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State of the Travelers Notebook Spring 2018 Survey Results

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State of the Travelers Notebook Survey Spring 2018, printed on a black travelers notebook with a red pen on it

 

Many thanks to everyone who participated in our recent State of the Travelers Notebook Survey! Your answers did a great job of filling in the picture of how people feel about and use their notebooks. We thought you'd enjoy hearing about the results so we've gathered all the data in one place for easy sharing. 

Your top three favorite notebook sizes reflect exactly our own experience and sales data! A5 is the size I use every day myself. 

Chart: What are your top two travelers notebook sizes? A2, Pocket (Field Notes), Regular (Midori), B6, A6, Wide (Cahier), Passport, Jumbo (Composition), Personal, & Tiny

The farthest your travelers notebooks have traveled ranges from those who haven't yet traveled at all, to those who've gone across the country and internationally to Spain, Belgium, France, South Korea, Japan, and more. 

We asked where you keep your TN. Here's an answer that tickled me:

My cat suddenly found my TN to be a source of great amusement. He loves thwacking the elastic closure. So, either it now stays in a drawer, or I have to remove the elastic closure. However, when I travel, my TN goes everywhere I go! 

Your favorite adventures involving your TN include these:

Vacation schedule from Calif to NYC and thru other states with many stops and scheduled activities, places we ate, people we met.

 

One is dedicated to my 'tasting notes' - where I document every meal out I've had. A log of restaurants & meals, if you will.

 

I’m keeping an insert for each of my kids this year. I put funny stories or things they said along with some printed photos. Maybe when they are older they will read them and smile.

 

My notebooks serve different functions. I journal daily in it. So, it is my friend. I share everything! Also, I have multiple health disorders that require tracking, so it also helps me stay healthy. There is no hobby tracking. I guess my notebooks are my hobby!

Other wonderful uses were for tracking 20 pounds lost and learning Swahili (!). 

Many of you have 3-4 inserts in a notebook, though some have as many as seven or eight. Inserts you like are lined, dot grid, blank, and calendar. (Dot grid is my personal favorite.)

Nearly all of you carry your notebook every day, sometimes using one main TN with more kept at home. 

Chart: Is the purpose of your travelers notebook functional, creative, or both? Both 81%; Functional 13%; Creative 6%.

When asked if your travelers notebooks are functional, creative, or both, 80% of you said both. 34% use it for cooking, 24% for fiber arts, and a few for wine tasting, home brewing, or woodworking. 70% designated “other” uses that included art, habit tracking, journaling, quotes, and prayer. 

Chart: Does your travelers notebook track any of these "analog" hobbies or interests? Other 71%; Cooking 33%; Fiber Arts 25%; Wine Tasting 6%; Home Brewing 5%; Woodworking 2%.

Most of you love to read and have read something notable recently; however, not everyone records quotes or tracks their reading so a sizable chunk of respondents may not have written anything about it in their notebook.

Mentioned several times as a recently-read book is Amor Towles’ book A Gentleman in Moscow, which I will also need to check out now, thanks to you! MANY of you also read and kept track of the books in the Outlander series. 

Other titles mentioned were Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Alexander McCall Smith's The Full Cupboard of Life, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (affiliate links)I've read and loved all of them! It's lovely to know I'm in good reading company. I'll be adding even more of your suggestions to my reading list, so I'll be busy for a while. ;-) 

When it comes to “fandom” interests, 18% of you use your notebooks to track Star Wars, 15% Harry Potter, and 8% each of Dr. Who and Star Trek. Nearly three-quarters of you added other interests along this line, including Netflix viewing, reading, hand lettering, Sherlock Holmes, and Firefly.

Chart: Does your travelers notebook track any of these "fandom" interests? Other 73%; Star Wars 17%; Harry Potter 16%; Dr. Who 9%; Star Trek 7%.Perhaps unsurprisingly, for many of you, your favorite project to track in a travelers notebook is indeed traveling! Other favorite projects include journaling, health, and life goals.

As for new ideas, yours include having a collective notebook shared with others, keeping track of pet health records, networking and watercoloring.

Thankfully, your TNs are welcome in nearly all of your work environments; if not, it is due to time constraints or HIPAA restrictions. Your families are also almost all supportive of your notebooks, especially when it helps you function better, even though they may not share your enthusiasm themselves.

Only a very few of you are involved in in-person travelers notebook communities; however, many connect with some form of online group, most often on Facebook.

Two very lucky respondents shared this:

We have a group at work where we get together and talk TN's during lunch!

 

I’m a member of the Krewe de Plume fountain pen group that meets monthly in New Orleans.

Okay, I'll admit I'm envious... I want to join both of those groups!

Many of you like to carry pens and/or art supplies with your TN; some, stickers as well. Only a few use a case or carrying bag—to most, the notebook itself is perfectly able to withstand the nicks and scuffs of everyday life. 

Chart: What do you carry along with your notebook? Pens 97%; Art Supplies 44%; Other 23%.

Important considerations in a notebook, to you, are the variety of colors and sizes, and, topping the list, handmade construction. Also factoring in are durability, appearance, personalization, cost, and shipping time.

Chart: What features are your top priority when shopping for a travelers notebook? Handmade construction (rather than mass produced) 71%; Variety of colors available 63%; Variety of sizes available 59%; Premium features such as pen loops, hand stitching, pockets, etc. 57%; Ability to accommodate large quantity of inserts 42%; Other 15%.

Other suggestions you offered are inserts that lay flat and pen holders that are more than just a loop. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to make a notebook even more useful, so if you have additional ideas, please let me know

Many of you combine digital tools along with your analog habits. Most use Google Calendar and/or Drive; some use Outlook, OneNote, and/or EverNote. A few of you use various other tools as well, in sync with your travelers notebook. It seems that only a handful of respondents are interested in digital sketching or keeping app-based lists and project notes. 

Chart: Do you use a digital calendar in conjunction with your notebook? Which one? Google Calendar 47%; Other 27%; iCal 18%; Outlook 17%.

Chart: Do you use document/file managers in conjunction with your notebooks? Which ones? Google Drive 48%; Other 38%; Evernote 23%; OneNote 9%.

Chart: Do you use digital sketching/drawing programs in conjunction with your notebook? Which ones? Other 84%; Sketchbook 11%; Procreate 9%.

Do you use list managers in conjunction with your notebook? Which ones? Other 91%; Todoist 6%; OmniFocus 3%.

Do you use project managers in conjunction with your notebook? Which ones? Other 84%; Trello 15%; Asana 1%.

And this concludes the results of the State of the Travelers Notebook Survey! Many many thanks to my assistant Rochelle for compiling so much of this information into a useful post. 

What do you think—should this survey be an annual event? Do you think the general trends will change over time? How about your own answers: would they have been different a year ago? If you've an opinion to share, drop us a line!

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