The Best Souvenirs to Savor Your Adventures
Travel memories are the greatest memories, and we know you want to bring home a piece of the places you get to visit! Souvenir shopping is also a fun way to experience the places you travel to. You never know what you’ll find in local shops around the world.
One of the best ways to remember your favorite adventures is by bringing home the perfect souvenir! So what are the best souvenirs to bring home? It all depends on your type of adventure and how you’re traveling.
Can’t I Just Collect Souvenirs?
Remember the old phrase, “Take only pictures and leave only footprints”? We’re still going by that ladies! Leave No Trace principles are also aligned with this message, and as travelers, we have a responsibility to travel respectfully.
The travel industry is a booming one, with popular tourist destinations seeing millions of visitors each year. Imagine if every person that visits the shores of western Mexico took home a dozen seashells, or if everyone who hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains brought home a rock from the trail.
Protected areas like state parks, reservations, national forests, parks, seashores, and preserves prohibit collecting anything from these areas, meaning it’s illegal and sometimes punishable by fine or even prison.
When visiting beautiful places whether they’re protected or not, leaving them how you found them is the number one way you can practice sustainable tourism.
We all have a right to pursue our travel dreams and enjoy amazing places to the fullest, and doing your part by making sure they stay beautiful will ensure these places exist for years to come, and for more travelers to enjoy.
Here are some of our best souvenir ideas to bring your adventures home with you!
Bring Home A Classic Souvenir
When you think of souvenirs, a lot of these items probably come to mind:
- Shot glasses
- Pressed Pennies
- Fridge magnets
- Snow globes
- T shirts (check out our Explorer Chick shop… hint hint)
- Coffee mugs
- Beach towel
These items are definitely a great way to remember all your travels, and finding cute and quirky keepsakes in the gift shop of your destination is an easy way for most travelers to bring a memory home.
Collect magnets from different cities, and fill your fridge with reminders of the places you’ve been. I mean really, who doesn’t want to stir unforgettable memories every time they open the refrigerator?
Your house keys can only hold so many keychains, so make sure you mix it up when buying classic souvenirs! Items like these also make great gifts to bring back from your travels for friends and family since they don’t take up much room.
Shot glasses have been a popular souvenir since the dawn of time (practically), and are so much fun to drink from and remember where you’ve been. Keep in mind, though, that a person only needs so many shot glasses. If you tend to buy them for yourself and find your kitchen shelf getting filled with tiny glasses, it’s definitely worth considering different souvenirs
Need more souvenir ideas to inspire memory-making before your next trip? Here are more ways to bring the adventure home with you.
Postcards are popular souvenirs and it’s no wonder why. Bringing home images of the places you go is a great reminder of your travels.
I like to write a little note to myself and mail my postcards home, then find them waiting for me when I get back or wait for them to slowly trickle in. It’s such a fun thing to look back at where I was, like a little travel journal of images.
There are so many ways to display these little pieces of art. You can create a book of all your postcards from each trip to thumb through for sweet memories, and what a perfect coffee table book. You can even create different collections, like one book for all the countries or national parks you’ve been to or a series with one form every stop on a road trip.
You can also simply plaster your fridge with postcards to get a reminder of your travels whenever you walk through your kitchen, and there’s nothing wrong with just keeping them in a special box with your other travel souvenirs (we recommend giving them a peak when you’re missing adventures or thinking about your next trip).
Local Food Souvenirs
One of the best parts of traveling is the chance to try food from different cultures. branching out from typical souvenir shops will help you find some seriously savory things to take home with you.
Bring yourself home a bottle of proper Scotch whiskey from exploring the beauty of Scotland, or a bottle of local tequila from distillers in Mexico.
Take home fresh olive oil from adventures in the Mediterranean, or piparkokur (pepper cookies) from the most amazing places in Iceland. Imagine cooking a delicious meal at home using souvenir ingredients you’ve collected from around the world.
Keep in mind that you often can’t bring produce, meat, or foliage like fresh herbs, plants, and flowers between countries. Liquids in carry-on bags have to be less than 3.4 ounces, so pack the big bottles in your checked bags to be safe.
Take home a lifetime of meal inspiration from your travels with a local cookbook! It’s harder to make food items last forever (we see you saving that last drop of olive oil), but a cookbook with traditional recipes you can make at home is a great souvenir that will last forever.
Fill your kitchen with the smells of the food you enjoyed during your beachfront stay in the Dominican Republic. Follow a recipe to make yourself the perfect tropical drink to sip on and savor the memories of your glamping vacation in Belize. Don’t forget the Tiki glass (we promise it makes it taste better).
What could spark more holiday joy (and inspire travel for the coming year) than opening your holiday decorations to find a bunch of your favorite travel souvenirs?
A Christmas ornament from a place you love can be such a sweet little reminder of your adventures at a time of year when the holidays can take over our brains.
If I collected Christmas ornaments from every place I visited, I would probably need about three trees! I limit myself to only buying ornaments at the national parks I visit (don’t worry, I still buy stickers and postcards too). That way every year my Christmas tree is a themed collection of my visits to America’s Best Ideas!
Local Art or Jewelry
Bringing home art or jewelry from local artisans not only gives you beautiful and unique souvenirs, but it also supports the local artist you buy it from! Supporting the local economy is a great way to practice sustainable tourism.
Local handicrafts are more unique souvenir ideas and are super special since you can’t get them just anywhere. Of course, you can find great souvenirs in most gift shops in tourist destinations, but local goods make for a much more eclectic collection.
Take home decorative items like art from a local shop you can hang on your wall, or trinkets like mini figurines and wood carvings from locals are handmade memories you can take home to decorate with.
Buying handwoven llama socks from local street artists in Peru or handcrafted jewelry from local markets in Mexico brings you closer to the true culture and local history of the places you visit.
Traditional clothing from different cultures is a great idea for remembering your favorite places, too. Bring yourself home a beautiful thawb (traditional ladies’ dress) after adventures in Jordan, or tea towels to remember your safari escapades in Uganda. Something you can wear as a souvenir makes for a unique souvenir that also serves a purpose!
Saving pieces of things you already have is a great way to take home an inexpensive souvenir! Save things like your luggage tag, ticket stubs, paper money or coins from different countries, attraction tickets, and even wine corks from that amazing bottle you brought home from adventures in Slovenia. These little reminders are great souvenirs to get creative with.
You can use them to create a shadow box of your travel memories or a bulletin board collage to display in your home. Remember your past travels every time you walk by your homemade wall hangings made from your totally free souvenirs.
Ready to Find Some Epic Souvenirs?
It’s easy to find a cool souvenir, but finding a place worth bringing one home from? We’ve got you covered when it comes to finding travel inspiration with trips to epic destinations around the world.
Let Explorer Chick help you make the travel memories you really want to savor. Now you’ve got the souvenir ideas, we’ll help you get to amazing places to find them! Our adventure trips for women aim to inspire adventure, friendships, and unforgettable memories made with women who love travel just as much as you do.
Meet the Writer
April is an adventure lover and freelance writer based in New England, with a passion for public lands, wild places, and all things outdoors. She loves camping in any form and spends as many weekends as she can hiking New Hampshire’s highest peaks, or road-tripping with her sweet dog Marley. If not in the mountains, you can find her planning her next expedition or caring for one of her far-too-many-houseplants.
Favorite outdoor adventure: National Parks Hiking and Road Trips!
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