Wondering which souvenirs you should collect on your travels? Here’s 15 ideas!
Even three years of travelling later i am still like an excitable child when shopping for my keepsakes. Looking back now through my rather extensive collection of souvenirs makes me dizzy with nostalgia, i just love being transported back to all those moments from so long ago. I think that the most important thing about souvenir collecting on your travels is to have a plan of how you intend to display your collection once you're home. Without a plan you end up spending far too long doing laps of souvenir shops trying to decide which item you should buy and then upon returning home you realise that you've got nothing worth displaying! just random shot glasses, a key ring here, a magnet there and the occasional t shirt or hat, all of which ends up getting thrown in a box and shoved under the bed, serving no purpose other than to collect dust. So decide how you'd like to display your souvenirs and then pick an item or items to collect that best fit in with your vision. I knew that I wanted to have my souvenirs on display on a wall somehow, so I chose to collect shot glasses with the thought that I could custom build shelving for the wall to show them all off.
An easy and reliable one! i have never once had any trouble finding a shot glass from a new place, it seems to be a pretty common keepsake. They're also small and light. There is of course the breakage factor to consider but wrapping them in clothes eliminates that problem. Display idea; tailored shelving built to hang on the wall and house each shot glass in its own little compartment, kind of like the picture I've included here.
Another reliable one. Every souvenir shop will sell a huge variety of magnets, variety being the best part because it's so fun choosing which one is your fav and which best suits your trip. They're lightweight and small too for easy transportation and they'll make for a banging fridge display one day! or you could get creative with a whiteboard...
I love the idea of collecting a coffee mug from each country so that one day you'll have a funky mug cupboard that would make everyday's morning coffee a nostalgic one. The problem with this one though is obviously that mugs aren't small or lightweight so if you're on a long haul trip it's not the most convenient of souvenirs to be collecting! if i could have, i would have collected coffee mugs instead of shot glasses, but 15 mugs just wouldn't have fit in my luggage!
Like magnets, every souvenir shop will have a variety of different keyrings to choose from. What would you do with 20 key rings though to avoid having car keys that weigh 10 stone?... a friend of mine collected keyrings on her travels with a plan to build a large wooden map of Europe, each different countries borders would be carved into it and a nail hammered into each country, she would then hang her keyrings from the nails, brilliant idea! and it would make an incredible wall display.
A classic, and another one that i love. There's so many different things that you can do with a collection of patches... sew them onto a backpack, a throw rug, a jumper. Or have them framed to make for an interesting wall display that's bound to be an illustrious conversation starter.
Badges are similar to patches in the sense that you can do quite a few different things with your collection. Pin them onto a backpack or make them into a colourful wall display! The only thing is that you might struggle to get one in every place that you visit as they don't seem to be as common as other souvenirs.
Some might say that this is a waste of money but you only need to keep a small note and a couple of different coins from each place to make for an awesome collection so it's not like you're throwing hundreds down the drain! you can display your currency in a frame to hang on the wall or in a scrap book maybe...
Postcards are another reliable one, every place you go will have a huge range of postcards. They're easy to store and light as a feather too. I plan on making a scrapbook one day of all my travels, with a page dedicated to each different city and place that I've been. The postcards that I've collected will be included in the pages. If a scrapbook isn't your thing though you could also make a pretty neat wall display with them.
Similar to postcards they're convenient for carrying around and you can make a cool wall display with them or include them in a scrapbook. It's a cool idea but in reality might be a bit painful to collect considering you'll need to find a post office in each place to get them from! doable, but not as simple as some of the other options.
Keeping your ticket stubs, boarding passes, luggage tags, receipts from favourite resturants, train tickets etc is quite a meaningful collection to have. It's much more personal for the obvious reason that you've actually used those things along the way. I've kept all of these things from my travels and i get so much happiness out of sifting through it all! it always takes me right back to each moment from all that time ago. I'm going to include it in my future travel scrapbook along with the postcards! this is another one though that you could make into a super sentimental and intriguing wall display.
Christmas tree ornaments;
A little more difficult for the obvious reason that Christmas decorations won't be easy to find unless you're travelling between October and January! it's a nice idea though and would be so exciting getting the tree out every year to hang all of your super special ornaments on while you get swept away in the flood of memories that they bring with them!
Maps is a good one to collect, i've kept all the maps from my travels. They're a little worn and most are torn with coffee, beer, and other miscellaneous stains on them! but that just makes me love them more. Another thing that I'm going to include in my future travel scrapbook... although i'm starting to think that i might need more than just the one scrapbook to fit it all in!
Why not collect a standout and generic spice from each new cultures cuisine? a little tub of pesto from Cinque Terre, a bottle of olive oil from Tuscany, a jar of chervil from France... these souvenirs are obviously perishable though which is the downside. But for a short time you can enjoy being transported back to those places while the flavours dance around on your tounge bringing a wave of memories with them.
I quite like the idea of collecting a small piece of fabric from each place and then one day sewing them all into a blanket or throw rug. Like the Christmas decorations and stamps though this one will require a little extra effort to find, but it would be so worth it for the finished product!
Sand, dirt or rocks;
Weird to suggest? maybe...! i've collected a few rocks from here and there, my favourite one being a piece of volcanic rock that I brought home from Iceland. This one is a little more difficult to display though, and you would of course need to take some small sample tubes or jars along in your luggage to put the dirt and/or sand in. So maybe not the most convenient souvenir to be collecting... but it's pretty sentimental!
Happy travels and happy souvenir collecting my friends! I hope I've been of some inspiration.
Over and out x