If you’re wondering what to do with all of your sentimental travel memorabilia, why not create a travel smash book souvenir?

For most travelers, ticket stubs, handwritten notes, boarding passes, and the toilet paper that got stuck to the bottom of your shoe are all destined to be tossed in the trashed or stuffed inside of a box, never to be seen again.

But not me. I collect colorful scraps like beer coasters, stickers, candy wrappers, and postcards to create a travel journal that resembles more of a smash book.

preplanning travel smash book

What is a smash book?

A smash book is whatever you want it to be. You can have some method to your artistic madness, or paste and tape away, allowing the book to take a mind of its own.

You can create an on-the-go travel smash book full of all of your tidbits of travel tokens in one convenient and space-saving place. As a person who is obsessed with memory saving, this is simply a necessity for me. It’s faster than journaling (which I do as well) and prevents my randomly collected items from getting damaged in the black hole known as my backpack.

The benefits of having a smash book: Other than being a one-of-a-kind book you can treasure forever, travel smash books are also perfect for when you need to reference a hotel, price, or address that slipped your mind. My friends love to flip through my smash books, taking note of things to do and places to see with each page. No two books are quite alike!

What you’ll need for a smash book

What do you put in a smash book?

  • Admission ticket stubs
  • Boarding passes, bus and train tickets
  • Paper money (small notes)
  • Coins
  • Candy wrappers, beer coasters, chopstick wrappers
  • Postcards — write on the back and tape the top of the postcard in so you can flip it over and read the back
  • Handwritten notes from travel friends (or ask them to do their own entry)
  • Brochures

And anything else you can think of. Some people also call this a junk journal. Here’s a peek inside the smash book I worked on during long bus rides, in airport lounges, and when I was hiding from awkward couchsurfing hosts. The point of your book isn’t to look perfect. If that were the case, it would never be completed. Don’t overthink how your smash book should come out, because the more ramshackle it is, the better. The goal is to create a simple, fun, memory documenting keepsake that you will actually look at in the future.

adventure intro travel smash book

Before my trip, I printed some travel-related pictures that I liked to include in the book.

Before my trip, I printed some travel-related pictures that I liked to include in the book.

Anyone who has been to Paris knows these tickets end up everywhere. It's been months and I've still been finding these in my clothes...

Anyone who has been to Paris knows these tickets end up everywhere. It’s been months and I’ve still been finding these in my clothes…

Lauren and I spent a lot of time in Paris taking the metro back and forth between new hosts and sightseeing locations, so this page seemed perfect to store the endless amount of metro tickets I acquired as proof of that.

amsterdam travel smash book

Included on this page: my Amsterdam¬†couchsurfing host’s business card, a coffee shop card, plane tickets, a sugar packet, and bus tickets. The accessories you see were collected prior to my trip and thrown in a convenient ziplock baggie.

barcelona travel smash book

Barcelona showed me the best of times, and the worst of times… regardless, I’m glad I saved the random bits and pieces inside of my smash book. If you look hard enough, you can see where I scorned the worst-hostel-ever’s business card. My boyfriend also appreciated the shout out on this page.

Sometimes my pages are finished... sometimes they're not!

Sometimes my pages are finished… sometimes they’re not!

Ahhh Seville, I wish I never left you.

Lausanne switzerland travel smash book

Documenting the time I got kicked off of a bus in Lausanne for buying the wrong bus tickets.

I wrote on the back of the postcard to include some interactive journaling

I wrote on the back of the postcard to include some interactive journaling

pula travel smash book lucerne luzern travel smash book

Sometimes my pages include favorite stories of the location, instead of a general overview.

croatia travel smash book

A lot of bus rides to be had in Croatia. Warning: the bus drivers won’t wait for you.

Sometimes a simple pockets serves the purpose of storing your stuff

Sometimes a simple pockets serves the purpose of storing your stuff

Favorite quotes are also included :)

Favorite quotes are also included

A small ticket stub can someday take you back to the time you spent going to a foreign film festival and didn’t have a clue of what the plotline was. You’ll be thankful you stored that memory somewhere accessible – like your bookshelf. Creating a travel smash book is cheap, fun, and perfect to pass the time on those long bus rides.

Have you created a smash book? 

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