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6 Meaningful Ways to Decorate With Travel Souvenirs

toxawww / iStock /

toxawww / iStock /

It’s easy to go a little overboard with travel souvenirs. While you’re on that perfect trip, it’s so tempting to pick up anything and everything that will remind you of whichever special place you’re visiting. Yet, before you know it, you’re back home unpacking piles of questionable purchases that will eventually end up getting tossed. There is such a thing as a meaningful, purposeful travel souvenir—it  just isn’t always easy to find. We’ve assembled some ideas to help you collect travel mementos that you’ll actually want to keep around.

Keep it Festive
Usually, mismatched clutter is a decorating no-no—but there is one place where anything goes, and that’s the Christmas tree. Collecting Christmas ornaments from your travels is a fun tradition. It keeps souvenir costs relatively low, and it won’t take up too much room in your luggage. You’ll get to relive your memories year after year as you unpack your ornaments and hang them on the tree, which is really the whole point of a souvenir.

An Artful Touch
Art is a souvenir that tells a story. Whether it captures a favorite vista, is painted by a colorful local character, or is depicted in a style unique to its place of origin—or maybe it’s all three—art can be a great bet for a travel souvenir. A note of caution: don’t throw your usual art-buying rules out the window. Make sure that you’ll have somewhere to hang it, that the scale works with your space, and that it fits your personal esthetic.

Go Vintage With Postcards
Collecting postcards is a little cliché, but old postcards that are personally curated from antique shops and used bookstores can be a fun takeaway. There’s something indescribably cool about old postcards, especially those with meaningful messages inscribed many moons ago. When it comes to displaying them, the sky is the limit: try framing them and presenting them in a grid on the wall, or just pinning them to a bulletin board covered in a pretty toile fabric.

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks
Here’s a budget-friendly idea: limit your souvenirs to a single special pebble from every trip you take. Make it an ongoing hunt for the perfect stone: some people look for heart-shaped rocks, while others just look for something with a unique pattern, color, or texture. Some use a permanent marker to record where and when the rock was found, and maybe a little quote from the trip. Display your pebble collection in an outdoor path, in a rock garden, or in a gorgeous glass jar in your home—the possibilities are endless.

Hit the Grocery Store
Sometimes, the best souvenirs are edible. Head to the local grocery store and get a sense of the local flavors. Pick up some spices, dried herbs, oils, or other products that are unique to the area. When you get home, you can attempt to re-create some of your favorite dishes.

The Sand Jar
If you’re a fan of beach destinations, scoop up a tiny bit of sand and take it home with you. Pour it into a glass jar, and eventually, you’ll have a vessel filled with layers of your favorite places.

We’ll leave you with a few final pointers to help you decide whether or not to buy that souvenir you’re obsessing over. Consider these three questions:

1)   Does it match your existing décor?

2)   Does it make you feel happy?

3)   Would you like it if somebody gave it to you as a gift?

If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, go for it. If you can’t, consider leaving it behind—it’ll save you money and luggage space.

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