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10 Souvenir Ideas for Summer Travel

souvenirSummer is around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about vacation! Looking for affordable, pack-able souvenir ideas for your family? Here are some classics with a twist and some new ideas!

  1. Penny smasher – Usually just fifty cents plus the penny, the penny smasher gets five stars for souvenir affordability. Consider drilling a small hole in each one to make a penny necklace or garland to commemorate your adventures! Or, mount them into a shadow box frame using adhesive. If you want to see both sides of your penny in the display, splurge for two!
  2. Christmas ornaments – Although they can get pricey and are fragile to travel with, Christmas ornaments get a serious souvenir bump for the nostalgia factor. Unwrapping ornaments that remind you of your travels and sprinkling them on your tree can be a wonderful reminder of your family’s travels. Once you’ve collected a few, consider a smaller, separate tree just for the travel ornaments!
  3. Key chains – Available just about everywhere, key chains are great for elementary and junior high age kids who love to bedazzle their backpacks. And try this twist for an inexpensive and easier to pack alternative to Christmas ornaments: simply take off the ring and thread a ribbon through the hole – voila! A “Christmas ornament” to commemorate your travels at a fraction of the price!
  4. Magnets – Like key chains, magnets are easy to find. But if you’re like me and want to keep your fridge uncluttered you might have ruled these out. But, wait! Not so fast: how about an inexpensive magnet board for your kids’ rooms where they can keep their souvenir magnets and remember family travels year-round? If you’re really feeling ambitious, paint a wall with magnet paint and let that be your display area! (If you opt for magnet paint, don’t skimp on the coats – the more coats you do the stronger the magnet.)
  5. Postcards – Pick up a postcard for each day of your trip and have your little ones write about their adventures on the back. Mail them home, or use all the space for your daily journal entry. Date them, put them in order, and have them spiral bound with a plastic cover for a souvenir travelogue that captures not only your memories but your little one’s penmanship and spelling. 
  6. Patches – Patches are a little trickier to find on your travels, but that’s what the internet is for! Great if you can find them while you’re away, but if not you can order them from home for each place you’ve visited. Patches can be added to travel backpacks, a travel jacket, or a blanket to remind you of your travels. Sew them on yourself or hire it out for a few dollars a patch.
  7. Stickers – While they won’t last as long as some other treasures, stickers are an inexpensive souvenir and are great for decorating a travel journal or adding to a camp trunk!
  8. T-shirts – The tried and true standby, consider retiring travel t-shirts before they go into the gym-only pile or become threadbare and turn them in to a quilt. Over the years, kids may collect enough to make their own quilts – or mix sizes to make a family quilt that includes everyone’s souvenir shirts.
  9. Charm bracelets – Think outside the box when it comes to charms. Many places you visit will have charms with an obvious connection to the place. But use your imagination to decide how a certain charm can remind you of your journey. Sentimental or humorous moments on your trip can inspire your souvenir charm selection!
  10. Tacky treasures – “Kitsch” refers to art or objects “considered to be in poor taste but which are appreciated in a knowingly ironic or humorous way.” For the traveler with a penchant for the tacky (and room enough to store and display treasures) a kitschy souvenir collection can be a fun conversation starter. Added bonus: with a tacky treasure collection you’ll be ready for the White Elephant party next holiday season!

What is your favorite travel souvenir? Your best ideas for displaying souvenirs? What’s your favorite souvenir of all time? Tell us your travel story and what you do to remember (and help your kids remember) your adventures!

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