There are quite a few things I look to buy when traveling, but an item that I often recommend to anyone looking to start a souvenir collection is the bookmark. I have over 80 bookmarks I’ve collected in my travels, and I hope to add more with future trips. So what makes the bookmark the perfect souvenir?
Bookmarks are small and nearly weightless. You don’t have to worry about how you’ll get them home, if they will break, or if you have room in your suitcase. Even if you’re traveling with carry on luggage you can bring them home. You don’t even have to really pack them, just stick them in an outside pocket or inside a book.
Bookmarks are cheap! It is only in rare instances that I have spent more than $5 for a bookmark, even the artisan-made unique bookmarks I search out. You can easily bring home a souvenir from everywhere you go without making a dent in your budget, yet they make a big impact (more about this later). This is also a great benefit because you can simply buy them as you see them – no deciding if you might find a better one later in the trip. Buy all the ones you see and then decide when you get home which ones belong in your collection.
While bookmarks aren’t in every cheap souvenir store the way shot glasses, thimbles, and t-shirts are, they are still relatively easy to find. They’re often positioned near the register in shops. Shops at museums and historical sites frequently carry bookmarks. Stores carrying artisan crafts often sell them. You can also find them at galleries and craft co-ops where there are sometimes bookmarks that are mini prints of the art carried in the store.
Unlike a lot of souvenirs, you can actually use bookmarks in your daily life. They are great for marking your page in the novel you’re reading, but they can also be stuck in your cookbooks to mark your favorite recipes or in your Bible or book of poetry to hold a favorite section. It’s a lovely surprise to open a book and be reminded of a place you visited.
I’ve never met anyone else who collects bookmarks as a souvenir, so you will be part of a small class. Your bookmark collection will be eye-catching and surprise people who see it.
Although bookmarks are definitely made to be used, they also are easy to display. I create groupings of bookmarks in large frames and hang them on the walls of my office. Many of them are really small works of art. I have bookmarks that are quilted, pressed flowers, metal, gemstones, carved wood, leatherworked, lace, graphic prints, photographs, woven fabric, and even glass. Because they are so tiny, you can display many in a small space.
Start by picking up a couple of bookmarks on your next trip. Stick them into books or wait until you have about 10 to frame them. They make the perfect souvenir.
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