Souvenirs: why I don’t buy them anymore

Back in my early travel days, I made it a priority to buy a souvenir at every destination I visited.  Over the years, I amassed an impressive collection of keychains, shot glasses, small pieces of artwork, and other various knick-knacks such as a little stone elephant from Thailand.  These were my physical connections to all the places I had seen.

Several years back I stopped doing this.  During my decluttering phase in my early 30s, the items I had already collected got mostly donated or given away.  (I’m sure someone somewhere is enjoying the Mexican shot glass with the drunk Mariachi guy’s ass hanging out of his pants.)

I had acquired so many of these random souvenirs that they eventually lost their meaning.  Many of them lived in a box at the back of the closet because I ran out of places to display them.  Some stuff I would look at and have no clue where I even bought them from – which kinda defeats the entire purpose of having a souvenir in the first place.

As I travel today, the only souvenirs I collect are my photos.  Those take up no physical space outside of my computer and are a far better method of recollecting happy memories of all the cool places I’ve been lucky enough to visit.  I also no longer buy souvenir gifts for other people when I travel, and the people close to me know and accept this.  It’s been difficult in the past for me to buy a gift for only one person without offending several others, and carrying all that garbage back on the plane was a pain in the ass that I’m happy not to endure anymore.

One other huge benefit of avoiding souvenirs is that it’s one less thing on my to-do list when I travel.  It frees up a good amount of time to do other stuff, which is always a good thing in my eyes.


2 thoughts on “Souvenirs: why I don’t buy them anymore

  1. How about t-shirt? I find myself wanting to buy t-shirt as a gift when I get home from a trip. And lately, I picked up a habit of buying fridge magnet. I better manage this seemingly harmless habit before I can’t even recognize my fridge.


    1. It depends; if I see a cool shirt that I would wear regularly, then I’d consider it. But I already have so many cotton t-shirts that it’ll probably be several years before I need to replace them. My mom does the fridge magnets, and it’s a nice way to keep souvenirs organized without taking up much room. I’d prefer that to stuff that requires space on a shelf.


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