Traveling and souvenirs kind of go hand-in-hand. But if you travel often and to lots of different places, then your souvenirs can start taking up tons of room. Souvenirs shouldn’t be a burden, but they are always fun to collect. After several hundreds of travelers were polled, we came up with a list of awesome souvenir ideas you can start collecting!
We personally collect a piece of art from each country we visit. It started with a painting in Haiti, and went from there. I was so excited to start a “Travel Wall” full of local art from all around. I wanted it to ne more than just a bunch of paintings as well, so some art includes wood carvings, things made of shells, paintings, and ornaments too. Sometimes it’s hard to find a painting or something that is from a local artist, so we try to source the next best thing and find something that looks like it could be replicated art as well.
For now, we have a “Travel Shelf” since we’re renting and didn’t want to put too many holes in the wall, but the shelf makes me so happy to see every day in my office, and I get to see our memories up there.
You probably already picked up a map from every place you’ve been. You can see the maps as a souvenir itself, or use them to create something on your own.
Head to the local post office and purchase a stamp to add to your collection. This is a good way to get a cheap souvenir if you’re not wanting them to be on a post card but rather separate for a stamp collection.
Not every place you go is going to have a smashed penny machine, but this is something I started collecting when I was a little girl. It typically cost less than a dollar, and they will smash some picture into your penny for a great souvenir.
Magnets was one of the top answers when travelers shared what they collected. They’re easy to pack, usually pretty inexpensive, and can be found almost anywhere.
There are different type of magnets you can collect as well. Collect magnets that have the name of the place you are visiting, magnets that have artwork on them, flat magnets, 3D magnets, the world of magnets is open to you.
And, you don’t have to put them on your fridge either. Find an awesome metal board that you can frame and add your magnets to and turn it into your own work of wall art.
How fun would this one be?! And it’s part of our Awesome Christmas Traditions to Start Now!
Collecting a Christmas Ornament from each place you travel to would be a great idea, and you’d be able to see them every year when you put up your Christmas tree. It will be a tree full of your travel memories.
Not every place you go will have an actual Christmas Tree ornament, so get creative. You can turn a key chain, bookmark, or anything really into an ornament. It just needs a loop!
Charms for Bracelet
Charm Bracelets are a wonderful idea. The charms would be very small so you won’t have to worry about packing it, and each place could have a very unique charm to add. Try getting one that represents each place by the shapes that you get.
Post Cards was another very popular answer. They are one of the cheapest products being sold in the stores, and everyone has them.
Collect a postcard from each place you visit and turn it into a postcard journal, book, or use in a scrapbook.
Write something on the back about your travels and mail it home to yourself. That way you can have your memory of the place, and have a stamp from wherever you were
Most travelers who mentioned books, said they typically get a book from a local store…not necessarily a travel/tour guide book. But that could work too!
There are so many things you can do with patches these days. Sew them on your jacket or backpack are popular ones. You can also sew them onto a blanket and make yourself a blanket full of your travel memories, or add them into a scrapbook.
Pins is another idea like the patches. You can wear them on a hat, jacket, or add them to your bag…or, you can make a frame for them and add them as wall art in your home or office.
You’ll probably be able to find a keychain anywhere you go. And they tend to be pretty cheap as well. There are several ways you can show off your keychain, as carrying them around with your house keys is probably not recommended.
How about stringing them on a line across the room, or on the wall. Or get a cork board frame and hang each one on a pin. You can throw them all in a see through jar, so they’re all easily seen and don’t take up a ton of space and you can always mix them up for new ones to be shown.
B collects shot glasses. He started this before we were together, and I pushed him to continue his collection. He has a huge box full of them, and we unfortunately haven’t had any room to put them up just yet.
But shot glasses were a very popular collectible for lots of travelers. Hang up a shelf and show those unique shot glasses off.
Getting a flag from each country would be a cool souvenir. We heard of people who display them in their garage, make a blanket out of them, or create a book from them as well.
You can collect; bracelets, rings, charms, and necklaces from different cities too. The cool thing about this is that it will be something you actually can wear and get use out of.
Same goes for clothing. We heard some travelers say they like to collect the local clothing or a dress from each country. Definitely a good way to make your souvenirs useful.
Whether you make your own coasters or buy them in the store, your coffee table can be filled with all your travel memories.
Another great affordable option that makes it easy to pack is stickers. And again, there are so many things you can do with stickers!
We like to collect different coins from each country we visit as well. Add your coins and paper money to your tickets and photos and create a cool travel shadow box.
Some countries have really cool paper money too, so we try to collect some from each country as well.
Spoon collecting is not just for grandma! Collecting a mini decorative spoon on your travels can give you a really cool talking piece to hang up on your wall.
Tickets to Places You’ve Been
Just like with the coins and paper money, you can collect all the tickets from the places you have been and add them to a shadow box, use them for a scrapbook of memories, or laminate them and use them as wall art. Plus, it doesn’t cost any extra money.
We saw a couple travelers who had an awesome collection of rocks from different countries and states. Be sure the rocks you are picking up are legal to take, and find one that speaks to you. Write the name of the place you found it on the rock, or in a journal so you know where they came from.
Something that Represents Each Place
If you want to do something unique from each country, how about collecting something that represents each place…something that country is known for. Examples:
-shoes in italy
-blanket from Morocco
-Rug from India
-Spice Jar from Dubai
We’ve seen this one more and more lately. A decorative tea towel. You can use these in your kitchen everyday, or hang them up as art. We have a friend who used one as a backdrop to her shadow box frame and it turned out great!
Collecting snow globes from around the world can give you lots of different options for sure. And what a decorative shelf you’ll have
The good ‘ol T-shirt. This is quite possibly one your parents started out for you, but you don’t have to keep them as tees. Turn them into a book where you can flip through and have all your memories in one place without taking up tons of space.
On the same note with T-shirts, you can collect different apparel like socks and scarves. Something that is practical that you can use throughout the week.
Sand, Soil, Shells, all these things can be collected from your travels and displayed in a fun way. Try adding them to small bottles and add a tag where each is from. Shells can also be a cool decor item to remember your trips.
Maybe a bit different, but we heard of people collecting dried leaves or flowers from different places.
Plates and Bowls
What about turning your kitchen into a whole travel memory? There are so many unique plates, bowls, and cups sold all around different countries. Create a memorable and eclectic collection that you’ll use every day.
Again, these are not found everywhere, but for the Starbucks and Travel enthusiasts, it’s fun to try to collect them all!
Hard Rock Cafe Shirts, Stickers or Badges
Hard Rock Cafe does something similar, and has the city, state, and/or country you visited, so you can collect them all.
Another small and affordable collectible. You can get different pencils with the country name on it, pens that show where you’ve been, or fun wooden color pencils that look like they’re made from sticks.
For all the book lovers, grab a bookmark at all your favorite places. Or use them for decoration as well!
We’ve seen lots of mini bells, hand bells, large dinner bells, etc.
If you’re looking for free souvenirs, you can start collecting business cards from all the hotels you’ve stayed in, restaurants you’ve been to, and tours you’ve done.
Cups/ Coffee Mugs
Just like the shot glasses but larger cups. You can do drinking cups, coffee mugs, water bottles, etc.
How about swapping out your luggage tag from each place you have been. Use the new one on your next travels and then use them to decorate your travel space.
This was another funny one, but one that would be a blast trying to find all around the world. They have rubber ducks dressed up in all sorts of ways. Another idea would be a toy from each place.
If you’re into tattoos and love to travel, maybe try getting a small tattoo from each place…or at least one that represents each place you have been to. Keep safety in mind when you decide where to get your tattoo done.
Reusable Shopping Bags
Head to the local grocery store and purchase a reusable shopping bag. You can use these when you get back home on your own shopping trips.
If you’re not into the apparel idea, maybe go for the purse, bag, or backpack.
This could mean lots of different things, but a cool figurine from each place could be a great way to decorate a space to hold your travel memories. A Mickey Mouse from Disney, and an Eiffel Tower replica are some ideas.
Some travelers said they collect koozies wherever they go. Those are the can drink sleeves that I’m sure are called something else depending on where you’re from.
Deck of Cards
A deck of cards would be a fun thing to collect, and fairly cheap as well. Each deck has a different design or picture on the back, so when you get lots, you can have a fun collection.
Collecting wine corks could be another great idea. Every wine bottle has a different type of wine cork, and lots of them will have cool designs or the brand name on it.
Souvenirs That Are Not Physical Items
Don’t have room for a bunch of knickknacks and collectibles? Sometimes the non physical items can be just as memorable.
Of course photos would be the most obvious one, but we believe you can never have too many photos. Be sure to print out some of your travel photos as well, so you have something to look at each day.
Journaling all about your trips and experiences is a really great way to save all your memories. Try writing what you did each day in a travel journal, or create a scrapbook journal of your trips filled with photos, tickets, writing and more.
I had never thought about collecting songs, but some fellow travelers showed how this could be a really great way to collect memories. Whatever country you are in, ask the locals what their favorite songs are, or what song is most popular at the time. Not the top hits in the US that are playing there. Download those songs and create your own travel playlist that you can listen to, and each song can bring you back to where you are when you heard it.
Souvenirs can be a great way to keep little memories all around you long after you have come home from your trip. They don’t have to be junk and take up a lot of room collecting dust either. Enjoy your souvenirs each day by wearing, using, or decorating with them!
Any other ideas we can add? What do you collect?