Have you ever been traveling and had no idea what to get as a souvenir? We love collecting memories from other places, but sometimes it can be hard to know what to buy. What will fit in your suitcase? What’s a souvenir idea that’s not too expensive? Or a souvenir we’ll actually value once we get home?
Plus we often want to bring home unique travel gifts for our friends and family. But finding travel souvenirs that will appeal to a wide variety of people can be challenging.
So here are 10 travel souvenir ideas for your shopping — from items that will fill your home with memories to travel gifts your friends and family will love.
This is the travel souvenir we always try to collect on our trips. Even when we don’t manage to get a Christmas ornament when we are actually on our trip, we try to get one to signify our trip when we get back. (Or, as has often been the case, my mom has bought us an ornament for a trip. Thanks, Mom!)
I love getting out the Christmas ornaments every year, remembering great trips we’ve had, and then getting to see the ornaments on my tree for the month of December. And I love that it’s a special once-a-year thing — we don’t get used to seeing them all the time, so every time we do, they bring back special memories!
Who doesn’t love something that will make their house smell good? And with hand-made candles reaching new heights in popularity recently, you should have any trouble finding local candles in most cities you visit.
This is also a great gift idea for someone who loves to travel. We love Homesick candles, and how they can remind you of some of your favorite places.
When it comes to travel souvenir ideas that everyone will love, this is at the top of my list! Maybe bring home some tea from England, chocolate from Switzerland, or spices from India. Liquor is also a great souvenir idea. We’ve brought home Limoncello from Italy and whiskey from Scotland.
Food items are also at the top of my list for unique travel gifts. I’ve been in that situation before where I have NO IDEA what to get my parents when I’m on a trip — but a food item is guaranteed to be both loved and used.
And don’t forget to treat yourself, too! Bring home some of your favorite sweet treats (macarons from Paris anyone?) to re-live your trip later.
I always try to buy a book when I’m traveling. We often add an independent bookstore to our itinerary, and I love being able to buy local books, preferably from authors who are local to the city or area we are traveling in. Then, when I read the book later, I not only enjoy the book but also have a travel memory associated with it.
If you’d like to find a bookstore close to your travel location, Indie Bound is a great resource for cities in the United States.
If you are religious or have a religious person in your family, bringing home religious items are a great travel souvenir idea. My mother-in-law collect nativities and loves being able to have them around her house during December. You could also bring home prayer beads, rosaries, or prayer candles. These are particularly great ideas if you are traveling somewhere with a deep religious history, like Israel or Rome.
One of the cheapest travel souvenir ideas there is, collecting post cards is a classic favorite. They are easy to find and easy to pack. Plus, you can get creative with how you use them. Use them as bookmarks. Frame them as pictures. Create an album of them. Or hang them up in a creative display so you can always remember some of your favorite trips.
Art is a great souvenir because it is usually so easy to pack flat in your suitcase on your way home. And hanging up travel art around your house is a great way to a) decorate and b) remember your trips!
I love this idea because you don’t necessarily have to have a dedicated travel space to display your art. You can disperse it throughout your home so there are reminders of trips in every room. Plus they can make great conversation pieces!
I am not a jewelry person, but a lot of people are and it makes great travel souvenirs and gifts! Jewelry pieces are small and easily packable. Plus so many countries have jewelry styles that are unique to them (think beaded pieces from South Africa or woven bracelets from Mexico).
Local Pottery or Painted Porcelain
I love finding local artists who have hand-crafted beautiful pieces for your home. You can find mugs, vases, painted porcelain plates and wall decorations, or unique statues.
My absolutely favorite mug is a pottery piece I bought on a trip to Sedona. And my favorite souvenir I’ve ever been given from someone else’s trip is a beautiful small hand-painted vase from the Middle East.
These make for great unique travel gifts, and also can help you fill your home with travel memories.
Clothing accessories are also easy travel souvenir idea. Scarves, hats, and purses are usually pretty easy to find no matter where you are, and sometimes are especially nice depending on your location (think leather purses in Florence or a chullo from Peru). Plus, these are another item that is easy to pack in your suitcase for the trip home.
Whether you are buying for yourself or friends and family back home, I hope these travel souvenir ideas have given you some inspiration so you don’t feel paralyzed by indecision! Happy shopping — and traveling!