I have two large cardboard boxes in my closet that hold souvenirs from my past travels. They sit lonely in the corner, half hassardly labelled with permanent marker: “China 2008”, “NYC X 2”, etc. Sigh. These travel mementos don’t deserve to be in a closet – they deserve to be shown. Such insignificant pieces of a paper and baubles to a stranger but to me, they tell such wonderful stories: Stories of buying Oolong tea at a street market in Hangzhou, China with my mom; Ticket stubs and subway cards from escapades in New York City with one of my best friends in the world; Sand and sea shells from Gili Trawanagan in Indonesia and it goes on like that. Wonderful memories tucked away in a box. That’s not right!
So, In a bit to get those wonderful baubles out of their boxes and into my viewing pleasure, I delved into the world-wide web to find the best and most unique ways to display travel mementos.
Here’s my curated list of ideas to display your travel mementos. I chose only the best, tasteful and creative ways. No kitchy stuff here!
I just love this idea! All the little travel mementos are contained in a glass jar – so you don’t even have to take them out! Anyone admiring it can just turn the jar around to examine all the precious little mementos. Genius! I also think that the fabric that Always Chasing Life added at the top adds a great personal touch. The ideas are really endless with this idea, you can fill them to the top or add just a few sea shells like Martha Stewart’s, place the jars randomly around your house as book ends like Married with Style or on a shelf. Such a neat way to add different textures and colours to your existing decor.
Turn those travel mementos into works of art! Again, there’s so many options for this and I guess it all depends on what you brought back home. Did you bring back only sand, sea shells or pebbles? If so, you could make a gorgeous wall hanging like the one from just Lu. I love that the display area has burlap. If you brought back a bunch of little gadgets, check out how The Travel Tester did theirs (they also have other ideas for displaying travel mementos). But my absolute favourite is from Completely Coastal – the designer turned her memories into an almost exhibit-like piece complete with little labels and everything…so elegant! All you’d really need is a frame or shadow box with a couple inches of depth, hot glue and tiny cute little labels. How much fun would this project be with a label maker?
Travel Mementos Themed Wall or Bookshelf:
You can dedicate a wall or entire bookshelf to your travels and it doesn’t have to be kitchy. Perfect example: take a look at how a couple featured on Design Sponge dedicated a wall to travel mementos and did it oh so eloquently! They bring back a souvenir after each trip and add it to the wall. I’m so in love with this idea that I want to take down all my pictures and hang up all my travel mementos right now! Don’t want to dedicate a full wall to your memorabilia? How about a bookshelf like the one below, or you could even use floating shelves.
Our fridges are so underrated. Really when you think about it, we see our fridge everyday and multiples times a day. So we need to start giving it some more respect and dressing it up with our cool travel mementos. You think fridge magnets can’t be tasteful? I didn’t think so either but we are wrong. Check out the super cute Miniature Map Magnets from Surviving a Teacher’s Salary. Okay, I get it, you may not have brought back a map from your travels but this can work with other things as well: subway tickets, concert ticket stubs, flyers, etc. What about for the beer drinkers? You could bring back beer bottle labels and use them instead of a map, right? Another cool thing that I should have thought about a long time ago is using coins as magnets like they did on Tattered Style. Super easy to make!
This is also a sweet idea. I like how all the travel mementos from one trip are contained in on box. The downfall however is that all your travel mementos are tucked away and not seen. BUT you could easily use your keepsake boxes as decoration and display them around your house. As you can see, the boxes can be embellished in any which way so you could easily make one that fits your current decor. Martha Stewart’s Travel-Keepsake Kits is a good example. These types of boxes are inexpensive and they don’t stick out like a sore thumb. You can paint them to match your decor perfectly. Or you can go the super classy and elegant way like the boxes from Weekend at the Riley’s.
I always journal when travelling and just recently started journalling with mini watercolour paintings but that’s besides the point. A travel journal can be a lovely thing inside as well as outside and could be used as an accent piece on a bookshelf or on your coffee table. A travel journal can be anything you want it to be. For example, you could send yourself postcards of everyday from your travels and bind them together when you get home. You could even bind all those paper items that you saved, like receipts, ticket stubs, etc. I adore this idea I will definitely try it on my next trip. The postcards will arrive all weather beaten from their own travels and with cool international stamps too! I can’t wait.
For my mom’s Christmas gift (and mine 😉 ), I designed a photo book of our latest trip to Panama and Colombia and she absolutely ADORED it. Everyone was so impressed with my gift (I take a bow). The truth is that is was so easy to design. They also have this online designer tool that makes it super easy to design your book and to import photos. Do you know what I did? I scanned all my paper memorabilia (receipts, menus, ticket stub, etc) and I put them in the book too! It turned out so so so beautifully. In fact, I kept mine on my coffee table for a long time it was so gorgeous. There are many companies that offer this service but I went with the company PhotoBook and I was really impressed (I also designed a luggage tag for my brother with a family picture when were travelling).
I tried a few other companies’ design tools and they were just not that great and they were way too expensive for my budget. This company offers great promotions and discounts and sometimes free shipping (in Canada too!) – I think only if you go over a certain amount. They shipped to me for free and I saved tons with their promotions. But the absolute best thing about PhotoBook is that you can choose from endless design options: soft or hard cover, how many pages, colours, picture placement, backgrounds, fonts, clip art, etc. I mean you could easily spend hours and hours just decorating and designing your photo book. But if you don’t have lots of time, they offer templates that you can work with and they are actually quite nice.
That is all my friends! There are quite a few ways to display your travel mementos but I picked out the BEST and most TASTEFUL ways. For myself, I’m finally going to take out the lonely cardboard box from my closet and let the world (well… Bernadette and I) see them! My favourites were the Vacation Jars, the Keepsake Boxes and the magnet coins. All easy to make and all easy on the pocket book. What are your favourites?