I guess it’s a natural tendency to bring home a piece of something that will remind us of the marvellous time we spent from our holiday other than the tons of photos we took. Beautiful memories too, but that goes without saying.
Here are some of the souvenirs I had collected over the years during my travels. Hope it gives you some ideas as well.
Fridge Magnets – I never leave a new country (or city) without getting at least one of these. It’s small, easy to carry and cheap. Most of all, it’s a great reminder of all the places you’ve been and seen every time you go to open your refrigerator.
Fallen Leaves/Dried Flowers – It’s organic and it’s free! I started collecting fallen leaves the first time I went to a Western country alone – in Canada. When I saw a fallen maple leaf, I got so emotional and was overjoyed that I finally got to see a real maple tree. Unfortunately, the bunch of dried leaves I’d collected got lost so I asked my friend Candy (whom I visited) to send me some. She sent me a few along with a thoughtful card.
Please collect leaves/flowers responsibly.
Maps / Tickets –From railway tickets, restaurant cards, guide maps, receipts – anything printed material, I’d keep it for my travel memory book. Whenever I miss a particular place, I just open a map of the place I’ve been and I feel better already. Maps and guides can also be useful to friends and family who are going to the same place.
Foreign Money – Sean has a habit of keeping spare change and bills and placing them in auspicious places around the house. It is believed to bring good financial fortune.
Masks / Native Crafts – Collecting handmade products not only makes a beautiful decoration in your home. By buying local crafts, you also support the people making them and thus promote tourism. Sean has a penchant for masks. He started collecting them even when he was still single.
Snow Globe – This is a bit tricky considering it’s breakable, heavy, and sometimes expensive albeit they make a really pretty travel souvenir. My tip would be to buy it from markets or bazaars to get a good price. Get a small one so you can hand carry it when you’re traveling on plane. Another option would be to buy it from the airport/terminal itself if you want a bigger one, although some airports don’t always sell them.
Keychain – This is perhaps the easiest and most popular souvenir. When I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, I really wanted to take it home with me, but for obvious reasons, I can’t. Instead, I bought a keychain. That way the miniature tower goes with me everyday when I go to work – until I had a new favourite city to daydream about.
Books – I’m sure most of you don’t go to travel without taking a book or magazine perhaps to read just in case your flight is delayed, or when you’re on for a long journey on the train, or just in case you get bored. I’d suggest you buy your reading material at your destination and write something about your trip in the first page.
Also, if you’re strolling around town, walking into an old bookshop or independent bookseller is a great way to find old, special edition, and foreign language books.
Chocolates / Sweets – I love chocolates! Although sometimes I buy a few and bring them home not only for the exclusive reason that I have a sweet tooth, but also because of the attractive packaging. A chocolate shop’s mission is to make you buy their product so they really make an effort to create attractive boxes and packaging that would make you not leave their shop without a bag or two of their specialty. I made it a tradition to bring my family/friends some sweets from my travel so they too can have a real “taste” of the places I’ve been.
Shampoo – I’m not sure if I’m the only one but I have this really unusual desire to buy shampoos and soaps abroad. Most of the time, I take home the ones that are given by the hotel rooms. It makes me bizarrely happy when I see them all lined up in our own bathtub at home.