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A travel journal, also called road journal, is a record made by a traveller, sometimes in diary form, of the traveler's experiences, written during the course of the journey and later edited for publication. This is a long-established literary format; an early example is the writing of Pausanias (2nd century CE) who produced his Description of Greece based on his own observations. James Boswell published his The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides in 1786 and Goethe published his Italian Journey, based on diaries, in 1816. Fray Ilarione da Bergamo and Fray Francisco de Ajofrín wrote travel accounts of colonial Mexico in the 1760s. Fannie Calderón de la Barca, the Scottish-born wife of the Spanish ambassador to Mexico 1839–1842, wrote Life in Mexico, an important travel narrative of her time there, with many observations of local life.
A British traveller, Mrs Alec Tweedie, published a number of travelogues, ranging from Denmark (1895) and Finland (1897), to the U.S. (1913), several on Mexico (1901, 1906, 1917), and one on Russia, Siberia, and China (1926). A more recent example is Che Guevara's The Motorcycle Diaries. A travelogue is a film, book written up from a travel diary, or illustrated talk describing the experiences of and places visited by traveller. American writer Paul Theroux has published many works of travel literature, the first success being The Great Railway Bazaar.
In addition to published travel journals, archive records show that it was historically common for travellers to record their journey in diary format, with no apparent intention of future publication, but as a personal record of their experiences. This practice is particularly visible in nineteenth-century European travel diaries.