A souvenir collection is a great way to remind you of all your adventures. Check out this list of souvenir ideas that will inspire you to explore someplace new.
If you didn’t buy a fiesta-themed shot glass, did you even go to Mexico?
Finding cool souvenirs is one of the many fun aspects of traveling. Buying a physical memento of a place you’re visiting promises to help you remember those memories forever.
Not sure what kind of souvenirs to buy? The options and creativity are limitless. Keep reading to decide which souvenir ideas are perfect for you.
Why Do We Buy Souvenirs?
Each person’s reason for picking up an item from their trip can be different. The most common reason is that it’s a physical symbol of your time in that place.
Keeping a physical symbol of a memory or an experience helps you remember all the details you never want to forget. They also encourage us to think back to the time we traveled and feel happy. Souvenirs can be instant mood lifters because they remind you of happy times.
Souvenirs also make great gifts.
When you can’t share an awesome traveling experience with your loved ones back home, buying them a souvenir is the next best thing. They make your friends and family feel special because you were thinking of them while you were away.
With all the various souvenir ideas in the world, we’ve divided them into categories that make it easier to choose which ones are best for you.
Here are 4 types of souvenirs to inspire your wanderlust.
1. Traditional Souvenirs
These are the trinkets and products waiting for you in the airport when you arrive at your destination.
Most of them will have the country’s name, flag, symbols or scenery on them.
Traditional souvenirs are awesome because they’re affordable and explicitly say where you got them from. For world-travelers who go to many different places, it can be helpful to know where you got each one.
Plus, they’re great conversation starters.
If you have guests over and they see a fridge magnet from Thailand, that’s an easy topic to mention and start a conversation.
Here are some awesome traditional souvenir ideas:
- Shot glasses
Souvenirs and the conversation around them bring people together and form bonds. You can recommend where they should go next on vacation; they can tell you why Naples was disappointing to them.
Traditional souvenirs do exactly what you want them to, remind you of an exact trip or experience.
2. Paper Souvenirs
If you’re traveling long-term or with limited luggage space, choosing souvenirs that won’t take up space is key; the lighter the luggage the better.
Paper souvenirs are excellent choices to keep your backpack light and not take up an entire pocket. You can easily slide paper into a journal or toiletry bag.
The most common paper souvenirs are postcards and ticket stubs.
Postcards are awesome because you can mail them to your loved ones while your away. It’s like your sending part of this destination back home to your friends or family. You can also collect postcards for yourself and write the dates on the back that you spent in each place.
Ticket stubs are a cool keepsake because they remind you of how far you went to experience new places. Plus, when you get home you can make an awesome collage.
Here are some other great ideas for paper souvenirs:
- Custom stickers
- Hotel stationary
Not only are these ideas light enough to travel with long-term, but as long as you take care of them they can last forever. And, as paper ages, it develops a worn/vintage quality which looks unique.
3. Home Decor Souvenirs
If you’re not a fan of the little trinkets and touristy items for sale in every country, perhaps you’d rather find something that can adorn your home.
Home decor souvenir ideas are great for travelers who don’t mind carrying around larger objects or shipping them home mid-trip.
However, it can get pricey to ship across borders, not to mention the higher costs of these items themselves.
Some of the nicest souvenirs are things travelers get to see every day in their home. Wall art from your trip to China, tribal masks from Kenya, and a salad bowl from Indonesia are all great examples of souvenirs that double as home goods.
Here are some other lovely souvenirs to decorate your home with:
- Drums and other instruments
- Wall art
- Religious iconography
- Throw blankets and pillows
Basically, any item you use in your house can be purchased from another country with their unique twist on it. Why use your normal towels when you can buy Turkish towels from Turkey?
4. Minimalist Souvenirs
For those who practice minimalism and would prefer to own less physical objects, there are still many different souvenirs to choose from.
You value experiences over material items; you likely digitize everything you can.
Taking photos on your phone or digital camera is the best way for you to capture memories without adding to your luggage weight. You can store all photos on your computer or phone.
Another type of minimalist souvenir is to turn something you already use into a memento. For example, to travel across borders you must have a passport. Why not start collecting the stamps in your passport’s pages as souvenirs?
Any time you flip through it you’re reminded of different trips.
Here are some other functional and minimal souvenir ideas:
- Video diary
- Clothes you need
If you want to turn your souvenir buying into an experience, consider DIY-ing your souvenir.
Companies like Patches4Less let you customize and order the exact souvenir you want; don’t settle for what you see on the street.
Souvenirs don’t have to take up space or cost any money. Anything you used or enjoyed during your trip can be a souvenir.
Want More Souvenir Ideas?
Souvenirs can vary from country to country, just like your experiences.
They remind us of an awesome experience we had while exploring somewhere new. Souvenirs help us not to forget those amazing times.
If you’d like to learn more about items sold in specific countries as well as awesome things to do in the place your visiting, check out our travel blog.