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Decorating with Travel Souvenirs (Part 2)

One of the things I like to do when traveling is pick up a few goodies from the places I visit. However, since I’ve started to travel more for work and leisure, I’ve become more conscious of the things I bring home. As a follow-up to a previous post about decorating with travel souvenirs, today I’d like to offer a few suggestions about what to purchase and how to use those treasures in your home.

This past January, my mom and I sailed on the Carnival Vista to the Southern Caribbean. When cruising, you not only get to experience a fun and beautiful ship, but you also have a chance to stop at beautiful locations to experience and see even more. These stops are typically referred to as Ports of Call. (Check out my post here for advice on Ports of Call.) At these ports, you get to take in the landscape, learn about the country, go on excursions, and shop.

As you might expect, shopping is a popular activity. Of course, there are the usual typical tourist shops, full of souvenirs and knickknacks. While I will occasionally buy a t-shirt from one of those places, I usually look elsewhere for items that are unique, handmade, or indigenous to the area. Let me explain. 

1. Pottery

You can often find hand-crafted bowls, vases, platters and other pottery. What I love about getting things like this is that they are useful when you return home. A small bowl can be a place for loose change or your keys. A platter might be used to serve a dish inspired by your trip. A vase can hold seasonal flowers.

On this recent cruise to the Southern Caribbean, I was so excited to find this tulipiere (tulip holder) at one of the shops in Curaçao. I knew it would get plenty of use at my house, and it already has. I love its sleek lines and modern style.

2. Wood

I also recommend purchasing carved items. Again, that handmade aspect is the draw for me. I picked up these wood bowls on a previous cruise with a very specific purpose in mind. (In the coming weeks, I’ll be teaching you a little craft with them.)

I also loved this unique sculpture made of painted driftwood and little stones. I picked it up in St. Thomas when cruising last year.

And remember, if you’re wondering if something is locally made or from the area, don’t be afraid to ask the seller.

3. Art and Postcards

One of my favorite things to buy is art. Walking through my house, I can probably rattle off most of the places I’ve been just by looking at the art that’s on display. You might remember seeing these art prints in a post earlier this year. They’re from St. Thomas as well. And the “My Heart is at the Beach” sign came from last year’s trip to Hawaii.

When I was in Curaçao on my latest cruise, I also found this tealight holder. A local artist created it out of cement. Can you believe that? I love the odd shape, unique painted design, and colors. I thought it’d be a fun conversation piece on a side table.

The other great thing about art is that most of the time it’s flat and lightweight, so fitting it into your suitcase or carry-on luggage isn’t a problem.

4. Photographs

While this may seem like an obvious travel souvenir, I think it’s often forgotten once we get home and unpack. The stream of photos get uploaded onto our computers or quickly buried on our cell phones. However, travel photos can make great home decor, and I have proof!

My living room features a wall I’ve named my “Wanderlust Gallery Wall.” I purchased nine inexpensive frames and filled them with photos from my travels. And even though I do have experience with some “nicer” cameras, a few of these photos were taken with my cell phone. If I can do it, so can you.

You might also remember that I shared easy ways to craft your own artwork using travel photos. You can check out those tutorials here. So if you have no room left in your luggage or are tight on cash toward the end of your trip, be sure to take interesting photos and have fun with them when you return home.

I hope you found these ideas helpful. I’m sure I’ll have more to share, but we’ll save those for Part 3.

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.