When I first began traveling, I had this obsession with bringing back souvenirs galore on every trip I undertook. Not just souvenirs for myself but for anybody who I could think of on the list – family, friends, neighbors, the postman, you name it. Every city I graced, I wanted to take some permanent reminder, and I wanted everyone to share in this.
Over time, when the traveling starting to increase I think I became customs worst nightmare and I swear they ran when they saw me heading through the departure lounge! Yet, though it seems funny now, it soon grew to such epic proportions that I had to stop and rethink my need to collect such obscure souvenirs from every trip.
I did take an abundance of photos during every trip but, the more and more I traveled, the more my confidence grew along with my ability to explore further afield and as a result, the number of luggage I took with me each time dwindled. I was soon able to travel lighter with every subsequent every trip. I, therefore, began to question the need to bringing back so many souvenirs, and I started to rethink another way to recapture my trips but maybe on a slightly smaller scale.
I now bring back a straightforward souvenir for every trip – that is a small pebble from the shoreline of the country I visit, or from the landscape. I then write the place and the date of each trip, and I keep them stored in a cabinet at home. That way whenever I feel nostalgic and want to take a journey through my memoirs, I merely open the cabinet and pick out a stone. Just the date, name and the rock itself is enough to transport me back to that wonderful time.
A couple of months back, I posted a question to my blog readers and asked them to vote on the types of souvenirs that they liked to bring back from their adventures. I was able to whittle down the answers to five types:
Top of the souvenir list is postcards! A simple way to capture the country you have experienced in full color; a postcard is cheap but effective. Simple enough to place in your luggage without even knowing it’s there, many travelers choose to collect postcards and then display them in a collage back at home as a visual wall art reminder. Some even like to arrange them in a filing system! These are great because they can also be placed into photo albums to capture the moment and, alongside it, a space to write about your journey. With so many types of designs on offer, there is probably a postcard in every city of every country to suit every individual taste!
Second most favorite with travelers it would appear are magnets. Magnets double up as memo and note holders when placed on the fridge, or a whiteboard, and can also be a great visual reminder of the places which you have encountered on your travels. With some weird and wacky designs available or straightforward landmark designs, this can often encourage a magnificent display on your fridge door once you get back home – just be careful not to open the fridge door too quick though, especially if you have an extensive collection of magnets!
The third most popular seems to be ornaments. While I try to refrain from such embellishments, because of my previous tendency to get carried away with them, it appears that a small decoration of what is otherwise referred to as a Knick-knacks, are often more popular with travelers who like to choose something of significance from their trip. This is perfect if the ornament in question is a little unusual as it certainly makes for a talking point once home. Ornaments can also be used as your primary decoration in the home, allowing you to recall those travel memories in an instant each waking day.
Though it may initially seem a more unusual choice, I understand fully why many people will use sand as a souvenir! In fact, during my first trip, I took a small bottle and filled it with the sand of one of the most beautiful beaches I had visited during my stay, and it still sits pride of place on my fireplace at home. One family I know have brought back sand from every trip, and allow the children to decorate the bottles each time to remind them of the fun they all had. This is an excellent idea if it is done in small amounts, but perhaps not always a great idea if you tend to travel a lot – unless you want half a beach in your living room back home!
Not one of my personal favorites but most definitely a favorite souvenir option as in almost every country I have been to, I have noticed tourism dish towels for sale each time! Some people like to collect these tokens from every visit and with the extensive variety of some of the designs, many even offering a brief printed history of the country, it isn’t hard to see why this would appeal. However, for myself, a dish towel is not something I would like to display visually in my home, so I may just pass on this one. But if reminiscing while drying the dishes does if for you, then this may just be one of the more practical of souvenir choices!
A souvenir is most certainly a personal preference and varies greatly. However, if the item you choose to bring back from your travels continues to remind you of the good times of your trip each time you look at it, then that is undoubtedly the most crucial factor in your choice of souvenir. Furthermore, if it fits neatly in your luggage and doesn’t have to have its own seat on the plane back home – better still!