Buying souvenirs is one of the most fun parts of any trip, and while many are purchased for friends and loved ones, those people buy for themselves can become favorite items. Whether it’s a Mickey Mouse mug from Disney World, a fine bottle of wine from Italy, or a one-of-a-kind work of art, these gifts can add something unique to the home and serve as reminders of the places people have been.

Some might view souvenirs as nothing more than cheap knick knacks, but even the smallest keychain or bulky sweatshirt can help one re-live a memory of a special vacation. You just can’t put a price on the nostalgia  factor.

We’ve surveyed some frequent travelers about their favorite souvenirs and what makes them special in their hearts.

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Dr. Ruth Berman, CEO of Bon Beer Voyage, a company that organizes tours for Belgian and craft beer enthusiasts, has chairs from her first trip to Provence. She and her husband fell in love with the area as soon as they saw it. One day while shopping at the antique market in Isle sur la Sorgue, they came upon a set of blue folding chairs in Provence.

“Needless to say, we had to have them,” Berman says. “Once we purchased them, we spent a day and a half in search of a cardboard box large enough to wrap them up and bring them home on the plane with us. While we have brought back cases of wine, paintings, jewelry, clothing and other knick-knacks from our trips, two of these chairs are currently holding plants on our front porch and serve as our little bit of Provence back home in Florida.”

Jan Clark, who makes and sells aprons, totes, bedspreads, Christmas stockings and accessories through her company Icebox’s Yard, has a large—very large—vase she bought for $10 in Tijuana about 16 years ago. It was a real bargain, kind of.

“My son lugged it across the border, convincing me it would be cheap to ship to New Jersey from California, It was not,” Clark says.

It cost $200 to ship the vase, but that’s not the end of the story. It was so big it took up her son’s room, which led to her putting it in her bedroom. The base was such a centerpiece that it inspired her to remodel her bedroom. When she moved, this huge vase took up more room in a moving POD than some of her furniture pieces.

But it’s all been worth it to her, as the vase holds a very special place in her heart.

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“The $10 vase has probably cost me several thousand dollars by now, and it is known in the family as THE VASE,” Clark says.

Kathleen Thometz, an artist who owns Doodle Art & Design, which offers classes, art kits, and an art gallery in West Springs Illinois, says she likes to visit art galleries while on vacation, and find pieces made by local artists.

“When you buy a piece of art on a vacation, you are encapsulating a memory, supporting a local artist and economy and coming away with more than a photo album or magnet,” Thometz says. “You are adding to the decor of your house, creating an heirloom for future generations, and acquiring something beautiful to look at.”

Billie Tekel Elias is the author of “Pearl’s Party… and you’re invited” a memoir about her mother. Elias’ mother loved Latin dance, particularly the Mambo, and adored anything with a Spanish flavor: classical guitar, flamenco dancing, fans and bullfights.

“When she traveled to Spain and Puerto Rico she went out of her way to take in the local culture and always brought home castanets,” Elias says. “They were small enough to fit into the corner of her suitcase and she enjoyed making the distinctive clicking sound. After she died, I found multiple sets in her drawer.  They will always remind me of her.”

What a shame it would be if any of these precious mementos were lost before they even got home. With the LugLoc luggage locator, you can always be assured that you’ll know where your souvenirs and other possessions are when you’re traveling.




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