App Alternatives to the Travel Journal

Shannon Whitney

Your backpack is stuffed to the gills, you weigh it one more time. Perfect. Everything fits, but barely. Here at Packsmith we’re all about being economical with space and one of the things you can leave behind is your journal.

This is the part when you say, “But Shannon, I’ll never remember where I had that life-changing glass of wine, or the name of the guy I met on the bus. Where will I write my deepest and darkest thoughts?”

Here’s the thing, it’s 2015 and you’ve got options! There are alternatives to your old fashioned travel journal and they can all be accessed on your smartphone.

Social Media: Sharing as Saving

During the trip you’re probably sharing photos on Instagram or Facebook. Be sure to add captions and locations so you remember what and where later. Storie is a neat platform to capture basic videos. I can’t wait to try it out on my next voyage.

Hashtags are great for traveling with friends, but I recommend creating a shared album on iCloud. You can like and comment on the pictures without all of Facebook weighing in on how many breweries you went to in one weekend.

Whatever you do, please back up your photos! I use the cloud to store my pics as I go and then upload them all to a Google+ album when I get home. Fred offers some great options in this post.

Blogs

The internet is bursting at the seems with travel blogs, why not create your own? WordPress and Blogger are free, easy platforms for getting started. Download the app to your phone and update on the go.

Off Exploring is a blogging platform with a built in community. They also store your photos and video as a backup to your camera, or phone. The app allows you to post quickly even if you have limited web knowledge.

Pro-tip: the more you post, the less worried your mom will be.

Apps Galore

Besides traditional social media and blogs, apps offer a variety of options for storing your treasured memories. I tried out a few during recent weekend trips. On the road, I want to be able to save photos, remember places and record little snippets so I can remember what I ordered for dinner, or something new I learned. Extra points for not needing the internet to function.

Travelog is a handy place to research recommended activities near you as well as upload your own photos and notes. It’s especially directed towards Southeast Asian travel.

Trevi app screen shot

screenshot from Trevi

Did you just return from a jaunt across the pond? Are you kicking yourself that you just read these great inspiring ideas now? Trevi is for you. Download the app and give it permission to access your photos. It will map where they were taken and give you a timeline of the dates. You can share a couple of photos as a postcard on social media or order a physical postcard too.

My favorite free choice was TravelPod. Using the online or offline capabilities, you can draft your posts which will eventually go live online when you find some reliable WiFi. It’s easy to organize into each trip and is pretty intuitive to operate.

Jauntlet was a close second. The app allows you to add notes, a journal entry, and publish to a blog. It’s simple to add past trips if you’re working backwards. The app can be a bit buggy, but overall, it had the best organization.

If you’re willing to invest two bucks, Momento is worth it. The user experience is much smoother than the free options and it’s easy to jot a note, add a photo and pin a location. You can even set notifications to remind you to write. The best feature is the connection to your feeds. I have mine hooked up to import my Instragrams and Tweets to enhance the entry for each day.

momento screen shots

The Scrapbook is Dead

When you get home, or maybe when you get to where you’re going, it’s time to start on the scrapbook. How else will you look back at your trip? If you’re not all stencils, stickers, and glue sticks, I recommend a photo book.

To really commit, you can use a service like MyPublisher to bring your photos and thoughts together and have it bound. All kinds of photo printing is available online, but MyPublisher offers layouts and customizing options to make your story stand out. You can take those blog posts and pictures to make anything from pocket-sized to coffee table books. They also run great promos, so be sure to join their email list.

If you’re not willing to put serious time into organizing and documenting, there’s a simpler choice: Chatbooks. Using the app, you pull in up to 60 of your Instagram photos with captions. Boom, you have a mini scapbook and it costs a cool six bucks (free shipping)!

One Last Thing

So, you’ve documented it all- the pictures, the restaurants, and new friends along the way. I recommend cataloging your flights too. I use Flight Memory to show where I’ve been visually. The interface leaves something to be desired, but I love seeing the routes visually. You can add notes to each segment to record any specific details.

Here’s my map so far this year:

shannons flight memory

Which apps and platforms do you use to commemorate your trip? Do you journal as you go, or wait until you’re at home to reflect? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know!

TL:DR

Save precious packing space with apps to document your travels. Using the perfect mix of social media, blogs, apps and of course, photos, you will remember the name of the place with the really great coffee.

Momento is my favorite so far!

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