Why You Should Use a Smart Notebook as Your New Travel Journal

Save paper, money and aggravation with a digital notepad.

Prefer taking notes and writing thoughts the old-fashioned way? At least add digital security.Shutterstock

Keeping your memories and insights in a journal can be a great way to preserve them. But they’re also prone to getting lost, getting destroyed if they fall in water, and a host of other problems. That’s why a smart notebook should be your new travel journal.

Cloud Compatible

The perfect option for gift giving to the journalists in your life.Rocketbook

Smart notebooks come in three forms. The first is an erasable notepad where you use an app to scan your notes, which are then uploaded to a cloud server, automatically transcribed, and made searchable and accessible. The second is more direct; a digital touchscreen that you write on with a stylus. The third uses a special pen to track your writing and transcribes your notes to an app that way. The former is cheaper, more rugged, will let you use colored pens, and won’t need batteries, while the latter two are faster, has fewer steps, and won’t require special erasable ink.

Low-glare Screen

Battery life isn't a concern here, this model promises up to three weeks of power.Sony

If you go the digital touchscreen route, look for battery power. Since they’re not color screens, their battery power more closely resembles the camel-like energy of a Kindle as opposed to the daily recharge your tablet needs. That said, like any epaper device, the more you use it, the faster your battery power will drop, so if you go that route, be absolutely sure that you have access to a charger and some electricity, and that you invest in a case.

Add Sound

Don't stop at journaling, this model is great for sketching too.Moleskine

If you need the more rugged scannable notebook, get some backup supplies. These notebooks usually require that you use erasable pens, much like a whiteboard, so that you can just wipe them off and reuse the page. That said, you do need to have that specific pen handy for it to work, and if you lose your pen, you’re out of luck. Similarly, remember that in order to preserve your notes, you need to scan them with your phone, so if you know you’ll be away from an outlet for a few weeks, either bring a power bank or be ready to scan when you get back. With this option, you can also record audio to sync to your notes.

Also Consider

The pages on this option move just like paper.Rocketbook