10 Iconic Travel Keepsakes From 9 Countries Around The World

By on March 12, 2015

One of the most exciting parts of travelling around the world is the many gifts and souvenirs you can buy! For me personally, I limit myself to only buying the iconic (or typical) souvenirs from that country, otherwise I will spend too much unnecessary money on things I don’t need!

Here are 10 Travel Keepsakes (or typical souvenirs) that I purchased from 9 different countries around the world!

1. Ireland – The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring given to someone as a gift of love (obviously I decided to gift it to myself). The ring has three parts: The love heart in the middle represents love, with the crown on the top representing loyalty and the two hands on either side represent friendship.


2. Wooden Carvings – Malawi

One of the campsites that we stayed at in Malawi had markets right outside the gates selling some beautifully hand crafted wooden items! Our tour guide told us Malawi was the best place to buy them, so my tour friends and I decided to go out and make some purchases!

P1050732You cannot get these cheaper elsewhere, and yes, they do carefully treat the wood so you can bring it back into Australia, I did not encounter any problems!

My African Jewellery Box

I bought (and slightly bargained down the price) a wooden jewellery box with African animal carvings on the top and the sides! The jewellery box also has removable part inside so you have more room! In a typical souvenir shop this item would cost approximately between $80-100 AUD, and I bought it for the equivalent of $40 AUD.


The African man selling me the jewellery box made me an offer to pay a little extra to get my name and trip to be carved into it! Naturally I said “Why not? Let’s do it!” and he took me to the nearby village (a one minute walk away), and a friend of his carved it for me!


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3. Handmade skirts and bags – Mozambique

I spent one week volunteering in a children’s orphanage in Pemba, Mozambique. Many of the women (mainly widows) who work at the base have been taught valuable life skills and one of them is sewing! They have learnt these skills in order to make a living for themselves, and they make the most beautiful bags, capulanas (skirts), pants, t-shirts and also jewellery! All the proceeds from these beautifully handmade items go towards the children’s orphanage, so I bought some!

This is me wearing my handmade Mozambican bag when I was travelling through Zanzibar! The great thing about this bag is it’s reversible!481092_10150922335515509_65972685_n

4. Puzzle Ring – Florence, Italy

One of the very iconic (and typical) souvenirs you can buy in Florence is the puzzle ring! The nature of the puzzle ring is you can purchase four or six rings, which you have to manouvre around until they perfectly fit together!

Beware: Once your puzzle ring comes undone, it may or may not take you hours to put back together (and unfortunately, mine has been undone since I was overseas! I am not very good with tricky puzzles!).


(this is definitely NOT my photo, but it gives you a better idea of a puzzle ring)

5. New York City, New York, USA – Broadway Show Playbills

This is one of those FREE travel keepsakes. When you attend a broadway show in New York City they give you a playbill for free, with advertising and information about the musical, so I thought “if it’s free, why not?!”. Unfortunately if you live in Sydney like me you have to pay $20 AUD for a program.


6. The Netherlands – Clogs

Clogs are one of the most popular things to buy in the Netherlands! They are a form of footwear made in part or completely of wood. Traditional clogs were typically worn by the working class during heavy labour, but today they are used as protective clothing in agriculture. With an increasing popularity around the world, clogs are also intricately decorated with patterns, pictures and bright colours to be a lovely feature in your home.

I bought only one clog (not a pair) and was able to get my name burnt into the wood for no added cost! I would recommend buying one just like mine, the natural wood and decoration are much more authentic than clogs with bright colours and patterns (even though they do look lovely!).

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7. Fiji Islands – Leis

A lei (pronounced “lay”) is an exquisite design of scented flowers and leaves woven together making a wreath (or garland). Leis are a very popular gift to receive in Fiji and also in Hawaii if you are arriving or leaving, as a symbol of affection.


In 2010, I was given the opportunity to teach in Fiji for three weeks, and I received three gorgeous leis from some very talented Fiji women. The first I received was as a “Welcome to Fiji” gift, and the other two were made by two of my student’s mothers as a departing gift! Although you cannot take this gift back home on the plane, it is a wonderful gift from the heart.


8. Paros, Greek Islands – Greek Leather Sandals

One of my favourite travel keepsakes are my authentic Greek leather sandals. They are hand crafter using real leather, an ideal souvenir to buy! I bought my Greek leather sandals for about 30 Euros (so they can be a bit pricey) and it is totally worth it money! I have worn my sandals on multiple occasions and they are incredibly comfortable!


9. Masquerade Mask –  Venice, Italy

The perfect souvenir or gift to buy someone from Venice is a masquerade mask! In many of the little shops in Venice, you can purchase them handmade. A word of advice: Walk a couple of streets away from the main square and find a small little shop that sells them and you will pay significantly less like I did! This one cost me 20 euros!


10. Prague, Czech Republic – Marionettes

In the Czech Republic, one of the most common souvenir gifts to buy is a marionette. Czech puppets (and marionettes) have been a part of the Czech tradition since the middle of the 18th century where puppeteers roamed Central Europe to tell stories and entertain crowds.

On my European tour, we spent one full day in Prague and I searched endlessly for a marionette in my price range; at the end of the day I struck the jackpot when I stumbled upon some local markets, and there I found this beautiful, Czech hand-crafted marionette:


Share your thoughts!

These ten travel keepsakes are a mix of free and purchased items, but they all carry significance and meaning from various parts of my big overseas trip.

What are some of your travel keepsakes?

Where did you buy them?

What do they mean to you?


  1. Kirstie

    March 13, 2015

    These are great! Since most of my trips have been on discount airlines, I never have room in my suitcase to bring home souvenirs, so I’ve mostly just depended on collecting postcards. I do have a few little knick knacks that I love having around my room, though.

    • Bec

      March 13, 2015

      That’s awesome! I love having those travel keepsakes, no matter how big or small they are, they make for great memories. Of course photos are my most important ones, but truth be told, I was travelling last year with my backpack so I literally had to find space in my backpack and my other bags for all the things I bought! (can be very challenging!) Luckily I was meeting up with my parents in London, so they took some stuff off my hands and took it home for me, otherwise I probably would have sent the stuff home! I also collected country pins from most places I went to, I have this collection at home and need to decide what I am going to do with them all 😛

  2. megan

    March 15, 2015

    Great List! I hope to go to more of those places to pick up some of these treasures.

    • Bec

      March 21, 2015

      Thank you! Glad you liked the post!

  3. Digital Gypsy

    March 21, 2015

    So cool! I love finding a treasure on my travels. Nice to see something different from the usual travel post too 🙂

    • Bec

      March 21, 2015

      Thank you! My favourite is definitely my wooden jewellery box from Africa, something I’ll treasure for a very long time! Looking forward to writing more of these posts in the future!

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