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Traveling is one of the most exciting and enriching experiences we can have. Exploring new places, meeting new people, and trying new foods are just some of the things that make traveling so special. And of course, bringing back souvenirs is a great way to remember those experiences and keep them close to our hearts.
But what do you do with all those souvenirs once you’re back home? It’s easy to let them collect dust on a shelf or get lost in a drawer, but there are so many creative ways to display them and keep those memories alive. From classic options like framing postcards and photos to more unconventional ideas like turning travel maps into wallpaper, there are endless possibilities for showcasing your souvenirs in a way that reflects your personality and style.
In this article, we’ve compiled more than 50 of the most creative ways to display travel souvenirs. Whether you’re a minimalist or a maximalist, a DIY enthusiast, or a fan of store-bought solutions, there’s something here for everyone. So, dust off those souvenirs and get ready to turn them into meaningful works of art that will inspire you every day.
Table of Contents
Shelf displays for travel souvenirs
Shelves are a great way to display your travel souvenirs, and there are many creative ways to do so. When arranging your souvenirs on shelves, keep in mind the overall aesthetic of the room. Choose a color scheme and style that complements the way you decorate your space with travel souvenirs. Don’t overcrowd the shelves – leave some space to allow the items to breathe. And don’t be afraid to switch things up from time to time to keep your display fresh and interesting. Here are a few tips to make your souvenir display look amazing:
- Use floating shelves to create a minimalist display. Arrange your souvenirs in a way that creates balance and visual interest. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various sizes until you feel the balance looks just how you like.
- Group items by color or theme. For example, if you have a collection of pottery from different countries, group them on a shelf.
- Use a mix of items, such as small figurines, postcards, and photographs, to create a layered display. Vary the heights of the items to add depth.
- Display your souvenirs in shadow boxes or on small easels. This will give them a more formal, museum-like feel.
- If you have a large collection of travel mementos to display, consider creating a gallery wall. Use a mix of shelves, frames, and other display items to create a visually stunning display. Who knows, maybe you’ll open up your house for visitors at one point.
- Hang items from a kitchen utensil holder or a hanging jewelry display, if you need. You have plenty of options online to make them look great and match your desired aesthetic, so check out these options as well.
And here are a few ideas on how and what types of souvenirs you can combine on various shelves. Feel free to mix and match by using shelves, tables, or small parts of your room.
- Make up a corner with your related items per country (an Indian corner, a Chinese corner, a French corner, etc.). Combine things like books, tea sets, and various other items to give the full feeling of the destination.
- Display all of your travel guides (from Lonely Planet or independent travelers, like mine) on a bookshelf. Who doesn’t want to see a wall full of books, am I right?
- Make decorative arrangements with sand and shells in IKEA glass containers (or their Amazon version). The same can be done for other types of souvenirs like sand from the desert, rock collections, or other natural items you are allowed to take. That last part is not negotiable: you shouldn’t take anything from the environment if the rules forbid you to.
- Create handpainted Christmas tree decorations with each destination. If you’re more artistic, you can paint each destination on a simple Christmas tree globe, or you can buy some already-made ones from Etsy. In the end, most souvenirs are not sourced locally anyway, so you can choose to be creative with this.
- Create personalized decoration items like pillowcases, embroidered pillows, or throw blankets. These will make your house look warm and cozy and will make you dream of traveling every time you see them. Don’t overdo it though because it stops being funny and starts being in-your-face instead. Check out this example from Etsy.
- Get a travel keepsake box for each destination and add all of your related items to it. Then, display them in a corner of your living room or bedroom after labeling (or use some personalized boxes if you can), so you create a nice overview of your accomplishments. You get bonus points if this memory box is in the shape of a suitcase, and it’s even better if you can find sets of them in assorted colors.
- Create a shadowbox for each destination, including maps, ticket stubs, postcards, etc., or even 3D items like shells, rocks, or small figurines. Arrange them in a grid for a modern and minimalist display, or just put them randomly throughout the house for a more relaxed feeling.
- Make a collage of your boarding passes, luggage tags, entry tickets, public transportation tickets, etc. from a destination and display them on a shelf. You can also hang these on a wall and make a huge piece of wall art with it. It’s a nice way to reuse these items that will otherwise be thrown away.
- Make resin or epoxy art to remember your trips like these amazing rings on Etsy. You can either make nice standing pieces of art to display, or you can even make rings and pendants to wear all the time. I’ve even seen epoxy decorations made out of coins from various countries, so the sky is the limit when it comes to resin art.
- Display all airplane models you have flown on a shelf. This is more for aviation passionate people, but there are more like us than you think. You can either buy the models straight from the airlines so they have the correct logos as well, or you can buy generic ones from Amazon. If you want to be even fancier, you can make 3D puzzles with them and you get to double your fun.
- Make coasters with photocopied versions of your passport stamps. You can either use them as day-to-day coasters, or you can add them as a collection to each destination’s shelf or corner. They’re a conversation starter for sure as any guest will see them for sure.
- Make an embroidery of your travel itinerary, especially for road trips. You can use a map to do so, and old maps look particularly great for this. Then, use embroidery floss and needles to stitch the route you have used, and you can even choose the colors in a way that matches the map’s colors. You can then display these on a special shelf.
- Create a travel binder. You can use a journal bought from each destination to hold the items, making the binder part of the fun, and you can add all sorts of items to it. Include printed photos, postcards, maps, notes from your journaling throughout the trip, entry tickets, transportation tickets, stamps, and everything else you can think of.
- Make origami-specific items and display them on a string, as a mobile for babies, or together on a shelf. You can do virtually anything with origami items, as you can make them of any size and color, and it’s a great way to spend your time as well.
- Have small 3d puzzles with the places you have been to and display them on a shelf. There are great small ones with most of the important buildings in the world, and some can be bought from museum souvenir shops as well. This will recreate a mini-version of the world over time, and it’s cool to see them all.
- Make a tabletop with resin with your coins or keep them in a nice jar. If you’re not the type to collect currency for the sake of it, but always have random coins left over after every trip, this idea is for you. Gather all of them in a huge jar and either use it as a centerpiece or make a tabletop containing all of these coins nicely displayed next to each other. The color palette is nice and warm and the finished item will be unique.
- Add sewing pins to a globe with places you have been to. This is the easiest option you can do if you have very limited space, but still want to show off where you have been. You can buy a big or small globe, depending on your available space, and add pins to it to show the places you have already visited. You can even use tiny flags for this, matching every country, and at one point it will look really cool and colorful like this.
Wall displays you can create with your souvenirs
One of the most popular ways to display travel souvenirs is on the wall. There are endless possibilities when it comes to wall displays for travel souvenirs. The key is to choose items that have meaning to you and arrange them in a way that tells a story about your adventures. Here are a few creative ideas to get you started:
- Create a gallery wall with framed photos, postcards, and other mementos from your travels. Mix and match frames for a fun and eclectic look. This option is really nice as you can always add to it, so it will always be growing and changing, keeping your home looking fresh.
- Hang a world map and use push pins or string to mark the places you’ve visited. You can also add photos or small souvenirs from each location, and you can use a painted wall map instead. Maps are great centerpieces anyway and adding your souvenirs will make them personal as well.
- Hang a large tapestry or rug from your travels as a statement piece. You can also use smaller textiles as wall hangings. Especially if you travel often to oriental destinations, you can find amazing pieces of tapestries that you can make some wall displays with.
- Frame free city maps and make a wall art arrangement from them. This way they don’t go to waste and you get a nice piece of wall art. These maps can be used for other ideas as well, so read the whole post before deciding what to do with them.
- Make a piece of wall art with your coins and bills from each country. You can either make a collage with all of them or create separate areas for each destination and keep them more organized.
- Make wall art with your postcards. Better yet, send them to yourself so you also have a stamp and postal stamp on each of them to make them even more special.
- Get these very small frames and put the pages with the stamps from your old passports in them. They look great on long walls like on hallways or staircases or can be combined with different-sized frames for a more vivid look.
- Make an embroidery with flag patches and display it on a wall, or sew all of them on your backpack and see how fast it gets covered. The downside to the last option is that once you change your backpack, it’ll all be out as well, so keep this in mind when deciding.
- Print out your bucket list and check the ones you did already done. You can frame it by continent or area and add pictures to the ones that you already covered. Even better, make the bucket list a central piece on your wall and connect framed pictures with a string from all the places you have been to. It’ll make a nice star-shaped wall art that will evolve over time.
- Add your souvenirs on a corkboard. This way, you can even change them often, once you get bored, or you can use them as well to plan and dream about your next trip.
Travel collections you can display
Most souvenirs are already collections in themselves, but I would like to focus more on people that make it a purpose to collect various things from every place they have been to. So, no matter if you collect cups, currency, or teaspoons, here’s your time to shine.
- Organize your wine bottle collection on a display shelf. If you want to drink the wine (which you should, this is what it’s made for), you should keep only the bottles or fill them up with something else. There are special shelves you can use for this or you can just display them on a classic shelf on a wall.
- Organize your spices in spice racks. If you’re a passionate cook, spices are probably the best thing for you to collect. Spice racks are perfect for this purpose, and you can even keep a tiny bit of each condiment in each container and use the rest for your meals.
- Have multiple tea boxes. Collecting tea from all parts of the world can be an amazing way to display your souvenirs. Collect them in specific (or labeled) tea boxes and display the boxes even after the tea in them is long gone, or use the boxes to refill your stash over time.
- Have a shelf for all your mugs. I have recently seen a nice story about a woman that remarried, and the first thing her new husband did was to build her a shelf for her mug collection. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the perfect love story for me.
- Make a collage with napkins from different airlines/restaurants. This is an interesting collection to have, but also a cheap one. Collect napkins from all the restaurants and airlines you use and make a nice collage out of them. It’s a nice reminder of the places you have been to.
- Have a dedicated shelf with cooking books like this one from around the world. If you’re a passionate cook, or just collect the books in the hope of ever getting to use them, display these cooking books somewhere in your living room or kitchen area, if there’s room. I usually try to get a stamp from the library where I bought it from as well, as a means of authenticity for where the book is coming from.
- Get a specialized album for your coin or currency collection. This goes without saying, but currency should usually be kept in special albums for collectors, as it keeps them safe and nice looking over time. Also, a pro tip: keep two pieces of each item next to each other, to be able to see both sides at the same time. You can leave this as an inheritance to your offspring, as it will be more and more valuable over time.
- Have a special souvenir spoon holder. For those of you collecting teaspoons, there are special holders you can use to display your collection nicely. I had no idea people collected tea spoons as travel souvenirs until I met my mother-in-law, so I’m very happy to be able to share this idea with you as well. I recommend one with a glass door so you don’t have to do the dusting too often.
- Show your toiletries collection. You know the toiletries you get in complimentary baskets at the hotels or the small, special ones you buy in handmade souvenir shops while away? A nice way to display them is by labeling and putting them in a nice basket in your guest bathroom. It makes the place look cozy and can be used by guests as well.
- Organize your scarves from around the world. If you collect scarves from around the world, try to find a scarf organizer and see if you can display them nicely. I also like to order personalized scarves that are hand-painted like these ones from Etsy; they look nice and make me feel really good about wearing something unique.
- Show off your rock collection. If geology is your passion, there’s nothing like a shelf full of rocks, geodes, or gems from all around the world. You can even buy a special case to show off your collection and I wouldn’t blame you if you choose one.
- Display rubber ducks from each destination around your bathtub. I know, I know, who collects rubber ducks? Well, some people with children might, and I know a few without children that are doing this. It’s a cool way to display your souvenirs and it’s not so obvious since they’re not taking over the living room, so why not?
Ideas to share your travel knowledge
While most people buy some sort of physical items as souvenirs, some of us decide to go for something less tangible. I’m better with words than I am with anything else (hence you’re reading this post), and some people are better with video, music, or other forms of art. These too can be seen as souvenirs from around the world, so let’s see some ideas on how to display them properly.
- Make a blog and display your stories. This is probably obvious, as this is the path I have chosen. My blog started as a place for me to tell my stories and has evolved into the animal you can see now. You can do the same, it’s easier than it sounds, and it can be a nice hobby if you like writing.
- Create a youtube video with helpful information. More and more people do this, it seems like everyone with a GoPro has a Youtube channel nowadays. It’s a nice way to share your knowledge and show the good, the bad, and the ugly of traveling, so feel free to do this if you are so inclined.
- Create collections of maps on Google MyMaps. I truly like this as I get to share them after I return. I have done this for so long and shared them with so many people, I started to offer them as products as I see people love them so much! It’s a nice way to feel useful and share information, so check it out if you rely on GoogleMaps. And check out my favorite free travel apps, you’d be surprised how much you can do for free these days!
- Save a playlist with music from each destination (or about each destination). This idea came to mind when, right before taking off to Japan, one of our friends was singing “Big in Japan” to us, on repeat. If I were more musical, I’d totally save a playlist for each destination, containing music from or about the destination where I’m headed, just to get me in the mood. Then, I’d listen to it when back so I can keep on dreaming.
- Learn the language of each destination you have been to. Now, this is for the people inclined to learn languages, I’ve heard there are some in this world. You can use a tool like Babbel for this and learn at least a few phrases in each language you have been exposed to. It’s an awesome way to be reminded of your trips!
- Publish a book with your stories and pictures. I know, I know, who reads books these days? I can assure you that some people still do, including myself. Even people that don’t buy physical books but only read eBooks still can get to read about your trips and adventures. You can write stories, describe your heritage journey with the help of MyHeritage, make a photo album, or write a children’s book. Let your imagination float and see what comes of it!
- Make a book with international food recipes you have collected. This is similar to the idea above, but hear me out. If you collect recipes and cooking classes from all over the world, you can do so much with them. You can create cooking books, you can create subscription boxes where each week you receive a recipe and the ingredients to cook it, or you can create a travel&cooking blog or Youtube channel. Find a way to share this information and you’ll learn so much in the process.
Creative ways to display your travel photos
I know, I know, who prints photos these days anyway? Well, I think pictures make for fabulous souvenirs, and these creative ways to display them have multiple advantages. Using pictures as souvenirs is cost-effective, highly personal, and can look really nice in your home, if displayed properly. Check out some of the options below!
- Make a photo album. There are multiple ways to do this, from buying a cheap photo album from a store or even a few sets from Amazon, and you can have an album for each trip. If you feel fancy, you can even label them accordingly or combine this with some other ideas as well, like including tickets and other keepsakes.
- Make a coffee table book. If you’re more artistic kind, you can print a nice coffee table book with your pictures. If you’re also a bit business inclined, you can even sell them to your friends or on marketplaces like Etsy. People pay a lot of money for these things and if you love doing them, why not?
- Make a personalized collage of your photos. There are plenty of frames that can keep up to 8-10 pictures, and you can make a nice collage out of your photos like this. You can even buy just a few and change the pictures from time to time, just to make your house look different with very little effort.
- Have a map on the wall and add your pictures there. I have seen this once in a friend’s house and LOVED the idea. You can stick a huge map on your wall like this one, and add pictures with you at the places where you have been. It looks great and makes for a nice road on memory avenue.
- Make a giant accent wall with all your photos. This option doesn’t work for everyone but hear me out. By using your own personal photos, you can create a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork that showcases your adventures and memories. Not only does it serve as a conversation starter for guests, but it also allows you to relive your favorite travel moments every time you walk by it.
- Make an accent canvas print for your home. Especially if your travel photos are more artistic, you can use them to print a nice canvas print. You need very high-quality pictures though, but if you have them, you can use the horizontal ones for the wall above your bed in your bedroom, for example.
- Use some Christmas lights. Another idea I saw in a friend’s house and I loved it! Get a string of Christmas lights and some rope, spread them alongside a long wall, and use clothespins to display your instant photos. It’s a really cool way to decorate an otherwise useless wall like in the hallway or up the stairs, and it doesn’t require too much DIY talent to implement.
- Use your pictures to create everyday use objects. Nowadays, with the solutions you can find online or at every printing shop around, you can make mugs, keychains, T-shirts, Christmas tree decorations, and mouse pads with your pictures, and God knows what else. I’m not saying you should do ALL of them, as that might be a bit overkill, but sprinkling some of these in your daily life might be a nice, creative way to display travel souvenirs
- Make magnets with your travel photos. I know I know, this is a bit tacky, but you can keep them on a board or on the fridge, so it doesn’t have to be so in-your-face. What’s the difference between a $3 magnet made in China and one made by you with pictures you have taken?
- Get an electronic photo frame. These are nice to keep on your desk, either at home or at work, as you can change the pictures often so they’re not boring, and you can add things like calendars and to-do lists to the display rotation as well. There’s nothing like being bored in a meeting that could have been an email and looking at pictures with some palm trees from The Maldives, believe me.
- Make yourself a personalized wall or desk calendar. Especially if you have pictures from all seasons, you can pair them with the corresponding months, and make it look really professional even. Hell, you can even gift them or sell some around, especially at the beginning of the year when everyone can use a calendar.
FAQ – creative ways to display travel souvenirs
How do you organize travel keepsakes?
There are many ways to display your travel keepsakes, but the easiest ones would be to:
1. Use a shadow box to keep them organized by destination
2. Use a box in the shape of a suitcase
3. Get a memory box for your souvenirs
4. Make a DIY album with your keepsakes
5. Build a piece of wall art.
How do you display art from travels?
Collecting pieces of art from your trips is a great souvenir, and you can display them like this:
1. Organize a “destination corner” in your house
2. Build a dedicated shelf for your pieces of art
3. Publish a photo book with your pictures.
How can you organize travel souvenirs?
Keeping your souvenirs in order is a great idea, and you can keep them organized like this:
1. Get an album for your coin or currency collections
2. Have a dedicated box for your rock collections
3. Keep all the related ones in a shadowbox
How can you pack souvenirs?
One way to safely pack souvenirs to be sure they make it home is to wrap them in bubble wrap and pack them between your clothes or in your shoes. Another good way is to wrap them in a piece of clothing and put them in your shoes, so they’ll be safe while flying.
Creative ways to display travel souvenirs – the takeaway
In conclusion, displaying your travel souvenirs in creative ways is a fun and exciting way to add a personal touch to your home decor. From creating a gallery wall with your favorite photos to using unique items as decorative accents, there are endless possibilities for showcasing your adventures.
Not only does this type of decor allow you to relive your favorite travel moments, but it also serves as a reminder of the incredible experiences you’ve had. So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, don’t be afraid to get creative with your souvenirs and turn them into beautiful decor pieces that you can enjoy for years to come. Happy decorating!