personal preference to whether you
like that on your pages, but I actually really do like it. So this is the Milligram brand set of two
Everyday notebooks. There are A5 size, so 148 by 210 millimeters
and this particular set has blank pages. But I believe that they also come with lined
or ruled pages as well, as an option. These ones contain 80 pages. And you can see that the set of two has two
different colours. When you compare it to the Nuuna notebook
you can see that they’re slightly larger, a little bit longer and a little bit wider. But obviously owing to the much smaller number
of pages they’re a lot thinner. And as I mentioned, inside they are blank,
with a little bit of information about Milligram brand in the back. And they have the word blank written on the
front with a sort of a foil design. So here we have the pen test, and the sample
page. So let’s have a look first at the pen test. There’s a fair bit of ghosting, it’s actually
quite strong, you can see coming through on all of these different types. So the highlighter is showing through pretty
clearly, same with the Copic multiliner, the Uniball micro the Fountain pen and there’s
even quite a lot of ghosting from the watercolour paint. There’s very little bleed through, in fact
there is only a tiny little single dot here from the fountain pen, and a dot or two from
the Copic multiliner. So actually in terms of bleed through there’s
very little, which is a really good sign. Going back to look at the fountain pen I would
say that in terms of feathering this paper is fountain pen friendly. There’s almost no feathering out of the ink
when I’ve been writing here and testing out the fountain pen. The watercolour unfortunately is not suitable
for this paper at all. It’s buckled quite a lot and the watercolour
has come through the page completely. So I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for
watercolour. However if you were not planning to write
on both sides of the paper I think this would actually be fine with pretty much any of these
pens. You just have to be aware that there will
be some ghosting. When we look over here at the sample page,
so when you turn it over you can see once again that there is quite a lot of ghosting
here, showing through pretty clearly, surprisingly you can also see here that the test which
was on the back of these images that I pasted on is actually showing through, and you can
read that text. Which could be a little bit of a concern,
especially if you are planning to do journal pages on both sides. However these isn’t any bleed through, it’s
just that kind of shadowy ghosting effect of the page here. And when I compare the page to plain white
piece of printer paper you can see that it’s pretty much the same colour. It’s quite a pale maybe slightly off white
colour, we can see, but it’s a very pale white paper. Here we have The School of Life set of 3 Feminist
Notebooks. These are a B6 size which is 12 by 18 centimeters. And they are a set of three with three different
colours. The dark purple, lilac and yellow. One is blank, one is grid, and one is lined. So when I compare this to the Nuuna notebook
you can see that the Nuuna is a fair bit larger, of course owing to the much smaller number
of pages they’re a lot thinner. Because these notebooks are part of the Feminist
Notebook set each one has some biographical information inside about a different feminist
thinker. We have Simone de Beauvoir in the yellow which
is the lined notebook. We have Germaine Greer in the lilac, which
is the grid notebook, and John Stuart Mill in the violet notebook, which is the blank
paged. For the purpose of this video I am going to
be testing out the pale purple notebook which is grid, because that’s my favourite design. So here we have the pages testing out the
different types of pens and watercolour. Followed by the sample page. We’ll have a look first at the pen tests. And you can probably see quite clearly here
that there is very little ghosting, which really surprises me, I was a little bit worried
about this paper, but it’s actually turned out really well in terms of ghosting. There is no bleed through at all, and there’s
just a little bit of ghosting when you look at the green highlighter up the top here,
but it’s pretty faint. Also surprisingly it has worked really well
with the watercolour. There is a little bit, you can probably see
here there is a slight warping and buckling of the pages where the watercolour was applied,
but I think as long as you didn’t use too much water actually the watercolour could
work on this paper. If we check back on the fountain pen I wouldn’t
say that this paper is fountain pen friendly. There is a fair bit of feathering around the
edges of the words. Let’s have a look how the sample page has
turned out on the back. So once again the same as with the pen test
there is very little ghosting at all showing through here. Maybe slight bit of ghosting where the ballpoint
pen was used quite heavily to create a heading but overall very little show-through from
anything. And definitely no bleed coming through, so
it would be very easy to use this paper for double sided journaling. One thing to note here which may not be really
clear on the video is that the grid lines are really dark, they’re noticeably darker
than other notebooks that I’ve tested in this video and that might be distracting for some
people. I found it a little bit challenging to write
on. They’re also a larger spaced grid than the
Nuuna notebook and the grid design goes all the way to the edge of the page with no margin. When I compare this notebook to a plain white
piece of printer paper you can see that the colour is fairly similar. It is quite a pale white paper, but it has
a slight grey tint to it, rather than a creamy sort of tone. Next up we have the Traveler’s Company Traveler’s
Notebook Free Diary. So this is item number 19 from the Traveler’s
Notebook collection. And it is the free diary which means that
it has a weekly diary on one side and a grid style memo on the other. This is the large size of the Traveler’s Notebook
which is 11 by 21 centimeters and will fit inside the large size Traveler’s Notebook
leather covers. It has 64 pages, which covers 28 weeks, or
6 months of the year. In terms of size, if we compare it to the
Nuuna notebook you’ll see that it is slightly taller overall, but a lot narrower and much
slimmer, given the significantly lower number of pages. So inside this is what it looks like, down
the left-hand page there is space for you to fill in the date and the days of the week,
and on the right-hand side as I mentioned before there is a grid design with slightly
heavier weight lines to indicate the days of the week down here. Now you might recognise this style of diary
because I used this as my journal for the entire year last year, and I’ll link to that
in the description box down below if you’d like to see how I used that. That was the dated version, not this is the
un-dated version, and I thought this was a great idea for a travel journal because you
could fit multiple trips in the same notebook, so over the course of a year or a couple of
years every time you go on a trip you could fill in the relevant dates down the left hand
side and you could start to build this up as a log of the various different trips that
you have been on. So once again testing out the various different
pens and watercolour paint on this page, let’s see how they look. So overall it’s fairly god. There is some ghosting from all of the different
kinds, but nothing really significant. I don’t feel like it’s interfering if you
were to write on both sides of the paper, I think that it would still be legible and
it’s not going to distract too much. The Copic multiliner is probably showing through
the most. The highlighter is showing through a little
bit but not too much, the Uniball micro is barely ghosting at all. And the fountain pen is about the same. So overall there is no bleed through, I can’t
see any bleed through, even from the water colour paint, which is a really good sign
and there is that vague ghosting. The watercolour paint has slightly buckled
the page. If I hold it up here you’ll see that it is
only very very slight, I think that the watercolour is actually working quite well on this paper,
which is pretty surprising, because it does feel like thin paper. I probably wouldn’t recommend using watercolour
with a lot of water, but if you used a small amount of water I think you could get away
with it on this paper. In terms of the fountain pen this paper is
definitely fountain pen friendly. There is no feathering at all and it wrote
really smoothly and felt really nice to write on this paper. Now for the test page. So of course this is slightly different, in
terms of the layout to the other pages that I have tested, though it gives you an idea
of how you could layout the various different days of your trip and then use the memo side
for highlights and various different bits and pieces. When we look at this in terms of ghosting
and bleed through for the ballpoint pen you can see that there is some ghosting down this
side, but it’s not that noticeable. There’s a tiny little bit of bleed through
were I’ve gone over quite heavily on the heading, but overall I think this is pretty good for
travel journaling. And on the other page we can check the stamp
pad and the highlighter, as well as the glue. So you can see that there is a little bit
of ghosting from the stamp pad but not too significant there. You can’t notice the highlighter really at
all. And once again you can actually read a little
bit of the information which was on the back of those images which I’d cut out from brochures. So that’s just something to be aware of if
you are planning to stick a lot of things into this journal, is that they do show through
a little bit. When I compare this to a plain white piece
of paper you can see that this is slightly yellow, it’s just a very soft yellow tint
to the pages. And the other thing that is worth noting is
that the grid lines are smaller than some of the others that I have tested so far, and
they’re much paler, so they are not as distracting when you are writing with a black pen as some
of the other grid lines have been. Finally we have the Rollbahn Notebook from
Delfonics. This is the medium size which is 11 by 14
centimeters and it has the Delfonics grid design. It has 120 pages and 5 plastic pockets plus
this little elastic strap, which keeps it closed. This is the only spiral bound notebook that
I have tested out, and I thought it would be interesting to give it a try and contrast
it with others. This is it compared to the Nuuna notebook,
you can see in terms of size it’s quite close for the number of pages, and that’s because
of the ring binding, not because of the similar number of pages. But it is significantly smaller. So it’s interesting to test it out, it’s more
of a pocket sized style of journal. For a traveler’s notebook this has quite a
few interesting little features which I think are quite useful to explore. So obviously the elastic strap to keep it
close is really helpful. The fact that it is spiral bound means that
it lays completely flat and open, which can be really useful, particularly if you are
drawing. It also has some clear plastic pockets at
the back. Just to give you a demonstration I’ve stuck
a piece of washi tape on here. I think this could be used as a sample page
if you wanted to take washi tape with you. And the plastic pockets are useful for storing
receipts or cards or little bits and pieces that you’re planning to stick into your travel
journal. So there’s five of those little plastic pockets
there at the back. The other feature of this notebook is that
all of the pages are perforated. Now you don’t need to worry about them coming
out while you’re traveling or using this notebook, they are attached very strongly, they’re not
a loose sort of style of perforation. But it is an interesting feature to consider,
if you think that you might be writing the kinds of notes where you’d like to tear them
out. And it tears out very cleanly, you can see
it’s a nice sharp edge here. So let’s test it out and see how it looks. So once again we have our page of pen tests
and watercolour, and a sample page of journaling. Looking first at the page of pen tests you
can see that there is some ghosting from each of the different type of pens. Though it’s probably the most noticeable when
you look at the Copic multiliner and also the highlighter is showing through fairly
strongly. One thing that I did notice is that there
isn’t any bleed through from any of these types of pens, which is really good to see,
especially because the paper does feel fairly thin. It’s obviously suitable for various different
kinds of inks which is great. When you look at the watercolour I would say
that this paper isn’t really suitable for watercolour painting, unless you use very
very little water. You can see if I hold it up like this that
it has sort of bubbled quite significantly. And if we look back over on the front this
paper is definitely fountain pen friendly as well. I haven’t got any feathering and it was lovely
and smooth to write on. Looking over at the sample page we can see
on the other side here there is a little bit of ghosting particularly from the stamp, starting
to show through. Ballpoint pen is showing through a little
bit but not so significantly that you would feel that you couldn’t write on both sides
of the paper. There’s a tiny tiny little shadow of bleed
through just beginning where I’ve gone over quite heavily on the heading. So that’s something to be conscious of when
deciding on the style of heading that you would like to do. The thing to note here is that the grid lines
are very very faint. They’re really not interfering with the design
at all and they’re not noticable. They’re actually, if you look really closely
made up of dots, rather than straight lines. Other things that are noteworthy is that the
lines go all the way to the edge of the page so there isn’t any margin. And when I compare it to a white piece of
paper you can start to see that it really is a distinctive yellow shade. Because the page is so much smaller you really
can notice that a lot less information fits on these pages. And I think that this is the style of journal
which is most suitable for sketching or note-taking rather than more collage style journaling. Simply because of the size means that it’s
difficult to fit much in the way of collage on a page like this. That’s it, those are all of the 6 journals
that I have that I wanted to test out for you and explore how they could work for travel
journals. I hope that’s been helpful for you, I hope
you’ve discovered something that is going to be just perfect for your next trip, if
you’d like to watch some of my videos flicking through my journals and showing you the different
techniques and approaches that I used I will leave links to all of those in the description
box below. And there’s also a playlist that you can play
through as well, which I will leave after this video has ended. I love making these videos about journaling,
and if you love watching them and sharing them with your friends I would love to make
more of them. So let me know in the comments below what
kinds of videos you would like to see from me, and if you have any burning questions
about journaling that I might be able to answer.


  • Deborah R

    Thanks. Very well done video. A suggestion for an informal video would be to show an in-progress travel journal when you go on one of your short trips.

  • McCall Ostlie

    Thank you for such a thorough and informative video! Been trying to select a journal for our year off traveling and couldn’t decide if I could do anything other than good ‘ol moleskin. Thanks and great work!

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