I’m a stamp collector and part of how I like to capture the essence of a place is from the pretty stamps that they have. That includes the cancellation stamp that defines the place and the date of the cancellation. You can read my travel journal entry here. – 11 Geeky Things to Include in Your Travel Journals.

Sadly, with the broad use of Internet and online sources, post offices and snail mail, including sending postcards while traveling, are starting to become a thing in the past.

How to buy stamps and have them canceled?

unique travel journal postage stamps- Belize City Postal Clerk
Postal Clerk in Belize City – happy to do my cancellation request!

It’s easy to buy a stamp, of course. Just go to any post office in the world and ask! Sometimes, the clerk will even show you all the stamps that they sell and allow you to pick the ones that you like. Glue the new stamp on your journal page, and ask them to cancel it! Here are a few of my own:

Milan, Italy

The Italian postal service tends to be a bit unreasonably strict about canceling any stamps that are not being sent out as regular mail. Although I have many other successful examples of Italian stamps, this particular Milan post office flatly refused to cancel my stamps, so I ended up canceling my own stamp and venting on my journal about it. That’s one of the great parts about travel journaling – you can vent your frustrations and no one has to hear it but you!

unique travel journal postage stamps- Milan cancel
Milan, Italy. The postal clerk refused to cancel my stamp, so I had to cancel it myself.
unique travel journal postage stamps -
Milan, Italy. I finally got the cancellation from Malpensa International Airport.

Singapore

I just so happened to arrive at the main post office on the day when they issued a new series of stamps. The helpful clerk was really excited to sell these new stamps. As a result, I purchased the whole set and have them all fixed in my journal. Even better, they were canceled on the issue date!

unique travel journal postage stamps- Singapore Stamps
Republic of Singapore. The complete series, canceled on the date of issue!

Liechtenstein

The Vaduz main post office, which is the philatelic center, shares the space with the Liechtenstein visitors’ center. At the visitors’ center, you can purchase a novelty stamp for your passport, which many people do. After purchasing a stamp and affixing it into my journal, the postal clerk regretfully informed me that they didn’t have the cancel stamp in that office, but they offered to cancel it with the ‘passport stamp’. So that’s what I did.

unique travel journal postage stamps
Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The same cancellation for your souvenir passport!

Andorra

Sandwiched between France and Spain, the tiny Andorra Post service is also, interestingly, split between the two countries. As a result, they issue separate stamp systems, meaning you may choose whether you want to send your mail with the French Andorra post office or the Spanish Andorra post office. Both the stamps and cancellation both have Andorra on them; however, they have different designs, depending on whether or not they are French or Spanish cancellations.

unique travel journal postage stamps - Andorra
Andorra – this tiny country has two separate postal systems!

Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island is one of the most remote islands on earth, and there is only one post office on the island that is served by the Chilean Post Service. The post office mainly caters to tourists. Visitors buy stamps to send out postcards bearing the rare Easter Island cancellation. You can also get a novelty stamp in your passport. I purchased the souvenir sheet of stamps that are only sold here. I had them cancelled using the two stamps available at this unique post office.

unique travel journal postage stamps - Easter Island
A souvenir sheet from Easter Island – cancelled with the souvenir passport stamp.

Robben Island, South Africa

Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site off of Cape Town. It’s where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for more than 30 years. You have to join the assigned tour groups in order to visit this historic island, and you can send out your postcards with a special cancellation from here. I was lucky to have an awesome tour guide here. After explaining what I wanted, he went above and beyond to help me! We had to chase the post office lady around to get the cancellation, but we got it!

unique travel journal postage stamps- Robben Island Stamp
Robben Island, South Africa. Great group of people!

Canada and Japan

These two countries are philatelist-friendly, and in many major post offices, they have an additional cancellation you can ask for. These cancellations often have prettier images, including images of nearby landmarks where the post offices are located.

unique travel journal postage stamps- Canada stamp
Montreal, Canada. Pictorial cancellation from Notre-Dame Basilica, Montréal
unique travel journal postage stamps - Narita Airport Cancel
Tokyo, Japan. Even Narita Airport has its own cancellation!

Next time you’re on the road, try adding some of these stamps to your travel journal. It’s a neat souvenir of your journey and you’ll create a memorable story!

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Halef moved from Indonesia to the US nearly two decades ago to go to college here. He hasn’t looked back. He’s been to over forty countries and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He’s a Landscape Architect in Atlanta, GA.


9 thoughts on “Unique Travel Journal Ideas – Postage Stamps

  1. I love this idea!!! We also write a travel diary on all our trips and collect entrance tickets, cards of hotels and stickers of some spots, but we never thought of stamps. I think we will start doing this. 🙂 Thanks for the tip.

  2. Such a fun post. I used to collect postage stamps when I was young so love this idea. You’ve come across some incredibly interesting stamps and postmarks in your travels and they sure add a lot of beauty to your journal. Really enjoyed reading your article and seeing the photos of the stamps from different countries.

  3. What a fun hobby and an interesting way to make trips more memorable !! I love sending postcards to my family when travelling and my mum keeps them dearly. I love getting postcards and greeting cards from my friends across the globe as well. I guess I am a bit old-fashioned in a certain way and romantic 😀

  4. You do have a beautiful collection. I remember collecting stamps when younger. I still buy stamps once in a while or send myself a postcard :). This is surely a dying hobby among the young.

  5. What a fun and lovely way to collect souvenirs and maintain journal while travelling. Used to collect postage stamps couple years ago as a hobby. This post just reminded how much fun it was and I guess it’s high time I go through the old memories and add some more to the collection 😊.

  6. Good evening ! As a stamp collector,I was amazed and delighted to read the unique way of collecting stamps, how I wish to travel like you did, but it is now impossible. Thanks for such entertaining and informative write ups. More power !

    My best regards ,

    Ricardo C. Guarde
    Philippines

    1. Ricardo,
      Thanks for visiting our travel blog! I love postage stamps and by doing this onto my travel journal, I captured the place, as well as making a very unique souvenir for myself. I hope you will be traveling as much as you can in the future! Feel free to subscribe to our site to get more updates on our travels.
      Warm regards,
      Halef 🙂

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