My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

I’ve been nominated by Kirsty Wilson of TravelTipsPlus

to participate in Tripbase’s “3 Best Kept Secrets”

“Congratulations on being nominated in Tripbase’s Best Kept Travel Secrets Project! Two months on, and we’re amazed at the response we’ve had. Over 100 travel bloggers have participated so far, sharing their Best Kept Travel Secrets on far-flung destinations, hidden hotels, exotic foods and expert travel tips.” – Katie from

So, here are (what were up until now)

My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

1. Don’t take a generic tome type travel journal with you ~ They’re heavy, have no connection with the place you’re travelling, and are often hard to ‘start’ due to the fear of messing up that first pristine page and so spoiling what is to follow!

Do buy small thin notebooks (I like the A6 size) made in the area you’re travelling, or at the very least the country you’re in! You’ll have the associated story of its purchase from a local news-stand owner, stationery vendor or artisan at a market; and it’ll ooze the culture with local language and design on its cover, and paper with its own unique feel.

Being small it will quickly fill, which is just what you want! It’s now ready for popping in an envelope, with a beautiful local stamp (or two), and posting home to yourself.

Post your small notebooks home as they fill

Postmarked envelopes are like passport stamps in that they mark where you were and when; and when you finally return home each envelope will reveal a neatly parcelled chapter of your journey.

2. Don’t separate the telling of the tale from the experience ~ By leaving the recounting of your travelling tales to an evening homework exercise!

Homework 🙁

Do incorporate your notebook/journal into daily activities like you do when taking photos –

Keep it handy – i.e. with your wallet and camera.

So when asking the concierge for directions, give them your small notebook to draw a mud map of how to find where you’re going, and note the name of your accommodation (partly so you can find your way back!)

Mudmaps are a great addition 🙂

When asking a local to take your photo, get them to also jot down the name of the location you’re in (You’ll be amazed how handwriting styles vary across the world)

And when getting your wallet out at a restaurant, get your notebook/journal out too and ask the waiter to write the name of where you have just dined. (Different scripts all add to the flavour!)

With the outline of your day now recorded for you by other people, avoid filling in the gaps with wordy compositions of woolly fluff!

Keep it simple and quick (there’s travelling to be done!). You’re only after memory triggers that will later help you recall the whole story –

So… jot down the ‘where‘ you are, or ‘what’ you’re doing, and then checklist each of your five senses with a word or two that expresses how they’re responding to the place/experience ~

For example:  rainforest hike

  • epiphytes & strangler figs (what you see)
  • whip-birds (what you can hear)
  • composting leaf litter & humidity (what you can smell)
  • soft-moss (touchy feely)
  • rich leafy lushness (a taste that is in the air).

I find the last one, what you can ‘taste’, often the most revealing! Incredible how the atmosphere’s taste defines the climatic region, and also how you feel! Such as the dry mouth you have when doing adrenaline pumping activities. It’s such a brilliant scene setter 🙂

3. Don’t throw away used tickets and receipts ~ It is the day-to-day by-products, which are integral to the journey that can provide your best recall associations and be your most treasured mementos.

Do save ephemera such as headed paperwork, ticket stubs, local food wrappings and coasters and keep in a ziplock bag to be posted home every week or so, as and when your small notebook journal is filled.

There is something about holding a handwritten notebook and mementos that you once held and used when away in far flung lands that seems to magically bridge the gap across time.

Something a blog, in its virtual reality, can never do 😉

Ticket stubs and Mementos

Mementos and ticket stubs


1. Buy a small local notebook/journal to post home every week or two.

2. Incorporate your journalling into your daily activities by getting people you encounter to write in the pertinent place names of where you’re eating, sleeping and visiting, while you simply fill in how your senses are responding to the experience.

3. Keep headed receipts, entry tickets and travel mementos in ziplocks to post home with each notebook as they fill.

Spending time with travel memories fulfills your journey 😀


Ok, as part of Tripbase’s project, I have to nominate five bloggers to share their 3 best kept travel secrets.

Here are my nominations:


13 thoughts on “My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

  1. This is a fascinating post Linda, excellent ideas and some great techniques to make your trip come alive and give you fantastic memories every time you return to it!

    Thanks for nominating us! I assume we wait for Kirsty to contact us!

  2. Thank you for these great ideas and the lovely illustrations. Wonderful inspiration for travelers, readers, and writers alike.

  3. Yes,Linda it’s exact! – impressions will remain better with the tickets from travel. When I find it suddenly between other things that I’m always surprised: – as such one patch with date… has created a heap of sensations.

  4. Thank you Frank, Zola and Inna ~
    I’m so pleased you found my travel secrets useful and inspiring 🙂
    Inna ~ Yes, old ticket stubs are great mementos, aren’t they, as they have date & place printed on them, which helps to get the memories flooding back!

  5. Hi Brooke ~
    This project is bringing together a fantasticly varied collection of wondrous places in this world to visit, as well as practical tips to make the trip more enjoyable!
    Loved your best kept secrets! 🙂

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  8. I just discovered your blog today. FANTASTIC! As a visual person, I love all of the little jottings and squiggles.

    You are so right about the small notebook. I have a bunch of them from various trips, and to step through the pages is akin to being transported back there. I tend to be a little bit structured at the beginning, and what order to the chaos of notes and info I collect. But usually after a couple of days, I get into the swing of things, and my books start to get a little bit loose.

    Amazing blog by the way. Really enjoying browsing around.

    • Hi Jay ~
      You’re so right – Little notebooks of jottings are bridges across time –
      Love the way you say it takes a few days to r-e-l-a-x into a new one –
      Feels to me like a hangover from school days when at the start of a new term everything is taut and stilted rather than ‘real’ 🙂

      Lovely to see you here ~ Happy you found me and my site and enjoyed browsing around!

    • It does make it more special –
      Having people’s names you’ve met written in your journal by their hand makes the connection even more alive when that moment for nostalgia strikes and you re-visit that time and place again through the pages 🙂

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