When you go on vacation do you have a hard time saying No to purchasing all those neat items in the gift shops? Does it feel like all the items on the shelf are calling your name? I know exactly how that feels which is why I’ve decided to share some of the FREE and inexpensive souvenirs that I’ve discovered and treasure from over the years.
I love postcards. I even had a postcard collection when I was a child. I didn’t travel much, but my extended family members picked them up for me while they traveled. I was happy living vicariously through them. When I was a moody teenager I threw them all away. I regret that decision to this day.
2. Embroidered Patches
My kids began collecting embroidered patches when they began participating in Jr. Ranger programs through the National Park System. I liked their patches so much that I began my own collection. My kids have since given up the interest in collecting patches, but not me. I even bought a patch on our recent trip to the Lake Erie islands.
3. Smashed/Squished/Elongated Pennies
I love to smash pennies. I keep a stash of quarters and pennies in my purse for each trip. Some places even allow you to press quarters. I have a few of those as well.
I’ve never collected magnets, but they are relatively inexpensive and you can find them just about everywhere!
5. Christmas Tree Ornaments
Why not reminisce over each trip that you’ve taken as you decorate your Christmas tree?
T-shirts may not be entirely inexpensive, but I’ve been known to pick one up a time or two. You can wear your t-shirt and when you’re sick of it, you can turn it into a pillow or make it part of a quilt.
You don’t hear of many people collecting thimbles these days, but they are still regularly offered for sale in touristy gift shops.
Do you travel to other countries? Save some of the currency you collect there. My kids have change from Canada and Mexico and one day hope to add to that collection.
9. Maps, Brochures and Ticket Stubs
You can normally find plenty of maps and brochures at no cost when you’re traveling. Don’t throw them away when the vacation is over, I even keep ticket stubs from attractions that we visit. I display them in journals, scrapbooks and collages in a decorative picture frame. This is one of my favorite souvenirs!
10. Rocks,Sea Shells and Sand
The things I find on vacation are often the things that I’m most fond of. I have boxes of seashells that the kids and I have collected on numerous trips to the ocean. Just make sure you’re permitted to collect natural items before they find their way into your pocket.