Why Photographs are the Best Souvenirs

Souvenirs are a big part of travel, whether you buy them from a shop in a busy tourist area or a friendly local gives you something to remember them by. Whenever you have been somewhere amazing, you want to have a physical reminder to show your friends and to keep for yourself so that you can reminisce about your trip.

When you live out of a backpack all the time like us, buying souvenirs can be incredibly impractical. We sometimes wish that we could buy some of the lovely things that we see while traveling around the world, but we just don’t have room to carry them all. This is why I find that photographs are by far the best thing you can take away from a place. I’m not talking about the souvenir photos you pay $15 for at a theme park I’m talking about the photos you take yourself and can keep and cherish. Here are some of the reasons I think photos make the best souvenirs:

1. They Last Forever

As much as I like to say I will always have the memories of my travels, the truth is there are a lot of things I will forget. When I look back at photos from New Zealand in 2009, I am reminded of so many great moments that I had forgotten.

With online backup there’s no longer the big danger of losing photographs as you can keep them in physical form or just digital format for browsing when you wish. I know now that when I take a photograph of something that has amazed or inspired me, or just something I would like to look back on, I can trust that I will always have it.

2. You Can Share Them

Facebook has made it very easy for you to share your travel experiences with your friends. Your photographs might even inspire people you know to go travelling too. You can give people a glimpse into a country they might not have heard much about and help people decide where they want to go.

I skipped the I love NY T-Shirt but love looking back at some of the shots I took in NYC.

3. They are Cheap

Although it does cost money to have a camera, you don’t need to spend thousands on a top of the line model to take great photographs. Once you have invested in a camera which suits your budget you can take years of photos at no extra cost.

4. They Don’t Take up any Room

This is key for us because everything we own we have to be able to carry on our backs. If we bought something from every country we visited we would soon run out of space and have very heavy backpacks. Instead we just take photos of everything that we like.

souvenir photos
The memories of meeting great people mean more than anything you can buy in a store

5. They Are Versatile

Once you have taken a great travel photo, it can be used in so many different ways. One day we may have a house and that is when I might get the most out of my photos. I can already think of many that I would love to see printed, framed and put up on a wall. Printers have become a lot more accessible and we can easily make calendars, books and every day items featuring the amazing places we have been.

These are just five of the reasons why I think photos are the best souvenirs and why I would rather have a hard drive full of amazing scenes and great memories than a heavy backpack stuffed with keyrings, t-shirts and shot glasses. What about you? Do you pick up souvenirs along the way, or do you prefer to take photos instead? Do you have any other souvenirs that you like to bring home as well as photos?


Lee Carter

Born and raised in Accrington, UK, Lee has ventured far beyond his hometown, traveling throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, North America and New Zealand. He is the co-founder of Global Goose and as well as writing the occasional rant he can be found tweaking the code and taking photos of amazing things around the world. Lee and Kelly have no plans to stop their "Gap Decade" anytime soon.

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  1. so correct, i am a wildlife and travel pro photographer and cant agree more…especialy the part mentioning that they dont take any room and they are basicaly cheap

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