9 Unique Souvenir Ideas For Your Next Vacation

Been there, done that, have the t-shirt for it. After finding my closet full of vacation spot t-shirts, I have discovered other ways to spend my money or no money at all, on lasting mementos while on my adventures. This post will give you ideas for unique souvenirs to take home with you on your next vacation. Don’t forget, you can click on the pictures for a closer view.

1. Purchase something that enhances your hobby. For example, my mother-in-law is an exquisite knitter and she enjoys purchasing new and exciting yarns wherever she travels. I enjoy kitchen gadgets myself.

2. Purchase local ingredients or specialty food items. I found the best coffee in the world at Useless Bay Coffee Company on Whidbey Island. I met the owner and he explained the different roasts and talked at length about how he roasts decaf coffee so that it does not dry out. I came home with 3 pounds of his coffee. It felt good to support a local and growing business.

3. Visit a place that is your niche and get to know the owners. I enjoyed visiting Island Angel Chocolates and the Chocolate Flower Farm, it was fun to see their progress and success. A picture of the place or a picture with the owner is a great treasure. It will make you feel like a celebrity for sure. (This is a picture of me and my SIL’s at The Chocolate Flower Farm taken by Marie.)

4. Books. Yes, books. I have always enjoyed picking up books that pertain to the area in which I am visiting. Whether picture, cooking, ghost stories, history, or folklore, I like a good local book. We visited the Locks in Seattle and I found the three greatest books about animals and plants of the Northwest called “An Uncommon Field Guide” by Patricia Lichen. Let me say that the Banana Slug’s love making habits was worth the price of the 3 books together. Hysterical. Pick up your own copies from my Store.

5. Collect information and stories. While at the Locks of Ballard near Seattle, I made friends with the tour ranger Mr. Stevens. He shared an abundance of information, opinions and stories with me. We talked about biology and botany and he even went out of his way to furnish me with information packets that they usually do not give out. I even like to collect recipes. Mona of Island Angel Chocolates filled me in on how to make Sipping Chocolate. Priceless.

6. Make friends. I think this has much to do with numbers 3 and 5. We think we must purchase our souvenirs but making friends or networking is a great thing to do. Those people I met went out of their way to see that I had a great time on my vacation. We met these guys on the highway. They give drivers licences to anyone these days.

7. Collect seeds. Well if that is your thing that is. While at Useless Bay Coffee Company. My SILs and I sat outside his cafe in his beautiful garden and spied that the poppies had expired leaving wonderful little “rattles” of thousands of seeds. Always check with the owner first of course. I plan to plant them next Spring reminding me of the best coffee I have ever tasted.

8. Holiday or birthday shop. I love giving gifts to folks followed with, “I got this for you while I was on vacation” or “I found this in the cutest little shop in…” or “This is may favorite tea from Market Spice.” It lets the receiver know that you were thinking of them while on vacation.

9. Purchase local art. I like to come home with a print or work of art from a place I have visited. I suppose this could be in any artistic form that pleases you such as photos, oils, watercolors, pottery, or even music from a local music group or street performer. This time it was chocolate candles for me. Be sure to have expensive art pieces shipped.

I need a tenth idea to make it an even ten, what unique treasure have you acquired while on vacation?

Update! – Here is the rest of the list for More Unique Souvenir Ideas For Your Next Vacation.

Note- I have joined ProBlogger’s “Killer Titles- Group Writing Project”. I am always looking for ways to improve my writing, photography, food styling, and editing. So this post is my entry for this project.

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  1. Susanne49
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    I like your blog, very nice!

  2. Anonymous
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    When I go on vacation or go to a local festival, I don’t think t-shirts or junk. I think of birthday presents and Christmas stocking stuffers that are unique. (That’s how I get away with spending $ when my husband is w/me. He won’t object if I am buying for birthdays, etc.) I have even gone to garage sales, one of my passions, and have picked up stuff for gifts. For my grandkids, if I find stuff that is just rediculously expensive, I head for the Dollar Store (cheap grandma) or I give them $ if I can’t find anything on vacation. Ma

  3. Anonymous
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    How about a Christmas ornament from your travels. We have done this and love to unpack our ornaments every year and remember our travels.

    DonnaJ (Sabrina’s sis in law)

  4. Tanya
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    I am a big fan of #9 – buy local art. This is especially great if you are visiting a small town. When I visited Saugatuck, MI, I picked my mom up some notecards with art work from a local artist.

    Another good option for us creative types is to take some really beautiful photos and scrapbook them, along with things you found/did on the trip (tickets to a show, etc). Not really a souvenir in the traditional sense, but a great way to remember your trip.

  5. Kristen
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    We always make friends on vacation. In fact, now we vacation every year with two couples that we met on our honeymoon, of all places, ten years ago!
    Your list is great. We collect art from the places we’ve been. Every time we go on a trip, we get a new painting as our souvenir.

  6. nicisme
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    I do all the things on this list! I take an extra bag to bring stuff home with me. I just love to go into a foreign supermarket and browse the aisles for hours!

  7. Beth
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

    How about a family picture for X-Mas cards. That way everyone can see where you’ve been, you’ve shared something and the ones you want to give a gift to can see where it came from. And every year you will have a record of where and what you have done. In the future that may come in handy.

  8. scottnjoyce
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    I have saved some of the “paper” souvenirs, such as ticket stubs from some unique adventure, brochure from something we saw-they sometimes have great pictures in them.
    I then scan the items into my computer and cut and paste onto a blank document and print that page out as the “title” page to my digital scrapbook. It gives a quick snap shot, tells it own story of where we went-and then I don’t have to keep all that “paper” from our trip.

  9. James
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Buy local ingredients. Definitely!

    Oh … Useless Bay Coffee Company. Very cool! I used to play golf with my grandfather at the golf course near there.

  10. Jo
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    I like to pick up postcards, but not for mailing back to friends. You can jot down when you visited and any special notes about the vacation on the back and tuck them away. It’s reminiscent of writing on the backs of photos, before we took so many digital pictures.

    btw, found you through the problogger submissions.

  11. L-Jay
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    Our family buys a local comic book from each country we go to.

  12. Rossella
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Being a fooblogger, I buy local food related magazines. Now I’ve one in belgian, to understand recipes I use Internet

  13. kikolani
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

    I think photography is a great souvenir, as it is unique to the things you find beautiful enough to photo. Plus, you can place yourself into the scene, and the image can last a lifetime.

  14. Drizzly
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 3:20 PM | Permalink


    I love this post AND your site. I will be back! I found your site because I entered the Problogger contest too, and I am making a list of my five favorite general appeal titles, and five favorite Blogging related titles and I am going to post them on one of my blogs.

    I love your souvenir ideas! Now if I could just get to go somewhere! LOL



  15. sporkboy
    Posted August 28, 2008 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    I carry a travel journal with me so I collect stories. I also collect coffee stains that I keep in my travel journals. All those little bits of paper, ticket stubs and the like, live in my journal as well.

    I do have a fondness for grocery stores so number 2 is near and dear to my heart. Specifically I bring back candy, loads of it. It makes a great gift coming back home and then every time you have that candy again it takes you right back.

    I actually wrote about that not too long ago on my blog.

  16. kate
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    I take a stone or rock (small, perhaps walnut sized), preferably unique to the area or at least interesting, and I add them to a huge glass bowl into which I always have flowers or cuttings of some kind. I just rinse out the stones and pepples when I change the flowers.

    This is my “spirit pile.” Every stone is from a place I loved or where I had a meaningful experience and those experiences reside in the stones, basically.

  17. Robin Sue
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Susanne49- Thanks for stopping by! Wow you have alot of blogs, where do you find the time?

    Anon- Ma always at garage sales! I am still looking to make donuts in that cute pan you got me. Thanks for the comment!

    Donna- Nice to meet you!! We have to meet in real life sometime. This is a great idea that we have done but forgot about it, so thanks for the reminder. Your name will be in lights on Monday as I will post your idea amoung some others. Thanks!!

    Tanya- yes you are creative. Thanks for all the fun tips!

    Kristen- That is a hoot that you are still in contact with a couple you met on your honeymoon! That is the best treasure of them all isn’t it?

    Nic- shopping in German markets was how I taught myself the language, those places are so much fun. Always bring an extra bag!

    Beth- great idea, one we have done but also forgot about! Thanks for posting this. Come back Monday to see the final list! Do you have a blog?

    Joyce Joyce Joyce- Always so clever. You amaze me with your creative tips. Thanks, we will chat soon!

    James- I think my hubby played that course too!

    Jo- Thanks for stopping in. Postcards are great for some of those places you are not allowed to use a camera as well. Great tip!

    L-Jay- Really fun tip! What countries do you have comics from? Thanks for dropping by!

    Rossella- Great idea and thanks for stopping by! Great rissoto by the way!

    kikolani- Wonderful idea. Thank you for stopping by my site! I liked the music on your site!

    Drizzly- thanks for stopping by. I look forward to seeing the list you are making. Let me know when you post.

    Sporkboy- Cool ideas. You will have to explain the coffee stains more though, interesting! Great blog you have there! Thanks Graham for stopping in.

    Kate- Very nice idea. I did collect some nice black sand from Hawaii! Thanks for your comment!

  18. DelKee
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    Photography and local food, especially wine, are my favorite souvenirs. Even if you’re not the best photographer you can get a decent digital camera and a large memory card for under $150 and have hundreds of pictures to edit, post, print, and share. All of the photographs decorating my office are from my travels and they are way more personal than anything I could purchase in a store. As far as local cuisine, my husband and I always look to purchase wine, if possible.

  19. Robin Sue
    Posted August 29, 2008 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    DelKee- Wine!! Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  20. HighGrace
    Posted August 31, 2008 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    I collect rocks. Right now I’ve got 20 or so (small ones) on my desk. Each time I hold one, it reminds me of the place I got it. Salt crystals from a salt mine in Arizona, red agate from an oregon beach, a round feel-good rock from the mesa above Georgia O’Keefe’s studio. I like your suggestions above, too. Thanks for an original post! Came here via the Killer Blog Title contest. Stumbling you, too. G.

  21. sporkboy
    Posted August 31, 2008 at 1:02 AM | Permalink

    Robin Sue: OK, coffee stains. I usually make a mess when I’m fixing my coffee and some usually goes down the cup and collects on the bottom of the outside of the cup. This will usually leave a ring on the table and it gets wiped up sooner or later. I just take the cup and set it on the page I’m at in my journal and make a nice coffee colored ring in there and then I write about it. I also have one orange juice ring in there as well.

    It’s a nice way to break up the flow of a page, kind of like a picture only it’s a coffee ring.

  22. Robin Sue
    Posted September 1, 2008 at 8:22 AM | Permalink

    HighGrace- Thanks for the compliment and Stumbling me! I appreciate that. Rocks are the perfect take home, tiny and simple to pack. I see you like to travel often!

    Graham- Thanks for clearing this up for us! Let me say, I hope you never get neat then you will not have coffee stains to save. Fun idea!

  23. Anonymous
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

    I wear a lot of scarves and most of them are souvenirs from my travels. I also like to visit local farmer’s or craft markets, as well as small museums. They’re usually the best for something with local flavor, both literally and figuratively.

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