The Coolest Souvenirs in 50 Travel Hot Spots from The Coolest Souvenirs in 50 Travel Hot Spots

The Coolest Souvenirs in 50 Travel Hot Spots

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The Coolest Souvenirs in 50 Travel Hot Spots
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The Coolest Souvenirs in 50 Travel Hot Spots

Most travelers bring something back from their trips to show friends and family. Few, however, spend a lot of time looking for a unique souvenir or at least something that is not going to be just a dust collector. The truth is that every destination has a piece of history or culture that you can’t find anywhere else. There is a discovery to be made everywhere.

A Molinillo from Mexico City

Flickrl’/Y! Musica/CC BY 2.0

A Molinillo from Mexico City

Why get coffee beans when you can get a hand carved Mexican stirrer, most often used for making chocolate? You can find it at specialty shop and some cookware stores. You can also use it to froth milky coffee.

Chinese seeds from Hawaii

Chinese seeds from Hawaii

The crack seed is very popular in Hawaii. The salty, dried fruit from Asia is a local favorite. Early immigrants who came to Hawaii to work in pineapple and sugar plantations were it there, according to Snack Hawaii.

Deep-dish pizza from Chicago

Giordano’s/Yelp

Deep-dish pizza from Chicago

Tourists and locals alike rarely talk about Chicago without mentioning Giordano’s deep dish pizza. You can ship the world famous pizza pies to prove how good they really are. They are hand crafted, partially baked, frozen to preserve the highest quality, and then shipped almost anywhere in the country.

Custom poker chips from Las Vegas

Flickr/BigMikeSndTech/CC BY 2.0

Custom poker chips from Las Vegas

Why take home uncashed casino chips, get custom-made chips to impress your friends next time you set up a poker night. Do even better and get them with custom inlay, personalized carrying case and playing cards.

Leather from Argentina
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Leather from Argentina

No other country is better known for its leather products than Argentina (other than maybe Italy). They are made using old, traditional techniques, according to Pieces of Argentina. They are constructed with 100 percent authentic materials and are said to last decades.

Whiskey from Ireland
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Whiskey from Ireland

Irish whiskey is now the fastest-growing spirit in the world, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Be part of history and bring home authentic bottle of whiskey. (The phrase Uisce beatha, which means “water of life,” means whiskey in Irish.) Get whiskey that is only available in Ireland.

Currency from any foreign country
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Currency from any foreign country

You don’t have to be like Ron Wise, who has more than 10,000 bills in his personal collection, but having paper money from around the world can be worth a lot one day, especially since local currencies are being replaced. The German mark was swapped for the euro in 1999.

Christmas ornaments from Germany
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Christmas ornaments from Germany

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition, as we now know it, in the 16th century. Nuremberg Christmas market, the country’s most famous one, draws over 2 million people every year. Locals are very serious about hand-made decorations – you won’t find more beautiful ornaments than those sold in the city.

A piece of the Berlin Wall from Germany
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A piece of the Berlin Wall from Germany

You can own a piece of history. The Berlin Wall Memorial sells pieces with a certificate of authenticity. Also, if you stay at the WestIn in Berlin you can chip off a piece of an original wall segment in front of the hotel. You’ll get a small piece of the original Berlin Wall with a photo and a certificate.

An Akubra hat from Australia
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An Akubra hat from Australia

A classic gift, and one that doesn’t get more Australian than that. These hats have been Australia's quality hats since the early 1900's. The fur-felt hats are worn by all types of people – farmers, military, singers, businessmen.

Wool garments from New Zealand
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Wool garments from New Zealand

Sheep farming is a big business in the country. So it’s no surprise that New Zealand is known, among many other things, for the quality of its soft and warm wool and comfortable wool clothes. You can find such garments in souvenir shops.

Garrett’s popcorn from Chicago
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Garrett’s popcorn from Chicago

Handcrafted spicy cheese popcorn, anyone? Or maybe caramel crisp? It is popcorn with caramelized brown sugar with a crème brûlée crunch. You can also create your own tin.

Tea from Britain
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Tea from Britain

Britain and tea can, arguably, be synonymous. So it only makes sense that you want to buy some tea. However, it has be authentic. London has its very own Whittard tea shop, which sells exquisite teas, both hot and iced.  

Motown gear from Detroit
James R. Martin/Shutterstock.coms

Motown gear from Detroit

Visiting the Motown Museum is a must when in Detroit. Stop by the gift shop for shirts and vintage sweatshirts featuring the historic Motown logo, the piano, Motown girl portrait, Motto T, to name a few.

Monogramed Mickey ears from Disney World
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Monogramed Mickey ears from Disney World

The classic Mickey ears with a monogram added to them are the perfect gift for Disney fans. It can take a while to complete the monogram because gift shops get busy and this is a popular item. Get there early so you can pick up the souvenir before you leave.

Surf wax from San Diego
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Surf wax from San Diego

San Diego is a surfing mecca. The city has awesome wave pools in addition to a plethora of good surf spots and some of the best surf schools in the country. You can buy locally-made organic wax for about a buck per bar.  

Smoked salmon from Seattle
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Smoked salmon from Seattle

This is a classic gift from Seattle. Pacific Northwest salmon is wild caught, which is what separates it from pretty much every other salmon in the country. You can buy it fresh and in shelf-stable boxes, ready to pack.

Hawaiian shirt
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Hawaiian shirt

Why get a souvenir that just collects dust when you can get one that you can wear? Also, no shirt in the world is more recognizable that a Hawaiian shirt. The Aloha Shirt, which locals sometimes wear as office attire, is the most popular kind but there are a lot of different types.

Macadamia nuts from Hawaii
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Macadamia nuts from Hawaii

Even though these nuts are native to Australia and New Zealand, they are one of the signature crops of Hawaii. The first macadamia tree arrived in the state from Australia in 1881. More than 49 million pounds are produced a year.

A Marinière from Paris

Claude TRUONG-NGOC/Wikimedia Commons

A Marinière from Paris

The long-sleeved jersey was originally worn by the French Marines. So buy it in blue and white, like the only way it used to be made. There were 21 white stripes and 20 or 21 blue stripes. Coco Chanel made the jersey popular, and many other designers adopted and slightly altered the style.

Texas gear from Dallas
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Texas gear from Dallas

Sure, you can buy cowboy boots and hats or you can buy gear in the shape of Texas. Like a key chain that says “I love you to Texas and back,” a Texas Beer Cap Map, or a wooden wall clock carved to look like the Dallas or another city’s skyline.

Mint julep glass from the Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby Museum

Mint julep glass from the Kentucky Derby

The 2018 Kentucky Derby glass is available. The latest edition has every Derby winner since 1875 around the back. The glass has made it among the most popular Kentucky Derby collectible since it was introduced in 1938.

OBX gear from the Outer Banks

OBX gear from the Outer Banks

How about personalized necklace or other jewelry inspired by the sea? Christmas ornaments from the Outer Banks are also popular (Christmas ornaments in the shape of shells or other sea objects are even more popular). So are personalized tumblers for cool drinks in the summer.

Nesting dolls from Russia
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Nesting dolls from Russia

You can buy a samovar but, realistically speaking, are you really going to use it? And it can take a lot of space. Matryoshkas, where several “dolls” are hidden inside one another, are synonymous with Russia. The name comes from Matryona, which is an old-fashioned name for a Russian woman.

Cigars from Miami
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Cigars from Miami

This is the closest you’re going to get to Cuba, unless you actually travel there. You find Monte Cristos and Cohibas just about anywhere, so go for little to unknown locally hand-rolled sticks. Your best bet is Little Havana. An overabundance of cigar stores can be found on 8th street (Calle Ocho Walk of Fame).

Alligator taxidermy from Miami
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Alligator taxidermy from Miami

What else is Florida known for? Alligators. So it’s only fitting that you bring home an alligator claw backscratcher or other products such as jewelry and even heads. They can be found at the Everglades Gift Shop.

Tokyo banana from Tokyo
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Tokyo banana from Tokyo

This is a typical Tokyo souvenir. You can’t get it anywhere else, which is probably what makes it so popular. You can get the regular flavors or find limited-edition products. You’ll like the taste, too. It's rich and creamy, but not too sweet.

Replica Fabergé egg from St. Petersburg
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Replica Fabergé egg from St. Petersburg

The originals, a total of 50, are in museums. The Faberge, also called the Imperial Egg, were gifts for the Russian Royal Family and were given to the Russian Emperors. They are unique pieces of art which is why they make a nice gift, even if they are just replicas.

Prince guitar picks from Paisley Park
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Prince guitar picks from Paisley Park

You get buy them custom-made sets including six different picks with 2-sided designs.

Elvis gold record key ring from Graceland

Elvis gold record key ring from Graceland

This gold record keyring is what most fans buy. It’s a tourist favorite. The key chain features a large gold-tone plated Love Me Tender gold record with great detail and a shiny resin finish. The record is accented by a Graceland script logo charm. Keychain available at Elvis Presley’s Graceland Official Store, ShopGraceland.com.

Bumper sticker from Wall Drug
Wall Drug

Bumper sticker from Wall Drug

This is a very popular gift. You can let it hang on a wall or you can put the bumper sticker on your car. You will hand an immediate connection to anyone who’s been there and sees the sticker. The 76,000-squate feet store that has pretty much everything is known all over the country.

Mini pyramids from Egypt
Pixabay

Mini pyramids from Egypt

They are one of the best known symbols of Egypt. The Great Pyramid of Giza is among the most visited attractions on Earth, even if some say it’s overrated. As the only surviving ancient wonder in the world, you’ll love the miniature complex as memento.

Port wine from Portugal
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Port wine from Portugal

Vinho do Porto is a Portuguese fortified wine produced only in the Douro Valley, and nowhere else. It’s sweet and most people drink it after a meal

Amber from Poland
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Amber from Poland

You may have heard of it as Baltic's gold. You have to go to Gdańsk where boutiques selling unique jewelry from amber are in abundance. You can go in time for the international amber fair with pieces from more than 200 vendors.

Camembert from France
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Camembert from France

Raw milk cheese is illegal in the U.S. unless it has been aged a minimum of 60 days and is clearly labeled as unpasteurized. So now is the time to try this creamy cow’s milk cheese from Normandy. You won’t find the authentic cheese in the U.S.

Whiskey stones from Ireland
istockphoto.com

Whiskey stones from Ireland

Why limit yourself to just whiskey when you can also get whiskey stones? They are known for being able to keep your glass of whiskey at the perfect temperature without thinning it, which is what will happen if you put ice in it.

Bead work from Cape Town
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Bead work from Cape Town

Bead work is deep-rooted in South Africa and in many tribal cultures. It is also important for the economy. It provides for sustainable employment for people who have traditional beading skills. You can find beadwork such as dolls and cutlery in craft markets, boutiques and many stores.

Ganesh sculptures in India
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Ganesh sculptures in India

Ganesh is admired in Hindu culture as the god of success and destroyer of obstacles. This is just another reason why you’d like one in your home, in addition to the fact that is beautiful.

Sarees in India
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Sarees in India

Wedding sarees, party sarees, casual sarees. The colors, the contrasts, the shapes, the patterns…They are absolutely beautiful and certainly a marvelous gift.

Demitasse cup set from Greece
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Demitasse cup set from Greece

The white coffee cups, which actually come in different styles and colors, are a classic Greek gift. You can buy the porcelain sets with 24k gold overlay, decorated with classical Greek images. You can also get the cups with different names or images of iconic places in the country.

Worry beads from Greece
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Worry beads from Greece

It is used as a stress reliever as they keep your hands busy. The worry beads are called Kombolois and can be made from glass, wood and amber. As any Greeks you meet and they will tell you that most of them have at least one set. You may also want to visit, if you are a really big fan, the Komboloi Museum in Nafplio.

Hebrew name necklace from Israel

Hebrew name necklace from Israel

This is a bestseller. The unique souvenir from the Holy Land is a classic necklace is popular among tourists who buy it for parents or children.

Dead Sea cosmetics from Israel

Dead Sea cosmetics from Israel

The sea is said to have healing properties. (It’s also slowly disappearing due to climate change.) So it’s no surprise that cosmetics including minerals from the sea are made. There are products for the bath, and some face masks and toners.

Christmas ornament from the White House

Christmas ornament from the White House

You wouldn’t expect to get that in the capital, would you? Most people will probably get a magnet. One ornament is made every year to commemorate the current president. The tradition dates back to 1981. The entire collection is very impressive.

Sponges from Tarpon Springs, Florida
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Sponges from Tarpon Springs, Florida

The tradition goes back to Greece where for many years people made a living by diving for sponges. Unsurprisingly, there is a big Greek community in Tarpon Springs. You can find natural sea sponges at most shops.

Astronaut helmet from Kennedy Space Center
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Astronaut helmet from Kennedy Space Center

This will be the perfect gift for a kid who dreams of being an astronaut. The helmet may be a toy but it comes with all kinds of buttons and real sounds you’d hear on a journey to space.

Maple products from Montreal
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Maple products from Montreal

Maple and Montreal go hand in hand. Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, after all. The darker the syrup, the stronger the taste. Get maple butter, candy, tea, cones, and even liquor. The peak maple season is March-April.

Boston baked beans from Boston
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Boston baked beans from Boston

This dish has been a favorite for centuries. After all, did you know that Boston’s nickname is Beantown? The baked beans are usually sweetened with molasses or maple syrup, and come in different flavors with salt pork or bacon.

Rocky magnet from Philadelphia Museum of Art
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Rocky magnet from Philadelphia Museum of Art

Volcanic rocks from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii
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Volcanic rocks from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii

Tourists do it all the time, but many return the lava rocks because they, allegedly, bring bad luck from Pele, the goddess of fire, dance, lightning, volcanoes and violence. This legend is attributed to a disgruntled park ranger who was annoyed that people who kept taking rocks home. It is against the law to remove lava rock from a national park.

The Coolest Souvenirs in 50 Travel Hot Spots