A Fun Guide to Decorating With Travel Souvenirs and Photos

Decorating With Travel Souvenirs and Photos

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One of my favorite things to ask people is what they typically pick up for souvenirs when traveling. I used to collect the Starbucks coffee mugs from cities but after my first trip to Japan when I bought five to bring home from various cities I visited, I decided that I might want to slow down on the breakable items.

A few of my other favorite travel souvenirs I’ve picked up on my travels are my yukata, paper fans, chopsticks, dishes, incense, jams, tea, clothing items, candies, and snacks. But I also enjoy picking up postcards, saving ticket stubs, brochures, and of course taking photos.

So now that you went on an amazing trip, took hundreds of gorgeous photos, and picked up a few travel souvenirs along the way what do you do with them now? Decorating with travel souvenirs in your home doesn’t have to be difficult or even cost very much! Here are some of the ways we have displayed our travel souvenirs and memorabilia from our trips.

Shadow Box

Shadow box - how to decorate with travel souvenirs
Shadow Box

I’ve always been a fan of shadow boxes because you have the ability to create such a unique collage of items and travel souvenirs. Plus you can change out the items as you collect more. Some of our favorite items to put in shadow boxes are ticket stubs, stickers, keychains, photos, or really any other items you want.

What you’ll need to create a shadow box:

Total cost: Around $25-30 if you already have nails and a hammer.

Polaroid Photography

I love my Fujifilm Instax because it captures a unique perspective. Rather than placing all of my polaroids in a book, I have turned them into fridge art! All you have to do is take your camera with you when traveling, snap some mementos and tape them to your fridge (or wherever else you want) with washi tape! This one is a little more expensive than other ideas for decorating with travel souvenirs but after the initial cost of the camera, it’s not too much.

What you’ll need for polaroid photography:

Total cost: Around $80, however after the initial cost of the camera it’s relatively inexpensive to decorate with polaroids!

Creating a gallery wall is an easy way to fill up wall space with photos with travel souvenirs and events in life! You can do this in a number of ways including framing printed photos, fabrics, postcards, and posters. You can mix and match frames if you’d like or you can use the same style of frame to create a more cohesive look.

What you’ll need to create a gallery wall:

  • Picture frames
  • Prints, photos, postcards, etc. Price varies depending on the cost of your photo prints. We prefer Mpix because they’re inexpensive and have beautiful quality prints. 
  • Nail(s), hammer

Total cost: $35-40+

China or Curio Cabinet

China cabinet decor - decorating with travel souvenirs

A lot of our travel memorabilia came to us as family heritage pieces. Timeless and priceless artifacts such as our sake set, geisha doll, and vase that Logan’s grandmother gave us from Japan will always be a few of our favorites. We store these items and a few others we’ve collected while traveling, safely in a China cabinet that my parents purchased as newlyweds.

What you’ll need for a China cabinet:

  • A china cabinet or curio cabinet with glass doors for viewing.
    Our suggestion? Search garage sales, flea markets, and antique shops for one that you can restore yourself!
  • Artifacts to put inside – we used a lot of family heirlooms for this including vases, nesting dolls, trinkets, sake set, and tea set but you can put any items you want inside.

Total cost: $150+ depending on the cost of the cabinet. 

Framed Postcards

Gallery Wall Photo Frame

One cheap souvenir to purchase while traveling is postcards. Usually, they are under $2 and have quality photos, artwork, or designs. Another perk? They’re also extremely lightweight so you don’t have to worry about lugging around something heavy when traveling (like when Logan carried 5 mugs for me all over Japan LOL).

What you’ll need to frame postcards:

  • 8 X 10 picture frame or larger
  • Postcards: $6-8 (if each postcard is $1)

Total cost: Around $20 or less

Postcard Bunting

If you save ticket stubs, photos, postcards, and other small paper goods, creating a fireplace bunting is one of the easiest DIY projects for decorating with travel souvenirs! Another huge perk is you can change out the items as much as you’d like.

What you’ll need to create a postcard bunting:

  • Photos, postcards, or other small paper items.
  • Twine $5
  • Mini or regular clothespins $2.50
  • Tape (or nails and hammer if tying the twine around nail)

Total cost: Around $10-15

Old Maps

travel souvenirs

We have two large old maps and three smaller ones and they are my favorite pieces inside our home. They have so much history and character plus fill up our walls nicely.

My parents found our maps for us at a flea market and I’ve seen them at other flea markets since then! You can also search for them on eBay, Etsy, or one of my favorite local stores, Dandy Roll but for a quality one, they can be costly.

What You’ll Need:

  • Old maps
  • Nail(s) and hammer

Total cost: Around $5-$200

What are some ways that you decorate your home with the travel souvenirs you brought back from trips? What are some of our favorite travel souvenirs you purchase or save while traveling?

So you went on an amazing trip, took hundreds of gorgeous photos, and picked up a few travel souvenirs along the way. What do you do with them now? Here are some easy DIY projects to display your travel memorabilia beautifully. www.pagesoftravel.org


  • Reply
    January 8, 2017 at 6:35 PM

    I’m a textile addict and usually bring back a few handmade ones from my travels. Pillow covers are light and easy to pack in any luggage including a backpack. 🙂

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:01 PM

      Pillow covers are such an excellent idea! I will have to look for some of these on our next trip. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 12:16 AM

    I’ve been compiling a list of ways to display all of our travel memorabilia! I know I want to do a scrapbook, even though it’s cliche, but I love them. I can look through old scrapbooks for hours with a cup of coffee. I’m also going to do a gallery wall with travel photos, I think it’s the thing I’m most excited about! I also love your idea of a fireplace; I wish I could do it, but I’m pretty sure the apartment we’re moving into doesn’t have one. There are so many ways to incorporate your souvenirs into your home, I can’t wait to get started in a few weeks! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:03 PM

      I love scrapbooks Suz! We have a few from our travels and completely forgot to include those in the post. The gallery wall is such a simple way to fill wall space with items from travels. Please let me know when you decorate with your memorabilia! I’d love to see it 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 6:46 AM

    That is awesome! I dont have polaroid camera but I found place where I can print my regular photos in polaroid style. And they now on my wall in my living room ( almost filled up the whole side) . Such a perfect idea to display them

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:04 PM

      That’s so cool! Where can you do that? I would love to do that with some of our other photos. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 12:28 PM

    I love the idea with the box

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:05 PM

      Thanks Wendy! It’s a simple way to put odds and ends together.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 2:17 PM

    Memories are what we have after traveling and we always want to keep them… Glad you have these suggested this memorabilias.. I love the shadow box as I tend to collect and keep any papers pertaining to my travels including receipts?

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:06 PM

      I completely agree with you. The shadow box is a favorite of ours as well because you can put so many different items in it. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 6:21 PM

    Oh my word!!! The insta camera wall is my fave!

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:07 PM

      Our fridge is getting so full from the photos! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 7:25 PM

    Such cute ideas! I’m totally going to do a shadowbox wall!

    • Reply
      January 9, 2017 at 9:08 PM

      Thanks Erin! I’d love to see your shadowbox after you complete it. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 9:00 PM

    Thank you so much! We have a lot of fun searching for old maps at flea markets and collecting items to use for gallery walls. Those old maps sure feel like they have stories to tell! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 9, 2017 at 9:06 PM

    That would be a great way to display some of your souvenirs! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly Hogan
    January 10, 2017 at 3:57 AM

    Love love LOVE these ideas! We have a massive National Geographic map hanging where we pin the places we’ve been, but haven’t found a way to show off our other travels yet. I’m one of those people that keeps EVERYTHING – ticket stubs, brochures, etc., plus the billions of photos we take. I’ve had a gallery wall in mind for awhile now but just haven’t gotten around to it. I absolutely love the polaroid idea, though…might have to do that in the interim!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:09 PM

      Thank you so much Kelly! We have been looking for a world map for awhile now to do the same! I keep a lot of small papers as well (as you can probably tell). The polaroid is a new favorite of ours – such a unique way to document travels! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    I haven’t seen the polaroids on the fridge before! I’ll have to try that!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:12 PM

      One day I realized that our fridge was cluttered with papers and receipts so I decided to tape a few up there and thus began a trend! 🙂

      • Reply
        August 13, 2020 at 2:21 PM

        I got polaroid pictures of my kids from a princess theme birthday party. I put them on my fridge until they were in high school. I didn’t use tape, I used a magnet strip retrieved from either old business magnet or from NFL schedule magnets and stick it to the back of pictures. Then it is easy to move around.
        I also have started some magnets souvenir collection now on my fridge.
        Keep thinking to use the map, travel stub and tickets, but haven’t got to that yet.
        Your ideas are great.

        • Reply
          Kallsy Page
          August 14, 2020 at 11:47 AM

          Hi D!

          I love your idea to reuse magnet strips on the back of your polaroids! I have some magnets from doctors, pizza places, etc that I don’t need anymore so I may have to give that a try. 🙂

          Thank you for reading! Let me know if you end up doing something with your travel stubs or tickets.


  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 10:23 AM

    You’re so creative, these are beautiful – I make a scrapbook for every trip but now I’m thinking shadow boxes could be fun too. Thanks for the ideas!!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:13 PM

      Thank you so much Staci! I need to get back into travel scrapbooks. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Some great ideas, I’ve pretty much got my office walls and shelves full of travel memorabilia! Excellent idea with the Shadow Box!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:14 PM

      Thank you Robert! The memorabilia seems to just grow and grow doesn’t it!? 🙂

  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 12:26 PM

    This made me remember the time when i was in college – i used to make scrapbooks and albums to preserve all memories. I am definitely going to do this for my travel souvenirs. Thanks for inspiring.

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:15 PM

      Some of my most cherished memories are in scrapbooks! I need work on some of these again. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Reply
    Collette Stohler
    January 10, 2017 at 6:47 PM

    You’re so creative! I may need to hire you to decorate for us 🙂

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 8:16 PM

      Thank you Collette! You’re too sweet. Happy to come help. 😉

  • Reply
    January 10, 2017 at 8:11 PM

    Thank you! I have a lot of fun with it. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 11, 2017 at 2:45 PM

    I love the fridge Polaroid idea! Goodness knows I look at my fridge MANY times during the day – how lovely to be reminded of fun adventures in different cities and countries!

    • Reply
      January 15, 2017 at 4:42 PM

      That’s exactly why we did this! 🙂 We visit our fridge a little too often 😉

  • Reply
    Lena Ameri
    January 12, 2017 at 3:16 AM

    These are such great ideas! We are always wondering what to do with our travel memorabilia. We started adding shells from beach vacations to a lantern that’s filled with sand from Costa Rica. Bassam is also obsessed with getting a shot glass from everywhere we go. Needless to say, our collection is getting out of hand. Your ideas seem to be much more organized and streamlined than that. Great post!

    • Reply
      January 15, 2017 at 4:44 PM

      Love the idea with the shells Lena. We have a bunch of shells that sit in a bowl but have always wondered what to do with them. I love that Bassam likes collecting shot glasses, those are so funny! Some of the best I’ve seen were in Australia! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2017 at 5:30 PM

    Some really great ideas here! I’ve done the shadow boxes (even given them as gifts), and they turned out great. We also have a bit of a gallery wall with a mix of pictures and fun souvenirs like a boomerang, maracas, and ukulele 🙂

    • Reply
      January 15, 2017 at 4:45 PM

      What a great idea to give a shadow box as a gift! I will have to do that in the future. You’ve also inspired me to hang the boomerang that I bought in Australia! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 15, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    I completely understand your woes. We’ve got to stop collecting so many things! That’s why we’ve started switching to papers and photographs. 🙂

  • Reply
    How to Know When You've Found the Perfect Souvenir (Infographic) - GoThreeTwentyFour
    January 24, 2017 at 12:34 AM

    […] For me, my only collection is my art collection. But just buying something on a trip doesn’t cut it. If I didn’t have plans to frame it and a place to hang it, then it was still just going to end up as junk. (Here’s a great piece on how to display your collections). […]

  • Reply
    January 25, 2017 at 2:39 PM

    Beautiful ideas for displaying holiday memories!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2017 at 5:59 PM

    Some really cool ideas! I recently started working on a gallery wall at home, but maybe I’ll try one of your other suggestions after my next trip 🙂

  • Reply
    Paula Morgan
    March 11, 2017 at 6:34 PM

    I have been meaning to do a shadow box for ages!

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