So many people want to bring something home to remember their travels. But what are the best souvenirs?
Well, in my opinion, the best souvenirs don’t take up too much space – either in your luggage or at home – and they bring back a memory from your trip.
Sometimes it is difficult to meet both criteria but especially the space one. What makes a good souvenir to you may not be the same thing to someone else.
But that’s fine because just like traveling, it’s totally subjective and up to you to choose what you like.
We brought back magnets, a postcard, and an ornament from St. Thomas. We got magnets and an ornament in Steamboat Springs. Then in Florence, Italy I got my own leather travel journal and silver ring. It’s all up to you.
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Where to Pick Up the Best Souvenirs?
There are so many places to pick up souvenirs that I know I won’t be able to name them all.
The first place that I look are local shops. Another one of my favorites is a Farmer’s Market for local goods or a street fair.
You can also check out flea markets for great prices. In a pinch, head to a large department store and you’re sure to find something.
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Top Travel Souvenir Ideas
Whether you keep your magnets on your refrigerator or on a board in your room I think these are one of my favorite travel souvenirs.
They are small and with so many unique options, you can find a design that is perfect for you.
I love displaying all my magnets on my refrigerator because it’s a constant reminder every day of some of my favorite places in the world.
Some people love collecting shot glasses from each place that they visit. These can have the city name on them or a picture of popular landmarks.
While shot glasses are super easy to get home, they can start taking up lots of space if you have a lot of them!
I only recommend collecting these if you think you might drink out of them or if you want to display them on shelving.
Shameless plug here. I created a USA Adventures Travel Journal so you can keep all your travel memories in one place. Find out more about the USA Adventures Travel Journal with prompts.
This journal has prompts as well as places for additional notes or to put your photos. You can also tape or glue your ticket stubs in here if you want to keep them.
I personally keep a travel journal and can’t recommend it more. It’s one of my most treasured items as I’ve started to forget details of my past travels.
Christmas Ornaments are one of my favorite souvenirs as well. Every year I love getting these out for our Christmas tree and reminiscing.
Of course, if you don’t celebrate Christmas then this isn’t a good option for you.
I love looking at our tree every year though and remembering the vacations we’ve spent together. We only buy Christmas ornaments for places we both went!
Did you know that there are books made specifically to hold all your postcards in them!? Here is an example.
These are fun especially when you can find one for a place or attraction that has special meaning.
Like on our honeymoon Tyler and I got a postcard for Cinnamon Bay Beach where we hiked to and had the beach mostly to ourselves.
We mailed the card from St. John so it was postmarked and stamped from the Caribbean.
While many people love collecting T-shirts I don’t do this anymore. It just gets to where you have way too many shirts and nowhere to put them.
If you are in the same situation and currently have too many shirts from past travels then I recommend getting a quilt made from them.
I am a hoarder of ticket stubs or pamphlets. I actually have a photo book that is meant to display printed photos and all I have in it are ticket stubs and pamphlets.
Metro cards, play tickets, attraction tickets, passes, you name it and I keep it.
Little figurines are a cute way to remember specific places like the Eiffel Tower or the Parthenon in Athens.
Like with the shot glasses though, think through how you might display them.
Would you place them throughout your house or want them in a central location? Put them on a table or on wall shelves?
Items Specific to the Country or State
This one can definitely blow my usual size requirement out of the water. I brought a bottle of wine back from Italy.
From Germany I brought a huge beer mug back from the Hofbrauhaus while on my trip with EF Ultimate Break. Maybe you want lace from Belgium or a tea pot from China.
Whatever it is, just plan ahead of time so you know you’ll have room for it in your luggage.
If you like key chains then you could collect these and put them all on one ring. Then hang that ring from somewhere in your room.
You can get key chains that say the name of the place that you went or that are a smaller version of a main attraction at that place.
I have to admit I kept a few Euros after my trip to Europe. If you do a lot of traveling to foreign countries then keeping a tiny bit of their currency is a cool souvenir.
Just don’t keep too much in their currency!
More Unique Souvenir Ideas
Again with the storage/display issue. I know lots of people who love collecting snow globes.
The scenes depicted in these are usually ones that have a special meaning to the collector.
You can display these year-round in your house – it doesn’t just have to be during winter!
I’ve always loved the jewelry made especially to commemorate all the places you’ve been to.
There are charm necklaces and bracelets that you can buy and after each country that you visit you get to add the charm for that country. One I love is this Vagabond collection.
Another option would be buying locally made jewelry wherever you visit. I’ve found that these pieces make for great conversation starters if anyone compliments them.
I’m a fan of supporting any local businesses or people. Purchasing artwork made by someone local is a great way to put your money back in the community.
You’ll also get a unique piece for your home. Collecting artwork does take a bit more strategic planning though just to make sure you have a place for it.
Scratch Off/Push Pin Maps
Having any kind of map as a reminder of your travels is pretty neat. The scratch off maps are a fun reminder of all the places that you’ve been.
The push pin maps record the places you’ve been, but you can also keep up with the places that you want to go.
Keep this in an area of your house that you pass by often for a constant reminder.
These days it’s so easy to make a photo book that this is one of my favorite unique souvenirs.
The two programs that I am familiar with are shutterfly and Amazon Photos. You can produce an actual book this way.
If you want to go old school then get your favorite photos printed and put them in a scrapbook or a photo binder.
Keep your favorites out on your coffee table.
I’ve gotta have my coffee every morning and I love drinking out of mugs that I’ve gotten in different places. It brings back great memories.
I don’t collect these everywhere I go – just when I find a really unique one.
If storage is an issue, you can hang little hooks under your top cabinets and hagn the mugs from there. It’s super cute!
If you hang tea towels around your kitchen then these are great travel souvenirs.
There are tea towels with the name of the location, major area attractions, or cute maps. You can find all kinds of creative things.
You can go a variety of different ways with this one.
You can pick up a book by a local author. You can pick up a book about the place you are visiting. Or you could pick up a fictional book that’s set in this place.
If you love books then go by a local bookstore and check out all their options.
Collect coasters from any cool restaurant that you’ve been to! Sometimes these are even free.
Check with the restaurant before you take the one on your table. If a restaurant has a gift shop then sometimes you can find them there.
I have a coaster from the Hofbrauhaus that stays on our kitchen bar.
Best Souvenirs for Travelers
I hope this gave you some ideas for the best souvenirs to collect while traveling! It can be fun to find the perfect one whenever you travel.
Some people stick to collecting in just one category. Personally, I typically get a magnet and postcard wherever I travel and then will sprinkle other items in periodically.
It’s always great to have something that helps you recall those travel memories!