13 June 2011

Great Ideas for Inexpensive Vacation Souvenirs

I'm sure if you've taken a trip any time, anywhere, you've noticed that buying mementos and souvenirs can get very expensive. I can remember my parents telling me that when I was much younger and they were the ones paying for my goodies to take home. Now that I'm the parent, those goodies cost even more!

Now occasionally you just have to throw caution to the wind and splurge on that *special something* that you just can't live without~but we all know just how rare those things are, right? Most of the time you can pass on that expensive souvenir and never regret it.

I have a few *standard* souvenirs that we always look for and try to buy for the kiddos--and sometimes ourselves--when we are traveling. Since we are in the high season for travel I thought I'd share those with you.

  • Postcards: I started collecting postcards when I was about 7 years old and have collected them from all over the world. And even though I have A LOT of postcards, they still only fill 2 of those small photo boxes. So, they are an inexpensive and practical memento to keep. I love to sit down once in a while and browse through my collection. I always try to put the date on them to remind me of my trip and even sometimes a special note about a special memory. Recently I've found they are also fun to incorporate into our homeschool lessons when I happen to have some from a country or place we are studying. Since having kiddos I have let my collection slide and now I buy postcards for them, helping them build a collection of memories from their travels.

  • Stretched Pennies: Growing up my parents never let me get one of these because they said they were a waste of money:) However I have found that if a stretched penny is the only thing you're buying from a place then it's a very good value! Did you know they even make little booklets in which to keep your collection of stretched pennies? We picked up these for the kiddos a while back for them to tuck their pennies inside. They have so much fun looking for the stretched penny machine at the places we visit~and they are always content to leave with that penny as their keepsake, for just 51 cents!

  • Christmas Ornaments: This is an tradition that my mom, sister and I began way before I married and still continue it on to this day. When we are on a trip we always look for an ornament--or something special to use as an ornament~to add to our Christmas ornament collection. We have them from all over--some have been given to us by family and friends from their travels, too. Now I love to add to my kiddos' ornament collection whenever we travel. Generally you can find them for a reasonable price--much less expensive than a t-shirt which will wear out or be outgrown before long. Plus it's so much fun when you are decorating your Christmas tree to remember all the places you've traveled.

  • *Freebies*: "Found" nature makes a wonderful keepsake. Of course, I'm not talking about carrying off any national treasures from National Parks or trespassing or ignoring signs that say "don't take anything you didn't bring". Those are important to pay attention to! But filling a small Ziploc bag with sand at the beach and tossing in those shells you found is the perfect thing to take home and put into a pretty jar to help you remember your sunny vacation. Or maybe some pretty rocks or a giant pine cone you picked up on a nature walk. I have several pretty containers around the house with these types of things. They truly make me smile every time I look at them~and the best part was they were free!

  • Photos: I take my digital camera everywhere...really! It's become a joke with my family because I can whip it out at any given moment. And all of those pictures come with tons of wonderful memories! Looking back through photographs of travels is a favorite pastime of mine~even if I don't get to do it that often. Photos can be your absolute best keepsake and with all of the websites of free photo storage and sharing, it's incredibly economical! I personally love to use Snapfish, but there are lots of other sites that are similar.
And that's how we manage not to spend a fortune in souvenirs and keepsakes when we travel! In these days of a tough economy and tight budgets it's important to remember that the simple things can be just as much fun--if not more so--as the expensive things that often bring buyers' remorse.

I hope you have wonderful summer travels this year and bring home many {inexpensive} souvenirs to remember them by!

This post is linked to Tip Junkie.

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Valerie said...

My sister collects keychains from everywhere she's been. They are all linked together and the "chain" is about 10-ft long or more now. A cheap souvenir and a great conversation piece, too! :)

Lora @ my blessed life said...

What a fun idea!

LaKeta said...

My kids love collecting postcards from different places we go as well... ANd I love the idea of the ornaments!!!