Are you a collector? Do you grab a souvenir from every stop you make on your travels? If so, you aren’t alone. Souvenirs bring back fantastic memories every time you pull them out of the closet or look at the display on your wall. What makes a great souvenir? The answer is as different as the people that collect them. Here are some fantastic examples of the souvenir collections of our family and friends.
Rocks, Pebbles and Sea Shells
While laws are changing and in some countries it is no longer legal to remove any natural element from its environment, you can often still remove a pebble from a beach in some far off destinations with no legal ramification. It may sound silly to you, but this is one of my personal favorite collections. I have a rock from Italy, a rock from England, one from Hungary and one from France. Every time I hold one, I feel like I’m holding a little piece of the country in my hands.
On Sanibel Island in Florida, there is such an abundance of seashells they have a name for the position assumed by so many collectors — the Sanibel Stoop! Seashell are another great collectible if you visit a beach location. Just make sure the shell is free of any living creatures before you take it from its home.
One of our dearest friends collects mugs. Will she ever use them all? Maybe yes, and maybe not. But for her, pulling out a mug for her morning coffee allows her to relive the trip she took to a far corner of the world, if just for a moment. Coffee mugs are easily found at any tourist shop, hotel gift shop or airport. You can find mugs with city names, logos of popular attractions or a combination of both.
If you travel across the pond or just over the border, you have a prime opportunity for a fantastic souvenir. While you can’t spend it at home, having currency from another country is a truly unique item that not many others will have. You’ll have to exchange your money when you reach your host country so tuck an extra bill into your wallet and a few coins in your pocket to bring home. They also make for an interesting conversation piece when shown under the glass of your coffee table!
Books and Magazines
No matter where you are in the world, you can find a bookstore or a shop that sells the local newspaper. If you don’t have time to stop at a bookstore, stop at the front desk of your hotel and ask for a newspaper. Not only will you have a great souvenir of your trip but you will have something with the date on it as well!
If you do have time to browse through a local book nook, look for something about the city you’re visiting or even several postcards or maps. The ideas are virtually limitless! Our friend’s mother has a beautiful book about Paris written in French. She can’t read it but it’s a wonderful memento of her trip. Who knows? You may decide to learn the language someday in the future.
If you visit famous gravestones, historical sites with markers or beautiful statues with memorial plaques, pull out a piece of paper and a pencil and make a rubbing. By holding the paper over the marker and gently rubbing back and forth with your pencil you will have both a lovely souvenir and something to frame and hang on your wall when you return home.
If you collect teapots, spoons, thimbles, tiles or any other manner of knick-knack, skip the standard souvenirs and purchase an item for your collection. It may not scream the details of where you’ve been but you’ll always know where it came from.
Choosing just the right souvenir is merely a matter of your personal choice and style. You can go the kitschy route or buy something truly unique. A souvenir is about keeping hold of your memories; the way you do that is entirely up to you.