11 July 2013

Review - The Journey Travel Companion

Long distance travel of any kind has always held a certain romance for me, be it by train, plane or ship. Forget for a moment the hassle you have to get to the airport or the station on time, just think about the journey itself, relaxing and easing down from all the rush and work to get to this point. The anticipation of the end of the journey, seeing friends or relatives, visiting somewhere new. The return journey is never quite so romantic, it's more about sorry to be leaving you, do I have to go back now or whatever.

So I nearly always look forward to travelling, and as I now live in rural France, I do a fair amount of travelling back and forth to UK and around UK.

So you might recall the press release from a few weeks ago. Unfortunately at the time there wasn't any internal photographs of the Journey Travel Companion. Our friends at Ideas Network, the Filofax PR agency kindly sent me a sample to look at and review and try out.

Well my first impressions when I opened the package was 'It is different' It reminded me of a cowboys saddle with the big bags either side of the centre part! OK that is a terrible description. But I opened it up and instantly the romance of travel entered my mind and how I could use this for my travels in future.

Starting with the outside. Looking at the front as you can see there is a clasp of a generous width and thickness for holding everything securely closed. Also on the front there is an outer pocket which you could use for say your passport or boarding card.

On the front of the Travel Companion there is also a full height and width zip pocket in very soft contrasting leather.

The 'front' view with outer pocket
There is a similar size zip pocket on the back of the organiser as well.

The back view
If we open it out you can now see the two zip pockets on the back (left) and on the front (right)

Opened out although
it will lay flatter than this
On the inside we have the organiser it self, it has a set of slimline 11 mm size rings. and on both inside covers there are 6 card slots on each cover. Does anyone need to carry more than 12 cards? There is an elasticated pen loop fixed to the front inside cover on the left in the picture below.

Internal view
Looking at it slightly from above with it open you can see how the zip pockets are separate to the organiser part, which gives them greater capacity.

Opening it up slightly you can see that the zip pockets are quite a good size and would hold quite a few things too.

Side view showing front pocket unzipped
Although it is the same height and width as say a Slimline Hoborn shown below, in terms of thickness it's closer to the size of the Holborn Compact in overall volume.

The Journey and the Holborn from above
The Journey Travel Companion compared to a Holborn Compact

The Journey and the Holborn Compact from above
The Journey, Slimline, Compact

And the same again but from above
Now in use, I decided to populate the Travel Companion with the things that I will typically carry on a journey; cards and documents that I need to hand whilst going through airports and travelling on trains etc. Obviously it's not intended to be your main organiser, so the Travel Companion doesn't include any form of diary, it will come with Cotton Cream ruled paper though. I will use these pages for essential details like directions to hotels, directions, phone numbers etc. 

Starting at the front, I have put in my British passport in the front outer pocket. Inside I divided my cards in to French and UK cards. To make it easier to remember which is which. I decided that the ones on the left would be UK cards and put UK money in the zip pocket.... because in UK we drive on the left. And in to the back cover and pocket or the right hand side, I would put my French health and bank cards and my Euros in to the that zip pocket, and this is the right hand side... because in France and Europe we drive on the right. Simple enough to remember I'm sure!

Front inside cover with 6 card slots and elasticated pen loop

Rear inside cover with 6 card slots
As with any Filofax/Wallet combination it is always coins that add significant weight to the whole package. With the Journey Travel Companion it does not seem too bad. I suspect it is because of the size of the organiser, you sort of expect it to be heavier. But I still reduced the number of spare coins down to the essential ones for say buying a drink or something to eat on the air side of the airport. Or money for my train ticket on arrival in UK.

As I nearly always travel in some form of jacket, especially if I'm going to UK the Journey Travel Companion although quite big does fit in my jacket pocket quite neatly.

Once again thank you to Filofax for sending me this review sample. I am off now to plan my next trip back to UK!

The Journey Travel Companion is now available to purchase from Filofax UK


  1. I like this! I think it has a lot going for it - and not just on a long journey!

    Firstly it looks rustic, with a hint of a Midori Traveller's Notebook about it. A huge plus is that it hasn't been designed to appeal only to women, which so many Filofaxes of the last couple of years have (look how few men you see carrying new Filofaxes or even contributing on Philofaxy these days as a result). This is not yet another "chic catwalk" product!

    Secondly, it is very practical. I like the way the outside pockets could be stuffed without affecting the ring binder part. As well as travel documents, I could imagine carrying a small pair of reading glasses, headphones, mobile phone, highlighter pens and a couple of paper clips, elastic bands etc. They've not tried to be too clever by, for example, incorporating a specific iPhone pocket. Last time they did this, such as on the Flex, Apple introduced the taller IPhone 5 the next week, so many such Filofaxes became immediately obsolete (not to mention other brands of phone that won't fit these!)

    You say this is clearly not intended to be a main organiser. I could well imagine that one of these, coupled with a tablet as "main organiser" or an A5 Filofax back in the office, could become a winning combination for many.

  2. Thanks for the review Steve. I agree with Tim, this does look practical. I'd like if it came in more color options.

  3. This looks great!! I love the zip pockets for holding different currency and coins. Looks like it would be perfect for travel!

  4. I think that this is the most exciting and practical product that Filofax have released this year. We have had a leather holder for our travel docs for a long time, but it has no proper pockets. I can see this appealing to my OH - as Tim says it's a great way to carry things like headphones and other items you need when travelling. I couldn't see him using the rings though (he never writes anything down!), so it would be perfect if they made a version where you could remove the rings if required!!

  5. I like this! It too reminds me of the Midori TN. It's very rugged and Indiana Jonesy- I could easily use it if I was going back to Egypt anytime soon!!
    Although I'm a girly girl and I love pink, in certain contexts I love rugged brown-ness, it appeals to the archaeologist/adventurer in me!!
    Would you say that it's a waxed leather like on the Kendal? I think it would age very nicely!

    1. The leather outer pockets are very soft and pliable, and waxed I think any finger scratches easily rub out with the a 'wet finger' making the marks vanish.

      The colours are nice and natural and neutral.

  6. Very interesting! I agree with a lot of what Tim said - I like the rustic look of it, as if its already traveled to many different places. I also like how there are so many pockets for many different items, and while there isn't a specific iPhone pocket, I would definitely use a pocket for just that purpose. The only thing it's missing that I do use a lot in my own travel filo (a slimline guilford) is a secretarial pocket. I use that space for all printed documents, like email confirmations, boarding passes once I've gotten them, etc. with the exception of boarding passes though, I've started to use Evernote to capture email confirmations, so this might be something I could get used to not having, the secretarial pocket.

    I'm very spurious to see one in person. Do we know if it will come to the US?

  7. It took them a long time to do it, but they finally put the pen loop where it should be! Cautiously optimistic about this, might be the first product that I will consider buying from them in a long time. It will be interesting to see if it has ring problems and just how well it holds up.

  8. Very nice! Very practical and unique - a Filo winner methinks!

  9. Love it and probably worth every penny.... but I don't want to spend £60..... couldn't they do this in a non leather and sell for £30-40(or less) then I'm in

  10. As a definitely not-girly girl, I would love one of these! The pink, purple, jade, and teal organisers have no appeal at all for me.

    I could see me extracting my list of important phone numbers and a few notes pages from the Winchester for travelling. In fact I am sitting here wondering how I could downsize completely without stuffing the pockets and making them an uneven writing surface.

  11. When is is going to be available, Steve?

    1. Not sure, it was quite a few weeks between the announcement and one becoming available for me to review. But I know the details are ready to go on the site as soon as they have them available in stock. I'm not sure where on the current site they will end up though!

  12. I really like this, it looks good and seems very practical.

  13. Looking forward to this one. Great review.

  14. Now THIS seriously tickles my fancy! With that lovely leather, and the pockets, and like others already mentioned: so masculine! I love it!
    But for the time being, way outside my budget!!!

    Thanks for a great review, Steve!

  15. Oh, this does look great! It might be something I look into for when I go on my expedition travels with University next year!

  16. I think I love it! It has adventure written all over it. I don't lead a very adventurous life but I think it could serve a lot of functions. It looks rugged and already well traveled, yet it also looks soft. Definitely worth a second look.

  17. Hi!

    Does anyone use this as an everyday-wallet? :)

  18. I don't remember seeing these. We're they popular? Did they make many of them?