I’ve been getting a few messages from readers asking if I’ve ever tried using a traveler’s notebook (the answer is no). A few people have also asked if I make printables already at traveler’s notebook (TN) size. The answers is no and I doubt I ever will. The reason? I hate travelers notebooks. I don’t intend to ever use them… Here’s why:
What is a traveler’s notebook?
If you haven’t come across Traveler’s notebooks before, they’re a cover with small notebooks for daily planning, weekly, monthly, lists etc. that slip inside the cover. Heaps of planner companies make them these days including:
• Carpe diem
• Erin Condren
• Doodlebug (these are colorful)
• Traveler’s Company Japan
• American crafts
• Color crush
• Echo park paper
• Freckled Fawn
• Prima marketing
Why I hate Traveler’s notebooks
1. The cover
The covers of most Traveler’s notebooks are leather or faux leather. Plain, boring and feels so gross – I don’t want to touch it – I don’t even want it anywhere near me.
That type of material seems to show creases more so when you open and close it all the time I think it’d wear down over time (anyone use a Traveler’s Notebook and want to pitch in in the comments and confirm / deny this is the case?)
The little notebooks that go in the case also tend to have a Kraft material cover. I hate Kraft paper almost as much as I hate brown leather / faux leather covers.
2. Fimsy covers
The covers have a flimsy strap to hold it together. Given the amount of notebooks you’ll need to shove in there to keep everything organised I don’t know how that strap holds it all together.
For a small notebook cover they can be super expensive… as much as planner printed in full color, with a laminated front and back cover, monthly calendars, notes pages and weekly pages… much better value for money.
For how expensive they are, they look cheap and flimsy. A small stitched notebook seems to be around $10 AUD. And they don’t include many pages. The number you’ll need depends how much and how big you write.
Let’s say if I used those little notebooks that I’d probably use at least 5 per year just for daily / weekly / monthly planning… So 5 x $10 = $50… which is about the same price as a planner. A planner that’s pretty, functional, with weekly and monthly pages already printed plus a pretty cover… that might also be personalised. Seems a much better deal to me.
4. Too much cutting required
Sometimes O resize printables to half US letter or A5 page size – that’s quick and easy – just do ‘2 per page’ printing and cut the piece of paper in half. You could also print directly onto pre-cut A5 paper (e.g. reflex paper from Officeworks).
Sidenote: I’ve had customers asking if my printables can be resized for traveler’s notebooks. They can – see this post for a tutorial which will work for any printable – however the writing space will shrink quite small because traveler’s notebooks are small.
However with TN at B6 and the other odd page sizes they come in you have to cut out each page (4 cuts rather than 1 cut when you do ‘2 per page’ printing as described above). With more cuts = more wasted paper, more cut lines to correctly align. It’s so much hassle. And then what do you get as a result?
5. Ant size writing space
If you look at the dimensions of travveller’s notebooks and draw it out on paper, it quickly becomes apparent that you’re going to need to write small or…
6. Use loads of paper
Since there’s not much space you might end up needing 3, 4 even 5 pages just to plan one week = loads of wasted paper and time cutting out the pages.
Lots of pages to plan each week also means lots of flicking back and forth. I’d rather use a larger page size where I can see everything all at once.
7. Too much clutter
When I see people’s spreads in their Travelor’s notebooks it just screams cluttered to me. It always looks chaotic. Since the pages are so small they’re packed with stickers and writing with almost no white space. I don’t know how people can make sense of anything when everything is so crammed.
8. Stitched Binding
If you’re a regular blog reader you’ll know what I’m going to say… I hate notebooks that don’t lay flat on their own (i.e. when you have to hold them open with one hand while awkwardly trying to write with your other hand).
9. Too Many Sizes
Traveler’s notebooks come in: pocket, passport, personal, B6, standard, cahier etc. – it’s way too confusing. And also time consuming checking size compatibility between covers, the notebooks to fit the cover you’re using, printables etc.
10. Plain & Boring
While there are more pretty Traveler’s Notebooks available than there were a year ago (and probably will be more as this trend continues) – there’s currently not a lot of notebook options other than Kraft. There aren’t many pretty patterns on the covers (apart from Doodlebug and Prima Marketing it seems). Most planner companies also aren’t selling pre-printed inserts yet so options are limited – especially colorful inserts!
So what do I prefer?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. For me, discbound is the way to go. You can add, remove and rearrange pages as often you like. You can also use the discs to make any page size planner you like!
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