Most people like to bring something back from their travels as a reminder of an awesome experience or funny story. We also love travel souvenirs but wanted to make sure that they were functional as well as beautiful in our home. My parents started collecting mugs back in the 80’s and you can image how that collection has grown and grown and grown. Although I LOVE their quirky collection I knew, with as much as we travel, we had to be more systematic with the objects we chose to collect.
Picking out what to bring back
Each person (or family) has their own personality which will drastically change the type of object they’ll pick out. So make sure your souvenirs are something YOU love and what to showcase in YOUR home. Personally, Will & I decided very early on that the objects we bought had to 1) be unique to the area and 2) be useful in our home. We do a little bit of research beforehand to have a list of things in mind but more often than not, while out and about, the perfect gift just appears. We love cooking so something food-related is always on my mind! The two images above show a German beer stein from Füssen and Costa Rican coffee grounds with a “sock” coffee maker.
Packing your gifts
You would hate to unpack your suitcase only to find that beautiful porcelain bowl is now shattered. Packing objects carefully is 80% of the battle. With limited resources, use your clothes to “bubble wrap” objects and nestle them in gently. I like to bring back souvenirs in my carry-on purse so I can personally guarantee their safety. However, while in Amsterdam this past spring break we wanted to buy a cheese cutter from the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room but, because it is considered a weapon, we couldn’t take it on our carry-on luggage. So instead, I ordered it from the store and had it shipped to our house with a sampler pack of cheese. Sure it cost me more money, but it was guaranteed to arrive!
Read more: Amsterdam: Day 1
Displaying or using souvenirs in your home
Because we typically get practical gifts, we actually end up using a lot of the stuff we collect. However, there are some things that are more decorative around our house. It’s a fine balance between feeling like you’re living in a gift shop and displaying souvenirs. I try to incorporate souvenirs into the natural decor of my house and I try to coordinate things like style, size, and color scheme. The image shown here is a “Pax et Bonism” tile from Rome, Italy that is now on display prominently on our fireplace as a centerpiece of our living room
What kind of things do you like to bring back as travel memories?