These Unpredictable Travel Souvenirs I've Collected Have Kept My Adventures Alive

by Kristin Corpuz

Having been to 10 countries so far in 2019 — and at least a handful more to go before the end of the year — I'm no stranger to gift shops. From airports, to little hole-in-the-wall spots, to giant mega stores in a city's touristy hub, I love searching for things I can bring home to remind me of my travels. But I've actually never been one to bring home typical mementos like bottle openers, magnets, or postcards. Over time, I've found different kinds of cool souvenirs to collect when you travel that make the memories last.

Now that I think about it, I actually don't have any super touristy souvenirs in my home. I have necklaces that came from places as far as the Maldives and as close as Puerto Rico, a fragrance diffuser from Israel, an incense holder from India, and even a skin healing balm from Portugal. These unique souvenirs have had a major impact on how I remember my trips and how I carry those memories with me. Though some of the mementos won't last forever, having something that allows me to bring the destination home with me helps keep my adventures alive.

If you're looking for fun, unpredictable things to collect while you're abroad, check out these five that I always keep an eye out for.


Jewelry has by far been my favorite thing to collect as I've made my way around various countries. Jewelry is such a beautiful form of expression for both the jewelry maker and the wearer, and I've discovered really unique pieces throughout different countries to add to my ever-growing collection.

I especially love picking up dainty handmade necklaces. I know I'll wear them all the time and I'll always carry a little piece of that country with me when I do. It's a fun — and fashionable — way to bring home memories of an amazing trip.

Home Decor

I always try to keep an eye out for pieces of decor that can be seamlessly worked into the aesthetic I already have at home. In India, I picked up a gorgeous brass incense holder that looks good with the aesthetic of my home office. In Puerto Rico, I grabbed a hand-painted ceramic dish for my entryway table.

If I didn't know that I bought the pieces from different countries, I probably never would have known because they fit in so perfectly. But whenever I look at them I'm reminded of the journey that I took to find those mementos.

Beauty Products

Because I'm such a beauty fanatic and love learning about trends in other countries, I always enjoy visiting local beauty stores when I'm abroad. My skin is sensitive so I can never be too careful about what products I try, but if I see something local that's totally different than things I'd buy in the United States, I'm totally on board to test it out.

Scented Items

This might be a weird one, but because smells are so characteristic of a destination or specific memory, I love picking up candles, incense, and other scented items from the places I visit. I have a fragrance diffuser from Israel that's currently sitting on my work desk that smells like the hotel I got it from (the Orient Jerusalem).

It smells delicious, of course, but my favorite part about having it is that every once in a while, I have flashbacks to my Israel trip. I'll remember relaxing in my bathroom's tub with an identical diffuser nearby, and it makes me happy I was able to bring home a piece of that trip with me.


Much to my boyfriend's chagrin, I absolutely love shopping for clothes when I'm abroad. I have had the opportunity to pick up garments I might not have found in the United States, and things always fit differently so I fall in love with different styles of clothes.

I especially love finding pieces that become staples in my wardrobe that I then take with me to other countries. The black dress in this pic is from Puerto Rico, and it has come with me to at least six other destinations since then (including Paris, obviously).

In the featured photo, I picked up that leopard-printed dress in Stockholm, but thought it was perfect for my Cheetah Girls moment at Park Güell in Barcelona. Clothes, like other mementos, hold a lot of memories for me, and I love the idea of bringing clothes from different countries with me around the world.