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souvenirs statue of libertyRacks of $5 T-shirts, Eiffel Tower boxer shorts, tacky mugs and other tchotchkes have given souvenirs a bad name, but most travelers still like to bring home some meaningful memento from a trip. It just takes a little hunting sometimes.

Most of my own favorite souvenirs are art objects, like a cerulean-colored clay pot made in Santa Fe and a delicately drawn painting purchased directly from the artist in Morocco. I also enjoy supporting local independent bookstores by picking up a novel or poetry anthology to read on the plane ride home.

Here at IndependentTraveler.com, we recently asked our Facebook readers to fill in the blank: “The best souvenir I’ve ever brought home is _________.”

We’d like to try out Nancy Stanley’s item, a “hand-carved chess set from Belarus.” Rugs seemed popular with our readers; Chris Hagen Straub brought one home from India, while Deborah Fortuna snagged one in Morocco. Meanwhile, Joshua Senzer went for the bling: “Colombian emeralds.”

Ron Buckles shared an experience from a trip to Europe: “While visiting Karlstejn (Czech Republic) there was an antique stop in the village. Hidden in a corner was an old cigar box with the Karlstejn Castle pictured on it. Price was $3.” A steal!

Some of our other readers brought home less tangible items. “I rarely buy any kind of souvenir,” wrote Jo Kula. “I usually keep bus tickets, train tickets and such. But I really love my pictures and putting them in frames.”

Trish Sayers keeps it simple — “great memories” — while Colleen R Costello likes to come home with “new friends and invitations that frequently lead to future trips.”

But it’s tough to top Carolyn Spencer Brown’s response: “My husband! We met while both traveling solo. In Naples!”

Souvenirs don’t get much better than that.

What’s the best thing you’ve brought home from your travels?

– written by Sarah Schlichter

27 Responses to “What’s Your Favorite Souvenir?”

  1. Ingrid Shapiro says:

    I have traveled alot, but many years ago, loved Italy, so my soveniers would be Venecian Glass.
    I am going to Sweden to follow my roots, and want to bring something from America to Sweden as a thank-you gift. Any suggestions are welcomed.

  2. Wynne says:

    I usually don’t have the space or funds to bother with souvenirs, and have never been one for them anyway, but I DID buy a pair of much-needed slippers at Florence’s San Lorenzo market in December. I love them and they’re such a great reminder of the market!

  3. Wendy says:

    Usually it’s photos. Some end up in frames; others find their way into a short photo book I make from each trip. But, I do enjoy finding a unique piece of jewelry from each trip as well.

  4. Janet says:

    After many trips when my kids were young and required a souvenir I now bring home rocks. Never bigger than my fist. Have a rock garden in the front yard with all my findings.

  5. Host Ciao says:

    I would have to say that the very best and also the worst souveniers (and I have to use the plural)are my books! I love them; I have far too many; I have spent far too much money buying and, yes, shipping, and I haven’t had time to read the majority. And I may never have the time, but they are there to delve into, and I doubt I have taken a trip, except to family, that I have returned without a book or more and far too many photos.
    As I began, I’ll end. I love them!

  6. Kathy says:

    I like to buy Christmas ornaments as souvenirs and each year when I decorate my Christmas tree, each ornament brings back wonderful travel memories.

  7. Caprice Kutz says:

    A bracelet of charms from each city I visited on my first trip to Europe in 1970.

    • Ingrid Shapiro says:

      Hi,
      When I worked for the airlines back in 1967-1992, I did the same thing and would collect charms in all the places I visited. Would like to pick up a few to add to it now.
      Thanks for that idea. Forgot
      Ingrid

  8. Deborah Sampson says:

    We’re notorious for buying gifts for others and on our trips, then realizing we’ve forgotten ourselves. This came to an ugly end when we noticed that everyone on both sides had lovely German nutcrackers, making us the only ones without. Now we are careful to include ourselves in our largesse!

  9. Patricia says:

    Last August we were in Vancouver and after visiting a lovely old book store, I spied a small antique shop where I found a wonderful Inuit carved Serpentine transitional piece that is a raven on one end and at the other and 180 degrees turn is a Sea Lion. It is smooth and beautiful.

  10. Alan says:

    I don’t like to waste money on material items like souveniers. I think the best thing to bring back from a trip are pictures and lasting memories.

  11. SPEEDLADY says:

    In the interest of conserving space, both in my suitcase during our travels and at home with display space, I collect shotglasses. Small, lightweight and inexpensive.

  12. Barb says:

    I finally learned that I’d bring home things and they got stuffed into a drawer or on a shelf. Now, I buy a handmade scarf (if I can find it) in the countries I am in. I always have a nice selection to choose from when going out and I usually never see anyone with one like mine. And they weigh almost nothing and can be tighly rolled to bring home.

  13. jim Scott says:

    Take a photograph of a flower or plant from each place you travel to. Frame the photo and have a location in your home where you group these photographs. You will have a wall of memories along with an attractive decor.

  14. Cookie says:

    I like to go to drugstores/pharmacies and bring back things like shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, etc. of brands that are popular where I am visiting which cannot be purchased, or I’ve not seen in US. I’m reminded of my trip every morning, at least for a little while :-)

  15. Reid William says:

    I try to find an antique clock which I then buy at a realistic price. Most of the time i have a good souvenir. I now have a very nice collection of 15 antique wind-up pendulmum clocks.

  16. Diana says:

    I usually look for small or flat items easy to bring back but occasionally I find some unique local jewelry that reminds of the place of purchase every time I wear it! Ex, my beautiful modern Murano glass necklace from Venice.

  17. linda says:

    I love scarves and bracelets as souvenirs. Take no space in luggage, they can enhance an outfit, and great reminders of the wonderful places I have been and people I have met.

  18. Barbara says:

    I love to buy earrings when I travel. They’re small and always bring back wonderful memories when I wear them.

  19. Arlene says:

    I use to always bring back a magnet. I have a large (Ikea) magnet board. Now that it’s pretty well filled my new favorite items are bringing back coffee – get to start my mornings at home with a “taste” of my vacation long after it’s over. And my new BEST souvenir is bringing back the “local” deodorant! Last a long time and again a great way to start my day!

  20. bg says:

    i get a magnet from each place visited or ship sailed…my favorite souvenir, however, is a carved canoe with two fisherman from my alaska land trip

  21. Phyllis says:

    We’ve been collecting Crosses from around the world. We try to find them about 5 or 6″ so we display them on a wall in our home. It’s been fun searching for them.

  22. Bonnie says:

    When we rent a house or condo and stay for a while, I buy a shopping bag from the local grocery store to use while we are there. They are lightweight and easy to bring home. I have a collection of unique bags that remind me of our trips whenever I use them.

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