Keeping a Travel Diary of Intentions, Expectations and Reflections

Two features of holiday planning become apparent when studying tourists before they go on holiday: intention and expectation. Ajzen (1991) has theorised about planned behaviour; if these two aspects of visitors’ testimony are categorised as they plan their time at the destination the results reveal how they will seek pleasure at the holiday site. For the researcher in tourism knowledge, a process for use during fieldwork can be extracted from the two elements of visitors’ expectations and intentions.

Start a daily diary, this will be your IE Diary. During packing for the travel, write your intentions and expectations for the holiday or field-trip. Then, once away in the field, keep this discipline going each morning as your first activity of the day. In the evening, or a short time after, note down your reflections on whether the intentions and expectations were achieved or met. Note, too, how you solved any problems.

For example, you may have intended to do some sun-bathing and expected the weather and the location to be perfect for this holiday activity. However, on arrival you find that the sun was too hot and that you had to buy food in advance, at the supermarket because there was no café near the sun-bathing spot. In your IE Diary this will all be recorded in note-form across a whole day or two, with your written reflections on how you solved any of the problems. Later, when presenting these findings to a visitor planning the same holiday you can mediate the tourism knowledge in the following way:

Example of mediation: The Loire embankment in Tours is perfect for picnics and sunbathing so pack your factor 30 sun cream and a corkscrew. You'll need to find the supermarket, too.

Indeed, in anticipating on behalf of the visitor, the tourism professional begins to intervene in the visitor’s xénitiéa, that is the packing and putting in order of one’s affairs before leaving and going to a new place (Mansfield 2004). If you have kept your own IE Diary since your first packing you will be more helpful to the next visitor. Going beyond simple spoken mediation tour companies often produce travel guides or tour guide material for the visitor to read. A template for this is given in the References below (Mansfield & Maior-Barron 2015) which displays and scrolls easily on smart-phones.

An IE Diary can be developed as an IE Video Diary, too. It is especially useful if you have your list of intentions and expectations for the day with you, then, when you encounter a moment when one of them is fulfilled or a problem is encountered you can record your voice over a short filmed sequence of the moment. First, sign-in with Google or open a free G+ account

Then use these free tools from YouTube and Google to shoot, edit and upload your IE Video Diary:

Toureme YouTube Channel is at

To Cite this page:

Mansfield, C (2015) 'Keeping a Travel Diary of Intentions, Expectations and Reflections', Toureme, Plymouth [online] Available at: [Accessed -add date-].


Ajzen, I. (1991) 'The theory of planned behavior' Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2) 179-211.

If you are logged-in to your Plymouth University Library account this link should work

Mansfield, C. (2004) ‘Lire L'empire des signes de Barthes comme écriture de voyage’ in Yoichi Kaniike, Shunsuke Kadowaki, Yasuo Kobayashi (eds) Bulletin : BARTHES – Résonances des sens, Volume 2, Tokyo, University of Tokyo Centre for Philosophy pp.151-157. DOI: 10.13140/2.1.3740.4801

Mansfield, C. & Maior-Barron, D. (2015) La bande flâneuse, a guide for visitors, Plymouth, TKT. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1326.8322