More Than Just Photos: 11 Memorable Yet Minimalist Keepsakes To Take Home From Your Travels

Finding the perfect memento from your travels isn’t always easy. On one hand, you don’t want to bring back something that will just get lost in a drawer or sit on your shelf collecting dust. On the other, it can be challenging to find something that truly encapsulates your experience without taking up too much space. Here are 11 travel souvenir ideas that travelers from an online community have found to be both memorable yet minimalist.

1. Patches

Boxes with patches of flags on a market in asia
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

You know those patches you see on backpacks and jackets? Those are a great way to remind you of your trips for years to come without the clutter. Patches are small, light, colorful, relatively inexpensive, and can be sewn onto just about anything. “We get patches for every country we visit and sew them onto our travel dufflebags,” shares one thread participant.

2. Local Sauces

Athens, Attica / Greece - April 20, 2013: Exhibition of Cretan products in Zappeion. People selling and buying traditional cretan products like olive oil, cheese products, wine, honey, olives etc.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

From hot sauces to local honey, collecting sauce bottles from every country you’ve visited is an easy – and minimalist – way to commemorate your travels. Not only will you be reminded of your trip when you see the bottles in your home, but if you choose to use the sauces, you’ll be whisked back in time in an even more visceral fashion! 

3. Christmas Ornaments

BATH - DEC 8: People visit the Christmas Market in the streets surrounding Bath Abbey on Dec 8, 2014 in Bath, UK. The landmark Somerset city is home to many local and international stores and shops.
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It’s about time people started decorating their Christmas trees with thoughtful ornaments instead of mass-produced decorations. “We buy a small charm or object which we hang on the Christmas tree,” reveals one traveler.

So we’ve got a glass eye charm from Greece, a golem from Prague, and a gold teaspoon from Turkey. Just little things that remind us of that time in our lives that we reconnect with every Christmas.” Now that sounds lovely.

4. Refrigerator Magnets

MYKOLAIV, UKRAINE - DECEMBER 25, 2018: Woman putting magnet on fridge door, closeup
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There’s a reason why refrigerator magnets are so popular for commemorating travels – they’re inexpensive, and you already have a canvas at home to display them on! Besides, what are you using your refrigerator for, anyway – to store perishable food? That’s so last year.

5. Local Yarn

Young woman buying colorful wool and yarn for their hobby in a knitting shop
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I would have never thought to collect local yarn when traveling, but one woman explains the reasoning behind doing so perfectly. “As a knitter, I pick a pattern that reflects the location and try to pick up local yarn while visiting,” she confesses.

“Every time I wear my Icelandic sweater, I picture the mill and countryside where I picked up the yarn. It’s a wearable, long-lasting souvenir. If you craft, you may be able to choose something that you can incorporate into a project.” I love this woman and her creativity!

6. Interesting Rocks

Interesting rocks with striped patterns on grass
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I know what you’re thinking: “Interesting rocks?” But hear me out. Not only is collecting rocks free, but they will also make for a great conversation piece once they’re in your home.

Imagine the look of surprise when you proudly tell your friends and family that your rocks are not from your driveway but from a mystical land far, far away. Think of all the stories you can tell!

7. Local Art

Woman hanging painting
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Supporting local artists while keeping the memory of a beautiful trip alive is a can’t-lose proposition. “I like to get locally made art,” reports one woman. “Just a small print I can put in the bottom of my suitcase. Then I hang it on the wall at home and get to remember my trip whenever I look at it.” 

8. Pens

Happy Woman using Pen
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Who doesn’t like collecting pens? I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with collecting pens from hotels I’ve stayed at, even if I couldn’t tell you where they all are in my house. Nevertheless, whenever I pick a pen up, I find myself smiling at the memories of a previous trip – and that’s the whole point. 

9. Enamel Pins

Blank white gold lapel badge mock up, front and back side view, 3d rendering. Empty luxury hard enamel pin mockup. Golden clasp-pin design template. Expensive square brooch for logo presentation.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Tiny, collectible enamel pins are arguably the most inexpensive way to commemorate a trip if you aren’t on board with the possibly-bonkers “collect rocks” tip. “They are small and inexpensive, and I get one at each attraction we go to when traveling from the gift shops,” says one woman. “They are a pretty common souvenir, and I have them all pinned to a banner at home that I got on Etsy.”

10. Cookbooks

Couples cooking. Man with cookbook.
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It doesn’t get much better than preparing an authentic meal from a part of the world you’ve traveled to, and it can’t be done without a local cookbook! A local recipe book is a window into the heart and soul of your trip, and you should take advantage of the opportunity to recreate classic dishes from your trip at home.

11. Coasters

Many black circle beer coasters on a gray floor. 3d rendering
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Consider collecting coasters if you’re still not on board with the rock thing I pushed earlier. No, I’m not referring to fancy coasters you’d buy in gift shops across Europe; I’m talking about cardboard coasters found in bars worldwide. They are free to take and often artfully designed, making them the ideal souvenir to commemorate any trip you’ve had!

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