collecting souvenirs for free


Finding the cash to do everything we want can be tricky, but Intrepid’s Carol Windman has some ideas that are light on your wallet and won’t weigh down your backpack…

“After years of travelling the world, there were times when the cash was running low and the threadbare backpack was not going to make it to the next airport. So there was no chance of buying any souvenirs. But for every country I have visited I have a reminder of my time there that I have compiled into a series of collections that are my treasured souvenirs – they did not cost much, sometimes nothing, and they took up no room at all…

1. License plates: for every state of the USA that I visited I made sure I took a photo of a license plate for that State, so now I have a fabulous collection of photos of the colorful car plates from across America. This makes a great collage to hang on your wall one day.

2. Man-hole covers: in Europe I took a photograph of a man-hole cover of every city I visited – each has the city emblem and is a good reminder of where you have been. These work great for the introductory photo in your albums to show that you have moved onto a new city.

3. Casino Chips: in Las Vegas I bought the minimum amount of gaming chips in each casino I entered and then cashed them all in – except for one. So I have a great collection of 15 colourful casino chips from my time in Las Vegas. Each is worth US$1.

4. Paint a picture: on a trip to Africa I took a small, good quality hard cover note book and some water paints and pencils. You cannot help meeting wonderfully friendly children everywhere you go, so to remember my encounters with these gorgeous kids, when I had the time to spare, I asked them to draw me a picture in my book. This is one of my most treasured items now – a glorious book of art by the kids of Africa.

5. Coins: don’t forget to keep a coin from each country you visit. You’d be surprised how often they come in handy when you want to show you nieces or nephews where you have been. I even have coins from Europe before the Euro came into play. Remember French francs and Deutschmarks?

All these things cost very little, are easy to collect and take up next to no space in your luggage. I recommend you plan in advance what you are going to do and stick to it. It will be worth it in the end!”

Want some more money saving ideas? Check out Intrepid’s specials that give you a whopping 20% off your last-minute adventures!

madrid manhole One of the many artistic man-hole covers in Europe!

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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