• Lisa

Unique & Fun Travel Souvenirs

One of my favorite things about traveling is collecting small keepsakes from all of the destinations I've been to. I love having a small trinket that reminds me of all the unique experiences and fun memories made on that specific trip. There are so many fun options of items to collect. Some are obvious like postcards or magnets, while others are more of a scavenger hunt around the destination until you find it!

I've collaborated with a few travel bloggers to share their favorite Travel Souvenirs below! Overall, the consensus for the best travel souvenir is something that is light weight, cheap, and doesn't take up too much suitcase space! Our favorite are listed below.. :)

1. Vintage-Inspired Travel Postcards

by ME (Wanderlust With Lisa)

I wanted to collect something that wouldn't take up too much shelf space or get broken/destroyed easily. Post cards seemed like a great option but they were a little to basic for me... after all, it's basically a stock photo printed on thicker paper.

That's why I opted to begin collecting unique vintage inspired postcards and/or postcard sized art work from each city I visit. This is an easy thing to travel with and pack in a bag, it's usually very cheap, and they're creative! I like feel like these vintage/art postcards have more character and more detail of the city than just a standard travel postcard. The artsy look and style represents each country so well. It's like my very own mini-art-museum featuring all of my favorite places. I have a rule that I can only have postcards for places I've been (not a layover, or a card from a friend) so each one means something personal to me.

2. Thimbles

by Sydney Richardson (A World In Reach)

"My favorite thing to collect while traveling are thimbles - yep, just like the kind your grandmother uses for sewing! The thimbles I collect aren’t regular old silver thimbles though; rather, they feature photos and designs representing different destinations. I started collecting thimbles when I was about 8 years old. I’m 23 now, and I have over 200 thimbles from my travels all over the world! 

A common problem that people face when collecting souvenirs on their travels is that the souvenirs take up too much space in their luggage. With thimbles, you don’t really have this problem - they’re super small and don’t take up much room, so they’re easy to stow away in a small pocket in your backpack. Another reason I love collecting thimbles is that searching for them kind of feels like I’m hunting for treasure - they can be hard to find in some places, so it’s super exciting when I finally find one! Luckily, I’ve been able to find a thimble in every country and pretty much every major city that I’ve visited. Thimbles are also usually a pretty cheap souvenir to collect. While I’ve spent up to about $15 for one thimble, they usually cost around $3-5. If you’re looking for a small, affordable, and fun souvenir to collect during your travels, thimbles are definitely the way to go."

3. Wooden Animals

by Lynn (Be Your Own Travel Guide)

"My husband and I love wildlife. We can appreciate ancient architecture and enjoy historical museums, but we tend to LOVE the trips that we plan around nature.

Our mementos are wooden animals that we collect from these destinations. We choose animals that we have specifically encountered or (responsibly) interacted with in that country. We do not store all of our collection in one place, but rather throughout our home. My style is very modern farmhouse, so the wooden animals look stunning against the white and natural woods. Having the collection spread out has allowed it to remain subtle yet meaningful. Each piece has been carefully chosen and brought back from abroad.

Tanzania was one of our most recent favourites. We witnessed the Great Wildebeest Migration on safari in Tanzania and took home a wooden wildebeest as souvenir. Every time I see it on my windowsill I am reminded of the two million wildebeest that we witnessed crossing the vast Serengeti plains. Wild!

Animal populations are super diverse around the world so we try to choose an animal native to each country. Other favourites of mine include the swimming pigs in Bahamas and wild sloths in Costa Rica. There are many others that we hope to see in the future: whales in Tonga, alpacas in Peru, and even the Galway sheep in Ireland!"

4. Wine Corks

by Ellen Miller (Adventures with Nell)

"I love to try local food and drink on my travels, and particularly enjoy drinking a glass (or many) of local wine, wherever I am in the world. This has led to a habit of collecting wine bottle corks when travelling, as a reminder of the wine I’ve drunk and the pleasure I experienced at the time of drinking it.

Wine corks are the perfect souvenir because they don’t take up much luggage space, and don’t cost anything – other than the cost of the wine which I would have bought anyway. They also give my travel companion and I an excuse to order a bottle rather than a glass!

My collection of 118 wine corks is currently sat in a giant vase, whilst I work out what to do with it! I’d love to turn them into a wall display of some sort."

5. Shot Glasses

by Ketki Gadre (Explore with EcoKats)

"I would always see new shot glasses being added to my family friend’s collection whenever I visited them with my parents. I used to be fascinated with them - how they told the story of the place visited and yet could be showcase item as well as a utility item. That is when I promised myself to buy shot glasses on my international trips. And I kept true to my word.

I have been to 12 countries so far and have picked up shot glasses as souvenirs from all of them. I spend a good amount of time to pick the perfect one which would be added to my collection. As a thumb rule, I do not spend more than $5 on the glass otherwise it is a ripoff. My fascination has become an activity for some of the friends as they gladly pick up shot glasses as a gift for me. I also love to exchange them just so my collection increases."

Check out her souvenir ideas from Vietnam, too!

6. Christmas Ornaments

by Pam (Directionally Challenged)

"Our favorite thing to collect on our travels is Christmas ornaments. We love opening our ornament holder at the end of the year and reflecting back on all of our travels.  Some of them are traditional ball ornaments while others could be Santa relaxing on the beach or climbing Mt. Vesuvius. If we can't seem to find an ornament, we'll look for something I can make into an ornament.  For example, I have a keychain of a small penguin from Antarctica that I switched the ring for a string. It brings us joy each year!"

7. Flag Patches

by Juleen (Juleen Meets World)

"Looking for a souvenir that takes up little space but still easily represents the countries and cities that you visit? Flag patches are a great way to go. A flag patch is a piece of fabric, usually smaller than the size of your palm, that has a flag embroidered on it. Typically, they are made using the colours of the flags they replicate, though you can also find black and white versions if you desire. As someone who travels a lot with just a carry on (and also a chronic overpacker), I don't normally have much room for a large souvenir such as a mug. However, I do love having something that reminds me of my time on a trip. Besides their size, I love that they can easily be found in a lot of souvenir stores but if you do forget to get one, you can also buy it online once you return home.

Once you start to collect your patches, you can come up with various ways to display them. For example, if you have a denim jacket, this could be a great place to proudly display the countries that you have visited, sort of like displaying magnets on a fridge. There are also other ways of combining your patches of course. I originally started collected flag patches while studying abroad in Europe, with the intention of adding them to my graduation cap. You could also sew them into a mini quilt and frame them on a wall or also sew them onto a backpack. If you get a plain tapestry, you can start to sew the patches on and watch as it fills up as you travel more. However you choose to preserve and display your collection of flag patches, they will surely serve as a great reminder of the memories you made in each city and country that you've visited."

Other Fun Souvenir Ideas!

  • Local Artwork

  • Jewelry

  • Beer Bottle Caps

  • Ticket Stubs

  • T-Shirts

  • Magnets

  • Stuffed Animals

  • Local Currencies

  • Maps

  • Pressed Pennies

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