Unique Souvenirs to Bring Home from your Travels: our top picks

We all love souvenirs. Whether it is for our friends and family, or as a “thank you” to someone for watching our dog, or for ourselves. Souvenirs always have a place in our return luggage.

If you want to get something a bit more unique than a keychain or fridge magnet, you may want to do a bit of planning ahead of time. It is a good idea to make a list of the people you will want to buy for.

As stated above, we divide our souvenir shopping into three categories:

  1. Family + Close Friends

  2. “Thank you” Souvenirs

  3. Us

This makes it much easier when we are strolling around and find something that we want to buy. And it also makes tourist trap souvenir shopping much more concise and less overwhelming.

So first, souvenirs for our family + friends

This is the easiest group for me to buy for.  I typically start by making a list of everyone we will be shopping for  (i.e. Mom, brother, best friend, etc… ).  These are the people we know really well, so shopping for them is pretty easy.

cooking souvenirs

For example, my sister-in-law loves to cook, so if we see a fun or unique cooking utensil; we pick it up for her.  Easy as that.

“Thank you” souvenirs

These are typically generic in nature. These are for the people who took care of your mail and watered your plants, your neighbors, maybe your coworkers or boss, your kid’s teacher(s), and/or other acquaintance type people in your life.

We often buy this group of gifts in bulk, picking up a few extras just in case we overlooked someone. Here are some examples of unique souvenirs we have purchased for this group in the past:

  • carved bars of soap
  • tea/coffee samples
  • unique cookies or candies
  • coin purses
  • scarves or pretty cloth

And finally, souvenirs for us

We are a bit choosy about what type of souvenirs we want to buy for ourselves. We move a lot and I don’t like packing, so I want to make sure we don’t buy stuff that will need to be packed up again and again.

However, we love beautiful and unique pieces from around the world to decorate our home and to remind us of all of the fun adventures we have shared. So we try to mix up the type of souvenirs we buy from our travels.

art souvenir-Cambodia
Painting from Cambodia
travel souvenir-laos
Opium pot from Laos


carving souvenirs-thailand
Wood carving from Thailand

Okay, so here are some of the things we look for as souvenirs for us:

  • something unique to the region (we have an opium/tea pot from Laos and a Cuckoo clock from the Black Forest, Germany)
  • artwork (Most of the art in our home is from our travels-some pictured above)
  • something to wear (jewelry or unique clothing pieces are usually what we pick out in this genre)
  • Christmas ornaments or decor

What are some of your favorite souvenirs to buy? Do you find it is easier to buy souvenirs for others or for yourself?