I grew up being taken on enough road trips and day trips to know that my mom’s probably got notes for the mileage between many of them. She probably also has notes on rest stops, restaurants, and other general landmarks in addition to directions. It’s probably partially due to her incessant note taking that sparked an idea in my head. After our last trip abroad, I decided to start keeping a travel journal. But it might not be what you think.
In all fairness, it’s probably more a sign of my bad memory than watching my mother take notes. During the last trip my husband and I went on, we ended up at a few places we really liked. They weren’t on tourist websites, must-see recommendations or anything of the sort. They were mostly restaurants we stumbled upon and loved or sights that we really enjoyed seeing. Some have websites. Others don’t. And I know that if I make a list on a sheet of paper, or even a digital file, I’ll never find that list, digital or physical, the next time we’re traveling.
So I bought a small notebook. I use it to write down the special locations that we want to remember. A cafe in Salzburg. A traditional Bavarian restaurant, a biergarten and a pub-style cafe in Munich. Whatever that we feel is worth remembering. I note the name and the location. The notebook isn’t large or bulky, it’s pocket-sized, so I can slip it in my purse the next time we travel.
The benefits of keeping the notebook are that, obviously, everything is in one place. I keep it on a bookshelf in our home so I always know where it is. But it also means that next time we travel I don’t have to remember the name of the restaurant and then use the internet to search for it’s location. I’ve already got the address written down so I can just look it up on a map and find my way easily. Of course, that’s assuming these noteworthy spots are still open but I’m going to assume they are. (I can assure you from my own experience of traipsing across Berlin for a “must” restaurant that had been closed since the guidebook had been written, there’s nothing fun about that wild goose chase.)