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.
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!).
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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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