10 Best Trinkets and Souvenirs to Collect When Traveling

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Almost everyone who travels enjoys collecting something. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or not, we each have thoughts on what kinds of items we tend to buy on each trip. On a popular travel forum, people discussed what they collect, with the most common choices tied to the memories from their travels.

I’ve collected my fair share of these over the years and have come up with some unique ways to display them. (More on that another time.) What is your favorite souvenir to collect when traveling?

1. Magnets

magnet souvenirs
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Magnets may seem like ordinary or unoriginal trinkets to pick up on one’s travels. But there are lots of advantages to this souvenir. Several people point out that magnets take up little room in luggage and are usually very inexpensive.

One person mentions that they love them because they bring up fond memories with every trip to the kitchen. I love magnets for these very reasons. They’re a compact little memory to keep on display.

2. Christmas Ornaments

Christmas ornament souvenir
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Memories play a big part in what travelers choose to buy. For example, Christmas ornaments are a common choice because they make putting up your Christmas tree even more memorable.

One vacationer says they love that they can talk and reminisce about their trips with each ornament. Another traveler points out that collecting ornaments “Makes putting up the tree more special as we relive memories.”

3. Local Art

indian woman artist
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Depending on where you travel, you can often find local artists’ paintings, prints, or crafts for sale. For example, Italy and France are famous for their streets filled with many artists selling their work. Many love to support and purchase this type of souvenir because you can find beautiful and unique pieces. One astute person states, “Local crafts are good because you don’t usually see the same item being sold elsewhere.”

4. Coffee Mugs

Sweden coffee mug souvenir
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I am not alone in my addiction to buying coffee mugs. It’s become a habit that is hard to break. But many agree that mugs are one of the best souvenirs when traveling. They’re small, not too pricey, and you remember where you’ve been with each sip from them. The Starbucks “You Are Here” mugs are a personal favorite of mine.

5. Miniatures of Famous Landmarks

trinket souvenirs
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Another popular choice with travelers can be called typical. But there is nothing wrong with that. Miniatures like the “Glass pyramids from Egypt,” the “Eiffel Tower from France,” and “Big Ben from London” are just a few examples.

One traveler points out these advantages: “They’re small, inexpensive, and easy to display at home.” And it’s true. You can display them on your desk, nightstand, coffee table, or kitchen counter. It’s a little visual history of the places you’ve been. But isn’t everything better in miniature form?

6. Postcards

post cards
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The cheapest and yet utterly fantastic souvenirs are postcards. Unless you are a professional photographer, one notes that “postcards will always look better than your photos.” They are also very versatile. You can display them in picture frames or put them in photo albums.

Postcards are also the only keepsakes you can write your memories on the back of. So take that a step further and mail that postcard to yourself so it will include local stamps and postmarks. It creates a unique piece of tangible magic you can hold in your hand.

7. Tea Towels

linen souvenir
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Tea towels are a distinctive and original thing to add to your travel collection. Multiple people say they enjoy these because they are “inexpensive and practical.” One traveler says they are “reminded of the trip every time I use them,” while another says, ” They make me smile whenever I pull them out of the kitchen drawer.” Once again, they exemplify something physical that can bring back a fond memory.

8. Snow Globes

snow globe souvenir
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Snow globes are something I’ve collected in general since I was a child. Picking up small ones on travels is a fantastic idea many others enjoy. They are typically inexpensive, but even the pricier ones are worth it if they are beautifully crafted. They are not all made equally. But some can be very special mementos. Bonus points should be awarded if they are musical and play a song reminiscent of where you purchased it.

9. T-Shirts

tshirts souvenir
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T-shirts are another fantastic option for a travel souvenir. They’re easily packed away with the rest of your luggage, are generally reasonable in price, and are one of the only things you can showcase outside your home.

Whether they become a staple in your wardrobe or not, t-shirts are great to show off where you’ve traveled, which can spark a lively discussion. One mentions, “When I look at them or wear them, I just get so nostalgic. It makes me so happy.”

10. Your Favorite Book in the Local Language

classic books
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A book is an incredibly unique, lovely, and easy-to-tote souvenir. But it’s not as simple as that. Several people mention they love to buy their favorite book in whatever the local language is, citing Harry Potter and The Little Prince as examples.

Books are special to many, and for the collecting type, I can deeply relate to having as many different editions of one’s favorites. One of my cherished possessions is the Japanese edition of Alice in Wonderland, which my brother bought me on his trip to Tokyo.

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Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.