Public opinion has gone back and forth on whether you should spend your vacation snapping pictures at every possible moment, or whether you should live in the moment and take few if any pictures on your phone or DLSR camera. Ultimately, it’s at the discretion of the vacationer, but many have chosen to forgo senseless photo snapping and imbibe everything about the space itself.

In lieu of photos and jpegs, some have elected to keep in-depth journals about their travels so that the sights, sounds, and aromas are more reflective and personal. If you want to keep a journal on your next site-seeing expedition, here are a few ideas for how to do it in a way that’s meaningful to you.

Commit to Designated Writing Time: Journals are only valuable if you commit to writing in them regularly — if not daily, then at least at regular intervals, say every other day or so. Schedule time into your day dedicated exclusively to writing down what you experienced in whatever format you feel is best. Some choose first thing in the morning, while others choose to download all their thoughts right before bed. Whichever you chose, make a plan and stick to it.

Always carry tape: Even if you’re not being a shutterbug, you can still collect physical and visual memories and keep them with you. While abroad, you may want to press flowers, save tickets, buy postcards with aerial views of landmarks, or have a place to store a number of other tiny keepsakes. A journal is the perfect place to keep all the tiny reminders of what you experienced to augment what you’re writing.  

Feel free to wander in your thoughts: Some people feel they can best express their thoughts in the form of a bullet journal. Others turn to poetry. Still more a diary of sorts. Depending on where you went, how you related to it, and the way it made you feel, you can combine all the forms in whatever way is best for you. The purpose of keeping the journal, remember, is not necessarily the journal itself — it’s the internalization and the experience as a whole. However you feel you can best express your experience, do it.

Practice using sensory details: If you’re choosing words over pictures, you can use this opportunity to practice painting pictures with words. Rather than describing places as “awesome” or “breathtaking,” try your hand at really describing how the place looked, sounded, smelled, and made you feel. You can reference songs that are meaningful to you, some factual or personal history of the place, and delve into the vastness of the English language to precisely delineate what you’re trying to describe.

Trade Journals with a Friend: The same way some people have guest bloggers on their websites, if you’re traveling with a friend, you could trade journals and get their written perspective on the events, views, and experiences you went through together. You’ll have lots of perspectives on what your trip was really like that way.