Traveling without sparing any expense can amount to a good amount of money. Booking ideally located hotels or vacation rentals and eating out everyday dents even the healthiest of budgets. Then we want to buy souvenirs for ourselves and our loved ones putting even more stress on the trip’s budget. Packing those purchases can get tricky too, so I am offering some lightweight, and sentimental souvenir options to consider for your next trip.
1- Before you pack, head to your favorite bookstore or art supply store and buy a journal. Buy one that you really love and one that will last for many years to come. One you might inherit to your loved ones. Think about that. I recommend that you don’t order this item online. Touch it, smell it, flip its pages and hold it. Check if the weight and size are manageable and the design represents you. This is an important decision. Write every single detail that you enjoyed during your trip. Doodle emojis or draw if you like but fill it up. Airplane flights are ideal times to write on a travel journal.
2- Visitor maps and brochures. A lot of time, effort, and planning go into these items. Professional photography and cool designs make them ideal to display with a picture frame or a glass topped table or simply store in a keepsake box and open during a winter day, sipping coffee go through them or share with friends.
3- Leaves or flowers from a memorable place. Please consider only those that are accessible to the public and legal to collect. Place them in your journal and they will last a long time. Back home you can display them in a shadow box with other trip items.
4- Napkins bearing the logo of a restaurant you visited and really liked. Write a personal note about the place or a date and the name of the person you shared this memorable moment with.
5- Words and music. A book by a local author or poet. Books are light, for the most part, especially poetry books, and will always take you back to that place you enjoyed so much. You know those places you go where a local musician or band is playing? a sound you never heard before? Buy their CDs, and play them back home. They do trigger happy memories. Don’t buy if you did not enjoy the music. I remember a troubadour playing at a restaurant in Dolores, Hidalgo Guanajuato. His voice and guitar flowed around the picturesque place and surrounding plaza like birds on trees. Another time in Rome, we were entertained by a lively band and tenor singing Italian classics to the rhythm of the tambourine and once in Marfa, we heard the music of Austin’s singer Gina Chavez for the first time. We’ve been fans since. We play this music back home and take it with us on road trips. It not only brings us joy, but they remind us to keep an open mind and be open to the happiness of music.
6- Tickets to a concert, museum or park. These also bestow the opportunity to write something that impacted you the most and they are usually attractive.
7 – Jewelry representative of the destination you are visiting or one that you simply loved and will always remind you of your vacation. From Jerusalem, I brought an antique coin mounted on a silver charm and a silver chain that brings me so much joy to wear. They are also great conversation pieces.
8- Perfume made in the place you are visiting or one you had never experienced before and found there. Every time you wear it back home, it will take you back to your memorable vacation. I have a couple of “Agua de Sevilla” bottles that are almost empty, and I know it will be a while before I decide to throw the bottles away. It does not disappoint. Fragrances have the power to transport you to distant places.
9- A local dish recipe or a small cookbook. I’ve actually asked a waiter for a recipe and have some written on receipts and napkins. In one of this post’s photos, I show a restaurant flyer listing recipes for local gastronomy specialties. I think this is a great idea!
10- This one is a bit unusual but it has brought me joy over and over. I never felt bold enough to wear red lipstick during the day, and even at night, I had my reservations. But when in Paris, feeling bold and on top of the world, a red lipstick winked from a shop’s window and the love was instant. I bought it and wore it and I still do, even on summer days. Another time, visiting Minneapolis I noticed a bright orange lipstick at the Channel cosmetic booth. I had never, ever considered buying an orange lipstick but here I was feeling happy about being here for the first time. I always think of Minneapolis when I wear my orange lipstick and actually bought it for a second time now.
Good photos did not make it to the list because it is obvious that they are the best mementos, but don’t overdo it and end up behind the camera for most of your trip. Don’t rush to post on social media either. Savor your vacation time intensely for there will be plenty of time to post when you get back home. Reliving them will give you much more pleasure than posting instantly.
The most important thing to remember is to be grateful to God for allowing you the gift and opportunity to travel. Not everybody has that privilege, so consider yourself lucky. Or like I prefer to say; blessed.