Instead of tossing them, I cut out all of the images and logos and made a travel quilt. The throw is a wonderful conversation piece, and now I have an excellent way to display all of my travel experiences.
[Photo: Flickr user Zezebono]
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That White Sox hat you're wearing above your "I hiked the Grand Canyon" t-shirt may be a hot commodity in some countries. Many items we take for granted are both unique and highly sought-after in many foreign nations.
If you find something at a vendor's stall you like, offer that vendor something of yours in exchange for that good. Maybe he'd like your hat, or that extra shirt in your bag. While you're not allowed to bring a cache of items into a foreign country to sell, trading items you would normally have in your luggage is perfectly acceptable. No extra luggage room is needed -- and you don't need extra cash on hand, since you're swapping goods.
It's not icky to give someone the hat off your head! Trading souvenirs is fun; you get to interact with the locals; and you go home with souvenirs and a great story on how you acquired them.
[Photo: Flickr | Courtneysue75]
Have you ever tried to recount an exquisite meal from a trip a couple months prior, only to discover that you really can't remember that memorable meal?
Restaurants can help, as many of them provide their own unique "notebooks" to jot down those menu memories while they are happening: cocktail napkins and beer coasters.
Just make sure you carry an ink pen in your pocket or purse. When that fantastic bite of cheesecake or grilled lamb chops has your taste buds spinning, jot a few notes down on the napkin or coaster. It will make a perfect addition to your scrapbook.
Pro tip: note who was with you at that great meal, so you can reminisce with them later.
It may seem strange, but something as simple as some hotel toiletries can be the best souvenir.
I still have my Mickey Mouse soap from the Old Key West Resort in Disney World, monoi oil from the Sheraton at Tahiti, and love using the spa quality Honey Mango Body Lotion from the Grand Wailea in Maui.
You don't have to feel like you're stealing as hotels want you to take those toiletries in your room, so you'll remember the great time you had at their hotel. Plus, you paid for it in your room rate.
Don't be tempted by cute, cheap, useless kitsch that will clutter your house. Find out what products, colors, or fabrics make your travel destination famous, and spend your money on one or two quality items that you will keep and use for years.
Decide on an item you will actually use, such as a table cloth or beautiful platter, or think about an item that will add to your home's decor, such as a decorative bowl or painting.
Remember to consider your home's existing color palette and style and chose something that will fit in.
When going on vacation with your family or friends, you often have special memories of different locations or attractions. An inexpensive way to capture those memories is to purchase a postcard from that location and immediately have each person write down on the back of the postcard their favorite part of the attraction. Be specific.
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