Souvenir and Gift Ideas

Zero Waste Souvenir Gift Ideas

Traveling is fun and challenging- especially when you’re on a zero waste journey.  Souvenirs can be hard to resist since they are reminders of where you visited.  But if your goal is to travel lightly,  you’re forced to be selective;  unless you don’t mind carrying more weight.

Souvenir Ideas

Purchase useful things at your destination.

Souvenir and Gift Ideas

When traveling light, you can not bring the “what-ifs.”  What-if it rains?  What if I decide to go for a hike?  What if I need “x”?  Next thing you know, you’re pulling out another suitcase to fit all your belongings.

Bring what is needed.  If you know that it will rain at your destination, then bring that umbrella.  Looking for an umbrella in the pouring rain is not fun!

Don’t worry about running out of things while you’re exploring a new area.  Half the fun is living like a local and purchasing things like toothpaste, shampoos, and food.  You can buy many things needed outside of your country, especially in a city.  It may not be the same brand or written in the same language, but wouldn’t it be neat to use a Bulgarian soap bar made of rose oil?

If you have a list of things you want, that would be even better!  The list could be clothes that you want to add to your wardrobe or a list of things you’d like for your home.  Scouring a second-hand shop in England can be exciting (or more) as rummaging a second-hand shop in your hometown.  And if you do find something, you know you’ll use that item, and you’ll remember your time in England whenever you use it.


Photos as souvenirs is a given.  But if you’re not an avid picture-taker as I am, it can be hard to remember.  You don’t need a fancy camera to take beautiful pictures anymore.  Some phone cameras do a great job.  And if photography isn’t your job or main hobby then don’t spend the money on a professional camera.  Remember one of the “R’s”: refuse what you don’t need.

If you plan on printing some of your photos and hanging it on your wall, you’ll want to start looking at your surroundings artistically.  Photography is a great way to use your creativity abroad (and a good challenge if you are a beginner photographer.)  Nomadic Matt (my favorite budget travel website) gives useful tips on taking pictures.

You can print your favorite photos on some cool materials (like recycled wood) and display it in your home.



Collect Local Recipes

Souvenir ideas recipes

Recipes are my all-time favorite souvenir.  There is nothing like having your friends over and making them something similar that you enjoyed during your travels.  It’s a great way to share a different cuisine and a fun idea for a souvenir gift.

Souvenir Gift Ideas


If you have time, search antique stores with old postcards.  Finding an old blank card takes time.  I try to find one that my friends will appreciate.



zero waste souvenir gift ideas

These are my favorite types of gifts.  But do your research if you’re bringing back food- items such as fresh fruits and vegetables cannot enter to the U.S.A.  Chocolate, a bottle of wine, oil, loose leaf tea, coffee beans,  and cheese are some food gift ideas that you can check in.

If you don’t want to give food, find something locally made.  Handmade soap, essential oils that are a  favorite in that area, body and face products (in a plastic-free packaging of course), and perfume are some excellent gift ideas.


Do you have any other ideas for a zero waste souvenier and gift ideas?  I would love to hear about it!