Family vacations make for cherished memories we hold onto for a lifetime. They provide adventure, education, enlightenment, and quality time together. It’s no wonder we are so driven to bring home mementos of our travels.
The wish to preserve memories can quickly slide into needing an extra suitcase to come home with if you’re not careful, however.
Here are some ideas to consider when it comes to travel souvenirs.
Start a Collection
In our family, we make sure to purchase a magnet for our refrigerator and an ornament for our Christmas tree commemorating the places we’ve been. Having a fridge full of adventures in our kitchen is a daily joy. Unpacking the ornaments each year just after Thanksgiving leads us to many wonderful conversations that begin, “Oh! Remember when…”
We find that these two very simple souvenir collections keep us focused when shopping while away and allow us to regularly recall the adventures we’ve had together.
I know other people who collect hats, spoons, teddy bears, glasses, figurines, rocks, postcards, t-shirts, and more. The point is to focus in on one theme and appreciate your collection at home, rather than cluttering your space with a haphazard array of stuff you’ve purchased in tourist shops.
Keep It Simple
Items like hotel room keys, event tickets, cocktail napkins, foreign currency, items found in nature, shopping bags, etc., tend to hold more meaning as time goes on. Save these everyday items you encounter and use on your travels for a scrapbook or memory box. They’ll take you right back to your trip for years to come.
Research Must-Haves in Advance
Know what your destination is known for and consider whether you’ll want to purchase special items to bring home.
For example, figurines in most tourist shops deserve a pass. However if you’re at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the classic miniature landmark may be a must have for you. Likewise, you may steer your children away from too many stuffed animals, but if you’re touring the Steiff Factory in Germany, you may not want to leave without a new, stuffed friend.
The idea is to think it over before your trip and avoid impulse buys that will result in remorse.
Buy Souvenirs in Advance
Some vacations will tempt you to shop more than others. A Disney vacation, for example, will have you in more stores than you’ll realize and your children will be dazzled by it all. You can actually purchase a lot of that merchandise online, however. Pack surprises for your kids before you set off, items you know they’ll love and use, and let them discover them in the hotel or in some fun way during the trip.
Know When to Invest
From time to time you may come upon a piece of art, furniture, jewelry, etc., that speaks to you and that you’ll likely never encounter again. Know when to take the leap and invest in something special for your home, yourself, or your family.
Value Experiences Over Things
All in all, remember that life is a collection of experiences, not things. Things require cleaning, maintenance, and organization and will impact the space in which you live. Experiences teach us, inspire us, warm our hearts, and stay with us. When in doubt, you probably don’t need the thing to remember the experience.