Souvenirs: To Collect or Not Collect?

We have a combined collection of 300+ shot glasses and magnets. Hoarders?

Joe Fox: So what’s his handle?
Kathleen Kelly: All right.. NY152.
Joe Fox: N-Y-one-five-two. One hundred and fifty-two. He’s.. one hundred and fifty-two years old. He’s had one hundred and fifty-two moles removed, so now he’s got one hundred and fifty-two pock marks on his face.
Kathleen Kelly: [laughing] Why did I ever tell you this?
Joe Fox: One hundred and fifty-two stitches from his nose job. The number of souvenir shot glasses that he’s collected in his travels.

————

I’m nostalgic for You’ve Got Mail. So maybe it wasn’t Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks who inspired this perpetual need to collect shot glasses when I travel. Then again, I can’t remember where exactly it all began, so Meg and Tom is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Shot Glasses Around-the-World Souvenirs Shot glasses from around the world

A small and somewhat meaningless scene in the movie, I know. Most won’t even remember, but it’ll strike a cord with you if you’re a traveler. It did for me. For me, it gave me one thing to look forward to when I travel — a way to capture the memories of a time and place. It also gave me an imaginary number to work towards, one that I never imagine I’d ever reach. But now, with 10 new additions to theย family, proudly standing at exactly 152, I’ve reached my goal.

Shot glasses More shot glasses..

Gerard’s been collecting his magnets I can’t even remember. Our first trip to Disneyworld (maybe). He likes them because they can come in all different shapes and sizes that will remind him of where he’s been. Some can also be functional (we had to get the beer mug bottle opener for Munich). In any case, he’s got as many magnets as I do shot glasses. Possibly more since he’s had a few solo trips over the last few years. He’s starting to run out of refrigerator space.

So what now? With our upcoming trip nearing, I’ve contemplated whether Gerard and I would be able to ‘collect’ memories with only our carry-on luggage. Then it occur to us, souvenirs are perishable; fortunately, memories are not.

That in mind, we’ve decided to break the habit to collect for the sake of keepsake. We’re also running out of refrigerator and shelf space to store our hoarding habits. So it is with the new year and great hopes that we’ll be collecting memories the old fashion way. Now let’s hope my memory will serve me right for a long, long time. But just in case it doesn’t, thank goodness we started this blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

————

What souvenirs do you collect to preserve your travel memories?

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  • Sandy Torres

    Christmas ornaments for sure! I love hanging the on the tree and thinking back about the great times we had while traveling.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I actually remember that Sandy. Keeping the memories alive through ornaments. Thanks for the comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sandy Torres

    Christmas ornaments for sure! I love hanging the on the tree and thinking back about the great times we had while traveling.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I actually remember that Sandy. Keeping the memories alive through ornaments. Thanks for the comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • http://www.breakawaybackpacker.com/ Jaime

    Love this! I used to collect Shot Glasses… and still would, but that is kinda hard given I am on a RTW trip. So instead I am collecting MAGNETS!!! I don’t buy from every place I visit cus that would just get out of hand and cost me too much. So instead I buy one if I find one that I actually like. Some places have horrible magents and just down right TACKY… so I don’t end up buying one, but if I like it I will buy it.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Yeah. It can be hard to find the right one because there are many bad ones… I think I’m going to narrow it down to 1 magnet per country, hopefully that won’t be too much in itself. Thanks for trippin’ by!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol. I think Gerard might have a tacky one or two. I myself took a good look at some of my shot glasses and wondered what I was thinking. Haha.

  • http://www.breakawaybackpacker.com/ Jaime

    Love this! I used to collect Shot Glasses… and still would, but that is kinda hard given I am on a RTW trip. So instead I am collecting MAGNETS!!! I don’t buy from every place I visit cus that would just get out of hand and cost me too much. So instead I buy one if I find one that I actually like. Some places have horrible magents and just down right TACKY… so I don’t end up buying one, but if I like it I will buy it.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Yeah. It can be hard to find the right one because there are many bad ones… I think I’m going to narrow it down to 1 magnet per country, hopefully that won’t be too much in itself. Thanks for trippin’ by!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol. I think Gerard might have a tacky one or two. I myself took a good look at some of my shot glasses and wondered what I was thinking. Haha.

  • http://www.50plusandontherun.com/ 50+ and on the Run

    I agree about ornaments for gifts–unique, small, lightweight and cheap! but for myself, I only buy things I don’t have to dust! Fair warning to those of you who haven’t had to downsize yet: it’s a bitch. You might want to try this: http://www.50plusandontherun.com/2011/10/do-these-souvenirs-make-my-luggage-look.html

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      You’re right. It seems like they just sit around and collect dust. They have much more appeal when they’re sitting in a marketplace. I don’t want my backpack to look fat from souvenirs hehe.

  • http://www.50plusandontherun.com/ 50+ and on the Run

    I agree about ornaments for gifts–unique, small, lightweight and cheap! but for myself, I only buy things I don’t have to dust! Fair warning to those of you who haven’t had to downsize yet: it’s a bitch. You might want to try this: http://www.50plusandontherun.com/2011/10/do-these-souvenirs-make-my-luggage-look.html

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      You’re right. It seems like they just sit around and collect dust. They have much more appeal when they’re sitting in a marketplace. I don’t want my backpack to look fat from souvenirs hehe.

  • http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com/ Jeremy

    I collect shot glasses. I have 33 right now of the 34 countries I’ve been to. I had to get a few countries I went to prior to collecting on eBay, and so far I’ve found one in every country but Macao. Egypt was very difficult, and I had to get a local alcohol cup (granite) in Jordan as they just do not sell tourist shot glasses. My best find was Vatican City though. I look at it as an adventure when sorting through all the cheap tourist souvenirs.

  • http://www.livingthedreamrtw.com/ Jeremy

    I collect shot glasses. I have 33 right now of the 34 countries I’ve been to. I had to get a few countries I went to prior to collecting on eBay, and so far I’ve found one in every country but Macao. Egypt was very difficult, and I had to get a local alcohol cup (granite) in Jordan as they just do not sell tourist shot glasses. My best find was Vatican City though. I look at it as an adventure when sorting through all the cheap tourist souvenirs.

  • Thai Chu

    Postcards! They’re flat, easy to pack, and you can find awesome ones everywhere you go. I’ll buy them as I go and write on them as my travel journal. I’ve gotten more posh with them too and will only settle for artsy or museum ones now. ๐Ÿ˜€
    They also make the perfect souvenir for others. You get rid of them as you go and don’t have to carry them.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      SCORE! Everyone’s telling me to go postcard. Can’t believe I never thought of them. And they’re everywhere!! I should start writing to myself and sending them home as I go. Or, I guess I could also write to others. Haha. Thanks for the tip!

  • Thai Chu

    Postcards! They’re flat, easy to pack, and you can find awesome ones everywhere you go. I’ll buy them as I go and write on them as my travel journal. I’ve gotten more posh with them too and will only settle for artsy or museum ones now. ๐Ÿ˜€
    They also make the perfect souvenir for others. You get rid of them as you go and don’t have to carry them.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      SCORE! Everyone’s telling me to go postcard. Can’t believe I never thought of them. And they’re everywhere!! I should start writing to myself and sending them home as I go. Or, I guess I could also write to others. Haha. Thanks for the tip!

  • Anonymous

    Impressive! I don’t collect anything simply because I have no where to put it, but totally wish I had started collecting something at the very beginning of my travels–my friend has an awesome green German hat covered with pins of all the cities she’s visited!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Pins! What a great idea. Are those easy to come by?

      I’ve recently become a jewelry girl (read your ABCs) so I’ve actually been buying things like earrings and necklaces, things I wear, as souvenirs. It’s fun to answer “Paris” when someone asks you where’d you get that scarf. Lol. I like the idea of being able to wear your memories, too. =)

  • camorose

    Impressive! I don’t collect anything simply because I have no where to put it, but totally wish I had started collecting something at the very beginning of my travels–my friend has an awesome green German hat covered with pins of all the cities she’s visited!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Pins! What a great idea. Are those easy to come by?

      I’ve recently become a jewelry girl (read your ABCs) so I’ve actually been buying things like earrings and necklaces, things I wear, as souvenirs. It’s fun to answer “Paris” when someone asks you where’d you get that scarf. Lol. I like the idea of being able to wear your memories, too. =)

  • http://www.donteverlookback.com Amy & Kieron

    We collect shot glasses – at least one from every country (plus a few more!). These always accompanied us on our carry-on… now we just need to figure out where to put them all!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup, we’re thinking going country instead of cities. It was getting a bit out of hand. Haha. I just boxed all mine up since nobody will be around to dust. What a pain. Lol

  • http://www.donteverlookback.com Amy & Kieron

    We collect shot glasses – at least one from every country (plus a few more!). These always accompanied us on our carry-on… now we just need to figure out where to put them all!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup, we’re thinking going country instead of cities. It was getting a bit out of hand. Haha. I just boxed all mine up since nobody will be around to dust. What a pain. Lol

  • http://www.crazysexyfuntraveler.com/ Crazy sexy fun traveler

    Funny! Would be illogical for me to collect shot glasses as I don’t drink alcohol so I collect snow balls ๐Ÿ˜€ And postcards … Shame they don’t have snowballs everywhere ๐Ÿ™

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Wanna know something even funnier? I don’t either. Lol. At least up until about 2 years ago and even now, I’m more of a wine girl. I’ve never taken actual shots from any of the glasses. Haha.
      Snowballs would be cool too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.crazysexyfuntraveler.com/ Crazy sexy fun traveler

    Funny! Would be illogical for me to collect shot glasses as I don’t drink alcohol so I collect snow balls ๐Ÿ˜€ And postcards … Shame they don’t have snowballs everywhere ๐Ÿ™

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Wanna know something even funnier? I don’t either. Lol. At least up until about 2 years ago and even now, I’m more of a wine girl. I’ve never taken actual shots from any of the glasses. Haha.
      Snowballs would be cool too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Anonymous

    I can totally relate. We’re guilty fridge magnet collectors too. And here’s proof:
    http://possiblypinay.com/2011/11/best-souvenirs-on-the-planet/

    We ran out of fridge space a looooong time ago. You can see what me and my mom did to change that up

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      OMG! I love your magnet wall!! So cool. We might just have to start one ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • http://thesupertourists.com/ Eileen of The Super Tourists

    I can totally relate. We’re guilty fridge magnet collectors too. And here’s proof:
    http://possiblypinay.com/2011/11/best-souvenirs-on-the-planet/

    We ran out of fridge space a looooong time ago. You can see what me and my mom did to change that up

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      OMG! I love your magnet wall!! So cool. We might just have to start one ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • http://www.scenewithahart.com Fidel Hart

    Ugh, souvenirs. I must say, I collect way too many things. I started collecting Starbucks mugs from different Starbucks but that got too expensive. I usually try and purchase at least one unique souvenir that the city or country may be known for (i.e., Russian Matryoshja doll or Russian vodka, lol). One item I will keep collecting are hat pins. I have to get them when I am in a city. I pin them to my Adidas messenger bag and they make for a nice conversation piece when people see my bag adorned with pins from every where I visit.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Never thought of starbucks mugs given that Starbucks is all over the world. Hat pins are a good idea too considering the small size. Just as long as they don’t end up poking you. =P

  • http://www.scenewithahart.com/ Fidel

    Ugh, souvenirs. I must say, I collect way too many things. I started collecting Starbucks mugs from different Starbucks but that got too expensive. I usually try and purchase at least one unique souvenir that the city or country may be known for (i.e., Russian Matryoshja doll or Russian vodka, lol). One item I will keep collecting are hat pins. I have to get them when I am in a city. I pin them to my Adidas messenger bag and they make for a nice conversation piece when people see my bag adorned with pins from every where I visit.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Never thought of starbucks mugs given that Starbucks is all over the world. Hat pins are a good idea too considering the small size. Just as long as they don’t end up poking you. =P

  • Hungryvegantraveler

    Love the magnets!

    The only “souvenir” I look for when traveling is postcards, and I send those away. I move too often to really start a solid collection, but I HAVE to get my postcards!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Might be time to buy an extra one for yourself each time!

  • Hungryvegantraveler

    Love the magnets!

    The only “souvenir” I look for when traveling is postcards, and I send those away. I move too often to really start a solid collection, but I HAVE to get my postcards!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Might be time to buy an extra one for yourself each time!

  • Anonymous

    We too used to collect souvenirs – those magnets and pins and stuff but then ran into the same problem as you! We ran out of space on the fridge door ๐Ÿ™‚

    So now, we buy “decorative” souvenirs that we display on shelves and guess what… we’re running out of shelf space! I think we’re going to have to find something else or just rely on photos and our blog as our souvenir from now on!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I know.. It seems like photos may be the best way to go. Your blog is one of the best souvenirs to have!

  • idelish

    We too used to collect souvenirs – those magnets and pins and stuff but then ran into the same problem as you! We ran out of space on the fridge door ๐Ÿ™‚

    So now, we buy “decorative” souvenirs that we display on shelves and guess what… we’re running out of shelf space! I think we’re going to have to find something else or just rely on photos and our blog as our souvenir from now on!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I know.. It seems like photos may be the best way to go. Your blog is one of the best souvenirs to have!

  • Anonymous

    I never collected anything in the past from the places I visited, but I got this idea that I think I’ll start doing: Collecting a rock from each place I visit. They’re free, won’t take up room in the suitcase, and rocks are the perfect filler for a jar or vase!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      That’s a great idea! We’ve actually seen someone collect rocks as their travel souvenirs in the past as well! Do you write on the rock to remember where it came from as well?

  • http://two4travel.net/ Laura and Claire

    I never collected anything in the past from the places I visited, but I got this idea that I think I’ll start doing: Collecting a rock from each place I visit. They’re free, won’t take up room in the suitcase, and rocks are the perfect filler for a jar or vase!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      That’s a great idea! We’ve actually seen someone collect rocks as their travel souvenirs in the past as well! Do you write on the rock to remember where it came from as well?

  • http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com Lauren

    I used to always collect fridge magnets from everywhere I went but since leaving to travel for a few years or so, I had to really use my self control to not buy anything at all!

    The first month or so was the toughest but now I’ve been travelling for 6 months I’m so glad my bag isn’t weighed down by souvenirs ๐Ÿ™‚

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Yup. We’re only 1 week in and have yet to buy a shot glass or magnet. Self-control is right!

  • http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com Lauren

    I used to always collect fridge magnets from everywhere I went but since leaving to travel for a few years or so, I had to really use my self control to not buy anything at all!

    The first month or so was the toughest but now I’ve been travelling for 6 months I’m so glad my bag isn’t weighed down by souvenirs ๐Ÿ™‚

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Yup. We’re only 1 week in and have yet to buy a shot glass or magnet. Self-control is right!

  • http://twitter.com/thatbackpacker Audrey Bergner

    I always bring magnets back for my mom – she’s got quite the collection going on! And I like to collect local art for myself, whether it be tapestries, pottery or glass ๐Ÿ˜€

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      How do you pack tapestries and potteries back? Or glass even. Lol. Lucky mom.

  • http://twitter.com/thatbackpacker Audrey Bergner

    I always bring magnets back for my mom – she’s got quite the collection going on! And I like to collect local art for myself, whether it be tapestries, pottery or glass ๐Ÿ˜€

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      How do you pack tapestries and potteries back? Or glass even. Lol. Lucky mom.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousBiz Amanda Williams

    I collect magnets, too! But I do try to limit myself; my fridge looks nothing like yours! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also buy postcards from each place I visit. They are the perfect souvenirs, because they’re cheap, and take up virtually no space unless you amass a ton of them.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      So far I think postcard is the safest bet for us. Not sure where we will keep them all once we get home. Maybe start a postcard album for the coffee table. That would be pretty neat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.dangerous-business.com/ Amanda Williams

    I collect magnets, too! But I do try to limit myself; my fridge looks nothing like yours! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I also buy postcards from each place I visit. They are the perfect souvenirs, because they’re cheap, and take up virtually no space unless you amass a ton of them.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      So far I think postcard is the safest bet for us. Not sure where we will keep them all once we get home. Maybe start a postcard album for the coffee table. That would be pretty neat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • http://www.tendtotravel.com/ Amer @TendToTravel

    I use to collect fridge magnets, but I’ve given them all away especially to my mom where she has most of my magnets. I’ve stopped collecting them now and instead is focusing on taking more photographs and documenting my travels through my sketchbook. My travel sketchbook has since become my most treasured item.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup! I think we’re focusing on more photography too as a way to ‘collect’ the memories. I’ll admit it’s tempting to want to take home a shot glass or magnet but we’re practicing self control. haha

  • http://www.tendtotravel.com/ Amer @TendToTravel

    I use to collect fridge magnets, but I’ve given them all away especially to my mom where she has most of my magnets. I’ve stopped collecting them now and instead is focusing on taking more photographs and documenting my travels through my sketchbook. My travel sketchbook has since become my most treasured item.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup! I think we’re focusing on more photography too as a way to ‘collect’ the memories. I’ll admit it’s tempting to want to take home a shot glass or magnet but we’re practicing self control. haha

  • http://www.adventureswithdan.com/ Dan Collins

    I used to bring things home for the family and friends but now I travel frequently it costs a bloody fortune! Had to give it up!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Kieu – GQ trippin

      Totally! You figure at least $5 per magnet or shot glass per country (we use to do cities, yikes!) that’s still the cost of a few meals. Lol. We have to break the habit if we want to eat on this extended trip. Haha.

  • http://www.adventureswithdan.com/ Dan Collins

    I used to bring things home for the family and friends but now I travel frequently it costs a bloody fortune! Had to give it up!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Totally! You figure at least $5 per magnet or shot glass per country (we use to do cities, yikes!) that’s still the cost of a few meals. Lol. We have to break the habit if we want to eat on this extended trip. Haha.

  • http://iamreadytostart.blogspot.com/ 77235

    awesome! i usually bring home a keychain … nothing forced just if i find one

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Keychains are always handy.. Especially the bottle opener ones. =)

  • http://iamreadytostart.blogspot.com/ 77235

    awesome! i usually bring home a keychain … nothing forced just if i find one

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Keychains are always handy.. Especially the bottle opener ones. =)

  • http://twitter.com/JulieRobe The Fairy Trails

    I LOVE THIS. And I love the You’ve Got Mail intro even more!

  • Julie Robertson

    I LOVE THIS. And I love the You’ve Got Mail intro even more!

  • http://twitter.com/JulieRobe The Fairy Trails

    p.s. I’m now downloading You’ve Got Mail.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hahaha.. it really is one of those all time movies. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!

  • Julie Robertson

    p.s. I’m now downloading You’ve Got Mail.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Hahaha.. it really is one of those all time movies. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!

  • Magdas

    Oi, adorei sua coleรงรฃo. Fiz um blog com as minhas coleรงรตes. Veja: http://criativascolecoes.blogspot.com.br/

  • Magdas

    Oi, adorei sua coleรงรฃo. Fiz um blog com as minhas coleรงรตes. Veja: http://criativascolecoes.blogspot.com.br/

  • eMz

    I’ve been collecting charms for a charm bracelet (not Pandora style) and things I can hang on my xmas tree each year (even if they aren’t specifically meant as ornaments). Also occasionally iron on patches of flags but I’m not sure whether I’ll continue that one, don’t know what I’ll stick them on! I’m planning on doing postcard too!

  • eMz

    I’ve been collecting charms for a charm bracelet (not Pandora style) and things I can hang on my xmas tree each year (even if they aren’t specifically meant as ornaments). Also occasionally iron on patches of flags but I’m not sure whether I’ll continue that one, don’t know what I’ll stick them on! I’m planning on doing postcard too!

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