No More Buying Souvenirs – Here’s What I Do Instead

No More Buying Souvenirs – Here’s What I Do Instead

I’ve never really been a “souvenirs” person. To be honest, I’ve never really been a “buying crap” type of person. I’m just not interested. Please don’t take it personally if I don’t bring you back something from my trip. It’s not you. It’s me.

There are probably a million reasons that I’m anti-buying souvenirs, but I’ll just list a few:

  • Do my loved ones really want tacky knick-knacks that they feel compelled to pull out whenever we come visit. I mean really? Ugh. Why don’t we both do each other a favor and just acknowledge that no one wants that crap anyway.
  • Regardless of the length of my trip, I only travel with a carryon. My meticulously packed carryon luggage just doesn’t have space for junk.
  • Money spent on meaningless trinkets – the tshirts, ball caps, shot glasses, magnets, etc could be spent on meaningful interactions. I bet if I asked my family and friends if they knew what I brought back for them from our trip to Asia they’d give me a blank stare. But years later, I can still describe in detail how I spent $5 in Thailand.
  • It’s MY trip and the LAST thing I want to do is waste time shopping. No thanks! Instead of rummaging through overpriced gift shops, I’d much rather be exploring and meeting interesting people and sampling delicious food. Sorry not sorry.

Whenever I start ranting about my dislike of souvenirs, both personal and as gifts, I’m often asked “but how do you remember the trip?” Β So I wanted to share 3 things I do instead of wasting money on souvenirs.

Framed Map Souvenirs

We love getting (free) maps from the tourism offices when we arrive in a new city. And then we get out a pen and circle things that look interesting. We jot down notes on places we want to visit. And when we get home, we frame these maps and hang them on our wall. Every time I look at our map of Hong Kong, and see our scribbles and points of interest, Β it fills me with delight. #Meaningful

Map souvenirs


Assorted Jar and Bottle Souvenirs

I’m super weird, but I just love the tiny little jars and bottles we find all over the world. When we were in Ireland, I just loved the little glass pots they served their yogurt in. So when I was finished eating my yogurt, I rinsed out the jar and brought it home. Every time I see the glass etched with the Irish dairy on the outside, it makes me think of Ireland. In Italy, we would always be served sparkling water in gorgeous glass bottles. I brought one home and put fresh cut flowers in it. The writing on the outside reminds me of sitting in a Italian cafe. #Meaningful

Glass Bottle Souvenirs

Travel journal

I always always ALWAYS carry a journal with me. And I’m always writing down my thoughts, reflections, interactions while I’m on a trip. What I ate. What I saw. How I felt. Who I met. Where we went. I’ve been keeping travel journals since I was a kid and there’s nothing more fun that flipping through an old journal and remembering all the details. #Meaningful

Travel journal


In conclusion

These are my kind of “souvenirs” – deeply meaningful and things that help me savor the trip long after I’ve come home.

How do you remember your travels once you come home?

15 thoughts on “No More Buying Souvenirs – Here’s What I Do Instead”

  • I LOVE the jar and bottles idea. Such a great way to remember your trip. My mom still has her German beer mug from a pub she went to while traveling during her college years.

  • Love the idea of the glass bottles and jars. I too am not a fan of buying souvenirs. I like spending my time getting to see places and learn new things.

  • This is a great post but I enjoy shopping for souvenirs. I keep them around the house to remind me of places visited. I don’t buy much for people these days but when I can, also enjoy the process of picking it out and comparing which would be ideal for whom.

    • I always forget that some people really enjoy the process of finding the perfect item for someone. I will admit that I’m not a fan of shopping in general but I do have a few people in my life that are just SO good at finding the perfect thing for me. I tend to give gifts that are more “experiences” than things. Thanks for your perspective.

  • I love this post – I am same as you, not a “buying crap” person – while my husband is the perfect victim for the souvenir industry – so this is the first argue in our holidays.
    I started sketching again instead of taking photos – sketching is so wonderful to catch all details. When I look at my sketches I am in that place again with all my mind
    I would like to nominate your blog for the Mystery Blogger Award – you will find all the details here
    Kind regards, Sabrina

  • I can totally relate to this. I wouldn’t mind buying meaningful gifts for my friends and family, but I’m neither rich nor traveling with lots of extra room. (In fact, I can’t even figure out how you get the small collectibe bottles home in your luggage). And the time it takes to find just the right thing digs into my exploring time, which I don’t like. I do always send a postcard to family members back at home. As for my own memories, my pictures are the best souvenir. But I sometimes break down and buy a small Christmas ornament. My Christmas tree is filled with travel-related ornaments. And I like to pick up a rock or shell, too. I write the name of the place where I found it and keep it in a jar at home.

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