Affordable Arts and Crafts To Bring on Vacation

Bringing arts and crafts on vacation is a great idea for travelers because it offers a chance to unwind and get creative. It’s a break from the usual routine and allows adults to explore their artistic side by tapping into their creativity. Crafting and creating also offer a relaxing way to destress and stay present during the trip. Plus, it’s a fun way to connect with the destination, whether through sketching, journaling, or a variety of other artistic outlets.

There are numerous compelling reasons why travelers might consider setting aside space in their luggage for creative pursuits. Let’s explore some of the positive outcomes when packing your creativity and showcase some great travel-friendly arts and crafts to do so!

Cheap Vacation Arts & Crafts Ideas 💡

Of course, these examples simply provide a starting point. Use them as inspiration to delve into a myriad of creative outlets and mediums. When coupled with vacation time, these ventures are sure to enhance brain function, mental well-being, and physical health.

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Creative Expression

Traveling to new places inspires creativity. Therefore, be prepared to capture that energy when the mood arises. One mode of artistic expression that travels easily is writing. Bring a journal and focus on written mediums that resonate with you—poetry, screenplays, lyrics, storytelling, or even personal journaling.

Writers like Ernest Hemingway and Mark Twain used their traveling lifestyles to shape and influence their works in profound ways. In the same way, the world continues to launch blogging careers, with many eager to share their personal stories and reflections.

We are all made of stories. Is it time to share yours?

Established writers suggest a lay-flat design with a protective leather-bound cover when searching for a journal. This preference stems from the frustration of trying to write when the book won’t remain open and protecting the book when in transit. There are some stand-out options:

Spiral Notebook Journal: Personalized, with heavy-weight paper, this lay-flat, spiral journal comes with a handy storage pocket.
Leather Lay-flat Journal: With a more sophisticated look, this lay-flat journal offers personalization and quality A5 lined paper.
Hard Cover Leather Journal: Highly-ranked journal with smooth paper, portability, and convenient storage pocket design.

Your ideas matter. Write them down.

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Prompt Journals

Some people love the idea of writing but aren’t exactly sure where to begin. One helpful suggestion is to start with a guided journal or a thematic memory book. These options help by offering a purpose and a reason to start writing. Moreover, the below options are all handheld books, not digital downloads.

There are prompt journals designed to target mental health, self-care, attaining goals, daily gratitude and manifestation, and travel diaries. Some journals are geared toward storytelling, like documenting life events for your children or other loved ones.

The Ways We Love: A guided journal with 18 unique prompts that becomes a collection of letters of love.
Letters to You: Document your sentiments to a son, daughter, or partner in this hardcover journal.
Therapy Journal for Mental Health and Anxiety: This self-help book helps individuals work through hardships and life challenges.
Artisan Travel Journal: Document your journey with this compact, but elegant travel journal.

Relaxation and Stress Relief

Engaging in arts and crafts activities can be a therapeutic way to unwind and de-stress during vacation. For example, adult coloring pages have been a useful tool to calm and distract your mind when flying, waiting on a long layover, or even traveling by train.

From the world’s most popular holiday destinations and global architectural icons—to natural landscapes and beach vacation itineraries, there’s a theme for every type of traveler. Just be sure to bring a quality colored pencil kit. We like a travel-friendly version that comes with a sharpener and blender pencil.

Stay away from digital print options and opt for an actual book instead.

Some stand-out adult coloring book options include:

Fantastic Cities: Illustrator Steve McDonald’s detailed line drawings allow you to add color to the world’s most beautiful cities.
Fantastic Structures: Illustrations for those drawn to architecture and iconic buildings from around the world.
VACATION: A coloring book featuring a 7-day beach vacation with guided meditation.
Disney Vacation: One of the most popular adult coloring books ever created with Disney photos by artist Thomas Kinkade.


Arts and crafts provide a fun and engaging form of entertainment, especially during downtime or in situations where access to technology or other forms of entertainment may be limited.

There is a plethora of travel-friendly arts and crafts. Find a medium that appeals to you!

Travelers looking for some creative entertainment will prioritize the creative process, not the final product. Look for books that are easy, straightforward, and fun.

Therapeutic Art

Sometimes adults purchase arts and crafts books to find their Zen, calm, distract, improve focus, or help with their ADHD. If coloring doesn’t appeal to you, consider some alternate means of mental stimulation. Some good suggestions include:

Paint by Sticker Books: Easy and therapeutic, create unique works of art in a variety of themes and designs.
Memory Activity Book for Adults: Reviews rave about this travel-themed adult activity book due to its humor, sarcasm, and puzzles.
Reverse Coloring Book: Creative opportunities arise when the book has the colors and you draw the lines.
Bob Ross Happy Little Sticker Puzzles: See Bob Ross’s artwork come to life as you complete these puzzles.

Memorabilia Creation

Crafting souvenirs or keepsakes during the trip allows travelers to create personalized mementos that hold special memories from their vacation. A fun way to bond with people back home is to use small cardstock watercolor paintings as one-of-a-kind postcards. Imagine sending someone special a personalized piece of artwork you created. Alternatively, aspiring artists can send the pieces back home to themselves for scrapbooking or framing.

Packing arts and crafts adds an extra dimension of creativity, relaxation, and to the travel experience.

Some great suggestions:

Blank Postcards: Blank heavyweight premade postcards that are perfect for creating and painting.
Disney Postcards: Color and create your own Disney postcards.
Mini Watercolor Palette: Create beautiful pieces of art, whenever and wherever you find inspiration!


Arts and crafts are versatile activities that can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors, in various settings, and across different age groups, making them suitable for a wide range of travel situations. If unpredictable weather plays a factor in your trip, consider bringing an activity to make rainy days feel productive.

Cell phones have made photography so commonplace that travelers are embracing more creative outlets to document their experiences.

Imagine creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece in a European café, while sipping on a cappuccino or local glass of wine. Sketching the altar of a beautiful church while the rain falls. Painting the snowy landscape in front of a roaring fire. These moments can bring satisfaction and joy to an otherwise dreary day when on the road.

Tip: Before you begin your projects, keep in mind that dry media, such as pencils, pens, pastels, graphite, chalk, charcoal, sketching sticks, and gel pens, are used for drawing, while wet media, including markers, watercolor pens, paints, inks, and watercolor, are used for painting.

Smooth Paper Spiral Sketch Pad: Pack of two smooth paper spiral sketch pads for dry media.
Top Spiral Sketch Pad Textured Paper: Travel-friendly, top spiral sketch pad for use of dry media.
Top Spiral Mixed Media Sketch Pad: A great multi-purpose sketch pad, durable even for erasing, watercolors, and ink.

A box of pastels and a pad of paper can be an artist’s favorite travel companion.
Pack Your Accessories

Remember to bring all of the accessories needed for your travel-friendly arts and crafts when packing for your trip. Naturally, artists tend to be a nomadic bunch so travel-friendly gear is easy to find.

Rustic Leather Pencil Case: Excellent leather quality supply bag for the price.
Blackwing Pencil: Sketch with the very best drawing pencils in the world.
Canvas Paintbrush Roll-up Carry Pouch: Store your paintbrushes easily while on the go.

Bonding Activity

Travel-friendly arts and crafts are a fun way to connect with new friends while enjoying coffee in communal spaces.

Crafting can be a social activity that brings people together, whether it’s with travel companions, locals, or fellow travelers in communal spaces like hostels or campsites. Content creators are a special breed and often tend to find each other out in the wild.

If traveling solo, consider meeting new friends by spreading out some engaging art projects and inviting others to join in the fun. The projects can be as simple as using sidewalk chalk in a local park or painting flags on rocks. Find community with creativity!

Paint by Sticker Travel Edition: Travel-themed portable craft project to stimulate creativity while traveling.
Around the World Color by Number: Each page transports globetrotters to a different destination on the globe!
Scratch Art From Around the World: Escape to the world’s most exciting cities as you Scratch and Sketch your way across the globe.
The Chalk Art Handbook: Learn to create low-cost public art and meet new friends in the process.

Travel-friendly arts and crafts can be a fun way to meet new friends like creating beautiful works of public art—simply supply the chalk.

Educational Value

Engaging in arts and crafts activities can provide opportunities for learning new skills, techniques, or cultural practices, thus enriching the overall travel experience. The idea is to stimulate the part of your brain that nurtures imaginative intellect. Painting, sewing, needlepoint, and calligraphy all are skills that can be learned at any stage of life.

For those thinking, “I don’t know how to…,” you’re in luck. There’s a tutorial for practically everything. For example, there are these gorgeous watercolor trip books that teach beginning artists how to create beautiful artwork step-by-step. The books come with all of the necessary materials and feature scenes from cherished countries, like Spain and Italy.

These handcrafted, step-by-step guides teach beginners how to watercolor paint using inspiring scenery from destinations in Italy and Spain.

A well-written guidebook can be a great learning tool for learning new skills. Here are some highly-reviewed sources:

Step-by-Step Watercolor Book Featuring Spain: A tutorial-based watercolor book featuring scenes from Spain.
Watercolor Trip to Italy: A tutorial-based watercolor book for Italy lovers.
How To Draw Anime and Manga for Beginners: A step-by-step guide to Japanese cartooning and drawing animation.
Modern Calligraphy Workbook for Beginners: Layflat tutorial on how to learn Pretty Simple Lettering.

Overall, travel-friendly arts and crafts add an extra layer of enjoyment and relaxation to the vacation experience.

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