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What Travel Souvenirs do you Collect? Do you Display Them? Here is what we buy!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

It always fascinates me what folks like to collect — especially so in the “travel sphere” culture. There are those who love to collect boarding passes. Others only care about as many photos as possible from every place they visit.

My wife and I like to collect art. Now when I say “art” I am NOT talking about investment quality art you will one day see on “Antiques Road Show” appraising for thousands of dollars. What I am talking about is items from local artists that will evoke in me a flood of memories from that trip.

Take the above as an example. On our amazing NCL cruise to New England further north, we had the chance to see tons of whales — including calves — right from the ship. In one port along the way, we found a local artist that did acrylic whales and I love looking out into my garden and seeing this reminder of that adventure.

Next up, we have one very old memory and a more recent one. The top print is the one that mesmerized the charter “Cameron Frye” in the iconic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the Chicago Art Museum. Years ago, I took my mom and her best friend to see the museum and enjoyed a sunny day in the Windy City.

The photo below it was taken by a local New Orleans photographer of the Banksy on the outskirts of the French Quarter where we stayed for a few days before our western Caribbean NCL cruise this past February (still working on that review).

The next one just makes me smile every time I see it. On one of our transatlantic crossings, we stopped at Funchal and took a Segway ride around the area near the port. The above street is one of the places we passed by on our tour. Simply an amazing part of the planet to visit.

Below that, we have a drawing from just around the corner from the Coliseum. It was my first visit to Rome as an adult. My wife and I had a blast for a couple of days on a stopover on a Delta SkyMiles award trip home (yes, Delta used to offer “free” stopovers on award tickets)! What a city to visit.

Our visit to London was another really fun trip. We did most of the touristy things but also on the AVgeek side got to enter the private Virgin Upper Class airport entrance and spent time in the LHR lounge. So many fun memories.

Next up, on another transatlantic crossing, we visited the Canary Islands for the first time ever. We had a really fun walking tour with breathtaking views (I love walking tours — especially during cruises because it helps you justify all the meals you are enjoying onboard).

Once again from an NCL ship on a central Caribbean cruise, we visited the ABC islands and on one of them picked up a print reminding us of the Dutch influence on that part of the world.

The last one is a gift I treasure from my mom who earned a bachelor’s degree in textile design and created the above of myself and my Lisa sitting on the dock of the summer house in Sweden. Yes, it is a very Swedish summer that I have a coat on and my wife is in a swimsuit!

Normally all of the above motivates me to always think about the “next” adventurer we are going to take. With the virus keeping us grounded for who knows how long, now these items give me time to reflect on the amazing memories millions and millions of travel points have afforded us over the many years.

Your turn – do you collect anything from your travels? Do you display them in your home or in your office? I would love to know. – René

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. James Brooks Reply

    Starbucks coffee cups with the name of the city or region on them. They all have their own, unique design and artwork. I drink from them daily. I feel this helps bring back memories of my travel every morning. I also collect refrigerator magnets, but not as consistently.

      • James Brooks Reply

        Absolutely. I stuff socks into the cups (clean, of course) to make space and protect the cup from damage.

  2. Babs Fletcher Reply

    I bring home a photo of my bare feet with the location behind them. It’s started 30 years or so ago when we were sitting on the back of a cruise ship leaving the port of Seattle and I took a picture with Seattle in the background while I had my feet up on the railing. I have the same picture with big glaciers in the background, with Amsterdam’s windmills in the background, with the Great Wall of China in the background, pretty much everywhere I’ve ever been. I have on of me and my sons feet with CSU Chico in the background when I dropped him off at college. One day I’ll have a great coffee table book!

  3. AlohaDaveKennedy Reply

    What I physically collect is coins and lanyards from each country visited. However, my main collecting focus is US counties, NomadMania regions, Traveler’s Century Club ‘Countries’ and transits around the world by planes or ships. So far this year I have had no domestic travels and was only able to add 5 countries/regions to my collection.

  4. Shotglasses usually. Also coins and notes. Recently have been trying to collect sweatshirt but those are harder to come by.

    • @JD – Oh I like the notes idea. You could have a frame and mat a bunch at once. Also very simple to transport.

  5. We’re with you – we collect “local art”, including watercolor paintings from Hue, Vietnam, calligraphy from Xian, China, and paintings from India and Japan. We’ve also bought rugs in Istanbul and a bed cover in Rathambore, India. This year’s virus prevented us from adding to the collection, as we had to cancel a 3-month trip to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. I guess we’ll quit traveling when there’s no more wall space!

  6. Similar to the comments above, and your own suggestions – we’ve picked up shot glasses for my step-daughter, artwork we have hanging in our bedroom and living room (as well as US National Parks posters elsewhere in the house) , a variety of hoodies, sweatshirts and t-shirts, magnets and the occasional oval 3 letter sticker to place on the back window of our SUV (though the SUV hasn’t been to all of those places!).
    Fun topic, Rene!

    • My wife’s cousin also collects shot glasses from not just his travels — but loves receiving them as gifts from fellow globetrotters!

      My mileage-runs and other trips double as easy Christmas and birthday shopping opportunities for his gifts. 🙂

  7. Susan A Lucas Reply

    Here’s a boring, unimaginative one: magnets. But we really do enjoy staring at the collection. Here’s a more imaginative one: we send a postcard to ourselves from wherever we are! Please give me suggestions about how to display them. So far, they are just in a shoebox in chronological order. I’d love to have them “out” somehow. I can’t just hang them up because both sides are special.

  8. At 65 ive now hopped around to over 30 countries, many were backpacking for weeks on end. But i always found a way to collect art and get it back! Sometimes DHL got to ship a box or the stores would ship furniture and rugs from all over the middle east, asia, africa and europe. I relish everyone of them,, they are treasures that often can never be found again! My favorites are the ones off the beaten path that i just stumbled on and made a deal, i can still connect a face with most of them!

  9. I like to collect genuine Harley Davidson T-shirts from far away lands. Sometimes, we’ve spent a whole day tracking down a Harley dealer. I don’t even know why I do it. Some of my shirts have never even been worn! My wife and I also collect local artifacts along the way. Carvings, banners, menus, trip tickets, mounted piranhas (BTW, they begin to stink after a year or two), and other such trinkets. Among our favorites of both amateur and professional works are a hand basket made from old magazine pages (Escola Para Ti, Rio De Janeiro), and couple of prints made from original artworks of Carlos Páez Vilaró (Punta Ballena, Uruguay), which Don Carlos was kind enough to countersign for us right before our eyes….. and yes, we got the photo of that with him!

  10. Many years ago, we collected match books, many from Europe and the States. When butane lighters became the “thing”, match books faded away. We still have them and display them in a giant glass brandy snifter.

  11. We collected magnets, but now we have our refrigerator covered, so we had to stop. We also send ourselves postcards detailing highlights of the location. Those go in our photo albums in plastic sleeves so both sides are visible. We have also bought art, cactus from Arizona, sun hats, clothing. It seems to change over time, though lately we haven’t bought many souvenirs–just taken pictures.

  12. I love to buy things on trips that I use in everyday life. After all, I usually have more time to shop when traveling than when I am home. These souvenirs, which include Schnapps glasses, spatulas, trays, sweaters, shoes, books umbrellas, and more, may not signal to anyone that I traveled to foreign land, but every time I use these items, I have a great memory.

    I also love to go to local grocery stores and shop for easily transportable items I can’t get at home. For weeks after the trip, I enjoy treats like aborio rice from the supermercodo in Venice or biscuits and jam from Fortum & Mason, candies from KaDeWe, or coffee beans from Prufrock.

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