I’m guessing everyone has their favorite souvenirs they like to collect while traveling. Just to have a momento of the experience you had at a place. Generally, I tend to take a lot of photos. However, there are also a number of other items that I like to either purchase or freebies I try to make sure to pick up. For me, these are great because they can be displayed, could be great for scrapbooking, are flat (I generally don’t have a ton of extra space for souvenirs when traveling), are inexpensive or free, and have some information about the place I visited. I hope to give you some good ideas of things you might want to pick up on your next adventure.
National Park specific: Park newspapers, Maps, & Passport cancellations – all of which can be picked up at the visitor center.
Park newspapers are great for information and any special events or updates happening in the park for that particular year or season.
Maps are fantastic for navigating around the park as they highlight spots of interest, visitor centers, trails, camping, etc. The maps generally also have some information about the park.
Bonus news: park newspapers and maps are FREE! Also, I like to use the information from the maps and newspapers when blogging. I generally give a little bit of information about the park’s history and reason for existence. It’s nice to get it correct. 🙂
Passport cancellations are another great way to commemorate a visit to a National Park. Beyond the initial $9 investment for the passport, these cancellation stamps are free. Each visitor center in each NPS location has its own stamp with the name of the park, location of the visitor center, and date. There are also usually some fun stamps that are probably meant for little kids or the junior ranger program…I’ve put those in my NPS Passport too. 🙂 You could probably do this momento completely for free and keep all the stamps in some sort of book. However, the official passport has a listing of all NPS locations for each region in the country. Keeps everything nice and organized.
Brochures are another great freebie you can pick up. Often times, these are informative of activities or sights to see. The two in the picture above are from a visit I made to the Milwaukee Art Museum. I made sure to grab the brochure for the Posters of Paris exhibit (which was fantastic, by the way) since I couldn’t take pictures in that part of the museum.
Postcards! Postcards are a great little momento to keep for yourself or to send to someone back home. Usually, postcards are fairly cheap and you can get 3 or 4 for about $1. If you pick out bigger than normal postcards or they are fancier in some way, they’ll cost you a little bit more. Postcards can also remind you of something specific that happened on the trip. Take for example the postcard of the donkeys from Custer State Park. Normally, I probably wouldn’t have picked that one up, but Julie and I had a donkey encounter on our trip. We were stuck in a mini traffic jam with the donkeys and we had one leave some snot on the window. It was a hilarious incident that I really didn’t want to forget. So, I got a postcard.
Magnets are another favorite thing I like to pick up. These will cost you a little bit more, around $4-6 each. My fridge is littered with travel magnets holding up pictures and things to remember. They are constant reminders of how much fun I had at each place and also how much I want to travel to other places.
Finally, Stickers! Stickers are a fairly new souvenir item for me. I started noticing them as I began traveling more on the North Shore of Lake Superior. If you happen to be traveling this way, the Lake Superior Trading Post in Grand Marais has a fantastic collection of stickers to pick through. I’ve taken to displaying most of my stickers on my travel box (a box that houses a lot of travel items such as maps, visitor guides, or travel articles that may be needed for or could influence future travel). Also, the National Parks have official stickers that can go along with the Passport cancellations. I’ve been keeping my most recent ones for scrapbooking purposes.
I hope I’ve given you some new ideas of travel souvenirs to pick up…especially if you’re a scrapbooker of some type. I will admit that I generally don’t collect ALL these items for every place I visit. Take for example, my trip to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore this past weekend. I picked up the park newspaper, map, 2 visitor center cancellations, a magnet, and a few stickers. The next time I visit, it’s so darn close that I’m pretty sure I’ll visit again, I’ll probably only pick up the freebie items at the visitor centers.
Until next time, have fun souvenir collecting!