travel holiday souvenirs
Travel Lifestyle

Quirky Travel Souvenirs – What do You Bring Home from Holiday?

How does that travel quote go that you regularly see pop up on Instagram? Ah yes, “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints”. I get the true meaning behind that, and you’ll never see me chipping off a rock from the side of Angkor Wat or something, but I have to admit that I do bring home much more than pictures from my holidays.

Yes, I have a bad habit for bringing home a selection of tacky souvenirs. Some people choose to collect fridge magnets or stickers – I do this and much, much more. It began with just one souvenir and grew from there. Today I have to tick off a little list of souvenirs to bring home and often get stressed out if I can’t find them.

I thought you might like a chuckle, so here’s a breakdown of the travel souvenirs I like to bring home every time I go on a trip (and as you know, that’s quite often!). Don’t judge!

For the kids

As we don’t always get to travel with my step kids it’s understandably become a tradition to always bring them back little gifts. One collects key rings and the others rubbers, so we’re always on the look out for cool ones to bring home.

travel holiday souvenirs


Keyrings and rubbers

Keyrings are oh so simple to pick up – they’re everywhere! – but you’d be surprised how hard it is to pick up an eraser these days. Most of the time we manage to find one, but there have been occasions where we’ve been wracked with guilt for not being able to find one (and so bribe them with extra sweet treats!).

travel holiday souvenirs

travel holiday souvenirs


Another super tacky souvenir tradition has been picking them up Hard Rock Café t-shirts – often fake ones! We love a good Asian night market, and so it’s become a ‘thing’ for us to bring the kids home a Hard Rock Café t-shirt each from our destination. Sometimes, hilariously, we bring them back from places that don’t even have a Hard Rock Café!

For our cat-sitting friends

Local alcoholic drinks

Yep, even the cat sitter gets a souvenir. First time round, as a little joke, we brought them home a small bottle of the local liquor to say thank you for looking after my furbabies. Over time it became a tradition to find the oddest bottle of the local drink of choice and now we bring them back these souvenirs even when they don’t cat sit!

We usually get together one evening to try them out, with hilarious results. Often potent and foul tasting, its quite a fun evening of liquor tasting!

I think our favourite – and tackiest – gift for them had to be this bottle of prune liquor with bat wings from Transylvania though. Epic find.

travel holiday souvenirs

For us

Fridge magnets

My souvenir collecting started off small but grew from there. First up was a classic holiday souvenir – the fridge magnet. Now our fridge freezer is covered with them! However, its so nice to see them every time I go to grab the milk, as they bring back memories of the fun travels we’ve had and reminds me how lucky I am to have seen so many amazing places.

travel holiday souvenirs

travel holiday souvenirs

Hard Rock Café glasses

But then that wasn’t enough, and I began my rather cheesy Hard Rock Café glass collection. Currently I have 34. Now, whenever we decide on our next destination, one of the first things I do is check whether there’s a Hard Rock Café there and factor in a visit into our itinerary.

I think we’ve only ever actually eaten in one of their restaurants once on a trip, as we prefer to eat good local food, but we usually use a visit as a rest stop and have a nice cold drink there in the bar.

Thing is, they’re not the most practical of souvenirs to collect. Trying to ensure they’re packed securely so they don’t break can be a bit stressful, although J has now got this down to an art. Then there’s the issue of where to put them when they make it home. We actually ended up buying a little corner unit to put them all in, but now that’s filling up so we’ve got to come up with a new idea. Oh, and they’re a nightmare to dust. And yet I still collect them. Can someone tell me why?!

Also, this will make you laugh – unless you’re OCD like me and you’ll just feel my pain. A few years ago, the chain stopped making the type of glass I collected, and now my glass collection doesn’t match! It still irks me to this day. Grr Arg!

travel holiday souvenirs


As J and I started travelling together we started a new souvenir tradition of bringing home a sticker. The plan was to add these to our hardback case, eventually covering the thing with cool stickers, but that’s never really happened.

We started, but found that most of them wouldn’t stick to the material of the suitcase. Then, those that stuck would get bashed and ripped when we travelled. Great idea, but not well executed. Now we just have a growing pile of them on the side in our bedroom. The plan is, when we eventually have enough stickers (probably when we reach retirement age) we’ll then completely cover a case and then varnish over the stickers to ensure they remain pristine and safe. It’s good to have life goals

Local art

The final souvenir we aim to pick up from every trip is the one I’m least embarrassed of. That’s because it’s our way of supporting the local community and bringing home a little of the local culture with us.

We always try to bring home a piece of art or craft work done by a local. Most of these have ended up being small paintings, which we now put up in our little porch. It’s lovely to come home and be reminded of all the places we’ve visited. Our art collection includes a Barong mask from Bali, an evil eye from Turkey a little painting from Mt Fuji, Japan and a mosaic from Ho Chin Minh City.

travel holiday souvenirs

Quirky souvenirs – what about you?

So there you have it, my collection of souvenirs. Some may think it’s a bit over the top, but I do love seeing these reminders of my holiday all around the house (apart from when I’m having to dust them that is!). It’s another way to keep that holiday feeling, and helps me bring back great memories that make me smile and feel warm inside, even on a dark, cold UK winter evening.

How about you? Do you bring home souvenirs from your travels? Are they classics like fridge magnets or do you collect something more quirky? I’d love to hear your thoughts on holiday souvenirs and the way you like to remember your travels, so please share all in the comments section below!

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travel holiday souvenirs


Fifi and Hop
Two Traveling Texans


By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)


  • Ania

    I love the idea of the odd liqueurs, and also hope it’s not too long before you achieve your sticker-covered suitcase – that will look amazing and be such a lovely reminder of your adventures.

    I don’t generally bother with souvenirs (largely down to the issues of dusting and storage!!) but if there is a Hard Rock Café I’ll always buy a pin!

    • Keri

      Pins are much more manageable than glasses lol. Yeah the OCD me can’t stop the glass collection now I’ve started but Im trying to keep the buying stuff to a minimum (ie no new collections).

  • Erin

    We often get a pencil or eraser for my son too, that works quite well. I usually look for a shelf-stable food thing of some sort… mustard, oil, herb mix. Looks like you have quite a collection on your fridge now!

    • Keri

      That’s quite a good idea, food stuff always ends up lost in my pantry though – I rediscover them when out of date! Yeah, the fridge is getting pretty chocca! Always a nice reminder of your travels when making a morning cuppa though…

  • Amanda Afield

    We have a collection of strange liquors that I’m not sure we’ll ever drink! We tend to get Christmas ornaments from different places to try and limit how many souvenirs we come home with! #FarawayFiles

  • Allison

    I love the idea of collecting art. We are thinking about doing that as well. However, right now, our house is tiny and I have no idea where we would put all of them. I’ve started collecting mugs whenever we travel. I love hot chocolate so it’s so fun for me to drink my hot chocolate and reminisce about the places we’ve traveled. #farawayfiles

    • Keri

      I yes! We have tea ‘tankards’ from the hotel we stayed in in Penang, biggest mugs ive ever seen! We save those for our lazy weekend mornings ‘cos you can fit two cuppas in them. Lovely for memories, aren’t they?

  • Hilary

    What a fun idea for a post! I think we can all relate… I’ve been collecting holiday ornaments for 20 years now, and have quite a collection. We get so excited each year when we pull them out and remember all the wonderful places we’ve been. In recent years I started collecting magnets as they’re easy to bring home and we display them in our hallway. I had to abandon the coffee mug collection though because my teen mutinied about having to put them away. #farawayfiles

  • Urska - Slovenian Girl Abroad

    Such an interesting post! Another one collecting Hard Rock Cafe glasses here. 🙂 We don’t always go to Hard Rock Cafe, but if we do, I would order one of those cocktails that comes in the souvenir glass and would bring the glass back home with me. We don’t use hurricane type very often, but pint type of glasses are in regular use.
    We also collect art from the places we travel to. It is not a thing we would intentionally search for, but if we come across some art-piece we both like, we buy it and take home with us.
    We don’t collect fridge magnets, but we alway buy them for our families who collect them.

    • Keri

      Cool, hi there HRC buddy! lol. Yeah I like the pint glasses, annoyed they changed the design a few years back. Justin always buys a beer in the cafe so we can get the souvenir glass to take home. 🙂

  • Angie

    `I loved reading this. I always buy a fridge magnet for my mum and often a hat for my brother. its become a bit of a holiday tradition. I don’t buy a huge amount of souvenirs for myself but do look out for special or vintage style postcards. We do have quite a few pictures we’ve collected over the years though/ #FarawayFiles

  • stellymm

    I actually do the magnets too! As a child I saw someone that did it and vowed to have a fridge full of magnets when I grew up and now I actually do! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • savvydispatches

    That winged liquor bottle is too perfect. I would totally buy one for my friends! And I absolutely love buying souvenirs too; especially local art. I really love that Mt. Fuji painting you guys have!

  • oliviarutt

    These are all great souvenir ideas. I like to do experiences and eat delicious food as my “souvenirs” but I do love getting postcards that are made by local artists and patches of flags!

  • Anisa

    We are trying to live more minimalistically so we try to only buy things we can consume like food or alcohol. Our main souvenirs are our photos. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard

  • Corey | Fifi + Hop

    I think finding quirky souvenirs is a great way to remember a place. Every place we go my daughters get to pick out a snow globe with the destination’s name on it to put on their “special” shelf. We are getting over run with snow globes! Fun though. Love the idea of finding a unique liquor. Thanks for sharing with #farawayfiles

  • Clare Thomson

    Wow, what a lot of souvenirs you’ve bought! We’re more likely to bring home art if we like it. We’ve got some lovely wooden sculptures and bowls from Indonesia and India and a wooden giraffe from Zanzibar. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • Janis

    I think there a lot of people out there that collect things from their travels and just don’t want to own up to it. We’ve picked up various items over the years, although you have to try and convince yourself that they will look just as good at home, too often I’ve got a bit swept a long in the moment.
    We have a large cork board in our kitchen that is full of restaurant and hotel business cards, it’s a amazing how a restaurant and their food can bring back memories. Thanks for sharing #farawayfiles

  • RobRob @TravelLatte(.net)

    The souvenir dilemma. We definitely have far too many magnets and coffee cups than we could ever use in a thousand lifetimes. Storage has become an issue, so we’ve decided to try buying things we will actually use. That’s been housewares and local art lately, with the occasional Christmas tree ornament, since we’re not yet overrun with those. And still, the odd coffee cup makes its way home with us. 😉 Fun post – thanks for sharing with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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