Pick the Size That’s Best for You
If you are unfamiliar with the world of traveler’s notebooks, all the different size options can be overwhelming. The size that fits your needs is based on many things including:
- Purpose: Are you jotting down quick to do lists and small bits of information or are you going to be taking lengthy sermon or class notes? Will you be doing art work or art journaling? Do you want to carry your notebook with you at all times or will it sit at your desk?
- Refills: You will be refilling this journal so you have to think about the types of notebooks you want to use.
- Price: Some sizes are more expensive. If you order from China they can be super cheap but take quite a while to come in and sometimes must be purchased in bulk.
- Procurement: Do you want to go down to a local store and pick up a pack of notebooks, or are you willing to order online?
- Pages: Do you want artist grade paper, something in >100gsm? Would you like to bullet journal in grid paper, or would plain lined or blank pages work for you. Heavier paper and grid paper can be a little harder to find in all sizes.
- Of course, you can always print and cut your own to get exactly what you want. It is easiest if you have a mat, rotary or other cutter and ruler.
Once you have thought through what you might want out of your Traveler’s Notebook, see which size would fit you best, below.
Notebooks from the left: Narrow, Large Cahier, and A5
~ Purple: A5 ~ Turquoise: Full ~ Pink: Narrow
1. A5 size (15cm x 21cm or 6″ x 8.25″)
- Great if you will be taking lengthy notes or if you have large handwriting. Also good if you do larger scale art work
- Great if you need a lot of space for personal or business planning/appointment keeping.
- Can be a little large to carry on an everyday basis unless you carry a backpack or large purse.
- Refills are easy to come by in blank (they are $5 at Michael’s craft store) and online, this size is fairly easy to find from foreign shippers, since A5 is a European size.
- It would be difficult to print and cut your own refills, as a (US) letter size piece of paper would be too narrow to fold over.
- My A5 size cover comes standard with 3 elastics for notebooks. See notes below *.
2. Full Size (13cm x 21cm or 5″ x 8.5″)
- An in between size that is more narrow but still allows for room for writing.
- Very easy to find the Moleskine Large Cahier at your local (US) store to fit this cover. Target and Barnes & Nobel carry it as well as Amazon. The Moleskine comes in plain, ruled, and grid, and in kraft brown, grey, and black.
- This is an abnormal size for foreign makers. I have yet to find a cheap Chinese source for this size.
- This cover is a good option if you think you will fill your cover with more than 3 or 4 notebooks. The more notebooks you put in your cover, the more overhang their will be off the long outer edge. If you think you will need multiple notebooks, opt for this larger size then fill it with the narrower, midori sized, notebooks.
- My full size covers for the large cahier come standard with three elastics for notebooks.
3. Narrow size (11cm x 21cm or 4.5″ x 8.5″)
- The original “Midori Traveler’s Notebook.” Any handcrafted copy is typically called a “fauxdori” or after the maker, such as a “JenDori” (Of ChicSparrow) or “RayDori” (of “MyLifeAllInOnePlace”)
- At only 4.5″ wide, this is the most narrow of the full size covers. If you write small or want better portability this might be the cover for you.
- The Midori company from japan has many types of notebook refills available (grid, plain, ruled, calendar etc) as well as many extras such as zipper pouches and folders. The notebooks refills are pricey and you will likely have to order them from the company if you are in the US. Amazon and a few online boutiques sell this brand as well. Refills are typically ~$8 a piece.
- There are a few sources from China that are much less expensive (about $2-3), but again, shipping is typically 4-6 weeks and sometimes you have to buy in bulk.
- The original Midori as well as my Midori sized cover comes with one elastic for notebooks.
Grey: Pocket Cahier
Passport, Pocket Cahier, Regular Midori, Large Cahier, A5 notebooks.
4. Pocket Size (9cm x 14cm or 3.5″ x 5.5″)
- This is the largest of the pocket size. Many people use these smaller sizes for wallets and they are great for jotting notes, keeping a small date book or expenses/mileage log.
- Refills can be obtained by both Moleskine and Field Notes. Again, the Moleskine pocket size cahiers are available at Target and Barnes & Nobel as well as Amazon. Field notes are available online from the maker as well as Amazon. Both come in a 3 pack for ~ $9.
5. Midori Passport Size (9cm x 11cm or 3.5″ x 4.5″)
- The biggest selling point on this size is – it is the size of a passport! If you truly want a “Traveler’s Notebook” this might be a good option.
- Refills again, must come from the Midori company or the boutique sellers online.
- This is the smallest notebook. Might not be great for note taking or artwork.
*A few things to remember*
- You can fit at least one, but up to 6 notebooks per elastic (though 1 -3 is best). Check out these resources on how to fit more than 1 notebook per elastic:
- The more notebooks you put in your cover, the thicker it will get and the more overhang you will have. Some people don’t mind this at all, they love a “chunky” cover. For others, this drives them bizerk. =)
- You can always trim down a larger notebook to make it fit a narrow cover.
- Thin stitched or stapled notebooks work best. Thicker glued spines aren’t a great option for the elastic bound fauxdoris.
- You can always have more than one (how about 3 or 4!!) Fauxdori that you use for different purposes!