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I’m sharing my favorite travel souvenir ideas to help kids and families savor those treasured vacation memories!
Have you ever been told that your kids will not remember or appreciate their childhood travel? Well Mama, this post is for you! I’m going to take you step by step through my approach to surrounding my family with these carefully considered travel souvenir ideas.
These items will continue to remind you and your kids of your fantastic travel experiences every day. And that leads to regular conversations about your travels, past, present, and future. Not only does our son remember our travels…he treasures them!
1. Travel Journals (For Kids Too!)
Taking travel journals along on your trip serves double duty. First, as your kiddos record their experiences throughout your trip, they will be more engaged with what they see and do.
Then, once they come home, their travel journal is a physical reminder that is always available to flip through. Having those memories easily accessible keeps them fresh!
Grab my FREE printable kids’ mini travel journal to take on your vacation! It’s made from just one sheet of paper, so you can have it ready to travel in no time!
2. Home Decor Items
You may know that I love to pack as light as possible. So when I buy a souvenir, it needs to be something I’ll truly treasure. I always look for beautiful, easily packable items that I can display in our home. Not only do we remember every destination, but we are creating a layered and eclectic home that we love.
For example, on our dining room buffet, you’ll find a woven table runner from Chinchero, Peru and a replica of William the Hippo from The Met.
3. Holiday Ornaments
Another thing we purchase in every destination is a small Christmas ornament. Spotting the right one has become a special task for our son.
Then, when it’s time to decorate our Christmas tree, he reminds us of where we found each one. Inevitably that leads to discussions of fantastic memories.
4. A Large Map of the World (with pins!)
Full disclosure: one entire wall of my son’s bedroom is an enormous wallpaper map of the world! Yes, really! We keep a tin of colored thumbtacks nearby, and every time someone in the family visits a new destination, we add a pin. We have different colored pins for places that we have all been together, vs places that my husband and I have each visited separately.
Many nights before bed my son is full of questions about a pin, like my husband’s pin in Brunei, or my pins in Japan. It’s a fantastic way for him to visualize how far he has flown, and consider new destinations for the future.
If you are not quite ready to commit to the wallpaper version, try a large framed map like these.
5. Local Currency
Many kids love to collect coins, and this takes it up a notch! Any time we travel we keep a small amount of the local currency after returning home. Our son has built up a fascinating collection of coins from around the world this way!
Not only is a bit of currency way less expensive than another stuffed animal or t-shirt, it also takes up less room in your suitcase!
6. Photo Books
For a long time, I didn’t bother with photo albums of our travels. I sort of thought it was a waste of time since all of our meaningful photos are digital. After all, aren’t Facebook and Instagram the new, shareable family photo albums?
But as our son got older, he was constantly asking to see our family photos. And I realized that there were no photo albums he could pull off the shelf and flip through whenever he wanted like I could when I was a kid. I still treasure the photo album from my first trip to Disney at 5 years old!
The solution? Photo books! So much nicer than old school albums, and super easy to put together.
Here are a few of my favorite options:
Blurb (with BookWright): Budget friendly, and very easy to create using their free software called BookWright. Blurb also offers a huge variety of sizes, papers, and covers.
Artifact Uprising: Their high-end lay-flat albums are gorgeous. With five sizes to choose from, ten fabric cover colors, and four foil options, you are sure to find something that will look perfect on your shelf.
Chatbooks: Advertised as the photo book for people who don’t have time to make photo books, this one is incredibly easy. You can make a custom book in record time using their app or online. Or, set up a Series, and Chatbooks will automatically create your books using photos you post to your connected social media account!
What do you do to preserve your travel memories? I would love to know!