9 Inexpensive & Creative ways to preserve Travel Memories!
Updated: Apr 10
"One hundred years after the lost generation, we are a generation of lost memories"
- writes Author and Happiness researcher Meik Wiking in his book 'The Art of Making Memories'.
Just incase you were wondering, the lost generation are the generation born between 1883 and 1900 who spent most of their adulthood during the World War I serving in the war but not gaining any other life skills.
And here are we the millennial, termed as the 'generation of lost memories'. Any idea why?
We are a generation who have most of their memories stored and processed digitally and even lost easily because of broken or lost devices, memory cards or hard drives. But now, we would reason it as everything is by default being moved to the 'cloud'. The data in your cloud account is the most messed up form of memories which has never been organised. We need our data until they are posted on Instagram or Facebook and then we do not bother if they are lost forever. We live for the strange age of hashtags - #wanderlust #makingmemories #potd #travelmemories #memorylane
Since I am becoming more passionate about travel over the past few years, I want to hold on to a lot of adventures, surprises, lost traditions, meaningful conversations, beautiful sunsets, irreplaceable feelings and experiences of distant journeys.
Here are a few ways in which I love to bring back some memories from a destination and make it a part of my home, my daily life. Eventually, we are the collection of our memories over every passing year. It could be our mental memories or a collectible that forms a part of our everyday life and sits in a corner of our home.
You could also use these inexpensive and creative ways to bring back travel souvenirs home.
I) Pebbles / Sand / Seashells -
Every new place has something new and special about its soil or its natural habitat. I have recently developed this love for collecting pebbles from river beds and mountainous road. At times I even make a little art on the pebble to mark my most fond memory of the place.
There are some travellers who bring back sand from every dessert or beach they visit. Sand from different places can be stored in separate glass jars labelled with the name of the places on it.
As a kid when money was only meant for grown ups, every visit to a beach involved picking up sea shells, conches or colourful stones. Sea shells still count as the best inexpensive travel souvenir.
Such naturally available items can always be a memorable souvenir and something that is so authentic to the place and costs nothing.
Also read- My DIY guide to exploring Thailand
II) Postcards and Postal stamps -
Postcards never went out of fashion. Okay, the postal office did venture into other profitable businesses but sending letters/postcards still remain their primary job.
Back in the days when telephone was a luxury, I remember our parents and grandparents communicated using postcards and letter. A hand-written letter is more about the sentiment than the message it has to convey. Postcards with a picture of the place still are sold in most destinations. Buy a few postcards and bring it with you or post one with a personalized message to yourself or your family from the destination itself. So when you return back home, you can expect a postcard in your mail.
I can never forget, how elated I was when I received a postcard that I had sent from Spiti Valley's highest post office with a personalized note to our future selves on it.
Fun Fact - Do you know, Japan has stamps at every railway station and post offices. Kids and sometimes even adults carry notebooks to get a stamp from every station they visit. How cool, is it to make such a book and remind yourself of the country.
III) Photobooks / Photo gallery walls -
Taking photographs have been the most obvious thing to do since ages. Earlier, they carried a camera and refilled it with negative rolls. During those years, every picture was cautiously shot to avoid wasting rolls. Today with the digital age, we have got the liberty to click pictures to our hearts content. and one need not even carry a separate gadget. Our smartphones with the latest technologies inbuilt, do a great job at it.
But have you ever notice, that these pictures are not as treasured as the ones which we had to wait until they were developed into physical copies and sequentially arranged in photo albums. Today, we just click and instantly share on our social media handles. Within a week or so, we do not even bother to look at the photograph anymore. Ofcourse, over time, there could be damages to our storage devices or we could forget about a cloud login and with that also miss out on all the memories we had captured.
Thus, printing out a few travel images would stay like a documented memory over the years. You could print a yearly photobook with photographs from every destination you covered over the year. Or its a good idea to display some photo prints on a string or even make a memory wall that reminds you of all the wonderful places you have been to and the memories you have made.
Zoomin India specializes in photo prints, photobooks, canvas print, photo collages. You can get your travel photos printed through their website or using their mobile app.
IV) Collecting coins / currency -
You can collect coins or currency notes from the countries you visit. Coins can even be used as display magnets by fixing a little magnet behind it. Currency notes too can be accumulated over the years and filed together as collectibles.
V) Tickets and guide books/maps -
From boarding the flight to visiting every attraction at your destination, you will be handed with many tickets or passes. Some tickets are even colourful and creative with images of the place and things written in the native language.
Similarly, many hotel accommodations have tourist pamphlets, guidebooks or maps. If any of these interests you, why not make a collection of these and store it in a jar or file these to refer to whenever you think of a place.
VI) Fridge magnets and Keychains -
There are many travel buffs who hoard on fridge magnets or key chains. They are super easy to accommodate in your luggage as they require very little space. Also every location has its unique designs of magnets and key chains.
I believe these souvenirs are quiet functional as well. You can always display them on you refrigerators or use the key chains on a daily basis.
VII) Chimes and Bells -
Have you ever noticed the sounds of the wind chimes and bells, though they might seem similar, they differ so much in their sounds. Every region differs in the bells they make. They may differ in designs, material or sounds. While Switzerland can be distinguished by its cow bells, Southeast Asia is known for their Tibetan bells and singing bowls.
If you are someone who loves sounds, bells and chimes could be something you would love to collect.
VIII) Tiny Figurines and Knick-Knacks -
Little pieces of art, wooden show pieces, dolls, paper weights, figurines fall under a broad range of souvenirs. If you love decorating with such pieces, you can collect them on the go.
Read More - Why should you travel young?
IX) Travel Journals / Blogs -
One of the most personalized ways to keep memories from you travel is to maintain a journal which you can carry with yourself to the destination and document your thoughts and feelings about the day and places you visited.
Blogging is another effective way to document your travel experiences. Blogs can be maintained for personal logs and then also shared on the internet, You never know, who else you will inspire in the process.
At times its very tempting to pick up a lot of things from touristy location. At many souvenir stores you are presented with variety of products. That does not mean we need to all of these things. Some items only come to our homes to sit in the corner of a closet and never get noticed again. Make sure to pick things that could easily blend in your home decor and kept in places visible to you.
The purpose of this article is to share ideas about collecting and preserving travel souvenirs without spending a lot or exceeding the luggage limit on your return. These can form some of your most valued memorabilia and remind you of the place it came from.
**This blog post is published in collaboration with Zoomin
Don't forget to check their website for creative ideas to print and display your photographs as physical memories that could be displayed around your house.