She finally got the package in the mail today, so I can post this DIY without ruining the surprise :)
You will need: a simple blank journal, various cutouts to decorate the cover (I used old stamps and pictures clipped from a National Geographic catalog), paint, Mod Podge, an envelope, embroidery floss & needle, scissors (not pictured), pretty paper (not pictured)
Paint the spine & back of the journal, or any areas that will not be covered by the collage. Once dry, paint a thin layer of Mod Podge on the front of the journal and cover with your cutouts. I also put one stamp on the back & a strip on the spine. Allow to dry for at least 15 minutes, then cover the entire journal with Mod Podge. Allow to dry for at least an hour, and use a second layer of Mod Podge if needed (the corners of the cutouts should lie flat). To make a pocket, cut the envelope in half and trace the front pocket onto your pretty paper. Cut out the shape and use the embroidery thread & needle to sew the paper onto the front pocket with big stitches--make sure you don't sew the pocket closed! Then, just use a thin layer of Mod Podge to paste the envelope half onto the inside of the back cover. Place the lower side of the envelope by the spine to prevent your items from spilling out when you pick up the journal.
Et voila! You have a cute customized travel journal to record your adventures. Happy traveling!