By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective
Many souvenirs start off as good ideas and end up collecting dust or being given away to someone who may appreciate them more. The point of a keepsake is for it to trigger wonderful memories of your travel adventures for years to come, and perhaps become something to pass down.
Unique Souvenir Ideas For Travel Memories
Make your travel memories last forever with these clever ways of collecting:
1 Collect Found Objects
Fill a time capsule, antique travel trunk or scrapbook with found objects you collect from every place you visit. The object doesn’t have to be a souvenir in the traditional sense or cost money. The most treasured objects have a mystery surrounding them and several stories to tell. The found objects could be small and random or have something in common, even though they originate from different places:
- Pick up a stone from the ground from wherever you visit.
- Collect a leaf or flower from an interesting plant that catches your eye.
- Save bottle caps from local breweries in different cities, states and countries.
- Bring home napkins with logos or copies of menus (with permission) from restaurants.
- Collect quotes in a journal from random people you meet on the street.
When picking up found objects from nature, collect these in a sustainable way. Do not pick up feathers from birds of prey, which are also protected and an illegal action in many places. Don’t overharvest plants. Leave nature intact as you collect your memories.
2 Collect Stamps
Stamp collecting isn’t only a hobby to share with a grandparent, it also makes a wonderful international map and memento record of your wayfaring. Find interesting stamps in museums, philatelic libraries, and in regular postal offices and small shops that sell stamps. Imagine having a story to tell about purchasing the stamp for your collection and then artfully placing it in a keepsake notebook to pass down for generations!
Once retrieved, collectors would glue a stamp into an album, but now archival methods and tools have turned philately pursuits into an artform. Many beginning collectors focus on topicals (topics, such as horses or flowers) or forming a collection of stamps from the lands of their ancestors:
“A lot of travelers, especially stamp collectors, enhance their travel experience and travel memories by creating philatelic passports of their travels,” says John Apfelbaum, President & CEO of Apfelbaum, Inc.
“Using a small notebook, they purchase stamps at foreign post offices where they travel and ask the post office workers to cancel the stamps affixed in their little notebook. That way when they come home they have a memory of their trip along with an interesting local stamp and cancellation.”
3 Keep a Travel Journal
There’s no way you could forget your latest trip, right? The mind works in amazing ways and memories have a way of blending together over the years. You will remember beautiful and strange details, while others will be foggy but still touching. Record those details now in a travel journal:
- Write down the best moments.
- Record snippets of overheard conversations.
- Inscribe those found quotes from strangers.
- Sketch those details.
- Make a collage in the pages.
Your travel journal will need to be portable and doesn’t have to necessarily be in physical form. A journal you’re able to hold has a special quality that a digital one won’t, yet a travel blog is easy to take with you wherever you go as it doesn’t need to be packed and transported.
4 Make a Global Spice Rack
While on the road, collect the flavors of the world. What spice or spice mix is an area famous for? While in New Orleans, track down the best southeastern Creole flavor combination, for example.
Add each selection to your spice rack at home, or build a test tube spice rack that makes you feel like you’re cooking in a laboratory. Every time you make a dish, you’ll taste a travel memory.
5 Make Magnets from Travel Photos
There are many ways to make travel photo magnets. You could use a service to produce them, such as Social Print Studio (uses your Instagram photos) or Fox Print. You can also instantly print out your photos with Fuji Instax SP-2 Printer and all you need to do is attach them to a magnet strip with a sticky surface. Turn any magnetic surface into a display board for your travel memorabilia magnets.
6 Build a Library of Area Authors
Build a global library of living authors from around the world. Attend book signings in the area you’re visiting, if any, and obtain a signed copy from the author. Peruse book shops and ask about local authors. Whether it’s science fiction, romance, poetry or a haunted destinations book, your library will be diverse and extra special when it reflects the places you have visited.
You will be able to say something personal about nearly every author, and if nothing else, talk about that time the bookstore owner of this quaint shop in Croatia pointed you toward the best wine you’ve ever tasted.
7 Make a Video
Think of it as a highlight reel of your favorite travel moments. Take a few minutes of video on your trip, and when you get home, condense your media files into a single video. Continue to add onto this video as you travel.
To ensure that it doesn’t get overwhelming, set a time limit for the footage you take and add on to your single video. You don’t have to download any complicated software to edit the video, if you don’t want, because Google Photos will edit for you.
8 Curate a Collection of Modern Art
The beauty of this idea is to target regional artist works from the area of your visit to collect. Ask a student artist sketching if he or she will make something quick for you for a generous tip or cup of coffee. Visit local galleries and support them by purchasing prints or original works.
Artists will often paint popular tourist spots but also create art around places that are personally special. Make your curated collection of art all the more unique by visiting the destinations that are depicted, whenever possible.
Make your memories transcend time with a little creativity. Focusing on collecting particular items or building upon how you display those souvenirs at home will ensure you don’t break your suitcase zipper by overstuffing with random knickknacks. When you collect, gather touchstones of experience, and the travel stories you share will be even more powerful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
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