One of my favorite things to bring home from a trip is a bag full of travel memorabilia. These little keepsakes that I've saved from my adventures make the perfect souvenirs as they are tangible reminders of the places I've been to and the sights I've seen. They are also a fun addition to my travel albums!
I often get asked about what sort of paper ephemera I collect, so I thought I would share some ideas here on things you can save during your travels :)
TOURIST MAPSYou can often find free city maps or transit maps at tourist information centres, and you may even stumble upon some cool illustrated ones at local bookstores or gift shops. These oversized pieces of paper are perfect for including in a travel album because they can be cut down to make filler cards or patterned paper backgrounds. You can even use them to help add context to your travel stories, by labelling all the places you visited around town on the map.
POSTCARDSWhile tourist shops often sell racks of postcards featuring photographs of the most popular attractions in the city, I prefer purchasing illustrated postcards during my travels. My favorite ones are vintage images or ones designed by local artists. I tend to have good luck finding these kinds of postcards at bookstores or stationery stores, two of my favorite types of shops to visit in a new city. You can do a quick Google search before your trip to help you find cool local shops to visit :)
POSTAGE STAMPSI've been fascinated by postage stamps ever since I inherited my grandfather's postage stamp collection. I find the artwork on postage stamps to be really interesting as they are often related culturally or historically to the country of origin. Since postage stamps are relatively inexpensive, it's fun to pick some up when visiting a new country. They can be purchased at the post office or sometimes even at convenience stores. Postage stamps can easily be used as little embellishments in your journals and travel scrapbooks.
You can even go one step further and combine postcards + postage stamps by mailing yourself a postcard or two during your travels. This is a great way to send yourself a reminder of the places you've been to and it is always a nice surprise to get happy mail when you come home from a trip.
BUSINESS CARDSI love a well designed business card and I always try to pick one up from the restaurants/cafes/shops I visit during a trip. If you don't see a business card by the entrance or at the check-out counter, you can simply ask an employee if they have any because the cards are sometimes kept behind the desk. On some instances, the shop didn't have a business card so they gave me a bookmark or a rewards/stamp card instead. I'm happy to accept alternative forms of paper ephemera, lol :)
TRANSPORT TICKETSHow did you get to your destination? Are you taking public transportation around the city? Did you go on a ferry ride? If you have any sort of boarding pass, transit card, or metro/bus ticket, these are the perfect paper mementos to keep. They can easily be incorporated into a pocket page spread by stapling them onto a journal card or including them as an insert, outside of the page protector.
ADMISSION TICKETSAdmission tickets to city attractions are another one of my favorite travel mementos to keep. I love how colorful these can be and they are also reminders of the places you've been to (and the date you went - since the date is often imprinted on the ticket). Be sure to save your tickets so you can include them in your travel albums.
PAMPHLETS / FLYERS / BROCHURESRemember to bring home pamphlets/flyers/brochures of the places you've visited, as they may contain useful bits of information when you're documenting your trip (eg. Trying to remember the name of that special exhibit at the museum? Look at that pamphlet you got). You can also cut them down for your scrapbooks or include them as inserts. I definitely plan to add that Harry Potter graphic art flyer to my London scrapbook as a separate page!
UNIQUE SOUVENIRSTry and do a little research beforehand to see if there are any unique souvenirs you can pick up from the city/country you're visiting. For example, one of my favorite things about visiting Japan is collecting stamps from the various train stations, museums, castles, gardens etc. around the country. I've made sure that I always have a notebook or some scrap paper in my bag so I can collect these stamps whenever I encounter them and bring these images home with me. I've also discovered similar stamp stations around metro stations and tourist attractions in Taiwan.
OTHER IDEASHere are a couple of other ideas on some things you can collect during your trip:
- Paper Menus
- Coffee cup sleeves
- Receipts (If they are printed on thermal paper, these little slips of paper may fade over time. Try and use a scanned copy in your travel albums instead.)
- Luggage tags issued by an airline, stating the place of origin and its destination.
- Paper packaging (eg. paper bags from a shop, product packaging, wrapping paper)
- Embroidered patches from a tourist attraction
I hope you find this list helpful for your next adventure. One final reminder - while it's fun to collect all these travel ephemera, don't feel pressured to include every single piece of memorabilia in your album. It's just nice to have options! When working on your travel album, just choose your favorite bits and decide what you want to do with the rest (eg. recycle them or keep a few of them in a memory box).
Happy collecting and adventuring! xo.