What Travel Souvenirs Do You Buy?

Travel souvenirs featured by popular DC travel blogger, Monica Dutia

As we wind down the busiest travel season of the year, I’m curious: what souvenirs–if any–do you pick up on trips? This post title says “buy” but I suppose there are other ways to collect memorabilia…shells on the beach, hotel room keys (more on this below), etc.

My parents aren’t generally huge shoppers but soon after they married, began purchasing souvenir spoons during their travels. It’s became a tradition for me, too, since I got to help pick them out once I started traveling with them. They’re housed in one of these cases and displayed in their kitchen. They are fun to look at and tend to be conversation starters…plus, not only are they inexpensive to purchase and easy to carry, but it’s nice to see them displayed all in one place to easily reflect on your travels! When I was little, I also went through a phase of collecting lapel pins and would pick one up when we’d go somewhere new.

J and I actually spent awhile trying to think about what we wanted to collect, together, and settled on Christmas tree ornaments! We didn’t start buying them until this year so have a spoon or two, which I may try and make into ornaments for consistency’s sake. Ornaments are generally inexpensive and are also easy to carry (key when you are so pro-carry-on only!), and the only real downsides are that they take up more space to store at home and you only really get to display them once a year. I’m okay with that, though, since we have limited wall space and don’t like clutter. When we were in Bermuda, we decided to start hanging onto cool room keys, too. Katie does this and I love the idea as a way to have something from properties we love. The Reefs seemed like a perfect place to start the collection so we currently just have one…

It’s not really a souvenir in the “gift shop” capacity, but I also always let myself shop a little bit when I travel. I love finding things I can’t get as easily in the States, or that are special to a particular place. J and I both got watches in Switzerland I wear mine everyday. Home goods are also specially tempting…for instance, we picked up a beautiful antique Delft vase in Amsterdam and handmade wooden salad tongs in Lake Como. While memories are obviously the best way to remember travels, tying a purchase to a trip makes having that item even more special, ya know?

Are you a souvenir shopper or collector? What collections have you started?


On an unrelated note, I’m going to start interspersing a few random things that catch my eye at the end of some posts. Jen does it in the form of postscripts (totally borrowing this from her!), and I always enjoy clicking through her recent finds even if they’re unrelated to the post that day. Hopefully you guys like it, too!

MANGO was my ~favorite~ store in late middle and early high school. It was European cool–which I definitely was not–felt so different compared to the go-tos of our time (AE, Abercrombie, etc.) The first thing I owned from there was a tight, sleeveless black muscle top with “MNG” printed down the front that I got it on a trip to Vienna. I’ve picked up a couple things here and there over the past few years, including this really cozy sweater while we were in Switzerland two years ago, but they don’t have many US locations anymore.

Anyway, I placed a kind of large order this week to try a few things out–I need to get a couple cocktail dresses that are wedding guest-appropriate and picked up this in blue and this because I can’t resist a lace detail. This shirtdress (100% cotton!) made it into my cart, too and so did this white lace number (which will be hard to justify since it’s definitely not wedding guest-friendly). I really wanted this shirtdress but it’s sold out in most sizes!

– Similarly, I’m trying out this pretty dress from Tuckernuck in navy and black. If they work, I’m probably going to keep black due to the versatility but every color is gorgeous.

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  1. Hearher wrote:

    I love this idea! We don’t have anything particular we collect from our travels, but I’ll often pick up jewelry. Every time I wear it, it reminds me of a wonderful trip (I’m already planning on getting an emerald band in Cartagena to remind me of our honeymoon)!

    Posted 8.18.18 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      Looove that so much and can’t wait to see what you end up with!

      Posted 8.18.18 Reply
  2. Ashlee wrote:

    We do Christmas ornaments too, and it’s so fun to pull them out each year! I always forget about so many of them! Such a fun surprise, and especially nice to take a little trip down memory lane around the holidays!

    Posted 8.18.18 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      We thought of you guys when we started collecting them :) I’m excited for them to be a fun little surprise each year!

      Posted 8.23.18 Reply