This summer I am doing a six week tour of Europe, i'll be going to 16 countries, and I want to collect something from them. I know people collect postcards and magnets and snow globes but I want to collect something different. What are the best/original things you've collected?
I collect small bracelets from each destination I travel, and wear them on my left wrist. I started doing this when I drove across the Andalusia region of Spain 5 years ago and bought a bracelet from every town. It's fun seeking them out, buying them from locals, and listening to their stories.
Right now, I'm wearing bracelets from Austin (Texas), Tanzania, Amsterdam, Florence, Namibia, and Brooklyn (New York). I've worn most of these for years now, but sometimes I add or remove a few. They are constant reminder of gratitude in my life!
Menus. Being a foodie I like having a memento of the places that I have dined at while traveling. Most cooks (not chefs because I love hole in the walls or mom & pops restaurants) are shocked when I ask to buy one, but when i explain that I loved their food and that I am a tourist they are usually happy to give me one. Another nice thing about menus is that it's flat and not bulky so it doesn't take up room when traveling which is definitely a plus.
I know you mentioned people collect postcards... but I have a twist. I write what I did on the postcard and mail it to myself. It's kind of a diary that I plan to pass on to my grandkids someday...
Pottery: Because weight wasn't an option for me, I collected pottery from every country that I've been to. Most country's have some form of blue and white potter and it looks amazing all together in my dining room. The styles and patters are all very different and may pieces are incredibly practical as well as decorative.
Scarves/linens: If you wear scarves, this might be a fun souvenir. Again, each country will have it's own unique style and it's a practical, lightweight, unbreakable remembrance. People will compliment your unusual scarf and you can say, "thank you, I got it it ____." Linens run along the same lines. In Budapest, Germany, Portugal, and Belgium specifically, I found gorgeous linens - table clothes and napkins.
Charms: I'm a charm fanatic and have collected some sort of charm almost every country. Poland has amber, Prague had garnets, Italy has those beautiful good luck charms often made of red coral. In Spain, I got a sterling silver bull.
Beach: Sand, sea shells, and other beach findings are nice souvenirs. In Spain, you'll often find worn bits of old pottery.
Tickets: Keep your train/plane/metro tickets and either frame them with photos or put them into ornaments.
People: Ok, so people won't fit in your suitcase, but make an effort to meet people, smile, have conversations, and may be even collect some email/twitter handles/instagram accounts of people that you meet along the way or go really old fashioned and send a thank you so someone who made a difference along the way. I made lifelong friends in Europe and some began with very random brief encounters. It's a special place.
Rocks. No rock is the same. You can write the state/country, date and collect them in a jar. Each rock will hold a memory or story.
I try to take a picture of the dawn and dusk to see the Sun rise and set on places I visit.
Or a picture of a local person which highlights the culture of destination
I collect Christmas tree ornaments/ decorations. So every year when I am dressing the tree I have happy holiday memories! I have a Koala angel from Australia, A snowman with shamrocks from Ireland, I bauble with chillies on from Mexico- you get the idea! Some don't have obvious links to the country- e.g. a gold glass star from Paris, but I still have the memories.
Race medals. I've been in 10k races in several different countries, and the race medals (and sometimes t-shirts) are great souvenirs. You have to earn them, and you often meet some interesting people at races.
I like to hit the local grocery stores in the area and buy a canvas grocery bag. Useful, doesn't weigh much and it reminds me of the places I've been.
This isn't so easy for visiting that many countries, but I typically bring back a bottle of the local drinks, like a local beer, wine, or spirit, and will then give to friends, enjoy on my own, or throw a travel-themed party. I'll also often pick up some handmade items, like jewelry, instruments, or trinkets. I think those types of things say a lot about a culture's history and what's important to them.
This is an odd one, and I'm sure no one will understand this, but I collect Wi-Fi networks. I'll log on to a local venue (I've done Disney Land, various athletic stadiums, museums, etc.) and hop onto the Wi-Fi, if possible. Then it's stored in my list of networks for memories.
You can't really display them when you get home, but they are cheap, weightless and organize easily.
For a more practical solution - Christmas tree ornaments for a travel tree.
Would love to know what you decide on!
My favorite "I was there" things to collect from travels are "finds" of geocaches. These are hidden containers* (and paper logs to sign) that must be found using GPS coordinates, which are posted on the Geocaching.com website. The global game of geocaching just celebrated its 15th anniversary. There are more than 2.6 million geocaches and 6 million registered participants. Some "caches" very easy to get to and find. Some are extremely difficult. It's free to play and not as techie-geeky as it sounds. You can use your smart phone with a free app, but serious players all have hand-held GPS devices which have accuracy to about 10 feet, thanks to all the satellites orbiting Earth.
Finding a geocache while traveling has several benefits. First, you have to do some research to find where geocaches are. You view maps and read about getting there. This prepares you to maximize your travel experience. Second, geocaching can lead you to discover some very cool spots that tourists don't know about: secret trails, hidden beaches, unique landforms. Finally, because geocaching is mainly an experience of finding something, it doesn't cost anything extra or take up room in your luggage. Your finds, written notes and photos can be logged online where you see on maps where you've been and read about other geocachers' experiences in those places. Kind of like Trippy!
*Not all geocache types are physical containers. There also are geology-themed Earthcaches and virtual geocaches that involve submitting info available at the location to log a "find." There also are web cam geocaches (smile, you're on camera!) and geocaching events.
My last trip to Hawaii, where I've visited many times, was greatly enhanced by geocaching. I discovered some amazing new places and enjoyed new experiences in more familiar spots. During ALL of my travels, I now take only pictures and leave footprints — but also my name on a geocache log.
I collect sterling silver charms for my charm bracelet! It's kind of an expensive souvenir and I don't wear the bracelet often, but whenever I look at it, I'm reminded of all the amazing places I've been lucky enough to see!
It took me a while before I figured out what it was I could take and keep from each country. Now, I always make sure to grab a postcard from every city and for each country I grab something I can display at home. For example, from China I have a symbolic structure that can be hung that symbolizes peace and good vibes, from the Eastern Europe I bought brandy canteens made and carved out of wood, it's nice to have one from each country and yet they are all different. I stay away from little gimmicky things or a bunch of small knick knacks. I prefer to have 1 substantial (possibly pricier) thing that I can display around my house and always look at it. The other thing I do, although this isn't a purchase, is I make sure to get a great photo of every country I go to and when I get back home I print it onto a wrap-around canvas and hang it on a wall in my living room. It's a really nice touch that you and others will always enjoy!
I have always collected matchbooks, although in recent years, they have become quite difficult to collect in the states. To me they are mini pieces of art and a wonderful reminder of traveling the world. I keep some in a very large bowl but the most beautiful ones are framed in one large frame, displaying either the front or the back of each matchbook.
Great question! I collect shopping bags from every place I go. I started when I first went to Paris. I really couldn't afford to buy anything so I started collecting business cards from stores. In Europe, business cards are like little works of art so they were great things to have and they gave me a great way to track where I had been that day. One day a store I went to offered me a shopping bag when they ran out of cards. It was a beautiful bag with thick ribbon handles and a cute little logo of a dog. To this day I collect them no matter where I go in the world. They're free, lightweight and look great framed.
Awesome that most girls choose jewelry! Personally I go for earrings because its what I wear most. The labels of wine or any other liquor that I liked in that area to put in my travel journal. Clothes that are only from that region are always fun. And kitchen towels (or any other kitchen utensil) are great and can be used at home often!
Marathon medals (I run a lot of marathons)
I go to the local supermarket to pick up local chocolate which I will never get in my city....so I usually bring back local brands, rather than Twix, Mars, Snickers, etc.
Another thing I like is incense sticks from places I traveled to...
Both the things mentioned are perishable items, so I pick up small souvenirs local to a place, to decorate my home.
Hi Kirsty! I collect magnets for my fridge!! I have more than 50. So cool!!
However I also bring little rocks from each place (beach, road, street, etc.). I have different colors, shapes, etc. I write the name of the place where I gathered the little rock with the date on it.
Great question Kirsty, I'm always looking for unique, meaningful mementos from my travels! I have now amassed a small collection of mini animals or little somethings to remind me of each location from my travels - a wooden donkey from Santorini, a jade bear from Alaska, a ceramic fish from Bali, a mini Eiffel tower from Paris, mini clogs from Amsterdam... They sit on my dresser in my closet where I can see them every morning when I'm getting ready.
I love to collect small pieces of art (watercolors, prints) candles, soaps and spices from places I travel to. Many times, I buy these from street vendors or local markets.
I also love to pick up a coffee table book from each city/country I visit. I find many of these in museums I visit, as well as independently owned bookshops.
Postcards as always a great momento as there's a huge variety of options, they're inexpensive, and can be displayed in small frames, as a collage, or made into a book when your trip is over. :)
I'am a chef so I like small kitchen tools. I like knives or great pics on my camera of very cool places & being silly...
Great question Kirsty! I collect shot glasses and Jacey likes to find a charm for her bracelet typically. We also enjoy picking up something for our nieces and nephew to put in their bedrooms. We hope to inspire them to travel one day too!
I collect souvenir spoons and then put them all in a glass case display on my wall. Just a fun way to see all the places you've been!
While in Scotland, I bought a beautiful wool blanket so I can display it at home on my couch. I also bought two Rangers FC scarves and a bottle of Scottish Whiskey. In Switzerland it was a white Swiss army knife (only available in Switzerland), in Munich I bought a Bayern Munich mug, wooden shoes in Netherlands, and a mask from Venice. I try to get one thing that is unique to each country I visit.
Hi: I like to get a ring from each country. I got started in Coober Pedy, Australia and bought an Opal which are only found there. I have a Garnet ring from Germany and Malachite stone from Israel, Gold from Black Hills, Cameo from Italy, Cladaugh fromIreland, A green(Malacite) stone with embedded Shamrock from Ireland and a multi stone ring also from Italy. Precious metals do not set off security alarms in Airports as Guns are not made of those so you can wear them through. It is a good memory.
Full disclosure: I'm a shopaholic. I pack my suitcase half full so I have plenty of room to bring home local crafts. I shop once, if not twice, a day. I always try to get things that represent the area artisans. I have quite a collection of masks, paintings and statues from my travels.
There are some things I always look for, though. As strange as it might sound, I love daggers and dollies. Some of the knives are just so cool, with intricate handles. And every place has handmade dolls that have a rustic charm.
I love having my souvenirs around my home to remind me of my life-changing adventures.
I don't collect a specific item, but I buy things that I use, jewelry, clothes, shoes - not knick knacks - my leather coat is from Florence, a dress from Greece, letter opener from Canterbury, UK, perfume from Dahab, Egypt, etc. Whenever I use these items I remember my trip.
A Craft piece of each country I visit, because each country is diferent, and the "Craft" always represents the culture of this country !! Sometimes, they can be a bit large, and difficult to carry, when you visit several countries/regions on the same trip!!
I collect shot glasses and McDonald's happy meal toys. My shot glass collection is a great way to segue to talk about your travel stories. You're never left without a story to tell and a shot with a friend.
I recently started collecting happy meal toys because I became fascinated the differences that culture brings to the toys at McD. Kind of by accident, I wanted a small meal in Barcelona but didn't want to fill up before dinner. Bought a happy meal and it came with a book written in Catalan. The rest was history. Also, I'll have amass a toy collection by the time I have kids.
I would not rule out the postcards. I have sent them to myself and have made a book out of them. Also for example ... If you go to Amsterdam get wooden shoe keychain or something that is typical from that place. I will say do not by anything big. Remember everything in Europe is small and if you are in transit you definately do not want to carry all that.
I collect shot glasses because they are small and easy to fit in your luggage and aren't usually that expensive.
Sunrises and sunsets. My favorite thing to do in each city is to get up super early at least one day and take a photo of the sun rising over the city. The shot is usually amazing and walking around the city in the morning you see so much interesting things like how locals start their day. Also getting a shot of the sunset of the city will make for a really cool poster or collage when you get home and put it all together.
I am an artist and I love to visit museums in Europe. I collected dvds of individual artists from the different areas that I visited. In this way I could revisit the art work from my travels many times. These were also light and easy to pack in my small carry on.
I collect boarding passes ,train ticket,bus ticket, and all kind of the tickets and most important is new friends and good memories :)
Stamps of the country where I travel, they're cheap, easy to carry and also may be good gifts.
Small stones and sea shells may be also an alternative. Non precious stones of course, just for souvenirs of the places that I visited, so far I had collected small stones from Egypt, China (Great Wall), Vesuvian mountain near to Naples or sea shells from islands all over the world.
I usually collect something small from a local sporting team. To keep my luggage weight under control, it's usually a sweat band or something pretty small. It's a great way to bring back the feeling of a trip when you wear these locally bought items once you're home.
I try to get something unique to the place I visit. For example I have purchased: spices in Grenada; a wood carving of the Mother and Child in Oberomergau; alpaca yarn in Peru; a glass plate in Venice, a print of the temples at Luxor. Then my home is filled with things that bring me joy in memory.
Coffee mugs. Later on its fun to decide where I'd like to go & choose the mug from that place for my coffee in the morning. However, my cupboards are getting rather full...
I always buy a notebook to use in my next trip cause I love to keep a journal when I travel.
16 countries = 16 SIM cards! I collect them since they weigh practically nothing yet are the most practical things that can be used to make my travels more convenient. But then, I am a form follows function kind of person. Here's my guide on how to use them while travelling.
I like to get jewelry or something I will wear. I have gotten purses or shoes by a local designer, as well as wraps. Jewelry I only get if they are know for a certain stone or metal. It's a simply way to bring back Memories of my trip in my everyday.
One of the things I love to do when I travel is to take a photo in the same position and then print it. I started doing this with a friend of mine, because in every journey she had a different hair color.
However, I've met a lot of people who collect rocks, or even stole something from every place they go (like a little toy or things like that).
I hope you like some of these ideas and enjoy your travel, I bet you will have an incredible experience :)
fabrics: unique textiles from each country to make a table cloth or table runner for your home that you can use everyday to remind you of your travels; about 1/4 yard - 1/2 yard of washable fabric will do. Often you can find inexpensive scarves that have pictures of the local scenery/buildings.
Refrigerator magnets and pressed pennies. I'm going to start buying patches. Recently bought a backpack to travel with and sew the patches on.
We collect some type of home good so the house if full of items we see from our travels every day. Normally one special thing from a trip
While they are slightly more bulky than trinkets this method serves many purposes - a reminder, good stories and home decorations.
Coasters from restaurants you go to, or from stores are my favorite thing to collect because they take up next to no space in luggage and then serve as conversation pieces in your home! Also, of it is from a restaurant it is free so it is a win win.
I don't know whether this is the BEST thing to collect, but we've always brought back distinctive rocks from places -- there are volcanic rocks at Pescadero State Beach that have peculiar scooped out cavities in them. I have a bunch of those -- that stretch of California coast south of Half Moon Bay is the only place I've ever seen those.
In really foreign places, I like to buy music CDs by local artists.
The best things to collect are memories and photographs! Period!
I've collected letter openers from all over the world. They are small and flat enough to fit easily enough in checked luggage, although I realize I haven't done that since 9-11.
Shot Glasses for me and Refrigerator Magnets for my wife. The shot glasses will be passed down to our son and the magnets to our daughter. You can always find great pieces at great prices.
I don't intend to collect anything however, there are some items I've found as my collections.
Sarong, a local dress, I have first piece from a border market along Moeiriver between Mae Sot, Thailandand Myawaddy, Myanmar for over 20 years ago. Next pieces are from Udon Thani, and other provinces in Thailand.
Mentioned in this answer:
Plates: decorative ones we hang on the wall. Magnets, of course ... our kitchen has its own magnetic field. And those little pin badges. I put them on my camera bag ... and these days, they almost weigh as much as my cameras do! :D
Another thing: I don't collect them myself, but we have a friend who asks us to look for souvenir thimbles to bring back for her.
I like purchasing utilitarian souvenirs that I'll end up using often at home. I have a wood spoon and fork set for salads and a blanket that I got in Peru, a painted wooden box from Ecuador that I keep my various charging cords in, fabric that I had sewn into a pillow case from Columbia, a wool headband from Iceland, etc.
Usually fridge magnets or postcards, depending. I find it easy to display them, and sometimes the postcards will be a nice reminder and souvenir of me travelling to that place.
I like to collect bottle caps. And little rocks or "Sea Glass" if I am anywhere near a city that is on a large lake or ocean and the way the water smoothes out the edges of what was once a broken bottle. When I was growing up, my father was a union leader for the IBEW and my brother in law was working for Caterpillar and they lived all over southeast Asia, and I went along many times and collected matches from every place we were. I have a couple hundred from the late 70s to early 90s when I was just starting to tour professionally as a musician. I realize NOW what a "Mad Men" episode much of my parents' life was and everyone was drinking and smoking incessantly. This is my first time posting. Hello.
Friends and memories
I agree with Christmas ornaments. That's what I collect. I love them because you can usually find one; they're not too expensive, large or heavy; and they don't clutter your house all year. You store them, and then every holiday season you can pull them out and be reminded of all the fun you had, and they're great conversation starters when you have guests see your tree.
Totally impracticable due to the weight but I love collecting sea glass and tiles along the beaches when I travel. The glass is always different! I read in a magazine once that someone collected restaurant menus. Like, he would ask the owner to buy a menu. Then he would take it home and frame it on the wall. I like that idea too.
The thing I always collect on trips are memories and photos. Photography is my passion and it is great if you travel. Unfortunately my lifestyle doesnt allow me to collect anything else. Only have two suitcases ;)
My grandma collects mugs. She probably has hundreds sitting above her cabinets from traveling the world and they're all unique in their own way.
I try to find an old key. Usually antique shops or flea markets are good places to look. Sometimes I don't find one - but that just means I have to go back. I have some cute little tags and I make notes and attach to the key... pretty cool.
I collect snow globes :)
Local comic books - because they show the true character of a country as they are intended for domestic consumption. In Chile it is "Condorito", in Argentina its is "Malfalda". If you can spend time and translate the words it is a great way to pick up a language.
Mostly I collect pins from everywhere I go. And beer coasters.
I do collect postcards but I actually mail them to myself while traveling. I send myself one each day while traveling and include details about the highlights of the day. That way it's like a mini photo journal of my trip.
It's cheesy, but the best thing to collect is good times with great people and experiences you can't have in other places. This especially becomes true the longer you plan on traveling. It becomes burdensome to collect things, because you start worrying about them (stolen/broken), you have to physically lug them around, or you concern yourself with the cost or time to find such items, and if you must - sending them home often. That being said, there is some fun in finding some unique thing that represents a place of significance you traveled. For example, I sent home my hammock that I bought while in the Amazon.
As far as the closest thing I "collected", it was the highest value coin from each country. If you're traveling a long time, they don't weigh much or take up room in your bag, you don't worry too much about them getting stolen or needing to send them home, and they look pretty cool framed all together.
Beer koozies, there useful and always have the names of the place on them
Art, original Christmas ornaments, bring them home write dates and place where you bought them.
What ever you get, make it light weight and let it reflect the place you have been. If there is something you already collect, then adding to your collection is great (unless of course it's anvils or doorstops.) You can ship things home but send it by "slow boat" or the postage will kill you. I recently bought a coffee table book in Spain. It cost me more to send it than the book itself. Try to find things that are found only in the place you are visiting. This can be difficult, one can get everything everywhere nowadays. And be sure it is really made locally. I bought a small doll in Mexico that was made in Guatemala. I also pick up a pretty pebble everywhere and write on it. Note: this MAY be illegal in some protected places with the leave it like you found it policy. Take lots of pics or get a few post cards to bring home.
Stamps. They are inexpensive, have a little weight and you find everywhere. Of course every stamp have the language of the country
Keychains! For a few reasons: they are small - so they won't take up much room in your luggage and light - so they won't weigh you down. The best part is that when you get home you can carry your memories around with you all the time. I like to switch mine out every once and a while. Currently carrying a cool black steel penguin bottle opener from New Zealand :)
For me, local maps so I can plan my return trip easier :-)
When I travel I collect Starbucks coffee mugs. Probably not the lightest idea you'll get but I usually only hit 1 or 2 countries per trip so this idea works for me. Starbucks coffee houses are popping up worldwide and each country has a different city or country mugs. I drink coffee everyday and use a different country mug. I chose the mug depending on the country I want to remember. I also pick up a pound of local coffee and drink that coffee in that mug on my return.
I get t-shirts! When I'm tired of wearing them, or they start to get too faded, I cut the main pic on the shirt out and make a quilt. There are companies that you can send your shirts to, to have it done if you don't sew.
Magnets are small and useful when you get home. And every touristy place has a slew with the name of the place and pretty artwork of a site. I line them up on the side of my fridge and remember the great places I saw every morning.
Recipes to learn to cook together to remind you of your amazing time away.
Wine, coffee beans, jewelry made from gem stones native to the region.
I collect items to put on the Christmas tree. Sometimes regular ornaments are not available, so I improvise. Key rings are easily attached with a hook to the tree. It may be a small toy that I can put a hook in. I much prefer to have the name of the city/country on it but, if it is obvious, not as important. For instance, I couldn't find a real ornament in Switzerland, so I bought a small St. Bernard toy. In Cuba recently, I bought a Havana Club key ring.
Sunrises! set up your day in each county to wake up and enjoy the sunrise.
Postcards? Snowglobes? will sit on a shelf or be put in a drawer. Sunrise in each country? The memory will be with you a lifetime.
I collect experiences...memories of the laughs and new adventures. While making new friends. Take fun selfies with new friends that capture a special moment. Those are the kinds of collections that last. As I find collecting "things" doesn't work (for me). The "things" end up collecting dust sitting on a shelf.
A practical suggestion: Pack light when you leave for your trips (as in carry-on baggage only) and buy your clothing as you travel and need. When you bring it home you will likely remember when and where you bought that article of clothing. I have sandal shoes from Namibia, safari hat from Kenya, socks from Peru, genuine Indian Army fleece head warmer from Kashmir, pants from China, and more t-shirts from famous places than I know what to do with....
Oddly, I like collecting drink coasters.
They are easy to transport, don't break easily, and don't take much room in your luggage.
And when you're using them on your coffee table, they will always remind you of your trip.
small magnets is good to collect.
we can place them on our fridges. they remind us of where we went whenever we open the fridges.
Most "things" turn into landfill even though they seemed like a good idea at the time. I know it sounds trite, but memories are the best things to collect. But second best is art or home decor of some sort. If you can find a piece, even something small, and it doesn't have to be expensive, that goes with your existing preferred style of home decor, placing it there can evoke a positive memory of that trip while still integrating into your lifestyle. It can also be an excellent conversation piece.
I collect small turtels. My aunt started me when i was a teen. She brought me one every trip she took. I coninued with my travels rarely don't I find one.
I collect mostly memories and that's why I try to do and see as much as I can on my trips. I stopped collecting material things on a bigger scale that are just for display to collect dust years ago since at certain time in my life I saw no point.
But still, from each trip I bring just one little thing to let me remember. Let it be little rock or shell I picked on a beach, bracelet or necklace bought from art shop or when visiting native community,... Another thing is for example a pack of really good coffee when in Latin America, various spices produced locally I use for cooking. Last couple of years I as well buy one T-shirt with graphics unique to the area and at home get rid of one old :-)
From each trip I keep 1-2 air tickets or a postcard I pin on a wall of my office at work to remind me my travels.
Then there are my friends who take care of my house while away so I always bring something for them as well.
I like to collect small chains with lockets of the local famous things whenever I visit any place. I purchase these things from the local shops and it costs me very low and I can save these things as my memory.
I always go to the local flea markets or op shops and hunt for a treasure! In Paris I found a little silver ashtray, scarf in Province of Florence, Lace Doiley in Belgium, Crosses from the Vatican City, Pot from Mexico, Patches from USA - Route 66 and various others, Teatowel from Rome, Earrings from London flea market....just little things that bring back memories and are useful.
Mentioned in this answer:
I collected flags of the country I visited
Money. I started doing this since I begun flying as a Flight Attendant. I have them in a folder with several pockets. I have a target of 30 countries and collect their coins and pin it to their designated country and have it framed.
Coasters from various bars and restaurants
I always get a small souvenir book about the city that has lots of pictures
I also always get a little souvenir model of whatever is most famous in the city I,e. Big Ben or the Eiffe Tower
At Christmas time, when I am in Germany or Austria.. I collect the Christmas market Glühweinstand mieten . But I always collect magnets, preferably with animals, especially with reptiles.
I always send postcards to myself from the places I visited...like a travel journal
Every where I go, I try to purchase hand made bracelets from street vendors, they might not be expensive but very meaningful to me.
My wrist is full of them.
No long time ago, I took the chance to open my first e-commerce website inspired in what I enjoy the most, travel and hand made bracelets.
Each bracelet is hand made and inspired in a bucket list idea. My favorite collection is http://www.bucketbracelets.com/collections/by-country
This is me with all my bracelets purchased all around the world.
I love these answers! I don't have one specific thing I collect, but always something small and lightweight, and easy to pack (usually) - this has most often taken the form of small pieces of artwork, a small piece of pottery, or jewelry. I like having something tangible that I can look at to recall my trip.
I collect Christmas decorations when I can find them. The every year when we dress the tree we reminisce about the various places. I usually travel in Oct so there is often decorations around.
When I start traveling around this summer, I plan to collect a note of currency from each country, along with pictures of course. I would like a nice glass case to store each one as a sort of centerpiece that would enable guests to spark conversations.
I started collecting tea towels. Super thin and easy to pack lots of (not as thin as little trinkets perhaps) & the plan is to sew them together & make a unique travel table cloth :)
I started collecting tea towels. Super thin and easy to pack lots of (not as thin as little trinkets perhaps) & the plan is to sew them together & make a unique travel table cloth :)
I started collecting tea towels. Super thin and easy to pack lots of (not as thin as little trinkets perhaps) & the plan is to sew them together & make a unique travel table cloth :)
No really original per se but I pick up earrings and a dress everywhere I go. That way I use/wear the souvenir instead of collecting 'stuff'. :-) You find cool and unusual crafty artistry wherever you go. It's also small, often inexpensive and easy to get home. Like I said, it's not unusual but I think my wall of earrings is kind of beautiful. They all have a story.
I collect a coin from each country and sick it on a polaroid of my favourite moment. Could work also with dry pressed flowers. Just pop a flower in your travel guide.
And i collect business cards from restaurants and places I stayed at.
I like to collect magnets, 'cause I think that come in a home and see many pics of various and different places, gives personality to a room and let you fly to those places where you've left your heart.
I would reccommend to you this website to check beautiful and special experiences in Italy :)
I try to make at least one friend. It's more lasting. Plus, if you go back then you have someone to hang out with and learn what new things have happened while you were not there. I also enjoy buying shopper bags that I will continue to use back home :)
This may sound a bit offbeat, but I love the free stuff! If I like a place, I'll pick up coasters in a bar and in some places (especially in Southern beach towns) the bars and restaurants serve drinks in plastic cups with the name of the bar or restaurant on it. I also like to get beer cozzies from destinations. Here's some more suggestions!
I collect Christmas ornaments or anything that disguises as ornaments. For example, I have found Key rings that work beautifully.
I love to purchase everyday items to remind me of my trip, before nice paper and envelopes were ubiquitous, I would go to office supply stores and buy stationary. I've even purchased panties - boy cut, yellow lace from Paris! TMI! My most favorite now is kitchen utensils, spices and dishtowels. I did steal an ashtray from Prague once and a tea cup from British Airways. Snitches get stitches.
I collect different types of things.
In NZ I collect shot glasses, and friends have started giving them to me as gifts.
In UK & Europe I've collected fridge magnets but I get the "cheesiest" I can find, like a woolly sheep from Wales.
I keep paper bags if they're touristic ones, like the one my donkey fridge magnet from Corfu came in!
Napkins, takeaway menu's, hotel notepads, I've even had a stint on buying tea towels!
My friends know I like the tourist "tat". I'd have a plastic Eiffel tower and Sphinx if I'd ever been to those places.
I'm making a start this year on small pots of sand.... I think I have a problem :)
Only pictures, more pictures and memories. Perhaps bracelets for the kids like Jillian.
Memories and knowledge!
Little collector lapel pins. Most "destinations" have them. They take up zero space/weight, and you can display them on a bulletin board back home OR, as a friend of mine does, on a hate. He has 4 hats completely filled with lapel pins. It's like battle armor, and a pretty cool thing to travel with.
Photographs and memories.
I try to look for something original or unique to the country I'm.
In Murano, Italy, I bought a glass shark that I'd watched a glassmaker hand-make in front of me.
In Greece, I bought an alabaster Corinthian column, along with a small, one-inch tall soldier helmet replica. I also took a volcanic rock from Red Beach in Santorini.
In Paris, I bought a little music box that had images of Paris on it.
From Prague, I took home an empty beer bottle. The beer was from a brewery started by monks nearly 1,000 years ago.
I used to collect mugs too, but now that I have so many, I've downsized to shot glasses. I've also collected currency. Some countries like Denmark, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic don't use the Euro, so it's fun to have a leftover coin or bill from those places.
Anything I can put on display in my house. I like to buy whatever the country/region specializes in. So the decor of my house is, "If I like it, it goes together." I get to be reminded of my trips every day just by looking around, and whenever new people come over they are really interested in the different artifacts. It allows me to revisit my trip through all their questions! And I promise, Latin American, Asian, European, Austrailian - it all goes together beautifully!
Wow. Some great answers here! My collections have shifted over the years. Postcards when I was a poor student living in London. Then magnets and t-shirts.
Now it's kitchen gear. Not from everywhere, but if they use unique things like tortilla presses, talavera, or my big b-day splurge of a copper pan from Paris, or the really cool $1 Inca figurine bottle opener I got in Cusco. Pot holders from New Orleans with recipes; mola pot holders from Panama.
I also bring back foods. Like tomato conserva from Malta; tea from Ireland; Marie Sharp sauces and rum from Belize. Way too much from France.
Try taking video of different people saying hello and goodbye in their own way and expression.
You will find a common connection in them throughout the world.
We use to collect mugs, and when we retired and downsized there was no longer a place to display them and none of our children wanted them. They are now stored in a box in our garage. So collect something small. A young lady told me that she collects a bead from every country she visits and plans to make a necklace to give to her daughter when she has children. I thought that was a very special idea. Of course if she only has sons I guess she can pass it on to a daughter-in-law or granddaughter.
Wow, thanks for asking this question Kirsty. I read all the answers and I am amazed at the interesting stuff people collect. Personally if I am going to a different country I definitely save one of their coins and a note for my collection. 2nd thing is any small piece which must be easy to carry and bears the stamp of the region. It can be a handicraft item or some piece of clothing that is made in that region only like the lace in Burano, italy or chikankari from India. They are a reminder of the fine things that country produces and you can show them to your friends proudly.
Burano, Italy LaceChikankari from India
Memories, experiences, tastes... smiles 😉. It doesn't matter how much you spend in a souvenir if you can't remember where you got it.
I've started collecting ornaments or creating ornaments out of something I purchased while traveling. It's nice to have a Christmas tree decorated with everywhere we've been over the years.
I'm guilty of collecting magnets as well. I also collect the crushed pennies or euro cent coins. One thing I collect when I go to Europe around Christmas are the mugs they serve drinks in at the Christmas-Weinacht markets. They are always unique to the markets You buy them at. Even the stand within the markets have uniqueness. I have some that are like normal coffee cups, steins & boots. The cups are probably my most unique collection.
Favorite liquor from that region or country. A sip from the bottle many years later always brings back the memories. ;)
Memories and photographs :)
I collect shot glasses. I'm not an alcoholic or anything but they're always easy to get and pretty different :)
Shot glasses are awesome.
I love collecting hats and caps from the place I visit. Sometimes they represent the city, but many times a university, event, election or sports team. They are fun to display and wear from time-to-time, which is a great conversation starter. They are also light and pack easily...even on your head!
I collect religious icons from each country I visit and have them hanging on the wall in my hallway.
For a while I bought souvenirs and trinkets from everywhere I went. I tried to limit this as it was getting too much.
I'd love to say take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints but it is nice to have something to remember places by.
I try to get something that really captures the heart of the country, so now I go for representations of deities or holy artifacts.. I have the Golem from outside the Jewish cemetery in Prague, Tara the saviour-Goddess from Tibet, Anubis from a Cairo market, Kali from a temple in Calcutta, the Hand of Fatima from Marrakesh, a pendant of San Benito (the patron saint of travellers) from Bolivia.... it goes on.
And I always carry my travelling Buddha with me. He's been everywhere I have for 17 years.
I collect Santas for my tree. Write the place and date on the back. It is double fun every year to decorate our tree and remember where we have been. Just bought a Morano glass Santa from my Italy trip.
A good friend of mine has been collecting them for over 10 years. They are easy to find, relatively cheap, fun to pick out and best of all he's painted a bathroom in his place with magnetic paint so they all are stuck up there and are a great reminder of all the places he's been (and something fun for guests to look at when in there).
Earrings for me from everywhere you go please!
Wine, coffee beans, jewelry made from gem stones native to the region....oh and also coasters.
Magnets! cheap, small, resistant and you can have a collection at your fridge!
I am a cook; for myself (and friends) I collect salt from grocery stores-from France, Spain, Italy etc. It's inexpensive, not perishable and varieties are easily found. Also affordable!
A Christmas decoration or something you can turn into one. Every year you can remember your travels as you decorate your tree.
I love to collect local art. It can be sidewalk artists, local crafts - something that when I look at it reminds me of the places I visited.
We ride motorcycles so we have to collect small items - pictures are the best memories. I collect pins when I can find them (National Parks, etc. . .) when we are in nature areas I will pick up a rock and write the location on it with a sharpie! I have a pretty glass jar I keep them all in. Happy travels!
I Kirsty, I love collecting foods from around Europe or economical edition of book in each language. In one of my last travel I brought with me this camera, and now all the picture are on my fridge ;)
Drink coasters and they r free!
Memories. And get a photo with everyone you connect with. Save your money and apply it toward your next adventure.
In Ljubljana, Slovenia buy a green dragon, which is the mascot of this capital city.
Carrybag, Water Bottle, ATM Cards, etc.