Handpainted postcards from Bundi, Rajasthan

Souvenir & Gifting Ideas

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Trips are about memories and souvenirs bring the trip to life. Five women travellers share what goes into their holiday shopping bag  

Smiles & Friends

Smiley cards

Luzel Opperman collects smiles
Why I do not collect souvenirs. I used to when I was much younger, but after having moved countries six times in my life, it is hard to keep track of where I put my things. It has also given me a different perspective on what a souvenir is. I guess I do actually collect souvenirs, but they aren’t physical. They come in the form of new friendships, new smells of a location, tastes, sights and so on. All things I can’t put in my suitcase and take back with me. All things that can’t collect dust, only collect the smile on my face each time I think about it.

Fridge MagnetsFridge Magnets

Lena from The Social Travel Experiment says magnets remind her of adventures
When Taka was traveling around Europe for one month, he brought back a souvenir from Turkey–a magnet in the shape of a beer opener. Ironic really, because the Japanese usually don’t drink beer out of bottles, rather they drink from cans. The magnet now decorates our fridge and over the years has found some friends. Other magnets from other places. Places we have visited together like Phuket in Thailand and Da Nang in Vietnam. Magnets are the perfect souvenir. They don’t take up much space in your luggage and you can all collect them at home in one place, and see them every day, being reminded of the adventures you had.

PensPens and mugs

Courtney Konigshofer takes all the pens she finds in hotels

Being homeless means that buying souvenirs for me is impractical. Don’t worry I am homeless by choice. My name is on no leases or bills and I like it that way. So when I travel I enjoy window-shopping. Envisioning what an exotic keepsake, painting or clay bowl from my travels might look like in my imaginary house, but since it is not real, I opt out of the temptation. Instead, I like to collect the pens from the hotels I stay in. This isn’t so much an emotional collection as it is a practical one. It also goes hand in hand with my obsession with taking all useful toiletries up for grabs, but those tend not to last as long as the pens. Pens are useful. How many times have you needed a pen to fill out an arrival card on a plane? How many times have you wanted to write down something that happened to blog about later? These things happen to me all the time and so I take the pens, I take all the pens.

Boarding passes, tickets, bills and signatures

Travel Bee - my travel companion cum souvenir book
Aditi Shukla from Lyf&Spice likes boarding passes, tickets, bills and signatures

To me, a travel souvenir is a beautiful episode etched in my memory! The case was different earlier when I bought magnets and show-pieces. As I started travelling extensively, the enthusiasm died down for many reasons: I’d rather make memories and watch the sunset and I’m living out of a hotel and there’s only little that can be done with the space. What I do collect are boarding passes, tickets, bills from a favourite diner, and take signatures of the people I travel with. This goes into my travel diary, my ‘Travel Bee’ (given by Mom-Dad) as we go buzzing around the world together. Off I go, to another destination, ready to imprint memories and unfurl dreams as I fly…

Handpainted, handcrafted and artistic objectsPostcard from Bundi, Rajasthan, handpainted by a local artist

Ambica Gulati  finds objects that she can closely associate with the place

Rajasthan seems to have become my most travelled state in India. Here, colours, sand and sun reign. The sun travels across the globe, the sand I didn’t bring back and the colours come back in multiple objects. I have bought juttis, bangles, bandhini dupattas, block-print suits, gem-stone studded jewellery, even silver plates, glasses and bowls. But recently, I found all colours in one place—on a handmade postcard. A replica of the Indian postcard, this was on old parchment paper, and painted with hand by artist Gopal Soni in Bundi, which is among the lesser visited towns in Rajasthan. Coming from a family of artists, Soni has been painting for as long as he can remember, which would be about 40 years. Last year he was also invited to be a part of an annual art residency programme, Chitrashala, which is organised by Justa Hotels at Lake Nahargarh Palace. He uses natural colours and makes posters and more.

Where to buy indian handicrafted souvenirs and gifts online

Sometimes you are in the mood to shop and sometimes you are shopping because you need to send a gift to someone. Sometimes you want to deliver but can’t and sometimes you might be travelling but need to send that gift urgently. Sometimes things are just a way of saying ‘hello, I remember you’.

igp.com offers global delivery

It has over 200 products. I browsed through the categories and found gifts by recipients and occasions– there are gifts for homemakers, brothers, sisters, mothers, friends, girlfriends and boyfriends and more. Going by the different occasions, there are gifts for Diwali, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day, Rakhi, Bhaidooj, even Friendship Day, Father’s Day and more.

gifts from igp.com

The gifts you find here: flowers & cakes, personalised gifts, home & living, toys & games, chocolates, teddy bear, jewellery, Indian sweets. There are gifts under Rs 999 too and this section attractive as it is pocket-friendly site. There are best-selling gifts too.

I gifted my sister a bed sheet. But what is worth a mention is that the bed sheet I had ordered was not in stock. However, the site sent me a mail with more option to choose from. Which means it saved my time of having to make more choices and go through the rigmarole again. The customer care was helpful and the packet arrived on time. I need not open my computer on the go, the problem was solved on my email through the phone.

The checkout process is like any other shopping site, with registrations, address delivery, many payment options and I got free shipping! It’s here that you add your message. There is express delivery as well.


Searching for some chemical-free, natural personal care products, I discovered this site.You can find diverse Indian handicrafts for all your needs, be it clothing, décor or personal care, at iTokri.com. And you also encourage local self help groups to flourish It has a vast range of crafts and celebrates creativity of rural and urban artisans. It’s an unusual art store from India.

My haul from itokri.com
My haul from itokri.com


This is another e-commerce site that offers handcrafted Indian products. Some of the metal products are really good. There are garden accessories as well. I bought a table lamp and the quality is very good.

Table lamp with mango wood base, exclusivelane
Table lamp with mango wood base, exclusivelane
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Share with us your favoutite site for gifting.

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26 thoughts on “Souvenir & Gifting Ideas

  1. My choice of souvenirs are the cliche fridge magnets and Keychains. My parents though prefer to buy landmark showpieces of the place in crystal forms. But with that comes the need for an equally big display shelf!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Because of limted space in my luggage when I travel (I only use a carry-on), my souvenirs of choice are Christmas ornaments. My husband likes to buy decks of cards. I do have a few magnets as well, and occasionally I will pick up a colorful tote or something like that. I guess my best souvenirs are the phots I take!

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  3. I must admit we don’t buy souvenirs much anymore. Our memories come mostly from pictures and blog posts. But I do love to see the interesting trinkets that are unique to places you visit. We do seem to collect a lot of pens when we travel. And we scan our tickets and boarding pass to help our memories. Great to know there are some great Indian handcrafted items we should look for when we visit again. And to see the variety of sites for online shopping.

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  4. A souvenir is such a lovely way to remember your travels. I always used to come home loaded with gifts for myself and loved ones, but I no longer buy souvenirs as I just have nowhere left to put anything more. I know, just buy an item of clothing or a food gift that can be used or eaten!

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  5. I used to buy souvenirs in the past, but now I just buy fridge magnets and at times, coffee mugs with country specific images! So, memories are mostly the loads of photos I take and save in my laptop and my blog posts and other articles we post in travel websites. Yes, Rajasthan is a place for colorful gifts and trinklets. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These are fantastic suggestions! I always struggle with finding unique and meaningful souvenirs, but your list has given me so much inspiration. From handmade crafts and local trinkets to personalized items and cultural artifacts, you’ve covered it all. I absolutely love the idea of supporting local artisans and businesses while finding that perfect memento. And the tip about considering the practicality and portability of souvenirs is spot on. Nobody wants to lug around a giant statue in their suitcase, right?

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  7. I always make a point of getting souvenirs whenever I visit a new location. I frequently purchase magnets and keychains. This collection of suggestions for gifts and souvenirs is fantastic. The next time I buy a keepsake, I’ll be considering personal care items. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  8. It’s fun to see what people brought home from their trips. I used to be like that, but now I am more like Courtney. I’m not tempted to buy souvenirs anymore, but I like to put the hotel’s pen in my purse because we always need it. Pictures are my souvenirs now.

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  9. I love this especially the first one about collecting new friendships along the way. I moved around a lot as an adult and it’s hard to collect things without excess or loosing them. It’s really common in my area of England for people to go abroad and bring back fridge magnets for themselves and family. We have heaps that soon take up a lot of room from places others have visited. I do tend to keep postcards, boarding passes and receipts or tickets then pop them in a box to make into a scrap book later (although I’ve only made a couple because I always forget haha). My favourite though is I collect crystals and gemstones ideally handmade necklaces with them on. My husband collects mini badges for his bag.

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