I recently wrote ‘Great souvenir ideas for your next trip’ that describes commonly purchased travel souvenirs. Are you looking for something bit unique to bring home from your next trip? You have come to the right place. Along with the usual souvenirs, C & I usually bring home things that remind us of the destination or activities or some facet of the trip that fascinated us. Here are some unique souvenir ideas:

Ethnic dresses and jewelry – Clothes and accessories best represent the culture of a place and are incredible reminders to bring back home. Plus it gives me a valid excuse to shop for myself in a new country. I love adding things from various corners of the world to my wardrobe. So far my wardrobe contains a belly dance costume from Jordan, an apron with the Golden Gate bridge gifted by my friends while in San Francisco and a hijaab styled woolen poncho from Qatar. I also have a camel bone necklace from Petra, dirt cheap jewelry from Chinatown, New York, an anklet from the gold souqs of Amman and Navajo dream catcher necklace from New Mexico. I bought a dozen pashmina shawls in Amman for my cousins, friends and myself. C has a sweatshirt from Grandfather Mountain, Blue Ridge Parkway that reminds us of the unexpected winds and low temperatures there. We have ponchos from Disney parks in California tucked away somewhere; some wardrobe additions are more from necessity! Even S has a Bedouin dress from Qatar, mojadi shoes from Bhendi bazaar, Mumbai, India and silk lungi brought by his grandparents on their trip to Kerala, India.

Local products – These are pretty much the most usable souvenirs. We have brought back pralines from New Orleans, water taffy from Atlantic City, Syrian dates, dried figs, raisins and other local dryfruits from street carts near the Jordan-Syrian border, baklava from Amman, Islamic sweets from Bhendi Bazaar, Mumbai and local tea from Qatar. I have also brought Dead Sea mud bath salts, face masks and other cosmetics from Jordan.

Send a post card home – I read this somewhere and have pretty much fallen in love with the idea. I plan to do so for iconic and long-pined for trips. Choosing a postcard you can relate to and posting it from a local post office is fun. It pushes you out of your comfort zone by interacting with locals in the entire process of searching for a post office and then posting the card. Reaching home before your card, waiting for it and then finally looking at the stamps on the card is a beautiful experience. My one and only post card till date is of the Treasury at Petra lit-up at night. I am waiting for more iconic trips to add to my post card collection.

Brochures and other reminders – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While most people throw away maps of tourist places, entry tickets, parking and hotel receipts I love collecting such things. Once in a while when I’m cleaning my desk I come across these things and spend a pleasant afternoon looking at the haunted houses tour brochure from New Orleans, a parking ticket from Eureka Springs, Arkansas or our Petra entrance tickets and remembering our travels to these places.

Souvenir passport stamps – I have heard of some places in the world stamping souvenir passport stamps but have unfortunately not been to such a place. However I really like the idea and hope to acquire my first one soon. Let me know if you have such stamps.

Things don’t always work out for the best souvenir wise. I wanted to bring a pretty teapot and tea-set from Qatar but all the ones I liked were way outside my budget. My treasured Jordan map magnet fell down the other day and shattered. I paid way more for my camel bone necklace in Petra and I can never be sure if it’s really from a dead camel. On the other hand, I hope it’s not! Who wants a smelly animal bone in their jewelry drawer? My dream is to buy a really big souvenir, maybe a furniture piece or wall décor and then have to ship it back home! The important thing is to remember that souvenirs are for fun and their purpose is just to bring back pleasant memories; souvenirs are never bigger than the destination!

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