The other night, I went to Vancouver with my friends Ryan and Connor. The three of us have formed a mini excursion brigade in which we’ll climb in the car and drive until we reach a new destination. This will either be a town close by that at least one of us has never visited, or an attraction that we’ve, until then, taken advantage of having near and thus never taking the time to visit. That night, these adventures took us first on a walk around Gastown, then on the Stanley Park drive. These are two of the absolute highlights of visiting Vancouver. Gastown is a fun, waterfront street lined with old streetlights, decorated with industrial décor and brick exteriors, and even has a famous Steam clock to boot. Stanley Park, on the other hand, is a 10 minute drive from Gastown and has tons of possibilities for activities. Last night, as it was nearly midnight, we chose the Park Drive, which takes you along the Sea-wall on a one way street, along the light up skyline of Vancouver, near the Lion’s Gate bridge, and past our infamous mermaid statue.
I just traveled around Europe for a couple of months and met so many people who told me how much they adore visiting Vancouver. Also, a few of my favourite travel bloggers have been making their way to Canada/Vancouver in the past six months, and it’s just so fascinating to see what the tourists find interesting about our home. Our poutine, maple syrup, totem poles/aboriginal culture in general, lakes and mountains and, inexplicably, bears? Top the lists of “Interesting Vancouver Things” and our souvenirs reflect this accordingly. When I travel, I love to collect something from every city I visit to help me remember what I did there, or what they’re most famous for. So I wonder, now, which of my souvenirs have exaggerated emblems decorated on them. If people associate totem poles with Vancouver as much as I associate Big Ben with London. It’s interesting to think about, and regardless, souvenirs are a great way to remember a city you’ve visited. Here’s a list of my favourite types of souvenirs for travelers/tourists, all of which will be (relatively, usually) easy to find no matter which city you’re in!
If you follow my blog/ know me at all, you’ll know that I travel, the majority of the time, with my grandma. Throughout our journeys, we’ve collected some really great art pieces from some of our favourite cities. Peggy’s Cove, the Arc de triumph and Time’s Square are some of my favourites. My friend Kazandra collects art from her favourite cities as well, and already has quite a beautiful collection. The great thing about this is that you can have a hand crafted reminder of your favourite landmark in the city, and, as a bonus, they make for great décor around the house.
This is one I’ve only learned of recently, but think is a great idea and a space saver in your luggage, too! As craft beer becomes more and more popular (Thanks, hipsters) you’re twice as likely to find a local brew in your bar or restaurant. Keep the bottle cap, or even the label if you can peel it well enough, and soon you’ll have quite a unique collection.
For those of you that wear Pandora/similar bracelets, you’ll be excited to know that many major cities around the world have their own charm (or five). See if you can collect them all, but be careful – those bracelets can fill up quickly!
My friend Kelsey does this and I love the idea. A Christmas ornament from all the different cities visited! Every Christmas, it can bring back memories, create conversation, and uniquely light up your tree.
In a world of modern, de-cluttered spaces, this may not be the most feasible option. They’ll take that stainless steel refrigerator you saved up for and totally turn it into a 90s looking flashback. But there’s still something to be said about how abundant these are in every place and also how easy they are to carry in your suitcase.
Again, very handy in terms of space-saving. Pros: You never need to worry about needing a pen again. Cons: Pens have a tendency to get lost, and while you’d like be more careful with collector items, there’s still no guarantee. I have a couple of pens from different places, and I can tell you that I always feel most intelligent when I’m writing with my Harvard pen.
This might feel like a bit of a cop-out, but hear me out! First, it’s so exciting to receive snail mail these days, especially if it’s a postcard from a friend in a faraway place. But here’s a tip: send a postcard to yourself from every city, and detail what you did that day, or what your favourite part of the city was. That way, when you get home, you’ll have a travel journey of sorts, printed on lovely photos of the city.
This is my personal favourite, and the only collection I follow religiously. Since I was 20, I have collected a shot glass in every city I’ve visited, unless they weren’t available (Tenerife, Belfast, get your shit together) and currently have 74 glasses! These are currently displayed on two photo-holder shelves in my room, but I’ve run out of room and cannot wait until I have my own place and can display them in all their glory. Shot glass collections are quite common, and there are even specially made shelves you can purchase now to keep them on display. I don’t let anyone drink from mine, but you totally could, and be everyone’s favourite party host.
An adorable option, snowglobes tend to bring out the child in all of us, are pretty decorations, and vary greatly in size, so if you’re on a long trip, you can buy several small ones, or on a single city trip, splurge on a large one. When displayed together (and shake as many simultaneously as you can manage!) it’s a beautiful scene.
Finally, the bulkiest of souvenirs, t-shirts, or clothing in general, are always great ideas for travel. I know lots of people who only pack the basics when they travel, and stock up on local fashions/tourist shirts as they make their way through their trip. Places like the Hard Rock Café are famous for their souvenir t-shirts. I met a family in Budapest who had been to 41 Hard Rocks so far, and had a t-shirt from every one. And, worst case scenario, there are always the “My Dad Went to Hawaii and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” T-shirts 🙂
These are harder to find and therefore didn’t crack my top 10. Maybe these would be better to collect at concerts, but I’ve still managed to find some good ones (The Beatles in Liverpool, for example) along my way.
Too difficult to pack for long journeys, but definitely available in copious amounts, particularly if you drop by the local Starbucks. I used to work for Starbucks, and our regulars would often bring back mugs from their journeys for my manager. You should see her collection.
Do you collect anything that I haven’t mentioned? I’d love to hear about it!