Minimalist + Meaningful Travel Souvenirs

travel souvenirs, travel ornament

Have you ever purchased another suitcase just to bring home all of your souvenirs and gifts from a vacation? Um, yeah, I have. It’s kind of embarrassing to think about now, but I was 15 and traveled to Australia and New Zealand with a high school group. So obviously, I had to get a t-shirt, boomerang, coffee mug, and key chain for every person listed in my flip phone.

Now, over a decade later, I’m much pickier about the souvenirs I bring home. In fact, if I can’t slide it into a shoe, slip it inside a book, or toss it in my carry-on, I’ll probably pass it up. And while I fully believe personal photos are the only souvenirs you really need, I also like to grab a few physical items that remind me of a special place. Pack light on your next trip and pick up one of the following souvenirs!

Christmas Ornaments

Maybe it’s because I just pulled them all out of their boxes, but ornaments are my favorite! Collecting shot glasses are a thing of the past for us, and the ornaments are in. I try to find the less breakable ornaments so they make it home safely. If you can’t find a shop selling ornaments, take home a coaster from one of the restaurants you visit and turn it into an ornament by punching a whole and adding some ribbon. 🙂

souvenir, minimalist, meaningful, travel, ornament


Never worry about the extra space to pack the souvenir if you can wear it! I’ve purchased handmade necklaces, personalized bracelets, and even just a pretty set of earrings from various vacations. Wearing the piece brings me right back to the day, the place, and the feelings from when I purchased it. I love having a little sliver of vacation with me at all times.

travel, souvenir, jewelry, wearables, necklace

This little necklace is from Keani Jewelry in Maui, and one of my most favorite souvenirs!


Kind of like shot glasses, I feel like magnets have always been a popular option. The only problem? Our refrigerator turns into a crowded magnetic mess. We typically look for smaller magnets now, and we even switch them out throughout the year so we don’t have dozens of magnets on the side of our refrigerator. Storing some of the magnets in a drawer and trading them out every so often is a fun way to relive the memories of a particular destination.

travel souvenir, magnets, minimalist

Post Cards + Greeting Cards

Just like the 90’s style, post cards are making a comeback, too! And I’m all for it. They’re super cheap, beautiful, and easy to pack/store. To get them home safely, tuck them inside a book that you have with you on the trip. I love finding unique post cards or greeting cards and stocking up on them while I’m traveling. And while I always remember to keep one as a souvenir for myself, I adore sending them out as birthday cards, thank you cards, or simple “hellos” while we’re on vacation. I don’t know what it is that triggers my memory so well, but I can tell you exactly where each card is from and what the store looked like!

travel souvenirs, post cards, greeting cards, travel light


What’s your favorite type of souvenir to collect? Let me know in the comments!



Minimalist and Meaningful Travel Souvenirs
Lifestyle, Travel
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  • Kiarna Jayne Welch Gibbs

    Magnets are something I always purchase as souvenirs – most my friends and family collect them so it is a great idea!

    • Katherine

      I love my magnets!! I might have to buy another fridge just to fit them all. Hahah

  • I love all the ideas! I love the idea of ornaments! It brings back such good memories when putting up the tree every year!

    • Katherine

      Yes! I feel like I forget about half of them throughout the year so when we decorate the tree we’re always like “awwwww! remember…..” haha

  • Nikki Gwin

    Good ideas! I always have a hard time finding something to bring home. Maybe it will be easier now.
    🙂 gwingal

    • Katherine

      I hate spending too much time on a vacation trying to figure out what to bring home, so yes, these are great “go-to’s”!

  • lol i can totally see you in high school going through your flip phone and buying an extra suitcase! Haha!! I actually have the EXACT same mentality when it comes to souvenirs! And always grab a christmas ornament but that’s about it. I used to do magnets but none of our apartments recently had fridges that would stick a magnet weirdly

    • Katherine

      Ummmm, yep! That was me! Lol and when I went to Europe when I was 20, I was the only person that brought TWO suitcases to start with! Haha. Now I’ve learned to share a suitcase with the hubby!

      My friend’s fridge isn’t magnetic either, but she got a magnetic board to hang in their walk-in pantry and it holds all of their ornaments!

  • Magnets are a really great idea. I love collecting shot glasses, but sometimes that’s not the most practical to bring home, depending on where you’re traveling from!

    • Katherine

      My husband and I started with getting shot glasses everywhere we went, but they quickly took up so much cabinet space! Lol, so the magnets are easier. And I have to be careful not to get ornaments that are super breakable. 🙂

  • When I was a kid I had a postcard collection. It was always a big purchase to find the one postcard to get on every trip. We don’t travel very much, but I give my kids a new ornament every year. I try to pick one that has meaning to them, and if we take a vacation I try to get an ornaments there.

    • Katherine

      Aw! I bet it’s so fun looking back on all of the postcards from your travels! I keep all of mine in a box right now, but hope to make a scrapbook or something one day. 🙂

  • Really great tips!!

    • Katherine


  • jessica reed

    I like to collect little magnets and shot glasses from the trips we make. They don’t take up much space and I still have a small souvenir from the place I visited!

    • Katherine

      Exactly! I like getting things that I can slip into my sneakers in the suitcase. 🙂

  • Taylor Smith

    Ornaments are great. We do magnets from everywhere we go! Our fridge is getting so full!

    • Katherine

      Haha, I hear ya. I have a friend that actually bought a magnetic board to hang in their walk-in pantry for extra magnetic space!

  • i loooove getting ornaments for christmas. you can never go wrong with fridge magnets too. i’ve started collecting mugs from every place i’ve been but it’s getting super full in my cupboard. these are much better options than big clunky mugs! LOL

    • Katherine

      Ohhh, I love mugs, too! I even had so many shot glasses that we had to stop collecting those. Haha

  • I don’t get to travel often but my mom goes out of the country at least once a year. I love it when she brings me personalized jewelry and magnets!

    • Katherine

      Aw, that’s so sweet that you can look forward to that souvenir from her!!

  • Magnets are for sure the number one travel souvenir. My fridge is full of them hahaha

    • Katherine

      YES!! I’ve had to learn to limit one per destination so it doesn’t get overwhelming. 🙂

  • We try to get a magnet from every new place we visit. It does make for a busy fridge, but I think it’s fun!

    • Katherine

      It’s fun because it reminds you that you have a full, exciting life! I love it! My husband is a little pickier about how much stuff we have on the fridge, so we’ll switch them out when it gets too full. And I keep buying smaller and smaller ones. Or magnets that double has a clip!

  • Brooke Pollard

    Ah I love the Christmas ornament idea! Never thought to do that. I usually go for jewelry myself!

    • Katherine

      My travel jewelry is sooo special to me! And I get to see it year-round, not just around the holidays! 😉

  • Katherine

    I feel like I just recently started getting the post cards and I love them because they’re so much cuter than they used to be! It’s easy on my budget, too!

  • Rindi Rico

    the Christmas ornament idea is so good! if you are like me, you have a Christmas tree in literally every room of the house, so having a vacation theme tree is super neat and conversation starter!
    ive always liked to send our favorite postcard home, writing a cute note of our favorite day or favorite thing we did. (that way when you get home your mailbox isnt just a pile of bills!…surprise!) you can always slap it on the fridge with a tacky magnet if you wanted to! xoxo

    • Katherine

      Yes!!! I actually just started the whole multiple tree thing this year and I’m loving it! But you’ve literally made me so giddy about sending a post card to myself on the next vacation!! How fun! Thanks so much for reading, Rindi! Xoxo