Digital travel journal explained

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A lot of questions, I know. I was asking them myself not so long ago. In this post, I'll cover most common questions regarding digital journals and will invite you to the behind the scenes process of creating one.

So what is actually digital travel journal?

It's the same as regular travel journal you keep when traveling or exploring your city, but a digital version of it. You can write in it (assuming you have apple pencil or another stylus that go with your tablet), place photos, stickers, sketch. Usually, you would glue tickets or photos to the page, with a digital version, you can just take a photo, crop and paste it. Easy and fun. Not to mention the bunch of digital stickers you can use with it.

To be more specific and geeky, digital travel journal - is an interactive pdf. You just need an App that allows pdf annotation to be installed to use it. (More about it further in the post).

My favorite things about digital travel journals:

How to use it?

As you would use your paper journal. But what I like the most about it, is that there is no pressure of making the perfect layout. If you did a mistake or messed up a sketch, you can always press undo button. I know that it might feel like cheating, but think about it. How many times you felt discouraged and upset when the spread didn’t turn out as you wanted, and how many times you wished you could undo that stroke or place sticker differently. I know I did, many many times. That's why I absolutely love a digital version of the journals. No pressure, just pure creativity.

What it's purpose?

I'm sure if you already have travel journal or bullet journal, there is no point to explain it's benefits and purpose. But here is the post with my thoughts on Why you might want to have travel journal.

You'll need to try and have one of those to truly appreciate the positive impact those journals have. Not only you keep track of awesome things you saw or heard, you can plan and be organized if that's your thing. 😃 (As for me, I'm more I'll see what's there when I get there kinda girl). Not to mention, looking at those pages years from now and remember beautiful places you visited.

Do I need additional apps to be installed?

Yep, you'll need an app that allows pdf annotation to use with the journals. There is a bunch of free ones for IOS and Android. I've tried a lot of them, but in each and every there was some kind of defect or missing function I'd love to have, like working hyperlinks. So I was torn between Goodnotes 4 and Notability. Two the most popular apps for taking notes. The scales turned more into the Goodnotes 4 side because I liked that there is an ability to create your own notebooks with covers and in the app, they displayed like in iBooks. I could see all my journals on one screen.

So far I think that it's the most popular and convenient app for digital planning and journaling lovers. It costs $7.99 at the moment. I didn't purchase any other apps and stick with that one because it's doing all I need it to do. But if there is another, better one, I don't know about, let me know in comments, please.

Can it be used with any tablet?

If you are Android user, there is also apps you can install: OneNote and Metamoji Notes. I'm sure there is other as well, but those are the most popular I've heard about.

Process of creating a digital journal

I was fascinated with the idea of making a realistic looking notebook, the one we all used to have, but for Ipad. It opened up new possibilities for light travel and of course more ground for creativity. What was the final call to action is the ability to add navigation to the journals, which meant that I could easily go to the needed page without searching it among many page previews.

After some research on how to create interactive pdf, I jumped to Photoshop for the fun part.

I had a photo of journal cover which I thought would be nice for my first notebook. I just did some modifications to it, so it would look more travel journaly 😃

Journal cover. Before & After

Then I started to think what I would like to have on the first spread. I love travel journals with pockets, so I thought I would add those in digital version as well and to make them useful, I put clickable tags for page navigation. Finished version:

First spread

I promised to share the process of creating this one, so here it goes.

This is an actual image of first spread I started out with. I know it looks nothing like the finished version 😃 But you can see the shape and pockets are the same. I just repaint it, added texture and additional elements.

Starting point

In the next steps, I added cream leather texture (similar to the one that is on the cover) and recolor the brown leather.

Some time ago I downloaded leather texture photoshop brushes. Can't remember who made those, because it was like 3 or 4 years ago, guilty ^-^. So with those brushes, I painted the texture over real one, sampling the color from the cover. Added the rubber from the cover as well.

Stitches are from another source image I found and photoshopped in.

And finally, I found images of tags and paper spread I wanted to use. The monthly tags I did using paper texture.

I used the tags from the first spread for quick links to important pages. And I also wanted realistic bookmark that will redirect to the first page for easier navigation. I combined a couple of images of the airplane charm and round Wander charm.

For the last cover page, I added space to write down important info. And, a place for photo or sticker. Here is a TIP on how to place a photo in that frame in Goodnotes, so it would be behind the note.

1. With Lasso tool select the upper part of the paper note, press Take screenshot,

2. Save this image to your Camera roll,

3. Place the desired photo into the photo frame. Choose Edit - Crop and adjust it to fit the frame if needed,

4. Import the photo of the upper part of the paper note and place it on top. Crop on the edges if needed.

Last spread

Ta da :)

Last spread with added photo

Monthly view.

Example on how to decorate

I do enjoy lettering in Procreate. It was so much fun to write those month names for the monthly view pages.

Month names

Some more spreads from this journal:

Let me know if you already went digital or thinking about making a transition. I'd love to know what you think about this whole idea of going digital. 😃

Talk to you soon,