The Traveler’s Company traveler’s notebooks are a great place to keep your memories, plans, or notes. This high-quality notebook features smooth, creamy paper and is encased in a luxurious leather cover that ages beautifully with use and time. With a variety of refill options and accessories, you can personalize and build your own custom notebook or planner that fits your lifestyle. It’s a keepsake you’ll look back on for years to come. This guide to Traveler’s Notebook for beginners will help those who feel overwhelmed with all of the options, and those who are looking for new products from Traveler’s Company.

If you’re interested in other Japanese planners, I’ve also written guides for other popular planner options: Hobonichi Techo and Kokuyo Jibun Techo.


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What is a Traveler’s Notebook?

Before we get into the different refills, I wanted to start by talking about what a traveler’s notebook even is. Sometimes called the Midori Traveler’s Notebook or Traveler’s Notebook Midori, because Midori rebranded this popular line as its own company, travelers notebooks have notebooks, planners, and other inserts that help you create your own planning system. The great thing about the Traveler’s Notebook system is that they are fully customizable. You can add up to four inserts comfortably at a time and swap them out as you wish for different needs while still keeping the same luxurious leather cover. This is obviously a favorite of travelers because of how easy it is to swap inserts out to write or scrapbook about your current travels.

Traveler’s Notebook Starter Kits

Whether you’re using it to record memories, keep track of travel itineraries, or jot down random observations while on the road, the Traveler’s notebook is an excellent companion to bring with you wherever you go. Its simple and elegant design needs no further embellishment; the beauty of the leather cover speaks for itself. Available in a larger Regular size and smaller Passport size, the Starter Kit includes a blank notebook that features Midori Diary (MD) paper, made with care in Japan, where you can write or sketch to your heart’s content. An elastic band stretches along the spine of the cover, holding the notebook in place, while another band keeps the notebook shut. While the Traveler’s notebook sizes aren’t standard (like a5, b6, etc.) there are plenty of options both from Traveler’s company and alternatives.

This Starter Kit is the perfect starting point for you to customize your notebook. Now you’re ready to add extra notebooks, attach a pen holder, insert zipper pouches, pockets, and the other accessories you see below! Also below, you can see special edition covers from collaborations with Japanese brands or from Traveler’s Factory stores.

Or, for more options, shop on Amazon Japan.

Traveler’s Notebook Size Comparison

As you saw above, Traveler’s Notebooks come in two sizes: Regular and Passport. The Regular size is similar to an A5 Slim at 9″ x 5.7″, while the passport size is unique to Traveler’s Notebook at 5.2″ 3.8″. These two compact sizes make them great for travel or using as your daily carry.

Traveler’s Notebook Refills- Regular Size

Midori Diary Paper Notebooks

Midori put a lot of thought into their signature paper. After much testing and many iterations, the paper is bleed-resistant, feather-resistant, and fountain pen friendly, all contributing to a pleasant writing experience. Refills for the Traveler’s notebook are available in these styles:

Lined

Traditional notebook users gravitate toward this classic style. With a 6.5 mm ruling, the lines are ideal for penning your thoughts, travel notes, and anything else you like to keep in your notebook.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Grid

Those who like a little more structure to their notebook will appreciate the 5 x 5 mm grid style of this refill. Use the grid to draw diagrams, charts, and more. The pale gray lines provide a nice guideline that is light enough to not be intrusive.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Blank

If your creativity can’t be contained by lines or grids, we recommend this blank refill. The sky’s the limit, whether it’s doodles or sketches, long meandering thoughts, or a combination of both!

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Cream – Blank

This is the cream-colored version of the Blank refill. Softer on the eyes, it’s a great alternative to white paper.

Buy on Etsy

Dot Grid

The Dot Grid refill actually features an unobtrusive reticle-style grid, which provides guidelines without getting in the way of your imagination. You can create neat sections, write long entries, or draw to your heart’s content. The sky’s the limit!

Buy on Etsy

Buy on Amazon Japan

Planners

The Traveler’s notebook can be used as a planner, and Traveler’s Company offers a variety of styles for you to keep your schedule organized. All options are printed on smooth Midori Diary paper.

Monthly Planner

With 14 months’ worth of pages, the monthly planner gives you the freedom to fill in your desired dates. Monthly planners are suited for “big picture” people, who like seeing everything at a glance.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Weekly Planner with Memo

For those who like everything to be written down, the weekly planner with memo pages are the best solution. With six months’ worth of pages, this planner features days of the week on the left side and a grid on the right side where you can fit extra memos and notes.

Shop on Amazon US or Amazon Japan.

Weekly Vertical Planner

This updated version of the original weekly planner gives equal scheduling space to all seven days of the week. Travelling isn’t something that only happens on weekdays after all!

Buy now on Amazon US or Amazon Japan.

Daily Planner

Busy bees will enjoy this style of planner! With plenty of space for each day and a 5 x 5 mm grid for you to record or organize your day however you want, even the most hectic of schedules will come together in harmony.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Specialty Paper

Different types of specialty paper are also available for you to include in your Traveler’s notebook.

Sketch

For those who enjoy sketching, drawing, or watercolors, the Sketch paper provides a smooth, heavyweight surface for your creativity to come to life. The paper is perforated, allowing you to remove any page and mail as a postcard or frame in your room.

Buy on Etsy

Buy on Amazon Japan

Lightweight

This Lightweight notebook features white Tomoe River paper and is perfect for bringing with you on travels. It’s ultra thin, so it won’t weigh you down.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Kraft

Those who love scrapbooking will enjoy the rustic feel of this kraft paper. You can paste maps, photos, tickets, and other items from your travels. You can enjoy this memento for years to come.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Watercolor

Specifically made for watercolors, this refill is perfect for en plein air artists. Grab a couple of watercolor paints, a trusty water brush, and you’re good to go. The paper is thicker and more textured than the Sketch refill, but it’s also great for pencil and pen sketches. The pages are perforated, so when you create a masterpiece, you can frame it or send it to a loved one!

Buy on Etsy

Buy on Amazon Japan

Traveler’s Notebook Refills – Passport Size

Midori Diary Paper Notebooks

The refills in the smaller, passport size feature the same fantastic Midori MD paper as in the regular size refills. Here are the MD refills that are available in Passport size:

Lined

This paper features a 6.5 ruling, great for archiving memories, travel notes, and more.

Buy on Etsy

Grid

Perfect for charts and diagrams, the 5 x 5 mm grid layout is popular among engineers, architects, and designers.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Blank

Artists love to use blank sheets to let their imagination run wild with doodles or words, and this pocket size is great for on-the-go inspiration.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Cream Blank

Like the Blank refill, this plain cream refill is great for letting your creativity flow. The cream is easier on the eyes, making it a great alternative to white paper.

Buy on Etsy

Buy on Amazon Japan

Dot Grid

Although it’s named Dot Grid, the sheet style is actually a subtle reticle grid! We are huge fans of this style — it provides guidelines when you need it, but doesn’t get in your way when you don’t. You can write, draw, or even section off pages for pasting mementos.

Buy on Etsy

Buy on Amazon Japan

Planners

Like the regular size refills, Traveler’s Company offers planners in the passport size. Here are the planners:

Monthly Planner

You can see your whole schedule at a simple glance with this monthly planner.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan.

Weekly Planner

The Weekly planner is great for those who need more space to detail their plans.

Shop on Amazon US or Amazon Japan.

Specialty Paper

Traveler’s Company created the same specialty paper refills for the Passport size as the Regular size, shown below. (The photo above features the Dot Grid & Cream MD refills.)

Sketch

The Sketch paper features a smooth, heavyweight surface that’s perfect for sketching, drawing, and even watercolor painting. The paper is perforated, so you can remove any page and mail as a postcard or frame in your room.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Etsy

Lightweight

The Lightweight notebook is filled with white, ultra-thin Tomoe River paper. You can pick up multiple of these to bring with you on travels without weighing you down.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Kraft

The Kraft paper refill in the Passport size makes a fun, little scrapbook. It’s the perfect place to paste maps, photos, tickets, and other items from your travels.

Buy on Amazon US

Buy on Amazon Japan

Watercolor

The Watercolor refill is perfect for artists. It’s thick and textured to handle watercolors with ease, but it’s also great for pencil and pen sketches. The pages are perforated so after you’re done drawing, you can take it out and send it to a friend as as hand drawn card.

Buy on Etsy

Traveler’s Notebook Accessories

Traveler’s Company offers an assortment of accessories to pair with your Traveler’s notebook. These accessories add convenience and utility to your notebook, and you can pick and choose which you need. This allows you to truly create a notebook that’s entirely your own.

Binder

After you finish with a notebook, don’t throw it away! Available in both Regular and Passport sizes, this binder stores all your finished notebooks in one place, making a wonderful archive that you can refer to again and again to remember past events. A Traveler’s Notebook binder is perfect for those who want to organize and display your works.

Buy Regular Size: Amazon US, Amazon Japan, Etsy

Buy Passport size on Etsy

Brass Clip

These vintage-inspired clips help keep your Traveler’s notebook open as you use it. Simply open up to the page you want and clip them to the side of the notebook along with the cover. Because they’re made of solid brass, they will develop a patina as you use them. Choose from the TRC logo or an airplane design.

Buy on Etsy or Amazon Japan.

Card File

If you use your Traveler’s notebook on business trips, this card file is a handy place to keep all the business cards you acquire. There are 12 business card pockets that accommodate both standard U.S. and Japanese business cards. This is only available in the Regular size.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan.

Connecting Bands

You can keep all of your essential notebooks in one place. These connecting bands let you hold two or even three notebooks in one Traveler’s notebook cover. This is an ideal option for those who need more than one type of refill in their notebook.

Buy Regular Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Buy Passport Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Double-Sided Stickers

Create an album of memories using these double-sided stickers. You can paste photos, cards, tickets, maps, and other memorabilia in your Traveler’s notebook to look back at fondly.

Buy on Etsy or Amazon Japan

Film Pocket Sticker

Like the regular Pocket Stickers, Film Pocket Stickers create useful places for you to stow small memorabilia. However, the Film version is more versatile as you can stick the pockets right into your notebook and adjust the number of pockets you have on each page. You can even create a miniature photo album by having a spread with just Film Pocket Stickers.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Kraft Card File

The Kraft Card File has 60 spaces to store business cards, mini Instax photos, or other small pieces of paper, like ticket stubs or stamps. Using the file is a great way to document all the little things you pick up during your travels.

Buy on Etsy or Amazon Japan

Kraft File Folder

With two pockets, the Kraft File Folder is a great place to store maps, itineraries, or other slim items. It comes in two sizes: Passport and Regular.

Buy Regular Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Buy Passport Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Pen Holder

You can keep a pen handy with your notebook using this pen holder! The metal clip slides securely onto the leather cover, giving you a convenient way to store your pen. It holds pens of up to 12 mm in diameter.

Buy in on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Pocket Sticker

Are you always fumbling around for your ticket or membership card? The Pocket Sticker provides a place for you to put small miscellaneous items, such as tickets, cards, or memo notes. It adheres to the inside of the leather cover, so you can access it easily. The Pocket Sticker Set contains three small pockets, while the Large has one that fits in the regular size Traveler’s notebook.

Buy Regular Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Buy Large Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Repair Kit

This repair kit is useful to have in case the elastic band on your notebook gets loose. The kit has extra bands and a metal clasp to repair the spine band that holds the inner notebook in place. You can try out the different colored bands included in the kit to see which suits your style. The elastic bands can also replace the center band that holds the notebook shut.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are great for for jotting down notes, quick to-dos, or leaving reminders for family members and friends, and you can keep them on hand with this convenient Sticky Note Set. It comes with a variety of sizes and formats, so you can choose which to use based on your mood or need. Both Regular and Passport sizes are available.

Buy on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Three-Fold File

This convenient file fits A4-sized paper and folds it neatly into three. Use it to carry itineraries, hotel vouchers, maps, and more. This only comes in the Regular size.

Buy on Etsy or Amazon Japan

Zipper Case

Keep your essentials safe in this zipper case. You can store small flat items, such as tickets and cards securely in the zippered pouch. The other side features pockets for maps or other miscellaneous items. The passport size zipper case has one inner and two outer flap pockets while the regular size zipper case has two large flat pockets.

Buy Regular Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Buy Passport Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Pencil Boards

Pencil boards are a great way to protect the paper underneath the one you’re writing on, and also give you a smooth flat surface to write on. They can also be used as a placeholder to mark your current page.

Buy Regular Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

Buy Passport Size on Amazon US or Amazon Japan

How to Install Multiple Traveler’s Notebooks

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one notebook! There are multiple ways to include more notebook refills in your Traveler’s notebook. While we’ve seen notebooks stuffed to the brim, we recommend filling up your notebook with no more than three or four refills depending on the thickness of each refill for ease of use.

Traveler’s notebook Connecting Bands

Traveler’s Company offers these nifty elastic bands to help install multiple notebook refills in one cover. First, insert a refill between the existing rubber band and cover. Then, place the second notebook next to the first. Open both notebooks in the middle and grip those middle pages together. Slide the connecting band through those pages. To install another refill, take the second and third refill and follow the same steps.

Alternately, you can use the connecting bands to attach the first and second refill outside of the notebook, then insert them into the notebook afterwards. The back cover of the first refill and the front cover of the second becomes the middle of the notebook with this arrangement. This provides a more balanced look to your notebook if you only have two refills, but you can continue adding notebooks to your notebook using the techniques above.

Using the Existing Elastic Binding

You can also use the existing binding on the notebook to add an extra refill. Insert the first notebook through the first elastic as usual. Then tug on the second elastic to give yourself more space, and slide the extra refill in.

Additionally, the elastic that comes with the box can be used to add an extra refill. Remove the elastic band from the box and slip it through the cover. Then, insert the refill through the band as you would normally. The downside to this method is that the elastic is visible from the outside, detracting from the clean look of the cover.

Traveler’s Notebook Special Editions

Traveler’s notebook 2021 Planners

Traveler’s Company comes out with dated planners every year as well themed accessories. The theme for 2021 is inspired by books.

Traveler’s Company Travel Tools Collection

2020’s theme was “Travel Tools”, and Traveler’s Company debuted a special Travel Tools Collection. It includes notebook refills, letterpressed stickers and cards, washi tape, and more. This collection is limited edition so grab the items while you can!

Shop on Etsy

Traveler’s Company Factory Green Collection

Traveler’s Company released a collection of pens inspired by inspired by the Traveler’s Company factory, whose doors, floors, and shelves are painted in a similar light green color to evoke a sense of safety and peace of mind. Today, the paint is faded in some areas and darkened in others—a testament to many years of hard work and productivity. In much the same way, the finish of this pen will develop a unique patina over the years, reflecting how you’ve used it. As the paint wears away, the brass underneath will begin to show through.

Shop on Etsy

Traveler’s Factory Limited Editions

Traveler’s Company have Traveler’s Factory stores in Japan that sell the same merchandise listed in this guide, as well as limited edition covers, refills, and accessories that can only be purchased in store and in the specific store you’re in.

If you’re a true Traveler’s Company junkie, the Traveler’s Factory stores should definitely be on your bucket list. There are three locations in Tokyo: Tokyo Station, Narita Airport, and the flagship store in Nakameguro. There is a fourth store in Kyoto. Each location is unique, and a treat to visit for stationery and travel lovers.

I would highly recommend visiting a store yourself if only for the experience, but at the time of writing (June 2021) most travelers are not able to make it to Japan. So if there are certain special edition notebooks you’re interested in, you can purchase them on Etsy from local sellers who go to the store and can ship them to you.

Fair warning though, these special editions are expensive to begin with (even more so than the standard leather covers) so the prices from these sellers are even higher because of their exclusivity and popular demand. So unless you’re an avid collector or lucky enough to have a large budget, I might stick to the standard covers or save up to visit Japan in the future. Depending on where you’re traveling from, it honestly might just be cheaper to fly to Japan to shop for yourself, plus you get the experience of Japan and the Factory stores.

Some of my favorite shops are inukshuk Japan, Stationery Station, and Japaneasy Shopper. All are based in Japan and have a huge selection of Traveler’s Notebook, Hobonichi, and anything else you can only find in Japan. If you’re interested in what else I like on Etsy, check out my profile.

Some of the best limited edition items are the Traveler’s Factory Airport Edition, Traveler’s Factory Station Edition, Traveler’s Factory Kyoto Edition, and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo Collab.

Traveler’s Company Alternatives

If you’re looking for a refillable notebook that’s more affordable, not leather, or a different size, there are a few options that you can also consider.

ProductCover MaterialSizeRefill IncludedPriceBuy Now
Kokuyo Systemic Twin Ring NotebookCanvasA5Yes$$Amazon
Robrasim Classic Vintage Leather JournalLeather5.4″ x 4″ (~Passport TN size)Yes$Amazon
September Leather Traveler’s NotebookLeather8.5″ x 4.5″ (~Regular TN size)Yes$$Amazon
Barns and Noble Voyager NotebookVegan Leather7.75″ x 5″Yes$$Etsy
Handmade Vegan FauxdoriVegan LeatherVarious sizesNo$$$Etsy

What to Put in Your Traveler’s Notebook

There’s no end to the possibilities of your Traveler’s Notebook. One of the greatest thing about the TN system is that you can mix and match, swap out, and customize to whatever works best for you. But if you’re at a loss for what to do with your notebook, or you’re looking for new ideas here are some of the top ideas.

  1. Journal. Spend a little time each day writing down your thoughts or jotting down your notes. Doing all of this in a beautiful leather cover makes it that much more special.
  2. Daily Organizer. Use the calendar insert to keep track of your schedule, add in some pouches or pockets to keep receipts or notes from work or school, and add in another notebook or two to write your to-do lists or
  3. Work Hours or Expenses. Use the notebooks to log your work hours, your expenses, and your overall to-do lists. Keep receipts for taxes in a pouch or added pocket. It’s so easy to use your Traveler’s notebook for work as you can customize it to fit your needs.
  4. Wallet and Appointment Book. I know a few people who actually use a TN as a wallet with pouches and zippered pockets or IDs, cash, and important documents. They also add a notebook to write down anything they might need to remember while away from their main planner or desk.
  5. Health Journal. Keep track of your fitness goals, medical concerns, or overall health.
  6. Art Journal. Paint, draw, or design your notebooks any way that makes you feel creative.
  7. Travel Journal. And finally, the most obvious. Most people probably use the Traveler’s Notebook as an actual travel journal. Because of its slim size and easily interchangeable notebooks, you can take it anywhere with you and switch out the refills for your next trip. Keep track of your itinerary, write down your bucket list, or collect souvenirs in the pouches. The possibilities are endless.

For help with creative journaling or trying different art techniques, I definitely recommend Skillshare. It’s an invaluable tool or ever-increasing courses where you can learn just about anything. You can learn how to watercolor or try calligraphy, and then learn a new language or how to start your own business. Get one month Free Now.

BlogGuide to Traveler’s Notebook for Beginners