Tips for Choosing, Organizing and Displaying Travel Mementos
Tips for Choosing, Organizing and Displaying Travel Mementos

Tips for Choosing, Organizing and Displaying Travel Mementos

Travel mementos can play a big role in creating a home that tells our life’s story. And it’s easy to get swept up in the moment when you see a funky magnet or coffee mug, or something else you like. But your typical travel souvenirs can add up to clutter, fast. So instead, we don’t think of them as souvenirs. We think of them as curated pieces of your life’s journey, items that spark a direct connection to a place you visited, and at the same time fits beautifully into your current home and lifestyle.  So when you’re in Italy or Iceland or the Caribbean, and you want to bring back something that you either 1) can’t live without b) can picture in your home and/or c) will use frequently. Here are some tips for creating a home that organically tells the story of where you’ve been.


  • Fill a Need. Before you go on vacation, walk through your home and write down a list of spaces you’ve been meaning to fill or update, whether it’s finding the perfect piece of art for the blank space above your dining table or investing in a new entryway rug. Perhaps these things can be found on your travels, versus at your local home décor store. Bringing back items that become part of your home’s natural flow makes them more meaningful every time you see them.Pro tip: Make sure you measure spaces to make sure what you buy is a good fit. Snap a photo of the space, so you can visualize the final product better.
  • Find One-of-a-Kind Pieces. Resist the urge to add another coffee cup or magnet to your collection. Instead, make it part of your mission to find something that is truly unique. A painting made by a street artist in New Orleans. A tikki mask you watch someone hand carve in Honolulu. A handmade quilt. A collection of handmade dinner plates.
  • Think Floating Shelves. If there’s an empty space anywhere in your home, dedicate up to three floating shelves to curated travel souvenirs and small framed works of art you pick up along the way.

    Photo from Introducing New Worlds with a Shrug 
  • Create a Travel Wall. Every time you go on vacation, collect a new piece that will fit on your travel all, like this couple featured on Design Sponge.

    photo from Design Sponge


  • Bring Back a Sensory Experience. A travel memento doesn’t always have to be a thing we keep forever. Sometimes it can be a taste or a scent, whether it’s a bottle of wine only found in the south of Italy or a handmade soap from India.
  • Don’t Force It. If you don’t find something you absolutely love, don’t buy something for the sake of buying it. Instead, consider these alternative methods of documenting your trip:
    Have a pillow made out of a your boarding pass
    Create a photo book
    Turn your favorite photo into a work of art
  • Consider How Easy It Is to Pack. You might have fallen in love with that 5-foot painting or heavy vase, but is it easy to pack in your suitcase and take home, and if not, is it worth the trouble and cost of shipping to your home? Some valuable and unique items are certainly worth the hassle—just try to image whether you’ll truly regret not having brought it when you get back home.

We’d love to see how you incorporate your travel mementos into your home’s story! Share your photos with us in the comments!

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