The perfect souvenir

A while ago I was visiting the site GoThreeTwentyFour. It was created by Stephanie and her goal is to visit all 324 (now 325) countries on the Travellers’ Century Club list.

In one of her blog posts, she recounts how she was in Cyprus on the beach where the mythical Greek goddess Aphrodite emerged from the sea. Stephanie’s first thought was to take one of the small, smooth stones as a souvenir but she did not. It was one of her biggest regrets about her visit to Cyprus. It was this experience that got her thinking about the traits of the “perfect souvenir.”

Stephanie indicates that a souvenir should have at least four of the following characteristics.

  • Useful – You need to use the item you purchase. Eat the candies. Display the artwork.
  • Collectible – Consider purchasing the same or similar item in every location but make sure you are clear on how to develop the collection.
  • Personal – This should be something you identify with on a personal level, not just a fridge magnet with your name on it.
  • Local – There should be something about the item that you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Connective – The item should be a reminder of the place and the people you met along the way.
  • Practical – It should be affordable and easy to take back home.
  • Unique – Don’t shop at the same chain stores as you have at home. Get something that has its own story.
  • Quality – Make sure the souvenir is durable enough for you to enjoy for a long time.

These tips can be applied when you’re buying souvenirs for friends and family too.

Stephanie says a rock from the beach in Cyprus would have had at least five of the characteristics of a perfect souvenir. She feels that the important characteristics for a souvenir might be different for each trip and different people might give the qualities varying degrees of importance.

Here is a quote from Stephanie, an idea that we at Unclutterer approve of:

“The goal is to skip buying something that will be a waste of money and recognize when you totally need to grab the rock on the beach.”

We would like to thank Stephanie for allowing us to share her infographic with our readers. Please visit her site, GoThreeTwentyFour for more details on the “Perfect Souvenir.”


perfect souvenir

16 Comments for “The perfect souvenir”

  1. posted by S_k on

    I would like to add that the souvenir should be made in the country you are visiting, unless of course it is an unlabeled item such as the stone that Stephanie was talking about, or photographs. This way you can avoid the Made in China things, except if you are visiting China!
    I’d make an exception for second hand or vintage items, like if you were buying “Uncle XX’s” favorite work of art which was made elsewhere…

  2. posted by Mac on

    Thank you for this article! I have gone many places and will go many more and my favorite souvaniers a spray paint painting I got of the Roman Colosiam In front of the Colosiam second is the spartan spar head boble I recicived from a nephiew and third a Roy “Superman” Williams autographed photo, all of which I will cherish for who and where I got them from

  3. posted by Her from There on

    I buy a tea towel! We don’t have a dishwasher so we wash and dry dishes the old fashioned way. Every time I use a tea towel from a place I visited, I relive those memories and feel like I’m there all over again.

  4. posted by Vee on

    I’ve found my perfect souvenirs in keys chains and magnets.

    My personal collection is key chains. I pick them up when travelling and whenever one takes my fancy. I collect magnets with my husband. We travel often and make sure we find one from wherever we go. It’s a nice bonding element to our trips.

    Both key chains and magnets are easy to find, transport home, and display. They’re small, inexpensive and it’s fun finding one that reminds you of where you visited.

  5. posted by liz on

    I like to get postcards – the photo is sometimes much better or from a different angle than I was able to get and there is info on the back. Also picked up a small book from the area so I could enjoy the area and read about it later. I also pick up rocks – I may not remember where I got all of them, but I do have an interesting rock garden.

  6. posted by Suzi Ragsdale on

    Pins, the small tack pins some people call them hat pins. I take off the back and stick them on a bulletin board covered in grass cloth. It adds a decorative touch to my wall and they take up no room in luggage.

  7. posted by Fizz Lord on

    please don’t encourage people to take “a rock from the beach”.

    This is how beautiful places are wrecked because eventually there will be more tourists than “rocks”.

    Buy a souvenir to support the local economy, don’t wreck the local ecology.

  8. posted by Kim on

    Yes, I am surprised at the suggestion in this post. Don’t take a rock; for the reason stated above. Also it is even illegal in many countries and national parks to take rocks, sticks, shells out of those places…

  9. posted by Amy on

    When I went to England, I bought a tea towel at all the stops we visited. I got rid of our ratty old towels and now have something beautiful to look at whenever I dry dishes.

  10. posted by Keily Johnson on

    Nice post! It helps keep things in perspective and I like the very practical advice.

  11. posted by Maryann on

    I’ve started buying key fobs – usually leather, with a large circular key ring. I put them on various bags, backpacks, luggage, tote bags, etc that I use for various activities and hobbies. You can use a fine point permanent marker on the back to either record a date or location, or even use for your name/address/phone if used as an ID tag.

  12. posted by Michelle on

    I like to buy an ornament (or something that can be used as an ornament). When we decorate our tree, we often talk about our favorite memory of the trip, etc.

  13. posted by Francesca on

    I buy a Christmas ornament from every place I visit. I have quite a beautiful collection by now and I treasure the memories when I place each one on the tree.

  14. posted by Andie on

    We get sand from any coast/beach etc we visit. I have each place (since 2001) in a spice jar, with a little handwritten label, on picture rail shelves in our en suite bathroom.

    We also do the Christmas ornament thing. But we don’t buy anything ‘sits on a shelf’ items, ever.

  15. posted by Jen on

    I would like to suggest that photos are the best souvenir. Of all the travel souvenirs I have purchased over the years, I have kept very few. Thrift stores are full of unwanted travel souvenir chotchkes. For some reason these items seem to lose their lustre once home, and simply become more clutter.

  16. posted by Kaz on

    I collect a hand drawn card from a local artist on each vacation. A souvenier that supports a local artist. I keep them in a small box and display them one at a time, as a rotating display.

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