5 Qualities of the Perfect Souvenir

The biggest problem with travelling or going on vacation is that it inevitably comes to an end. Before long, you return to your life and are left only with memories of the amazing time you just had and maybe a couple more or less pounds. Naturally, before going home, we like to find something tangible that we can take home as a lasting memory of the trip, or something we can bring home as a way of sharing our experience with loved ones back home. Therefore, souvenirs exist and are a fun part of travelling.

We found this amazing souvenir shop in Italy

It can be difficult to pick the perfect souvenir however. Growing up, I would visit my Grandparents and in their house they had a small shelf full of souvenirs that my Grandpa had collected over many years. Each shelf was full of small vials of sand which my Grandpa would pick up almost anywhere that had sand. It was interesting to look at and see the different types and I enjoyed hearing stories of where each one was from. Nowadays, collecting sand often isn’t appreciated and is even illegal in some places (Hawaii).

Kit Kats make a great souvenir in Japan!

When Rachel and I went on our first international trip together (also Hawaii). Even though we weren’t too far into our relationship and weren’t always even sure if we would make it, we decided to start a souvenir collection together. But what to collect? As we were both young and starting out life together, we decided to collect a kitchen utensil from everywhere we went as it was also practical. But to be honest, that doesn’t really go with our personalities.We bought a lovely cutting board which we never use because it is too nice and later in the same trip, we changed our minds. We thought about what we should buy and came up with the following 5 things that make the perfect souvenir:

Check out Don Quijote if you’re looking for souvenirs in Japan

Something that comes at a variety of price points:

When Rachel and I first went to Hawaii together, we were young and broke. We were going to university and my parents took us on a family trip. We wanted a souvenir, but every dollar counted. I had already blown my budget on the cutting board. We wanted something cheap and we found the perfect thing. We have bought one on every trip and sometimes it has been free, other times we have spent much more.

Something to Display:

When you buy a souvenir, you want something that can be put out that brings back memories and acts as a conversation piece to others.

Something small:

Rachel and I like the idea of minimalism even if we don’t always succeed. Furthermore, you only have so much space in your bags so buying something big can be a challenge. Our souvenirs from our trips fill only one small box at this point which is great because we plan on travelling for a long time.

Something that is ok if it’s tacky:

Let’s face it, most souvenirs are tacky. Souvenirs show the flavour of where they were bought as much as possible. This is great for memories, not as great when you try to make them suit the style of the room they are displayed in. We wanted something that could be tacky and in the end, our souvenirs replace something else we would have collected that would have been tacky anyways.

Something that you can find anywhere:

One of the most important things if you want your souvenirs to be part of a collection is that you can find one everywhere you go. We like to buy one in every country we go to every time we leave Canada. For example we bought one in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and England on our Europe trip a few years back. Though to be honest, we cheat a little bit and re-purpose some of our souvenirs.

What do we buy?

We collect a Christmas ornament everywhere we go.

This might not be the perfect answer for everyone but we enjoy decorating our tree and remembering the places we have had the opportunity to visit. Furthermore, this met all of our requirements and the only drawback is that they can be quite fragile. Fortunately we haven’t lost one yet.

There are all sorts of things that make great souvenirs. Please share your souvenir ideas in the comments below (we would love to read about them).If you are interested, follow us on twitter and we will share a picture of our ornaments each day until we have gone through them all.

-Ried

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