5 Travel Memento Ideas

Nothing makes me happier than looking back on the little souvenirs I brought home with me from my travels. To be perfectly honest, though, I didn’t actually get good at picking out travel tokens until my second year abroad.

glassesAfter my first year spent in Korea, I went to visit back home with my arms filled with knick-knacks and tchotchkes that lasted a few months before breaking down or getting lost.

My second year in Asia, I was much better about being selective when I picked out trinkets and treasures to take home with me. Here are some of my favorite things to pick up during adventures. Maybe you might find a collection you like!

1. Sands or shells from different beaches

So, I actually picked out little shells from different beaches, which I plan on displaying in little 3d picture frames (as soon as I learn how to resist procrastination that is).

When I got home and started researching ways to store my shells, though, I found that some people take little glass bottles with them to store different sands from all the beaches they visit.

I’m incredibly jealous that I didn’t think of that because it’s a seriously unique idea (not to mention easy and cheap!). I now own a million empty bottles ready for my next tropical adventure.

2.Foreign money

Kind of a no-brainer, but I’m surprised at how many of my friends didn’t keep any of their currency from the countries they traveled to. I tried to keep a couple bills and a couple coins from each place. I even have a bill from China even though I never visited the country.

It was gifted to me randomly by my seat-neighbor on the plane headed back home. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I politely refused it as much as he’d let me before accepting it.)

3. Coffee/espresso mugs

My coffee mug collection is probably my favorite collection so far. It’s not a very unique idea, but it’s a great conversation starter when I have people over for tea and coffee! Plus, I use them every morning, and it makes me happy to remember where I’ve been each morning.

4. Teas, spices, and packaged treats

Another favorite treasure of mine to collect is teas and spices. Once in a while I’ll get little-packaged treats to bring back for friends and family, but those are often a hit or miss, and there’s no point in wasting the money on foods no one will eat.

Whereas spices and teas, I know will be used up. As soon as I travel to a place where coffee is famous, I’m bringing back pounds and pounds of coffee beans.

5. Fabrics

For those that have crafty little fingers, fabrics are a good buy while abroad, especially if you have the ability to turn the lot into a quilt or something equally awesome.

6. Anything handmade

I’m a huge fan of purchasing jewelry or trinkets when I can see them being made by the seller right there. I made the mistake of purchasing a lot of mass-produced mementos a lot, but now I know better.

7. Unique antiques

If you happen to find an antique shop, you’re looking at one of a kind treasure that no one else will have. I know a girl that goes to antique shops to purchase boxes of old photos, old perfume bottles, and little boxes (to keep her saved up coins in when she gets home).

Safety tips: Be sure that whatever you’re purchasing/keeping to take with you back home is legal. Some countries have restrictions on what you can and cannot take from the country, so be sure to check.

Calling all explorers and travelers! What is your favorite item to collect while traveling, and why? Share your answer with other expats in a comment below!



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