When you need a coffee, you need something to drink from, so make it fun at the same time!
The best travel souvenir, as far as I am concerned, is one that is useful, regularly used, has a sense of place, and makes a nice display. The winner, hands down, is coffee mugs.
In fact, I can't even think of anything that comes close. Tea towels, silver spoons, snow cone are not in the running. T Shirts, mousepads and keyrings are all good, but the T shirts fade and wear out, and how many keyrings can you use at once?
I do have a few rules - they must be a place personally visited by me, or a gift from family or friend who brings it back. Thus, there is always a personal link.
Ever since I started travelling in my twenties.
In fact, I have a few early coffee mugs still in use, though most are now chipped or broken, as you would expect from items in regular use.
Why does anyone collect souvenirs?
But there is a challenge element, too. The challenge is to find a GOOD mug, not just any mug.
I have a ten point rating scale based on:
1. Design - the best is custom designed full colour artwork that encapsulates the essence of the place; the worst is "I've been to xxx" in black Helvetica.
2. Artwork - is the design 360 degree wraparound (best), front and back panels (medium), front panel only (worst)
3. Mug style - chunky stoneware, or translucent bone china? I don't have particular favourite style, but undoubtedly some designs are a pleasure to drink from, and others are, well...clunky. I have passed up some nice designs simply because they were too big to drink from.
4. Special Attributes - some mugs are just more special than others. Perhaps they have an iconic image on them, or they are rare (eg Asian and African coffee mugs), they have a clever quirkiness factor to them, or maybe they were a gift from a person, who on a busy trip overseas, especially looked out a nice mug for me, and brought it all the way home!
5. Country of Manufacture - most mugs, when you look on the base, say '"Made in China". But if it was made in the country I bought it in, then it has a special affinity with that country.
At a trivia level, most mugs are right-handed. That is, you see the design when you are holding it in your right hand. Surprisingly, I also have a few left-handed mugs. I am not sure whether that was intentional or incompetence.
No, but if you promise to bring a nice coffee mug I might rethink.
Wood type and old printing, wine tasting, maths puzzles and anything quirky.
Yes, pack your suitcase or backpack carefully! I still remember purchasing a fabulous design from a great city. It was the first thing I opened on my return home - and it was smashed.
There is a tiny percentage that never make it home, but I do try and pack them well.