Best Traveler’s Notebook with Refills
What is a Midori Traveler’s Notebook?
A Midori Notebook, now officially known as the Traveler’s Notebook from the Traveler’s Company, is a versatile and customizable notebook system originating from Japan.
Its durable leather cover and elastic band keep everything secure, while its replaceable notebook inserts offer a range of options tailored to fit various needs.
From blank, ruled, and grid paper to sketch paper and calendars, there’s an insert for everyone. Writers appreciate the paper’s high quality and compatibility with different pens, including fountain pens, while artists love the blank and sketch paper.
The notebook’s refillable nature also means that it can evolve along with the user’s journey, making it not just a tool, but a treasured companion for capturing thoughts, ideas, and inspiration.
History of Midori Notebooks
The Traveler’s Company, formerly known as the Midori brand, is a high-quality stationery goods and accessories company with roots in Japan since 1950.
Midori, which means “green” in Japanese, initially prioritized creating environmentally friendly products. However, their innovative Traveler’s Notebook, launched in 2006, became a global sensation with its customizable and refillable system.
Today, the Traveler’s Company continues to cater to travelers, creatives, and professionals who crave a unique notebook experience. While the brand’s focus has shifted to travel, its loyal customers still fondly associate their beloved Traveler’s Notebooks with the Midori name.
Understanding the Midori Traveler’s Notebook System
If you’re looking for a notebook that is both stylish and practical, you’ll love the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (TN).
This system is composed of 3 parts:
Leather cover: The leather cover not only looks beautiful but also provides a durable protective shell that will age gracefully over time.
Elastic band: The elastic band secures the notebook insert and helps to keep it closed when not in use.
Paper notebook insert: With different paper types available, including blank, lined, grid, and sketch paper, you can choose the one that suits your needs best.
All of these notebook parts work together to make this traveler’s notebook incredibly versatile.
Traveler’s Notebook Sizes
Midori provides two main sizes for their notebook covers: Regular Sized Notebook and Passport Sized Notebook.
Regular- Sized Notebook: The Regular Size Traveler’s Notebook is slightly larger and offers more writing space, ideal for extensive journaling, planning, or sketching. The regular size notebook is 5.2 inches tall and 3.8 inches wide.
Passport Sized Notebook: The Passport Size Traveler’s Notebook, as the name suggests, is compact and perfect for travel or on-the-go note-taking. The passport size notebook is 8.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide
Traveler’s Notebook Inserts
The Midori Traveler’s Notebook offers a variety of refillable inserts, enhancing the versatility and personalization of this notebook system. The different types cater to a myriad of needs, making the notebook suitable for many uses.
The most common insert types are blank, ruled, and grid paper, but traveler’s notebooks also offer plenty of specialty notebook inserts.
Standard Paper Notebook Inserts
The most common insert types for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook are blank, ruled, and grid paper.
Blank Inserts: Perfect for free-form writing, sketching, or doodling.
Lined Inserts: With horizontal lines, these provide a guide for more structured writing. Ideal for journaling, note-taking, or drafting.
Grid Inserts: With a square grid pattern, beloved by those who appreciate precision. Great for creating charts, tables, or bullet journaling.
Specialized Paper Notebook Inserts
Midori offers a few unique insert types for specific uses.
Sketch Paper Inserts: These thicker pages are ideal for artists who want to draw or paint in their notebook.
Kraft Paper Inserts: This rustic and sturdy paper type adds a unique aesthetic.
Lightweight Paper Inserts: Offering more pages while keeping the profile thin.
Planning and Organizing Notebook Inserts:
Calendar Inserts: Ideal for scheduling and planning. Comes in weekly and monthly formats.
Zipper Cases: Useful for storing small items like clips, coins, and tickets.
Folder Inserts: Great for keeping loose papers, receipts, or cards.
Each of these inserts has a unique purpose and can transform your Traveler’s Notebook into whatever you need it to be, whether that’s a diary, bullet journal, a sketchbook, a planner, or even a portable filing system.
Traveler’s Notebook Covers
The Midori brand, known for its leather Traveler’s Notebook, provides a range of options for its iconic leather notebook covers. Here’s a breakdown of what they offer:
Material: All Midori Traveler’s Notebooks have high-quality leather covers. These leather covers are known for their durability and ability to age beautifully, developing a unique patina over time that adds character to your notebook.
Colors: While Midori initially started with basic colors for their notebook covers, namely black and brown, they have since expanded their range to appeal to different tastes and styles. Currently, Midori offers covers in colors like camel, blue, and olive, in addition to the classic black and brown.
Customization: While the front cover by itself doesn’t have a variety of designs, its simplicity offers a canvas for customization. Users often personalize their Midori covers with charms, stickers, or even by embossing their initials. Moreover, the ability to add multiple inserts using connecting rubber bands makes the cover versatile and adaptable to individual needs.
Limited Editions: Occasionally, Midori releases limited-edition covers with unique designs or colors, often in collaboration with other brands or artists. These limited edition notebooks offer users the opportunity to own a unique version of the classic Midori cover.
Notebook Covers Made By Other Brands
Several brands and independent creators sell notebook covers compatible with the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, particularly the Regular Size and Passport Size formats. The popularity and standard dimensions of the Midori system have led to a thriving market for alternative covers.
Some of these brands include:
Galen Leather: Galen Leather is a Turkish company that handcrafts a variety of leather goods, including covers that fit Midori Traveler’s Notebooks.
Rustico: Rustico is a U.S.-based company that produces high-quality leather goods. They offer notebook covers compatible with Midori inserts.
Start Bay Notebooks: Start Bay Notebooks is a UK-based company that produces robust leather covers compatible with a variety of notebook sizes, including those of Midori.
Etsy Sellers: Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, hosts numerous sellers who handcraft notebook covers compatible with Midori notebooks. These creators often offer a wide range of materials, colors, and designs.
Hobonichi: Although technically not for Midori, the Hobonichi Techo covers can fit the Midori Passport Size notebooks. Hobonichi is a beloved brand among journal enthusiasts, known for their high-quality and artistically designed covers.
Tips for Using a Leather Traveler’s Notebook
Experiment with Layouts: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different layouts or insert types to find what suits you best.
Personalize: Customize your notebook with stickers, stamps, washi tape, and other embellishments to make it uniquely yours.
Create Sections: If you’re using multiple inserts, consider using each for a different purpose, such as one for daily planning, one for notes, and one for pen sketches or personal thoughts.
Regular Maintenance: Keep your notebook tidy by periodically reviewing and cleaning out any unnecessary items or outdated pages.
Carry a Spare Insert: If you’re nearing the end of your current notebook refill insert, it’s always a good idea to carry a spare so that you don’t run out of writing space.
Best Writing Instruments for Midori Notebooks
The Traveler’s Notebook is well-regarded for its high-quality paper that is compatible with a wide range of writing instruments.
Here are some that work particularly well:
Fountain Pens: Midori’s paper is often praised for being fountain pen friendly. It super lightweight paper can handle a variety of inks and nib sizes without bleeding through or feathering.
Ballpoint Pens: These are reliable and consistent writers that work well on the smooth texture of Midori paper.
Rollerball Pens: These pens, which use water-based or gel ink, generally write smoothly on Midori paper.
Gel Pens: Similar to rollerballs, gel pens glide smoothly on Midori paper, providing a vibrant, clear line.
Pencil: Whether you prefer mechanical or traditional wooden pencils, both work well on Midori’s paper for sketching or writing.
Fine Liners: Fine liners, such as the Pigma Microns, perform well on Midori paper, especially for those who enjoy precision and detail in their writing or drawing.
Brush Pens: Midori’s paper can handle brush pens, making it a good option for those who practice brush lettering or calligraphy.
Markers: Non-alcohol based markers can be used without significant bleed-through, but always test first, as results can vary.
Remember that while Midori paper is quite resilient, extremely wet writers or heavy-handed users may still experience slight ghosting (where writing can be seen faintly from the other side of the paper) or bleeding. It’s always a good idea to test a new pen on a less important page first to see how you write and the paper responds.
Ways to Customize Midori Notebooks
The leather Traveler’s Notebook, is highly customizable and loved by the writing and drawing communities for its versatility.
Here are some ways you can personalize your traveler’s notebooks:
Mix and Match Inserts: Choose from a variety of Midori-branded or third-party inserts, including ruled, grid, blank, dot grid, sketch paper, and various types of planners. Some users even create their own DIY inserts.
Multi-Notebook Setup: By using additional elastic bands or a Midori connecting band, you can house multiple inserts in your notebook at once, each serving a different purpose.
Decorate the Cover: Some users enjoy personalizing the leather cover with stickers, leather paint, or even by burning or stamping designs into the leather.
Charms and Accessories: Attach charms, beads, or other trinkets to the elastic closure for a bit of personal flair.
Pockets and Folders: Use adhesive pockets, zip pouches, or kraft file folders for additional storage inside your notebook.
Use a Dashboard: A dashboard is a plastic or laminated page that sits at the front of an insert. You can stick post-it notes, pictures, or important reminders here.
Custom Tabs: Add tabs to your pages to quickly find different sections of your notebook. You can buy pre-made tabs or make them from washi tape.
Washi Tape and Stickers: Decorate the edges of your pages with washi tape or add stickers for both decoration and highlighting important notes.
Personalize with Stamps: Use rubber stamps and ink pads to add dates, titles, or decorations to your pages.
Use a Pen Holder: Attach a pen holder to your notebook cover to always have your favorite writing instrument on hand.
Create a Template: If you prefer a certain layout that isn’t available in pre-made inserts, create a template from cardstock that you can place under your page as a writing guide.
Get Inspiration: Check out subreddits like r/notebooks and r/midori for inspiration like traveler’s notebook refill ideas, leather cover customization, MD paper options, and more.
Other Traveler’s Notebook Options
And there you have it, folks – your complete guide to the fabulous world of Midori Traveler’s Notebooks! You’re now armed with all the knowledge you need to dive headfirst into your own Midori adventure.
Now, we’ve arrived at that beautiful moment where I nudge you towards the goodies. Throughout the blog, you’ll find some delightful little links leading you straight to Amazon, where you can start (or expand) your Midori collection. “But wait,” I hear you exclaim, “these are affiliate links, aren’t they?” Well, aren’t you sharp!
Yes, we’re spilling the tea on these affiliate links. When you click on a link to one of the products, we get a small percentage of the profits – at no cost to you! You get to hoard all the high-quality Japanese stationery your heart desires, and we get to keep spilling the Midori wisdom like it’s hot. We both win!
So, why not give those links a little tap? Your future self, armed with a chic Midori Notebook, will bow down to you. But hold up, this isn’t just any old notebook – it’s a lifestyle. Let’s get cracking on those notes and show the world what we’re made of!