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What Do You Collect When Travelling?

What Do You Collect When Travelling?

The one thing you buy in each city or country you visit

I know there are a lot of you collectors out there but I’m curious about what you guys actually collect when you’re on the road?

I feel like it’s one of those things where early on when you started travelling you had to make a call on what was that one item that could be universally found in each city or country and that’s what you stuck to.


For me it all started with magnets and as you can see my magnet collection has grown quite a bit.  I no longer can fit them all on one side of the fridge.  I’ve started to assimilate the other side of the fridge as well.  These are fun to collect because they’re typically pretty easy to find and sometimes you can find really unique ones out there.

My personal travel magnet collection

The main side of the fridge I started my magnet collection with.

The extended travel magnet collection

I ran out of space on that side so I had to start using the reject side of the fridge. I got a bit lazy with the post cards as well and just threw them in there too


Close ups of my personal magnet collection

Here’s a closeup of the magnets. It starts off a bit more international…

Close ups of my personal magnet collection

I mentioned I traveled for work back in the day so this is the fruits of my labor

Close ups of my personal magnet collection

Back to a bit more of an international flavor with my trip to Australia/NZ/Cooks, a littel bit of China and the Caribbean

My personal magnet collection from a Europe trip I did

I started just organizing the magnets by trip since I did a few big ones so this one’s from my Euro trip back in 2011

Magnets collected from my trip to Asia in the summer of 2012

All the magnets I collected from Epic 2012. I worked hard to get all of these!


As with magnets I started a trend of sending postcards back home and to friends from every city I went to.  I have a whole box of these stashed somewhere and I tried to do something creative with them on the wall of my room but it really didn’t turn out that great.  I feel like post cards is one of those things I really want to stop doing because:

  1. It’s a pain in the butt to find stamps sometimes
  2. Same goes for finding a place to drop off the post cards although its usually a lot easier
  3. I’m always crunched for time to write them and I’ll usually just scribble something quick before I’m off ot the next city.
  4. It’s stressful man!
collecting, postcard, stamp, mail, map, wall

My attempt to do something with my postcards

But because it’s been such a tradition I might just keep on doing it.  But honestly I really do have to pencil in time to make sure the postcards go out so I hope all y’all that receive the effort I put into  them 😉


In the last 3 years, I thought I’d make things a little more interesting by starting to collect country patches as well.  I feel like as with the magnets, this one has been the most rewarding – to see my bag slowly fill up with patches of all the countries I’ve been to + the PADI since I got my certification.  I made a decision to stick to countries because learning from postcards I didn’t want to have the stress of finding a patch in every city I went to.  Plus country flags are more recognizable right?  The only time I couldn’t find a patch of a country was in Palau but I don’t blame them – being a small country and all.

My backpack bag with my collection of country flags for each one i've visited

A country patch for each country I’ve visited

How about you?

So how about you?  What do you collect?  I’d love to hear from you!  Is it magnets? pins? patches? flags? dolls? (okay I don’t really know).  Leave your comments below!

About Will Tang

Will is a travel blogger writing for Going Awesome Places. Since quitting his consulting job in 2012 he's been travelling the world and along the way writing about his epic adventures and taking amazing photos. His true passion lies in telling stories, inspiring others to travel, writing detailed trip itineraries for others to follow and providing helpful tips and tricks to travel better. Also the founder behind Travel Blog Breakthrough and freelance writer for Hipmunk and currently working on the #‎HipmunkCityLove Project.


  1. I collect magnets and t-shirts from Hard Rock Cafe and Hotel around the World! I also collect plates and ordinary fridge magnets!

    • Magnets for me as well! My friend does shot glasses from Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel so I kind of know how it goes. I’ve had to pick up a few shot glasses along the way for him.

  2. I collect owls from all over the world, I have a couple cool cut out ones from Japan, a wooden one from Cuba, a bright pink one from New York. I am trying to find something cool that I can put in a book though, my owls are taking up a ton of room now haha

  3. I collect magnets, my three children collect key chains, the other one is pins and my youngest is snow globes…. It,s awesome

  4. I love shot glasses so whenever I travel or a friend of mines does we collect shot glasses. She just left Vegas and now Virginia.

    • Oh that’s a fun one! I have a friend that collects Hard Rock cafe shot glasses. I even bought him a bunch on my travels. Are there specific kinds that you look for?

  5. I love collecting mugs!

  6. I just collect memories and photographs, because when you’re backpacking you don’t want to have to carry too much weight around. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t collected the odd random souvenir as I’ve travelled – including one or two t-shirts and a ticket stub or two.
    Si @ Man vs World recently posted…Conquering the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in OctoberMy Profile

  7. I collect jewelry when I travel! I always loved the idea of collecting patches, saving tickets, etc. but I’m never diligent about it. I always pick up something I can WEAR during a trip – earrings, a bracelet, statement necklace, a pashmina; something that will remind me of that place every time I put it on. Good conversation pieces!
    Shannon Kircher recently posted…Unassuming Destinations with a Wow FactorMy Profile

  8. I collect shot glasses, maybe not the most practical thing to be collecting as they might easily break. I found the patches quit cool, think I’m gonna start pinning patches onto my backpack! 🙂

  9. I don’t collect anything for myself, but I used to buy thimbles for my grandmother (she just died a month ago). I was sending a postcard to my brother and sister too and they keep them all together, now I print one of my pictures and send it as a postcard, i think it’s more personal and unique 🙂
    Shere recently posted…Hollandse NieuweMy Profile

    • That’s an awesome idea! I wish I had more time to do thoughtful things like that.

      One thing I’ve done recently with my postcards is make a collage of them and sandwich them between two acrylic panes to create an awesome piece of artwork in the house too!

  10. I collect a book (about anything) and put the postcard inside so i know where its from when i read it later

  11. I collect keychains. But I’m very particular about them. It has to be something that represents the country or city. For example, I got a lobster keychain from Boston; a bowl of noodles keychain from Hong Kong; and a Vietnamese woman keychain from Vietnam. I just love that moment when I see the keychain and think, “yes, this is the one!”.

  12. coffee cups.

  13. Definitely postcards. My downstairs loo is covered with them!

    I quite often buy packs of cards too, so whenever I use them, it reminds me of the trip.

    I love the idea of patches – but I think I would just worry that I’d lose the bag, and then all the patches would be gone too.
    Katie recently posted…Facing My Fears in Queenstown: Adventure Capital of the WorldMy Profile

  14. We have a fun way of collecting stuff. We allocate $5 and it is a competition to buy the tackiest souvenir that we can find. Intense rivalry exists and it is a good way to explore a place. We have a huge collection of $5 crap in our pool downstairs – we and our friends love it.
    Contented Traveller recently posted…“Outside my Front Door” by Travel and BeyondMy Profile

    • That sounds like a pretty awesome idea actually…and hilarious!

      You usually do this with a group of friends you’re travelling with or with friends on separate trips?

  15. I collect magnets, too! =D

  16. I have no idea why or how it started, but I collect kitschy or unique mugs from every place I go. I have one with ridiculous dancing leprechauns from Ireland, a beautiful traditional ceramic one from Japan, and a vintage memorial mug from Popeye’s hometown, for instance. It’s kind of odd, but I guess it’s at least somewhat unique! Only downside, not the easiest to transport around… 🙂
    Amber recently posted…The Top 10 Things I Learned Living in ThailandMy Profile

  17. I like to collect ticket stubs, receipts and fold out maps.

  18. I use to collect patches when I was little. My mom covered a whole coat with all of my patches. Now I collect ingredients to make recipes I loved on our travels once we’ve left there.
    Kimmy I AfterGlobe recently posted…Prepare to Travel with Calculated TravellerMy Profile

  19. For me I collect things out of the ordinary. Just some examples, I cut a wooden spoon out of bamboo while I was in the Amazon. A complete conch I found in the Atlantic Ocean. Piece of volcano fiberglass climbing Teide Volcano, bullet casing from the Cinque Terre (locals were hunting wild boar. Mainly just stuff I pick up along the way then place in my Converse shoe box!

    These random things remind of a certain event that took place. Memories start to flood back and the wanderlust hits again, haha.
    Eugene recently posted…United States: East Coast vs West CoastMy Profile

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