Souvenir Ideas: Clever, Cheap, Chic & Fun Vacation Tips

Vacation Souvenirs that are clever and frugal! Cheap Travel Souvenir Ideas!

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Looking for Cheap, Clever and Memorable Travel Souvenir Ideas? This page contains a growing number of creative & frugal ideas to help you remember your Vacations!

Vacation Souvenir Pennies

Our favorite souvenir has become the squished pennies out of the machines. They are just about at every tourist spot we have been to and only cost less than $1.  Long ago, I purchased a little album that they fit into for around $5.  Angel Moore – Somerset, KY

A pile of squished pennies.

When the kids were little we started collecting squished pennies as THE souvenir. Lightweight and inexpensive souvenir. Fun to look at now. Bobbi Burger Brunoehler – Los Angeles, CA

Here are 10 facts about squished pennies!

Squished Pennies Bracelets as Souvenirs

We went on a vacation to Disney World with my extended family a couple years ago. While in the parks, I collected pressed pennies from various rides, attractions etc.

When we got back I selected 8 to 10 pennies for each girl (based on the moments they seemed to enjoy most). I have a friend who makes jewelry for a hobby so for a very minimal cost, she made them into bracelets.

Each of the girls got their own personalized bracelet for Christmas. They were a big hit and a great reminder of a special time together as a family.  Kathleen L.- USA

Vacation Battle Cry: Photos, Pennies & Postcards

Our family tradition sounds similar – but with a twist. My husband and I married in 1983 and started collecting an ornament to commemorate the year. When we started our family I also started scrapbooking.

Our kids were told their best souvenir would be the scrapbook we would make.

  • My husband and son started our smashed penny collection. They are small and flat and easily added to a page.
  • My daughter’s choice was the postcard. We bought 2 – one for the picture and one for her to journal the day’s memories and mail home.
  • I, of course, was in charge of the photos.

Our “battle cry” (my family’s joke at my expense) would be: Remember Photos, Pennies and Postcards!

Once home we had the postcards waiting for us and we would spend several evenings making our scrapbook pages.

Now some 30+ years later we have over 50 scrapbooks that tell the good times the Hale family spent together. Karen Hale – USA

Editors’ Comment: Karen! We love your battle cry too – you were consistent over a period of more than 30 years and now have journals of your family’s memories!!! Way to go!

Souvenir Ornaments

We have gotten to a point where the only souvenir we buy is an ornament. We love looking at 13 years of vacations on our Christmas tree…such a great way to remember our experiences!
Venita Ballard – Phoenix, AZ

My Christmas tree is full of memories of our trips. And I’ve bought a lot of keychains that are used as ornaments. Carol Topp – Cincinnati, OH

We also do ornaments. My whole tree will be national parks in the years to come!
Linda Crosby – Phoenix, AZ

I like to get Christmas ornaments. They bring back happy memories every year when we unpack them for our tree. Pauly Heller – Phoenix, AZ

We buy ornaments and refrigerator magnets!  Loraine Perkins – Mesa, AZ

Street Fair Jewelry Souvenirs

I like to go to street fairs and buy vintage jewelry. For example, I have a silver buckle ring from my first trip to England and a gold ring with a tiny purple stone that I bought in Berlin. I’ve had them for years and wear them every day. They remind me of the wonderful times I’ve had traveling.  Jayne – USA 

Keychains & Towels Travel Souvenirs

My souvenir of choice is a keychain. They are usually cheaper than anything else thus saving money. I have all my keychains linked together. It’s long!!  Chris Hammond – Phoenix, AZ

I buy kitchen tea towels for myself!  Maureen Williams – Melbourne, Australia 

Vacation Souvenirs – Pictures and Books

We like to buy the pictures that they pose us for. We also buy souvenir books that take better pictures than we ever could. Make sure this is available before going into the attraction. Not all locations sell these.  Loraine Perkins – Mesa, AZ

Nowadays, photos are the only souvenir I need or want.  Sheri Dixon – Scottsdale, AZ 

Postcards for Home

You find gift shops everywhere you go these days.  My children are ages 5 and 7.  They tend to want to get something as a souvenir whether we are at the zoo, on a road trip, etc.  To allow them to purchase something with their allowance, but still avoid spending too much, I have started a postcard album for each of them.

When we are on vacation or a special day trip, they can choose a couple of postcards to add to their album of memories.  This is also a great way to avoid having all of the “junk” cluttering their room.  Christine T.- Annandale, MN

vacation postcards.

If I buy a souvenir, it’s usually a postcard, or leftover change if we’re somewhere outside the US. Does that count? 🙂 Jackie Beck – Mesa, AZ 

Refrigerator Magnets for Souvenirs

Refrigerator magnets for travel souvenirs

When I was single, I decided to purchase refrigerator magnets as a souvenir of my travels. They are easily found in many locations, lightweight and take up very little room in your luggage.

I can usually find one for under $5.00, which is definitely a plus when it comes to making the most of your vacation budget!

Once home, they are useful while also serving as a reminder of your trips.

After marrying my wonderful husband five years ago, we decided to carry on the tradition!

I like to select one that represents the trip or location in some way. For example, last year we visited a wildlife sanctuary in Roatan, where they had bright-colored tropical birds.

I found a magnet that featured one of these birds, to help us remember that part of our trip. They can also be a neat conversation starter if you have guests in your home. A filing cabinet in your home office or workplace would also be a great display spot!

Souvenirs from the Mexican Border

I will say that I loved when we went to Mexico as a family for our first time.

Back when I was in the 8th grade and I really appreciated my souvenirs from that trip which were:

  • Morracas;
  • An Indian multi-colored long vest with fringe (not sure what you call those)
  • and now I have (from my mom) a Mexican older woman with a scarf (a decorative candle) and her mate, a Señior with the most real looking hat.

I love this couple; they look so real! I also got an Indian drum on that trip. Alicia Renkema – Scottsdale, AZ 

Souvenir Christmas Shopping

Since it’s fun to shop when traveling to new places, I start Christmas shopping early. I too get unusual ornaments and squished pennies, but also local costume jewelry, pottery, unusual mugs, and scarves. Chinatown in both Honolulu and San Francisco provided some great bargain gifts. Unusual local jams make another good gift/souvenir, though only if I’m driving. I don’t want them in checked luggage. Kathy Kuhl – Washington, DC 

Vacation Souvenir Glasses

I have started looking for 16 oz glasses, that I can enjoy every day, and they are practical. A different one makes my drinking glasses not match, but easier to identify for later use, after a meal with friends followed by games. Julie Harden – Tucson, AZ

We still have a plastic tumbler we bought for a lemonade at Sea World when our kids were little. Pauly Heller – Phoenix, AZ

Vacation Souvenir Cards and Spoons

Souvenir collector spoons from various vacation attractions.

We get decks of cards! Decks now have lots of photos which we enjoy for years. And we actually use souvenir spoons for tea and coffee?☕

Souvenir decks of playing cards.
Lauren Locker – Scottsdale, AZ 

Unusual Vacation Souvenirs

Our Vacation Souvenir idea is to look for Nativities or Christmas decorations. However, I also got a cool shrimp from Charleston, SC once and a McIlheny’s Tabasco bottle in N’awlins.
Michael Roberson – Scottsdale, AZ 

We like to bring home some of the local flavors of the places we’ve visited! This past year it was Linden Blossom Honey from the bee museum in Weimar, Germany; Violet & Rose Chocolates from Windsor Castle in the UK; and Hot Sauce from New Orleans.  Kathy from 

Vacation Souvenir Clothing

Now I like to buy something I’ll use later on, like a T-shirt or a mug.
Pauly Heller – Phoenix, AZ

I might buy a sweatshirt if it’s chilly and I can find one that’s not kitschy.
Victoria Hay – Tempe, AZ

Inexpensive Vacation Souvenirs super page.

If you have other ways to collect vacation memorabilia, please leave a comment and we’ll review for including on this page.

5 thoughts on “Souvenir Ideas: Clever, Cheap, Chic & Fun Vacation Tips

  1. Jim Hodges

    My wife and I have been fortunate when it comes to travel. Because of my being in the Navy for 20 years, and our son now serving too, we’ve been to many places: Rome, Venice, Paris, the Italian Riviera, Rotenberg Germany, Madrid, Seville, Tokyo, the D-Day beaches, Switzerland, London and Bath in England, Alaska and Hawaii and other places in the U.S. too numerous to list. What I’ve always liked to collect are refrigerator magnets and coffee cups. My wife likes to collect pottery (too heavy and bulky for me!) vases, and especially Christmas ornaments. One other thing we’ll often get is watercolor prints of the places we’ve been. What all of these things have in common is that we can see them regularly. They are all great ways to be reminded of the all the cool places we’ve been.

  2. Jenny H

    We usually end up needing something we didn’t pack, so we hit a local thrift store to find it. Inevitably, we also find great gently-used local t-shirts and sweatshirts, including for the local college or sports team.

  3. Theresa Brown

    I always find or purchase a small trinket that reminds us of our vacation. I then turn the item into a Christmas ornament. Each year when we put up our Christmas tree, we are able to remember each vacation and discuss our favorite part of the previous trips.

  4. Sue Schluender

    When my kids were little, we picked out a postcard form each place we visited, and added it to a binder ring for our vacation. Notes on the back can add personal memories of the visit.

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