Gazing around my home I realised its one big story book, from the art on the wall, to the coffee cups, photo books, cushions, beautiful lights, and even plants that are growing from seeds. Each one is a memory from a trip to an exotic location. Yes, every location is exotic to me because if it involves a passport and an airplane there is bound to be adventure and fun.

Embarking on a trip, we all want something to take home to remind us of the wonderful experience. However I have found that one purchase becomes a second purchase and before you know it a travel addiction of souvenirs has started. Looking back over the years I have discarded some simply because I lost interest but others have stuck.

The visual reminders keep those priceless travel experiences alive in our minds as we sit back with a cup of coffee and reminisce.

For some people collections help to keep them motivated as they plan their next trip. Mapping out their travel route around their important collection points. I remember a stage when I collected Hard Rock Cafe T- Shirts, to do this I would need to find the cafe in a new city then work it into my daily plan, sometimes easier said than done.

I have put together 10 of the most popular traveller collectables after I asked women travellers on Facebook.560 comments later I think its safe to say these are the winners.

Top 10 ideas

Starbucks Mugs – My current addiction. Every country I go to I try and buy at least one. The bigger the county, the bigger the problem because then it becomes cities. What I love about my Starbucks cups is each morning I wake up and drink a cup of coffee out of a city that I would like to be in and each night I drink out of a cup with a destination that I would like to fall asleep in. They also make great gifts, I take Starbucks cups from my country to give as gifts when I travel.

Postcards – I buy one each time I travel and write a letter and send it home. That way I get a letter probably 3 months later because our postal system is so slow and I get a local stamp. When they arrive use the magnets on the fridge to create a collage or for a more organised look clip them on strings in your room or home office. For those who keep a journal they are perfect reminders of a place you passed through.

Magnets – These are great especially fro back packers because they are small and light and in expensive. They are brightly coloured and every time you open the fridge your holidays are screaming out at you.

Shot glasses – some would say the days have passed where the bar shelf has rows of glasses but people still seem to buy them. They are small and easy to pack. Once home you can use them for candle holders or put small nick nacks into them. Or actually drink out of them on a Friday night.

Snow globes – This was a tough collection for me. I loved the musical ones, and of course the Christmas snow globes were always the best. But to transport them was a night mare. Then when they do arrive home safely they are the worst dust collectors and strangely some of them seem to loose the water over the years. They are magical though, but to many can border on being kitch.

Keyrings – Perfect in my opinion. They are small, inexpensive and the handmade ones by the locals support the communities. They make perfect gifts and can continue to be used in your daily life for car keys , house keys etc so the chance of lying around and collecting dust is slim.

Shells – Whenever I go to a seaside spot I collect a couple of the shells and put them in my back pack. When I get home they land up in a separate little bowl that has also come from a far off destination. Strolling along the beach and listening to the seagulls and the water we cant help but collect a couple of shells. Some people take it a step further and put some sand in a bottle with the shells.

Art – local art is a fabulous way of remembering a trip and it doesn’t take up place in your bag. Street artists sell in all sizes and again you are supporting local communities and often you get to meet the artists. Once home you can create your own gallery in the lounge, each trip will add one more piece and the stories will grow as you sit back and admire the beautiful images of the talented people.

T-Shirts – Hard Rock Cafe and Harley Davidson shirts were my addiction at one stage and they don’t come cheap. Then someone pointed out to me I was a walking billboard so I thought twice about that. I did enjoy the hunt for them though and it was a good excuse to eat a good filling meal whenever I travelled. All these years later I still have them, so it probably was a good investment.

Patches – Vintage jean jackets are ideal for these, collecting them from monuments, national parks, countries, cities etc you sew them on. Another option is to put them onto a back pack. Running out of space becomes a problem so a board at home could also be useful.

Not to be forgotten:

Letter openers

The idea I really liked:

Created your own photo gallery at home , print a photo of yourself each time you travel in a fun pose. Maybe you include a sentimental object ( I have a travelling bear from a friend ) or take it at a consistent focal point ( mine would be a coffee shop or mode of transport ).

In my pocket

When I travel I always carry a good quantity of souvenirs from my own country to hand out. I have found that so often I come across kind people who go out of their way to help me and its so nice to give them a little something to say “ thank you “. South Africa has an abundance of bead work so the best gift is the flag made out of beads, that way people learn about the flag and the craft of bead work by African women.

So next time you travel think about the souvenirs you buy, are you adding to clutter in your home, are you buying something that you can use ?are you supporting a local community or maybe you don’t need to buy anything and the memories are just enough for you.

Which ever its is, happy travelling and collecting xxxxx