Tips for Collecting Travel Souvenirs

While traveling, you'll probably want to bring home something to remember your experience. Learn the best way to find souvenirs with Exploration Always.

Everyone wants a way to remember their trips, so we bring home mementos and souvenirs to remember our time. But what should you be bringing home to remember your time in a new place. Well, ultimately that’s completely up to your judgement and how much you want to spend. You may see a cool statue or some nice mugs, these may be something you want, but can you take them.

There are several factors you need to keep in mind when buying souvenirs. The first being, will this break? Larger glass and ceramic objects can break easily especially if put into a checked bag where you aren’t the only one handling it. Another important factor to consider is the weight and size. If you are buying some larger, can it fit into your bags? Maybe you bought a metal statue or a cool sword. Those are very neat, but they also will have to go into your checked bag due to airline security. If those items mean the difference between your bag being 22.9 kg (49.9 lbs) and 23 kg (50 lbs) then that also means you’re paying up to another one hundred dollars for that item. Some places may have restrictions on what you can and cannot take with you. For example, Cuba has very strict rules on buying art. In order to bring that art back to your home country, it must be stamped and shown with a purchase receipt and certificate of authenticity. Another example is bringing home shells and rocks. You may like to bring home some cool shell or pebbles you found on the beach. In some places this is not an issue, but others, your little beach souvenir will be confiscated. Food is another big issue when traveling. Generally, anything you buy in an airport will be ok to go through customs in your home country. However, bringing in unpackaged food, especially fruit and vegetables, is a big issue. This is because many fruits and vegetables from certain parts of the world can carry insects, bacteria, and other things that shouldn’t be brought across borders.

Something I recommend is finding a single thing to collect from each place you go. As you can tell from the picture, I like to get a shot glass as a souvenir. They are easy to carry (even though they are glass), unique to each place, cheap, and will have no trouble at border control. Some other items people collect are patches, snow globes, keychains, and if you’re old fashioned, spoons. However, if you want something truly unique to each place, make sure you can get it back home. Another important thing (to me at least) is that the item is generally authentic. Art is something that I bring back sometimes including paintings and small statues from Thailand, Croatia, and Cuba. Make sure these are well wrapped as they’re not something you can just fix. Something else I tend to keep is tickets. In my opinion, tickets are an easy way to remind you of where you've been and what you did there. Clothes are another easy option. Just know that when you’re walking around Thailand in elephant pants or Paris with an "I Love France" sweatshirt, you're not exactly blending in.

There are dozens of ways to bring your trip home with you. Some ways work better for others and it’s up to you to decide. I kindly suggest thinking about these factors in understanding what would be the best option for you.