Friday, October 3, 2008

10 Free (or Nearly Free!) Souvenirs

It doesn't matter what you paid for a souvenir - it's the meaning behind it that counts. You don't have to pay top dollar or anything at all to get souvenirs you will cherish the rest of your life. Avoid the tourist trap so you can save yourself some money. My top ten cheap souvenir ideas are listed below.

10. Collect sand. Europe is full of beaches, so it's easy to find sand. I get some small containers ahead of time and collect sand from each beach I visit, labeling the bottoms as I go along. So far, my favorite part of my collection is the bottles I have from each beach on Karpathos Island in Greece.

9. Collect small flowers. Flowers can easily be dried or pressed for scrapbook pages. I love collecting flowers!

8. Choose a printed item to collect - and stick with it consistently throughout the trip. Printed items could be anything from napkins to matchbooks. I do this to help me remember restaurants or other places I've visited.

7. Create a photo walking tour. What you do here is take your own walking tour through the city based on what you mapped out to stop at ahead of time. Take the pictures as you go along and you will have an instant slide show when (if?) you go home.

6. Take pictures of the same item in different locations. For example, I like to collect pictures of unique houses from all over the world. I have over 400 pictures of anything from Queen Anne Victorians in Denver to rustic villas in Italy. Also, my son likes to take pictures of fire hydrants from different countries since they don't usually look the same.

5. Collect rocks. My husband likes to do this. Last time we went to California he collected a rock (and labeled it) from each LA suburb we visited. He also did this in Scotland and China. Rocks help remind him of our travels, so I think rocks make very good souvenirs. Just make sure they aren't too big!

4. Take pictures of yourself and your travel mates (or have someone help) in front of memorable spots. This souvenir is priceless.

3. Keep newspaper or magazine clippings that are in the native language of your destination. You may not be able to read them, but they will definitely remind you of the trip for years to come.

2. Keep a journal of the conversations you have with locals and those who are traveling with you. This is fun to read later.

1. My favorite free souvenir is to carry a notebook around with you and as you see something that triggers an emotion - write it down. This could be done with a voice recorder, too. No matter how silly or mundane the thought seems, write it down (or say it into the recorder). You can look back on this journal and know exactly what you were thinking when you first saw the Eiffel Tower, for example. 

"Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." -Benjamin Disraeli 

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