11 Memory Keeping Tips for Writing a Travel Journal

In Blog by Shannon CochranLeave a Comment

How Can We Keep Memories Alive?

When we take time to reflect on our lives–the times where we got to enjoy living, BEing  making memories with the people most precious to our hearts–often we see it in a series of snippets. Snapshots of baby pics or birthday bashes. Maybe it’s pics of your sun-kissed selves jumping waves or building sandcastles at the beach. Or perhaps it’s the reverse camera angle photos of the family buckled up and heading toward adventure on a road trip.

Regardless of the snippet, we feel this: Life zooms by like flashing fleeting dashed lines on the highway. How do we keep our precious family memories alive?

 11 Memory Keeping Travel Tips

Once my hubby and I couldn’t afford airfare to fly our growing family on vacation (kids can only fly free for so long), we ventured to take road trips. Yet even on vacation, life zoomed by me like those dashed highway lines. Somehow I wanted to capture our memories. Our experiences. I wanted to freeze time so I could record our adventures to savor and share during this lifetime. But I needed the system to be simple. Doable. Definitely not overwhelming because I’m a purposely busy mom that must manage my time wisely.

Here’s the simple memory keeping system I created on my iPhone from the passenger seat of our Suburban collecting miles while we made memories. This is the memory keeping method I used en route while road tripping with my family from Austin, TX to San Diego, CA, up the west coast as far as Seattle, WA, on over to Jackson, WY, and back home.

1. Get Picture Happy – snap pics & short videos (30 sec. or less) like they’re going outta style

2. Use Awesome Apps –

  • Google Photos – will make animations, movies, & stylized photos from your camera roll
  • Evernote – create one New Note where you will briefly journal re: your road trip each day, posting pics & links from Google photos, and special memories/foolproof tips or recommendations

3. Repeat Simple Format – Describe: What did you do? Bullet or simply describe your adventures/activities that day

  • Day 1: Name where you traveled (E.g. Austin, TX to Balmorhea SP to El Paso, TX)

Describe: What did you do? Bullet or simply describe your adventures/activities that day

EXAMPLE: AUS to Balmorhea. We swam and snorkeled for 5-6 hours with our Hayes and Ryan Cochran cousins. We ate a picnic we had packed and learned the cheapest way to refill our water bottles was to purchase a $4 bag of ice and refill our iced down water bottles at the Visitor’s Center. The Lord delighted us when we saw a snake in the water and two huge water turtles. One turtle (probably a male) caught a fish, are half of it, sailed the rest of it downstream where another turtle (maybe its mate) waited to catch the fish. She took it to the rocky ledge–maybe to feed some baby turtles? We drove on a few more hours and stayed in El Paso overnight.

Add or link:

  1. pics
  2. videos
  3. highlights (inspiring, funny, thrilling, chilling moment/memory)
  4. foolproof tip/recommendation (likely gleaned from experiencing a mishap or hard lesson learned)


Video links: 

Day 2: Name where you traveled (E.g. El Paso, TX to La Jolla, CA)

Describe: What did you do? Bullet or simply describe your adventures/activities that dayEXAMPLE: Long car ride today with very interesting scenery. We were surprised how well we could see colorful Mexico and the border to the US. The drive through the desert was straightforward and beautiful, although extremely hot outside–115 degrees! Saguaro cacti decorated the landscape. In California we passed through sand dunes, avoided handing over our “contraband” Texas peaches to the Environmental “police,” and received a cool (weather) welcome when we checked in at the beautiful Half Moon Bay Suites where we stayed 2 nights. Taylor & Karissa came to visit us at the hotel. We walked around on the board walk and the Lord delighted us with sea lions that a fisherman fed with his leftover bait.

Add or link:

  1. pics
  2. videos
  3. highlights (inspiring, funny, thrilling, chilling moment/memory)
  4. foolproof tip/recommendation (likely gleaned from experiencing a mishap or hard lesson learned)


Animations: Dino eating Mommy & Kids

4. Add Brief Description – KISS method to very simply record where you went & what you did

5. Insert Favorite Pic(s) – Import a fav pic(s) of the day

6. Link Summary Video – Link a highlight video of the day (Since I was picture happy, Google videos made videos from my camera roll. I linked the summary video to the respective day in my travel journal to make the memory come alive!)

7. Include Special Highlight – What warmed your heart or made your day? Write/insert/link to a special highlight.

8. Add Fun/Funny Memory – What made you laugh? Write/insert/link to a fun/funny memory.

9. Add Unexpected Encounter/#oopsmoment Mishap Story – What surprised you? Did you have an #oopsmoment? Write/insert/link to a an unexpected encounter/#oopsmoment mishap story?

10. Add Foolproof Tip/MustDo Recommendation – What would you absolutely DO/NOT do next time you travel here? Maybe your #oopsmoment mishap can provide the inspiration. For example, we learned to download Google Maps for the area we’re traveling BEFORE we leave cell phone coverage areas when entering remote areas like state/national parks/forests. Without doing this, it makes it difficult to navigate, communicate, and connect with your people for group camping/gathering.

11. Use Share Buttons – Use note, copy, and social share buttons within Evernote to share your travel journal.

You Can Keep Your Travel Memories Alive

First and foremost, get picture happy. Snap away! Record short (30 sec. or less) videos. At the very least, you have captured your adventures on camera and video. If you want to take your travel memories to the next level, use these two simple apps (Google Photos and Evernote) to document your trip. Keep your format simple so you can easily update your travel note each day. Enhance it by inserting or linking pics, animations, and movies from Google Photos. You may want to record special highlights, funny memories, and #oopsmoment mishaps. The latter may lead to your travel tested, foolproof tip or MustDo recommendation.

Yes, life still zooms by like those flashing dashed highway lines. But take heart! And take pics!!! Whether you simply snap and record away or take your memory keeping to the next level, simply journaling your journey in Evernote and enhancing it with creations from Google Photos, you CAN keep your travel memories alive. As bonus, with copy-share links, they’re easily shareable!


Want more road trip tips for traveling with kids? Click here!

Share in the comments: Are you interested in keeping your road trip memories alive by keeping a travel journal? Which idea(s) do you plan to pursue next time you get to getaway for a little vacay?


Don’t forget to grab your road trip tips here!

Shannon Cochran

Leave a Reply