When you travel...do you really need souvenirs?
I like to have a little something to remember a place by. I've gone through a few phases.
At first, I would buy books...uh, heavy and expensive and how many of those have I actually read? Zero.
Than I went through a calendars and whatnot phase. Better. But again, done after a year or so and other than the calendars, they weren't things I would just see on a daily basis, so not much remembering going on.
Now I get tiny things that I'll see now and then...and smashed pennies. The smashed pennies take up almost no space and cost 50 cents or a dollar each. And you usually get to turn the crank thingy which is fun and a little obnoxious so double fun. I'm thinking about having the pennies from a trip joined on a chain into a bracelet (by my sister so cheap).
The daily use souvenirs that have been great successes for me:
Tea towel from the tea and coffee museum in London. I use it as a cozy for my kitchenaid mixer and so I see it most days and think "That was a great trip."
A handmade pottery plate from Santa Fe. I met the potter and her husband and chatted. I really liked the plate and use it most days and think "that was a great trip." Since I had bonded with the potter and husband, they even stopped by Idaho for a visit on their way through. Fun.
Thin cheapo reproduction plates of English royal dishware from olden tymes. (I think Chris got me these...still love them). They are a bit fragile so I don't let guests use them...I wouldn't mind the damage so much but they are tin and the paint comes off in your food if you're not careful and I figure guests don't want to eat paint chips. They are cool and I remember the trip when I use them.
In DC, I tried to go even smaller. I got quite a few smashed pennies, kept the Van Gogh decorated metro pass card, and got chapstick from the Smithsonian. I put the pass card up with other tickets I've posed in a little space in the kitchen. It gives me things to think about while I cook. The chapstick is in my pocket.
In Wales (trip described in past post), I got a pen at a thrift store. It was new, but had a logo that reminded me of the store and of Wales. It just gave up the ghost.
I've got ticket stubs from Italy, Wales, Seattle, Santa Fe, Denver, pretty much everywhere I've been. These are fine souvenirs.
I guess my recommendation is tiny and cheap.