These Are the Most Genuine Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You

Inside: How to find those special travel souvenirs you’ll love forever.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

A month ago I was in Amsterdam.

Staring at a closed door. Locked out of the apartment my sister, my friend and I were renting.

Not my proudest travel moment. But good things can come out of bad times.

While my friend waited on a locksmith, my sister and I explored the city.

We walked the cobblestone streets and analyzed each step of how we managed to lock ourselves out. How did we do that? But as we turned a corner, the happy white tents of a flea market greeted us.

We found the best souvenirs of our two-week trip at that flea market. (Scroll to the end to find out what we scored!)

Besides including a good story to tell people back home, those souvenirs were also the real deal. There were genuine finds that I’ll love forever.

Talk about a serendipitous moment. If we hadn’t locked ourselves out, we never would have found that flea market.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home | redleafstyle.com

Why Choosing the Right Travel Souvenirs Matters

The souvenirs you bring home from your travels should make you feel good.

You want them to spark memories, be useful or purely enjoyable.

None of us will remember every aspect of our trips. But like a good photo, the right souvenirs will remind you of the good times.

Don’t buy a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of the place you’re visiting simply for the sake of buying a souvenir.

Instead, look for travel souvenirs you’ll love for a lifetime.


10 Genuine Souvenirs To Remind You Of Your Travels

These are the best travel souvenirs to bring home with you.

1. Local artwork

Keep an eye out for local art. Whether you’re wandering the streets of Paris or road tripping through Minnesota.

There’s nothing like decorating your home with uncommon art from your travels.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

Every time I look at the hand drawn sketch of the Eiffel Tower on my wall, I remember buying it. I bought it from a street artist selling his sketches on cobblestone avenue near Notre Dame. It was money well spent compared to buying the same cheap tchotchkes sold in stalls all over the city.

Travel tip: Look for street artists, art galleries or boutiques. These are your best bets to find local artwork to fit your style and taste. (And to find art not sold by every tourist vendor in the area.)

2. Mugs or pottery

Every morning when you sip from that handmade ceramic mug you picked up on your travels, you’ll remember where you bought it.

As a coffee addict drinker, I love buying mugs when I travel because I use them in my everyday life.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

But, don’t stick to mugs alone. Any pottery vessel makes a great souvenir. Think cups, plates and bowls.

Travel tip: Scope out art fairs, local coffee shops or small art galleries. These are the best spots to find handmade pottery. Besides mugs, I also like to buy small plates or shallow bowls to hold jewelry or small trinkets.

3. Clothing

When I travel abroad, I always pack light and plan on buying a piece of clothing at my destination.

Clothing doubles as a functional item and a travel souvenir.

Whether you need a raincoat in London, a dress in Paris or a sweater in Reykjavik (all items I’ve purchased,) be sure to choose a piece of clothing you’ll want to wear again.

Every time you pull it out of the closet, the memories of where you purchased it will return.

Feels more genuine than a plastic statue of the Empire State Building, huh?

4. Locally-made soaps

Buying locally-made soaps as travel souvenirs will remind you of your travels, even if the soap bar doesn’t last forever.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

Every time I suds up with my patchouli soap bar scented with patchouli, sandalwood, myrrh and vanilla, I feel a humid Arkansas breeze blowing across my face. I smell the dust from the gravel road sifting through the rolled down windows of our Toyota Four-Runner. I remember the rural country store we pulled into, where I bought the soap and lingered over jams and jellies, ice cream and gifts.

Travel tip: Even if you’re not a bar soap fan, opt for the bar. It travels better than liquid. Choose small hand soap bars if you don’t think you’d use a full body bar. They’re smaller and less expensive—both useful qualities when traveling.

5. Scarves

I never pack scarves when I travel.

I’m not forgetful. I always plan to buy one.

Why? Scarves are more than great travel souvenirs that you’ll wear again. They’re also useful while traveling.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home | redleafstyle.com

Handy uses for scarves while traveling:

  • Wrap a scarf around you or use it as a blanket on chilly airplanes
  • Pull a scarf over your head if you’re caught in an unexpected downpour
  • Add some style to your outfit if you forgot to pack accessories
6. Non-perishable foods

Loved the tea in England? Gorged on stroopwafels in Amsterdam? (Oh wait, that was me!)

Pack those non-perishable foods in your suitcase and bring them home to remember your trip by.

Travel tip: Non-perishable foods like coffee, tea, candy, wine and packaged cookies make great souvenirs (and gifts.) When you’re back home, they’ll give you a taste of where you’ve been.

7. Something you need

Do you always forget to pack something while traveling?

Who doesn’t?

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

It may sound silly, but that practical item you need right now also makes a great souvenir.

That umbrella, pajama shirt, pair of shoes, hat, raincoat or backpack will remind you of your trip every time you use it.

8. Jewelry

You probably wear jewelry to express your style, for sentimentality or simply to feel good.

Those are all great reasons to buy a new necklace or bracelet as a souvenir from the place you’re visiting.

Besides looking stylish, you’ll have an accessory that’s also a memory.

Travel tip: You don’t have to buy expensive jewelry. Scope out flea markets, craft fairs and boutique stores for unique, inexpensive jewelry.

9. Postcards

When traveling, I always send postcards to family members and friends—and myself.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home | redleafstyle.com

Mailing yourself a postcard is a fun (and inexpensive!) souvenir. Be sure to write a short message on the back like, “Enjoying Copenhagen! June 5, 2016”

When you get home, you’ll get excited to find the postcard in your mailbox alongside the usual utility bills and grocery store flyers.

10. Flea market finds

Shopping flea markets filled with vintage and antique items from the country, state or town you’re visiting is fun in itself.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

If you find a unique necklace, houseware, tool or sign you can’t leave without, well, that’s the cherry on top.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

Bonus souvenir idea

On the last day of a trip to Paris, a flea market popped up right outside my hotel.

I’d already purchased my metro ticket to the train station and I had one euro left in my pocket.

Hauling all my luggage—my travel backpack on my back and a smaller backpack on my front—I scoured the flea market for something I liked marked at one euro or less. After rummaging through a one-euro bin, I found a little blue pill box I loved.

Silly experiences like that make souvenirs memorable.

The experience is what means something to you. The souvenir is a reminder.

Look for experiences, not souvenirs.

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home | redleafstyle.com


So, what did I find at that flea market?

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com

Here’s what I found:

  • Two Delft blue bowls with lids for €3.75 each
  • A vintage Delft blue tea strainer for €5
  • A vintage tin made in Holland for €2
  • Two yellow license plates for €4 each.
  • (The poster and the wooden shoe in the picture weren’t from the flea market.)

These Are the Best Travel Souvenirs to Bring Home With You | redleafstyle.com


Get more travel tips like these when you sign up for my e-newsletter!

Favorite Kansas City Things: September 2016

Favorite Kansas City Things: September 2016 | redleafstyle.com

If you haven’t noticed, Kansas City is happening.

This month, Vogue called Kansas City one of the ‘flyover cities’ worth “landing and lingering in.”

That’s why I’m doing this blog series; to share the hidden gems, the local favorites and the places you have to check out in Kansas City. (Check out last month’s favorite Kansas City things.)

Here’s what I’ve been exploring this month.


Cider Hill Family Orchard

Favorite Kansas City Things: September 2016 | redleafstyle.com

Kick off fall by going apple picking at a local orchard. This year, I went apple picking for the first time ever and I can’t believe I haven’t done it before.

Cider Hill Family Orchard in Kansas City, Kan., covers 38 acres and has 1500 apple trees with 18 different kinds of apples. Wander through the groves and fill up a peck, half bushel or bushel full of apples.

If you’re hungry, there’s no shortage of apple cider treats. Grab some apple cider donuts, an apple cider slushie, or go the traditional route and ask for a cup of cold pressed apple cider.

There’s also a hay wagon ride and pumpkin patch for the kiddos.

The U-Pick apples are available as long as there are still apples on the trees. In October, opening hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Favorite Kansas City Things: September 2016 | redleafstyle.com


City Market Farmers Market

Favorite Kansas City Things: September 2016 | redleafstyle.com

If you’re looking for warty pumpkins, fairy tale pumpkins or just all-around different pumpkins, City Market is the place to go.

On the weekends, many of the farmers offer a variety of pumpkins in their stalls. Or, stop by the “pumpkin patch” in front of the Steamboat Arabia on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through October. Juhl Greenhouse and Truck Farm, a local farm, hosts the pumpkin patch every year.

You’ll be able to find all kinds of pumpkins, gourds and winter squash for decorating, carving or eating.


City Market Coffee Roasters

Favorite Kansas City Things: September 2016 | redleafstyle.com

While you’re at City Market, stop by my favorite coffee shop in the city, City Market Coffee Roasters.

This local coffee shop roasts its own coffee beans, which are Fair Trade and organic.
And, if you’re craving a fall-themed drink, City Market Coffee Roasters has you covered. Ask for a pumpkin latte or a cinnamon cardamom latte made with homemade cinnamon cardamom syrup.

The coffee shop also just put in a new deck overlooking City Market Park. It’s a relaxing spot to enjoy the crisp fall air.


Related articles:
Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016
Weekend in St. Louis
Travel Planning Board

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com

It’s hard to put your finger on it exactly, but I think it’s safe to say that Kansas City, Mo., is experiencing a Renaissance of sorts. This cow town that straddles a border with Kansas City, Kan., has really come into itself over the past few years—and the nation is taking notice.

Maybe it was the Kansas City Royals winning the 2015 World Series. Or, perhaps it’s the excitement for the KC Streetcar, which just opened in May and runs from the River Market to Union Station. Maybe it’s the ever-popular First Friday in the Crossroads Arts District every month or the blossoming vintage and antiques scene in the West Bottoms.

Whatever it is, Kansas City is happening. Whether you’re visiting Kansas City or you’ve been here all your life, it’s time to start exploring this city. I’ve lived here five years and I feel like I’m just now starting to discover everything Kansas City has to offer.

That’s why I’m starting this new blog series; to share the hidden gems, the local favorites and the places you have to check out in Kansas City.

Here’s what I’ve been exploring this month.


First Friday: Art Starts at the KC Library

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com

Building on the momentum from the KC Streetcar, the Kansas City Public Library recently started hosting its own First Friday event. The Art Starts at the Library event is held in conjunction with First Friday, and the library is encouraging visitors to start their First Friday fun at the Central Library by enjoying its art galleries, live music on the rooftop and (I almost want to keep this one a secret) a complimentary bar.

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.comFavorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.comFavorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.comFavorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com

If you haven’t seen the Central Library’s rooftop terrace, that’s reason enough to check out this First Friday event.


Brown & Loe Opens

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com

A new bistro-style restaurant has opened in the River Market. Brown & Loe, 429 Walnut St., sits just outside the entrance to City Market square and occupies the long-vacant Merchants Bank Building.

Featuring Southern-inspired upscale American cuisine, the restaurant is open for brunch, lunch and dinner. The atmosphere feels elegant, but still friendly. If you love old buildings, like me, you’ll go gaga over the original marble from the building’s bank days and its other historic architectural details. It has a beautiful dark wood bar that runs the length of the building and a patio just next to Dutch Flowers, which is perfect as the weather cools down.

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com

If you want to know more about Brown & Loe, look out for my piece on my dining experience there in the Fall 2016 issue of VintageKC magazine.


Day Trip to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

If you’re looking to get out into nature without traveling too far from Kansas City, I highly recommend Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. The highlights of this park include the Devil’s Icebox, which is a sinkhole where you can view an underground stream, and a natural rock bridge. There are also several hiking trails that are fun to explore.

The park sits just south of Columbia, Mo., and is about a two-hour drive from Kansas City.

Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com Favorite Kansas City Things: August 2016 | redleafstyle.com

I love traveling the world (more tips on that to come!) but I also think you can explore close to home if you have the right mindset. And, if you want more travel tips for Kansas City, be sure to check back here every month.



Related articles:
Weekend in St. Louis
Travel Planning Board
Travefy: Trip Planning Made Easy