Free Travel Souvenirs

Summer is only weeks away and travel time kicks into gear. This year, start a tradition of collecting little free souvenirs to remember your adventures, big and small. I wrote about a few of ours on my SC Johnson Family Economics post HERE. If you have any inexpensive souvenir ideas or traditions, I’d love to hear about them!

Round rock collection for mom, courtesy of my children.

Disclosure: I am a paid blogger for SC Johnson

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25 Responses to Free Travel Souvenirs

  1. #1 - Gayle says:

    Nice collection of round rocks! My friend owns the best rock collection I’ve ever seen – dozens of HEART SHAPED rocks – they are absolutely lovely!

  2. #2 - Pamela says:

    I’ve got a couple of mason jars on my mantle that have rocks/sand and shells respectively in them from some of my favorite trips. I plan to print out a tiny picture of our family from each trip and insert it into the jar.

  3. #3 - Anna says:

    Hi Cathe,

    This is a great idea! We do something like this in my family, too, usually rocks. I’m trying to figure out a pleasing way to label them so we remember where they came from.

    A gentle reminder, though; most state and national parks and monuments discourage or outright prohibit removing natural souvenirs. Given the sheer number of visitors, especially this time of year, it’s understandable why this is so.

    The good part is, it’s not like the terrain/environment radically changes at the park entrance… maybe a quick stop half a mile outside the gates?


  4. #4 - jen says:

    I have started doing this! I brought home rocks from the Salt Lake and driftwood from Laguna Beach. They bring back the best memories!

  5. Pingback: Free Travel Souvenirs | Just Something I Made | Internet blog

  6. #5 - Leta says:

    My sisters husband does this. He is an active duty soldier that is home on R&R from Iraq till Sunday. He’s had many deployments and brings her rocks from wherever he is. He puts a lot of thought into each one. He asked her recently if she wanted him to stop and she told him he better not! That those kind of thoughtful acts are a large reason she has put up with him for so many years,LOL! They are cute.

  7. #6 - Nicole Rehmann says:

    I collect heart shaped rocks as well. When I was in New Zealand I collected pretty stones & shells from the beaches there. Whenever I see them I am reminded of the fun I had. My very favorite free souvenirs came from London. There are millions of pieces of old pottery in the Thames River. The pieces wash up on shore & you can just pick them up one after another. My friend & I only had about 30 minutes to search & I dream of going back there to collect more. I also have a collection of business cards & napkins from places I have visited. I put them in my scrapbooks & they provide great memories of places I have been & fun times I had there.

  8. #7 - Taryn Pyle says:

    I travel quite a lot with my job and found myself spendin so much money only ro bring things home and forget about them. I now have 5 nephews and want them to experience the event, adventure, or day whent hey are with me. Here are some ideas I have incorporated:

    1) Write and mail a postcard to yourself. For me I write down a restauant I ate at so I can return to it again some day. I will include places I went, what it cost, all items that can be looked at later in years and used as part of a time line of memories.

    2) On a hike put a piece sticky side out around a child’s wrist, and as you hike through a park, beach, natural area encourage them pick up things they find and put them on their own nature bracelet.

    3) Have you ever done Letterboxing? Its a fun child adventure that gets you out in the area. Just do a search for it in the town you are in. Make your own rubber stamp, or buy one to make your mark around the city, town, world! Some give away little items to those that find that box, but you are leaving your own little souvenier in the town you are visting.

    4) Beach pottery, beach glass, pressed flowers and grasses

    5) Write a vacation newsletter to send to family and friends

    6) Using your cell phone moderate a vacation video of your trip. Let your children be movie directors in your own movie!

  9. #8 - Diane@InMyOwnStyle says:

    I have one of those collections too – I love them – my kids and the rocks 🙂
    Happy Mother’s Day

    My best- Diane

  10. #9 - Paula says:

    I often pick up shells (or other interesting stuff I find on the beach) while we are on vacation. When I get home, I put them in a big glass container; over the years all of the shells have jumbled all together.

  11. #10 - Annika says:

    I like to collect bottle caps of the drinks I try. You can turn them into fridge magnets at home.

  12. #11 - Dot Lewallen says:

    I pick up flyers from places I’ve been at. Usually there are always those hanging around. I also ask for menus of places I’ve eaten. I write little notes to myself about all the places so that when I get home, I paste them in a book & have personal memories to share with my future self

  13. #12 - Maggie says:

    You have an amazing blog ♥

  14. #13 - Tiffany says:

    We have a little plastic army guy we take everywhere. His name is Slick. We put a bit of sticky tack on his base so he can stick anywhere for a quick pic… the edge of Niagra Falls, or dangerously near the ledge of Hoover Dam. He even gets his own album when we get back. I think our friends look forward to seeing where he’s been more than the pictures of us!

  15. #14 - Jason says:

    My family and I like to collect sand and dirt from where we travel. We put it in jars and label them. It’s fun to look at our accomplishment of travels!

  16. #15 - Kim says:

    While travelling in Asia, I picked up business cards from the shops, hotels, and restaurants we went to. I now have them in a shallow dish on a table in my home. Since most of them are in a foreign language, I may not be able to read all of them, but it is fun to sift through them and remember a wonderful time.

  17. #16 - Kat says:

    I love to collect smashed pennies everywhere I go. For only 51 cents, a penny press is great for kids and adults because it is interactive and inexpensive! You get the satisfaction of making in yourself and getting to see all of the gears moving around through the clear outer case. Some machines even have a punching mechanism on the side, so you can turn the penny into a charm for a necklace or key chain.

  18. #17 - Zakkalife says:

    Ever since we started vacationing with the kids, I’ve been collecting iron-on patches for them. The kids get to pick them out and they only cost $5 at the most. My plan is to get them some nice duffel bags and iron the patches on the bags. I think it will be a nice keep sake and conversation piece for when they’re older and travel.

  19. #18 - Lisa Hajda says:

    Our family collects statues…or, more accurately, photos of us in front of statues. And we are quite broad in our definition of “statue.” 🙂

  20. #19 - maybaby says:

    We started collecting rocks a few years ago on our vacations. We only need one, and it should be flat and relatively smooth. Then I write the date and location on it in Sharpie, and our collection reminds us where and what we were doing. We have rocks from the shores of Lake Superior, to Key West, to Santa Fe.

  21. #20 - Margie S (Xnomads) says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday. We take photos of ourselves in souvenir shops, sometimes using or wearing the souvenir (not damaging or altering in any way) and we call these photos – the souvenirs we didn’t buy! It’s a fun tradition and very inexpensive – especially now with digital photos.

  22. #21 - Emie says:

    My favorite free souviner is a smallish bottle of water from Niagara Falls when my DH and I were just married. Part of the charm is the memory of him at the edge of the river collecting the water without falling in.
    Thanks for a fun post, Emie

  23. #22 - Betsy says:

    Every time I go on vacation to somewhere beachy, I know I should bring souvenirs back to friends, but they’re always so expensive for a broke college student. One thing I’ve noticed though is that every hotel seems to leave out those small plastic bottles with lotion and shampoo or conditioner. What I’ve started doing is to empty these bottles (after using them if I forget my own toiletries, or before if I’ve brought my own stuff) and to fill them with sand from the beach and a bit of water from the ocean. If there’s sea glass around, I’ll put some of that in too. It’s a great reminder of the beach, and the bottle usually should say the name of the hotel and it’s location. 🙂

  24. #23 - kylee says:

    My mom hates rocks in our house

  25. #24 - Rebecca says:

    Some of your rocks look like geodes. The Iowa state rock. Crack open the large one on the left in the bowl. You may be pleasantly surprised by the crystals. Or, maybe not. That’s part of the fun.