Souvenirs are abundant, with gift shops around every corner in most destinations, it’s not hard to locate something to remind you of your vacation. What is difficult is finding something that isn’t kitschy or cliché, something that won’t sit on your shelf unused and unloved, collecting dust. After all, how many mini spoons, snow globes and I ❤ Wherever shirts do you really need? Now a days the souvenir trends are shifting away from things that loudly proclaim where they’re from and towards more understated items that bring back memories from distant lands. I always have such a hard time getting rid of things I bought as souvenirs, so all of the old items are in a Tupperware container under my bed. Not ideal for remembering the place I bought them fondly. Lately, when I travel, I look for more practical things to bring home. And when I say practical, I mean things like the Elvis clock we bought in Memphis, the one that his hips sway with each tick and tock. Things like that.
We also have a tendency to buy magnets because they’re cheap and easy, but we’re running out of real estate on our fridge so they won’t be a practical souvenir much longer. With that said, the following are some ideas for alternative souvenirs from your upcoming travels:
- Home Décor – Make your home décor unique and fun by having pieces you’ve curated yourself through your travels. These kinds of souvenirs will adorn your home and bring back memories every time you look at them. I like to look for unique wall art or travel themed antiques. When we traveled to Grand Rapids, MI, I got a beautiful antique globe that is now on my desk.
- Food and Beverage – Food and drinks make great souvenirs because you can enjoy them and then they are done, not cluttering your shelves or gathering dust. I like to bring back beer or wine from different destinations, specifically Spotted Cow Beer every time we go up to Wisconsin.
- Photos – The best and cheapest souvenir is, of course, pictures from whichever destination. The key is actually doing something with them instead of leaving them in the paper envelopes from the photo counter. Frame your favorites and hang them up or create your own album for each trip with Shutterfly!
- Books or Albums – Books, albums, or whatever form of entertainment you prefer make great souvenirs. You’ll enjoy them as you read/listen/watch and remember the destination where they were purchased. I prefer books, which is why I usually pick one out for each trip, like “Wilderness Essays” by John Muir from the John Muir Woods book shop.
- Everyday Items – I recently read this article about buying everyday items from your travels that you will use constantly, and therefore be constantly reminded of where you got them. I think it’s a genius idea! Everyday items are typically less expensive than your usual souvenirs and you will actually get a lot of use out of them.
What do you think? What kind of souvenirs do you like to get when you’re away?