Collecting Souvenirs, Mementos & Travel Memories

Collecting Souvenirs, Mementos & Travel Memories

Do you buy souvenirs when you travel? Maybe you buy something for yourself to remind you of what a great time you had or maybe you buy gifts for your family and friends to give them when you get home? We were so interested in whether or not souvenirs are something people always bring back we ran a Twitter poll.

The thing with Twitter polls is that you can only include four options. From the options you can see, fridge magnets were definitely the most popular. However, other popular choices that people let us know about were postcards, Christmas decorations and surprisingly shot glasses. Some people have pretty impressive collections from their travels. I’m guessing tequila makes a lot of my Twitter buds happy!
We ALWAYS buy my nana and Chris’ brother a present from our adventures. My nana has received a fridge magnet from everywhere we have visited over the past 11 years. At one point she had so many on her fridge freezer door there was no space to fit anymore, therefore now she only has her favourites on display, the rest go in a kitchen drawer. When it comes to Chris’ brother we buy him the tackiest thing we can find, it’s becoming a running joke now. We scour the souvenir shops looking for the cheapest, grossest thing they sell and that’s his present (kind aren’t we ha!). From pig salt and pepper pots from Amsterdam to a key ring with someone else’s name on from San Diego, he has an enviable collection of tat.
We used to buy souvenirs for ourselves from everywhere we visited, however, the more we started travelling the more we realised it just wasn’t possible. Our favourites were hurricane glasses from the Hardrock Cafe but our glass cupboard simply became too full, so we had to stop. We do have a lot of wood ornaments, especially from the Far East including a fire mask from Sri Lanka and Buddhas from Thailand and Bali. However, nowadays we only buy something if we want it and not because we feel we have to. We have our memories and photographs which act as great mementos.

El Camino Bracelets

El Camino Bracelet
However, I was recently introduced to El Camino Bracelets which are basically charm bracelets which allow you to collect ‘steps’ which relate to the continents, counties and cities you have visited and they allow you to carry your travel memories with you – how cool?! The first thing was for me to choose the bracelet I wanted, I opted for a black double bracelet, simply because we travel frequently and I want enough space to keep adding to it. Other colours and single bracelets are also available. If you fancy an El Camino bracelet of your own, remember to measure your wrist and not just guess like I did, as I originally ordered the wrong size and had to send it back for an exchange. The process was super easy and quick however totally avoidable if I’d simply checked my wrist size first. I’d also advise adding a couple of cm to your measurement to ensure you have enough space for your steps to slide on and sit comfortably. The single bracelets start at £21.99 and the double from £31.99.
The next thing I did was choose my steps, which are essentially the beads or charms that are added onto the bracelet, each is accompanied by a wooden coconut spacer.

Countries (£8.99)

Country Steps El Camino Bracelet
The county steps are made of the highest quality surgical grade stainless steel, engraved and hand polished and look great on my black bracelet. As we have visited 72 countries it was a hard decision which two countries to start my collection off with, however, after lots of deliberation I eventually decided on:
Italy – this country holds a very special place in my heart. Mr ESLT and I spent our first date in Florence, he proposed to me in Venice and we have visited at least half a dozen times over the past decade, with two further visits planned this year.
Thailand – again Thailand holds a very special place in my heart as it is where we honeymooned back in 2011. We spent a great few weeks exploring all the delights Koh Samui and Bangkok had to offer. We already have plans to return for our 10th wedding anniversary.

Cities (£8.49)

City Steps El Camino Bracelet
The city steps are thinner then the country steps, however, are still made of highest quality surgical grade stainless steel, engraved and hand polished. Deciding what cities I wanted to start my collection off with was equally difficult as deciding which countries. We have visited so many wonderful cities around the world on our travels but I eventually decided on:
Venice – for the reason I mentioned before, it is the city that Mr ESLT got down on one knee and proposed to me in back in 2010. It was a fantastic and utterly romantic surprise. I simply could not have asked for a more perfect proposal. Add into the mix that Venice is a beautiful city, it had to make the bracelet.
New York City – I love New York, therefore, I had to choose this step. Every time I think or speak about NYC I get butterflies. I very rarely return to the same city more than once, however, I have done and will continue to make the exception when it comes to the Big Apple. I don’t think I could EVER get sick of visiting it.

Regions (£10.99)

Region Step El Camino Bracelet
The region steps are brightly coloured beads which unlike the country and city steps are not engraved. There are 12 different ones to collect and I am going to make it my mission to collect them all! I have started my collection with the Asia step which is a beautiful aqua colour. I chose Asia because again it is where we honeymooned and is my favourite continent….so far!
The best thing about the El Camino bracelets are that they were designed by travellers for travellers. Tom, from England and Candace, from Canada, wanted to create something which travellers could use to record where they had been and from that the El Camino bracelet project was born. They are extremely striking and whenever I catch sight of a particular step on mine it always conjures up amazing memories of that place. It is also a great conversation starter whilst travelling, I’ve had at least half a dozen people in the past couple of months ask me what the bracelet is and what the steps represent and I LOVE telling them all about it.
Complete El Camino Bracelet
We’d love to hear what souvenirs or mementoes you collect from your travels? Also, what do you think about the El Camino bracelet? Is it something you would consider using to collect your memories on. I love mine and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask!

  • I was gifted my bracelet, however, love it and certainly would not promote something I/we would not wear. I am already eyeing up my next steps to add in the very near future.


  1. March 8, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Awesome bracelet, such a cool idea. I usually end up buying postcards and earrings as souvenirs 🙂

    • March 8, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      It’s really nice isn’t it, I can’t wait to add to mine. I’ve decided to start collecting steps from now on instead of filling it with previously visited places. Postcards are such a popular choice. I wish I had sent myself a postcard from everywhere I had ever been. The only place I have ever done that was Vatican City and it took around 6 weeks to get back to England ha! Earrings sound like a lovely souvenir, again what a lovely convo starter when people comment on them and ask you where you got them from 🙂

  2. March 8, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    The bracelets are cool! I love Asia the best as well, and NYC is my favorite city in the world. I do buy souvenirs! I will pick up Starbucks mugs, magnets, stickers. My favorite thing is pottery and artwork if I can find it. If I find a great piece of jewelry, I buy that too. I’m a shopper 😬

    • March 8, 2018 / 9:41 pm

      Hey Pam, sounds like we have similar travel tastes. Seriously though how can people not love Asia and NYC?!?! Wow, do you have room in your case after buying all those souvenirs ha!!! Are they all for you, or for friends and family too?

      • March 8, 2018 / 9:56 pm

        It’s probably 50/50 depending on where I am. I sometimes have to buy another suitcase. As you know, in Asia those are really cheap! Some people are uncomfortable with the thought of traveling to Asia. They are missing out. Just means more for us right?!

  3. March 8, 2018 / 9:33 pm

    That’s funny about your poll results. I used to collect shot glasses and postcards and my mom collects magnets and Christmas ornaments. Cliche much I guess. haha. I don’t collect as much anymore, rather than find something I like from that country to bring as a souvenir or memory from the trip, like matryoshkas from Russia, or a scarf from India.
    The bracelet, I don’t think I would get. It’s too abstract to remember the culture and uniqueness of countries and cities.

  4. March 9, 2018 / 3:32 am

    I tend to buy clothes and shoes 🙂

    • March 9, 2018 / 10:29 am

      Clothes and shoes made in the place you are visiting or clothes and shoes in general? I have a baaaaadddddd handbag from the airport habit I must admit 😊

      • March 9, 2018 / 2:36 pm

        The first one. 😜 I especially like to buy Italian makes shoes in Italy 👍🏼

        • March 11, 2018 / 2:11 pm

          Oh yes, Italian leather is amazing isn’t it?!? We’ve got two trips to Italy planned for this year – may treat myself to a lovely pair of shoes or yet another handbag 🙂

          • March 11, 2018 / 2:41 pm

            I think you should!

  5. March 12, 2018 / 6:34 am

    To be honest we try not to buy too much stuff nowadays, it’s not about the money but more about having to store it all and then shift it if you need to move house. I do still collect beer labels from around the world however and when in Japan I’ll try to get a ceramic sake bottle from the regions local distillery.

  6. March 30, 2018 / 10:00 am

    Goodness yes, Italian calfskin is astounding would it say it isn’t?!? We have two treks to Italy made arrangements for this year – may treat myself to a beautiful match of shoes or yet another tote

    • March 31, 2018 / 2:20 pm

      That sounds like a great plan. We too have two trips to Italy this year and I will be on the lookout for a lovely new handbag whilst there! Hope you manage to find what you are looking for and have great trips 🙂