Updated: Sep 17
If you're like me you are either a broke college student, a budget traveler, or just like to save money. The souvenirs I am about to share with you will cost you little to nothing.
"Souvenirs are like little treasures from around the world." ~Gypsy del Oceano
Handmade bracelets made by local children
When I visited Bali, Indonesia, the best gifts I bought were from a little girl making bracelets on the side of the road. They were also the favorite gift received when I delivered them to my loved ones. They were special because I got to support the locals, and see the joy on girl's face when I bought 15 of them. Buying small jewelry as souvenirs also don't take up a lot of space in suitcases and back packs.
Now, not only jewelry made by children are special. Anything thing that is hand and locally made is special. So that can be from farmer's markets, old people, young people, men, women, etc.
(Images Below - Left: Farmer's market in Gulfport, Florida, USA; Center (R ankle): little girl in Bali, Indonesia; Right: gift from a friend that he bought from an old lady in Brazil)
When I visited my friend in Oklahoma, my favorite souvenir was the drawing I received from
her roommate, George. He found an old sketch lying around and I loved it, so he let me keep it.
"Souvenirs are physical representations of your experiences as a gift to yourself or a loved one." ~Gypsy del Oceano
Another of my favorites, was a painting that George actually helped me paint. Now when I look at the painting, I remember my great memories of that experience. (George is a great artist, so you should check him out here)
Sand and Water from the beach you visited
When I visited Hawaii, I bought these tini tiny glass jars from a small local souvenir shop and went straight to the beach. I filled them half with sand and the rest with the sea water, so that I could literally bring my loved ones part of Hawaii. After about 2 weeks the water magically evaporated, but the bottle is still super cute and special with just the sand.
If you do not want to buy little jars, or can't find any, re-purpose a glass or plastic bottle you have purchased or were given during your trip.
"Souvenirs are tangible memories." ~Gypsy del Oceano
You're own notes in a travel notebook
I take a special notebook with me anytime I travel somewhere new! In it I record special memories; things to remember about that place, like traditions, signs of respect, or what to avoid; good and bad foods, restaurants, hotels; drawings; etc. This is always fun to look back on because I get to remember everything from the moment I lived it.
Letters from who you shared your travels with
Also in my travel book, I ask people I spent time with to share their favorite memories of our adventures. In Bali, I had an AirBnB mate write in it, and it was actually hilarious because he pretended he was me writing about him! In Oklahoma, I had my friend, and all her roommates (my new friend) share their favorite memories. They are so special read, even more so than my own notes.
I collect money from the places I travel to. This tradition began when my grandfather gave me some Chinese coins after his trip. 95% of the time, you will have to convert some cash when you travel. So, when I come home, instead of converting all of the money back to U.S. Dollars, I keep at least 1 of the small bills. Plus, currency from around the world is so beautiful! Sometimes I keep more if I plan on travelling there again.
I hope that you'll be finding deeper memories in your souvenirs from your future travels! Traveling and experience is what makes you richer, not money. Please support the locals, leave your destinations better than when you found them, and make loads of memories! <3