Many times, we think of travel souvenirs as being merely decorative trinkets, but they don't have to be. There are many types of souvenirs that have practical worth and can be used regularly. Even among the ones that don't have practical uses, there are many that can concretely contribute to your memories of a trip more than the simple, mass-produced souvenirs can. This article will discuss four practical types of souvenirs and four types of souvenirs that will truly help you remember more of your wonderful vacation.

Practical Travel Souvenirs

Mugs and Glasses: Mugs are a pretty widely available souvenir because it is easy to print things on them. There are also glasses with printed designs in many different styles. While the printing method on the glasses usually means they are best for only occasional use, most mugs can be used regularly. Anyone who is fond of coffee, tea, or cocoa knows the value of a good collection of mugs. Souvenir mugs allow you warm body and heart at the same time by having your warm beverage of choice in a mug that brings to mind your favorite memories.

Clothes: Clothes are a great practical travel souvenir because not only do you get regular use out of them, but they also invite others to start a conversation about the place that you visited. Souvenir clothing ranges from ties and cufflinks that subtly reference the area and can be worn with formal outfits to brightly printed t-shirts and hats, so no matter your style, you'll be able to find an item of clothing that suits you.

Fun Fact: Clothing sizes are completely different in Europe than in America. Keep that in mind when shopping for clothing souvenirs internationally!

Another advantage to souvenir clothing is that it can be practical immediately. The other items in this “practical” list are usually only useful when you get them home, but you can wear souvenir clothes during your stay. This is particularly helpful in cases where you haven't planned adequately for the climate. It's easier to reconcile having to buy a new sweatshirt or jacket because it's too cold or a brimmed hat because it's so sunny if you are also getting it as a souvenir of your trip.

Craft Items: For artists, a trip abroad can be a great chance to get some unique supplies. Papers, woods, cloths, and techniques are all examples of things that can be native to particular regions. By buying items like beads or paper in the place where they are originally made, artists can get the supplies for cheaper and have a travel souvenir that's useful to them. Whenever they create using that particular craft item, they will be making something that brings memories of their trip. This may even help them create art that draws on different cultural traditions.

Food: Food is both a practical and fun travel souvenir. Nothing could be more practical than food, and foods often deeply reflect individual cultures. Eating food from different traditions can help you to understand the people from those traditions and to share the culture of the places you traveled with your friends and family back home.

Fun Fact: Many cultures in hot, dry areas eat bugs. You can get these candied as well as fried, and they are a very intriguing souvenir and great to bring back to friends!

Food can also reveal how cultures meld. There are many fun and interesting takes on foods that originated in other nations. Experiencing can give great perspective on both the culture you are visiting and your own culture, as well as how they can interact, which is often a large purpose of traveling to places distant from your own home.

Fun Fact: In Japan, over 200 flavors of Kit-Kat bar have been created!        


Books: There are many types of souvenir books. One of the most popular and interesting types is a photo book. While you can and should take your own photos, it can also be very nice to have a book of photos taken by professionals that show the landscapes and cities of the area you visited. These books usually also have comprehensive captions and historical information, which can be of great help in recalling where exactly your own photos were taken and what the significance of their locations was. Books are also great souvenirs to bring back as gifts, as books written by people native to another country or region can be great for sharing the culture and ideas you experience by going there.

Collectibles: While the simpler items in souvenir shops may not help with specific memories, there are many collectible-type travel souvenirs that can. Souvenir plates that depict important scenes or have other information on them can have some of the same advantages as books. There are also often sculptures available of figures with historical or religious significance to the region you are visiting. In addition to premade collectibles, digital cameras have allowed many souvenir stores to offer custom souvenirs with your own images. These can be a great way to display your photos and make them into something easier to find or even use as a practical item like clothing.

Fun Fact: Collecting souvenir plates has been popular since the 19th century.        

Jewelry: Many people place a lot of memories and emotional significance on jewelry. Obviously, jewelry that is culturally significant in the area you visit will bring back a lot of memories. Also, simply having an object that you wear frequently that originated from a certain place can feel like it maintains a connection with that place. Jewelry is used as a symbol of connection in other areas, after all, like romance- jewelry from a romantic partner will always remind you of them, a tradition that culminates in the wedding rings used in European and American culture. Therefore, it makes sense that people continue to associate jewelry with connections and memories concerning the place where they bought it, if it was a place that was special to them. In addition, some types of jewelry have ways to add specific memories. Lockets can contain images of a certain trip, and charm bracelets allow you to add small tokens that recall certain events, maybe even on separate trips.

Locally Crafted Items: This is a very broad category, as the types of items that are locally produced will be different for every area. These can range from low technology items like baskets or carved figures to highly-processed special games or figures. Items that were made locally and meant to be sold locally have a special connection to their place of origin that will bring back many types of memories. Depending on the material, some items may retain the smell of the place they were purchased for a long time, and smell is the sense most closely tied to memory, so re-experiencing the smell of a certain place can bring back a flood of very strong memories.

Fun Fact: Buying local merchandise that isn't specifically crafted for the tourist trade also tends to give back more to the economy of the country you're visiting!

Whether you don't like decorations and want an item you can use regularly or want something that will preserve the memories of your trip as much as possible, there are many travel souvenirs other than the knick knacks that the word first calls to mind. Depending on your preferences, you can find souvenirs that fit your lifestyle and will bring back fond memories of your trip for years to come.