What are the best souvenirs to buy when traveling? Let’s get more creative than overpriced magnets and trinkets at touristy souvenir stores. Keep reading for souvenir inspiration, tips, and hacks.
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After a long day of exploring, learning, and meeting new people, you realize you forgot one last thing – souvenir shopping.
But heading to the tourist-trap shops in the city center doesn’t seem appealing. Is there anything more authentic and memorable you can find to bring home with you?
Nearly anything from your vacation destination can become a souvenir – you’re not limited to ballpoint pens and T-shirts! Each person’s ideal travel souvenir can be uniquely their own.
Many people like to purchase travel souvenirs as memories of their adventures around the world. Some travelers even collect the same type of souvenir from every place they visit!
What you purchase as travel souvenirs will likely depend on your interests and priorities.
Souvenirs for every type of traveler
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started with the top souvenirs for every type of traveler!
- The Fashionista: Clothes and jewelry
- The Decorator: Prints, paintings, and drawings
- The Budget-Traveler: Postcards
- The Backpacker: Pins and patches
- The Foodie: Foods and drinks
- The Crafter: Items for scrapbooking
The Fashionista: Clothes and jewelry
Let’s think past the typical touristy “I ♥️ NY” T-shirts on this one. Imagine custom-made gladiator sandals from Greece. Leather belts from street markets in Florence. Thrifted vintage handbags from Paris.
Your travel destination is likely the home of some iconic clothing items and accessories. In addition to being an authentic representation of the location, these souvenirs are often a great deal when bought in their country of origin!
Jewelry is an especially fantastic travel souvenir. Small pieces of jewelry from artisan and flea markets will easily blend into your everyday wardrobe. They won’t stand out too much, but you’ll always remember the story behind them. It’s also a great way to share the memory with others.
Plus, jewelry hardly takes up any valuable space!
The Decorator: Prints, paintings, and drawings
If you adore beautiful sights and know how to appreciate a spectacular view, then sometimes a photograph on your cell phone isn’t enough.Handmade art pieces can easily become unique travel souvenirs. They often turn out to be meaningful decorations around your home!
Various prints, paintings, and drawings found while traveling are undoubtedly more expensive than simple postcards. But, unique art is as authentic as souvenirs come. Good art always has a story behind it and when you purchase it from the source, you can learn this story. You might even get to meet the artist!
Decorating with travel souvenirs is sure to be a constant reminder of the joys of travel and inspire many other trips to come.
The Budget-Traveler: Postcards
They might seem basic, but postcards are a popular travel souvenir for good reason!
No matter what country you’re in, postcards are one of the cheapest things you can find in a souvenir shop.
You don’t have to mail your postcards to friends and family! Many travelers keep postcards as a physical memory of their favorite landmarks, views, or experiences during a trip.
The popularity of postcards also makes them easy to find and collect. You can easily collect postcards from every country or major city you visit – then, proudly display them with a wall collage or photo album!
The best part about grabbing a cheap postcard? Postcards are easy to throw into your laptop sleeve or the book you’re carrying around.
You’ll never have to pay for extra luggage or storage with postcards as your travel souvenir of choice!
The Backpacker: Pins and patches
If you’re proud to share stories about where you’ve been, then start collecting pins or patches wherever you go. Many backpackers collect pins and patches from destinations around the globe, attaching their finds to backpacks and tote bags for all the world to see.
Show off the favorite places you’ve visited with pins from specific monuments and parks. Or, you can collect patches or pins of country flags. Fellow backpackers are sure to be impressed by your show of travel experience. It might even spark a few new conversations and friendships along the way!
Forgot to grab one while on vacation? No worries! You can find tons of pins and patches featuring flags and monuments from around the world on Amazon.
The Foodie: Food and drinks
Chocolate from Belgium. Tequila from Mexico. Maple syrup from Canada. First of all – YUM. But also – don’t these sound like some fabulous souvenirs?
If trying new foods is one of your favorite parts about traveling, then why not continue this experience when you get home? Local food and drink products from your vacation destination can make for authentic and delicious travel souvenirs!
Even if your latest holiday destination doesn’t have a specific local food product it’s famous for, bringing home your favorite goodies from the supermarkets is just as good. It’s all about bringing home memories and honoring the little stuff that makes you happy.
Keep in mind that customs laws in many countries may limit what you’re allowed to bring in and out. For example, you can find information about what travelers can bring to the U.S.
Aim for pre-packaged food and leave the fresh fruits behind.
The Crafter: Items for scrapbooking
Not every travel souvenir has to cost money. If you’re crafty and smart, then collecting simple materials during your trip may be enough!
While traveling, be sure to keep any tickets from museums, events, performances, etc. as well as maps, stickers, and other items you come across. If you keep a travel journal or use a polaroid camera, you can contribute these to the collection as well!
So you’ve collected a box of memories and have arrived back home after your trip. Now what? Time for the magic to begin! Whether you want to make a scrapbook, a shadow box, or a collage, let the creativity flow. Allow your inner artist to transform some old papers into an iconic, individualized souvenir.
What to do with travel souvenirs
So you made it back from vacation with some wonderful objects that will help you remember the trip forever. Now what? Let’s discuss what to do with travel souvenirs once you’re back home!
Travel souvenirs as gifts
One popular way to use travel souvenirs is to give them to friends and family. Even if they couldn’t join you for the trip, at least they get a piece of it!
If you plan to give souvenirs to loved ones, then keep their interests in mind when souvenir shopping during your journey.
Collecting travel souvenirs
While some travelers enjoy gifting souvenirs, you may also want to keep some for yourself! Many people have found cool souvenirs to collect while traveling and make a habit of purchasing the same type of souvenir from each place they visit.
From countries’ flags to history books, keeping your souvenir collection in one place will impress any visitors and encourage your wanderlust spirit.
How to organize and display travel souvenirs
Whether or not your travel souvenirs fit into a larger collection, you’ll want to organize and display them in an eye-catching way.
Here are some examples of how to take advantage of souvenirs that you’ve brought home:
- Serve souvenir candies, foods, and beverages at special events.
- Decorate your walls with postcards and travel artwork.
- Add any new pins, patches, or stickers to your bags or other belongings.
- Incorporate souvenir clothes and jewelry into your everyday wardrobe.
Overall, the best travel souvenir will depend on you and the places you go.
Some people like to collect a certain type of souvenir everywhere they visit, while others enjoy buying things that speak to the particular destination’s culture and exports.
No matter what you decide to purchase or collect, keep in mind that the memories from your visit will likely be even better!
Make new memories with Pilot!
Before you can begin brainstorming souvenir ideas, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into planning a perfect trip.
If you're heading to France, you can even check out our Paris souvenir guide for some shopping inspiration!
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