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If you’ve ever been anywhere, chances are, there’s a gift shop offering up a world of non-sensical souvenir options for you to spend your vacation dollars on.
But are these generic, often cheap keychains, t-shirts, and tote bags stamped with “location’s name” really the best thing you can take from your adventures abroad?
The main reason why many people choose to travel is to make long-lasting memories. Ten minutes in a gift shop might not be the best choice to gather unique souvenir ideas.
It’s much easier to get creative with how you’ll remember your time travelling. Some creative souvenir ideas are often cheaper too!
And while some destinations are more exotic than others, don’t let that deter you from thinking outside the souvenir shop.
Psst. You don’t have to travel heavy, even with souvenirs. Here’s how I travel using just a backpack.
Best Unique Souvenir Ideas to Take Home From Anywhere
These unique souvenir ideas will help you stay away from generic stores.
Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to venture out, explore your destination, and bring home a unique souvenir of your own!
Look for Unique Souvenirs That Are Special To the Area
While these may sound like obvious anecdotes about each country, they’re also great reminders of them too!
Who doesn’t want sweet, natural, authentic Canadian maple syrup accompanying their breakfast?
And while Vegemite may be a staple in Australia, it can be hard to find in other parts of the world.
Finding items that are specific or known to an area makes for great unique souvenir ideas for a loved one (or yourself!).
Spice It Up
Speaking of food, spices are a great treat to bring back from any country.
There are spices I’ve used in some countries that I can never find back in Canada. For that reason, I’ve learned to stock up when I go away.
If you plan on actually cooking with the spices, they probably won’t last longer than your memories. But if you choose a unique container to go along with it, you’ll have two functional souvenirs in one!
Capture the Moment through Artwork
I’m not saying to walk into a gallery and purchase the first interesting piece you see.
Art is literally everywhere, and your eyes are much more open to it when you travel.
Most cities and towns have a variety of venues that display local artwork including cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Places that do display local artwork will sometimes have prices right on the piece, otherwise, if you ask, they’re usually more than accommodating.
Montreal is great for artwork and thrift shops. Check out my Montreal guide for budget travellers!
Browse Local Thrift Shops and Markets
While browsing cafes will keep you energized, you can also find artwork at local thrift shops and markets at particular destinations.
Thrift shops and markets (including flea markets) are not only great for getting immersed in a destination, but they’re awesome for inspiring unique souvenir ideas too!
Antiques, music, and crafts are often on sale at these venues, so you can easily match a souvenir to various personas.
Patches are often a great idea for unique souvenirs, and thrift shops are one of the best places to find them. Great for backpackers, you can give them away as gifts, or sew them right onto your pack!
Looking for a backpack? I reviewed the Osprey Farpoint 40 so you don’t have to. (Ps. I love it.)
Style Your Memories With Fashionable Unique Souvenir Ideas
Thrift shops and markets are also a great place to find jewellery and fashion items.
The most interesting pieces seem to find their ways to these retailers, and depending on the destination, you’re sure to find something that’s one-of-a-kind.
You can also find unique fashion souvenirs by tuning into the style of your destination.
Find something fitting to the area like a scarf in Paris, or a Panama Hat in Ecuador to remind you of your travels.
Don’t throw away those tickets, pamphlets, or postcards that you get while away. They come in handy for scrapbooking and other DIY travel pieces.
Whether you want to put pieces of your destination in a diary, or displayed on a board for all to see, it will be a crafty reminder of your destination.
I often save the packaging of items I’ve fallen in love with and repurpose them in useful ways. For example, I plan on turning a Laduree macaron box into a simple jewelry box for the bathroom.
This option is also the best for those on a budget!
To Wrap This Up
Stepping off the beaten path when it comes to both travel and souvenirs can be extremely rewarding.
Add a bit of creativity and a touch of magic from the destination you’re in, and you’re sure to have a unique souvenir with memories to hold onto.
Want More Travel Tips? You Got ‘Em!
- How to Travel with Just a Backpack
- Easy Ways to Make Friends While Travelling
- Why You Should Volunteer Abroad
What are some of your favourite unique souvenirs?