DIY Traveler Notebook Insert

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written a post.

What’s New

Lots have changed since 2017.  Let me get you up to speed really quick:

April 2017 – I moved to Seattle and became an Amazonian. I’m going on three years at Amazon and have worked on some fantastic projects and initiatives. My move to Seattle, WA from Milford, CT was filled with fear and a great sense of adventure. I’m still in Seattle and have no regrets.

2017 – 2020 – writing 2020 feels a bit crazy, but in that time I’ve spoken at several big learning industry conferences and looking forward to speaking at more.

March 2020 (current date) – the world has gone made with COVID-19, a virus that has spread globally. Feels a little like an episode out of The Walking Dead or Resident Evil. There’s a toilet paper shortage, as people stock up on TP, Lysol / Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer. However, the facial tissue, bath soap, and hand soap shelves are still stocked and these are the actual things you need to stay healthy.

There’s a ban on large gatherings of 200+ people. Colleges and Universities have gone virtual, and schools around the US are shut down till the end of March – some April.

Amazon has also gone to work from home. Although I already work from home, I’m starting to feel weirdly isolated and am suffering from cabin fever.

Now that you’re caught up. Let me get to the real purpose of this post.

Travelers Notebook

Since we have all been urged to stay indoors and literally everything is closed down, I find myself bored and alone. What else to do when you are bored and shouldn’t go out? Well, in my case I create.

I have made a move to the Travel Notebook system, which I love.  I’m no longer spending big money on individual notebooks and leaving them all over the place.  Today, since it’s Saturday, I decided I would try my hand at designing a notebook I would print myself at home. I mean, why not?

My ideal Traveler’s Notebook (TN) is a B6 Slim – this just means it holds notebooks that are about 4.25″ x 7.5″. Notebooks for this TN is fairly inexpensive, I use my TN notebook for bullet journaling, another system I’ve been using for over a year now.


I usually spend some time drawing out and organizing my bullet journal for the month. Today I decided to try creating a TN notebook with a bullet journal layout that I could print at home.

Setup and Design

First, I had to decide which tool to use to create my layout.  I’m too lazy to open Photoshop for this.  I created my first layout in Canvas and that was cool, but I decided to try creating a template in PowerPoint. I scoured the internet looking for a sample but came up empty-handed. So, I had to measure an existing  TN notebook and through trial and error create a template. It wasn’t as hard as thought it would be.

I started by setting the page size to standard 8″ x 11″ then turned on the Rule and Guides in my PowerPoint deck. If you’ve never worked with the guides, they are just dotted lines that do not print on the final print. You can add additional guides by selecting one of the guides on-screen and then right-clicking and selecting Add Vertical Guide or Add Horizontal Guide.

Then I moved the guides to the following areas:

Left: 4.25”

Center: 0”

Right: 4.25”

Top: 3.75”

Middle: 0”

Bottom: 3.75”

Screen Shot 2020-03-14 at 7.53.04 PM.png

I added corner markers that would print so I would know where to cut the sheets.  Finally, I started designing. I created 5 different layouts, a monthly calendar, a future log, weekly planners, weekly prep sheets, and meeting notes. Since I was playing around, I used a curl font and added some embellishments all in black.  Not my normal style, but I was designing with a friend in mind. I also created two cover pages.

Once I had my layouts created. I created a new slide section and began laying out the pages. This is where my brain melted down a bit, but I was able to work it out. My notebook has 30 pages, my ideal planner notebook size. Your layout has to work in booklet format, so pages 1 and 30 are on slide one, 2 and 29 on slide two, 3 and 28 on slide three, so on and so on.

Screen Shot 2020-03-14 at 8.00.09 PM.png


Once I had the pages laid out, I had to decide how I could print the booklet. Printing from PowerPoint is an option but I wanted a bit more control over my printing, so I exported the layout to a PDF.

I opened the TN PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and tackled printing as follows:

1. Select Odd or Even Pages: Print Odd Pages Only.

2. Check Reverse pages

3.Page Sizing: Select Size > Actual Size

Once done, feed the printed pages back into the printer with back blank sides facing forward and print Even pages.

I printed the notebook pages on regular printer paper. I also printed a cover on cardstock.

Cutting and Assembly

After printing, I made sure the pages printed correctly. Took me two tried because in my initial print I didn’t pay attention to the direction I re-feed the paper into my printer, so my odd pages printed upside down. OOPS!

On second try I got it right. I then ordered the pages and cut them down using the cut marks as guides. I used my scoreboard/paper cutter – convenient little tool. Then I folded the pages in half, making sure to pay attention to the page numbers and the order as I folded them. I tucked all the pages into my cover to make sure they fit properly.

Guess what? They fit. #Winning

To finish all off I rounded the corners of my cover and pages using a corner punch I had hanging around. Another satisfying tool IMG_8507

Since I did all this work, the obvious next step for me is to share it with all of you.  You can access and download the template here. (Note, click on the slides to open it up on Slideshare to download the file)

[slideshare id=230272097&doc=tn-b6slim-guides-200315031653]

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