We all love to bring something home from our trips abroad. But maybe going for a more unique trinket is better than one of these tacky travel souvenirs! Let’s take a look at the worst offenders:

1: Tiny Eiffel Towers

Might as well bring home a beret and some baguettes while you’re at it.

2: Fridge Magnets

A staple of every grandparent’s fridge, these destination fridge magnets you are the low-effort “Oh I have to buy something, don’t I” of travel souvenirs.

3: Itty-Bitty Spoons

Never, ever got this one. Are they like Beanie Babies, where they’d increase in value over the years? I’ve never seen someone buy a tiny spoon, but they’re at every single touristy gift shop around the world. And there are some SERIOUS collectors!


4: Hawaiian Leis

This photo is from 1959! While these are wonderful welcome gifts, buying gift shop fabric leis and bringing them home is a total waste of money, and a sure way to get them shoved into a box in your closet after a while, then rediscovered years later when you’re cleaning or moving. You say “Ah, right, that was a fun trip” right before tossing the lei into the trash.

5: Photos Like This One

I lived in Washington, DC for 13 years and saw SO many people taking pictures just like this one, but with the Washington Monument. Admittedly no one thinks they’re clever for thinking of it – it’s entirely for the cringe.

6: I <3 NY Tees

I didn’t think people actually bought these tees, but I was proven wrong when I moved to Brooklyn. Tons of people – particularly in Manhattan – wore this iconic shirt, and I’m not unconvinced some actually lived in the city and wore them ironically.

 7: Snow Globes from…Anywhere

These ones are from Vatican City. Snow globes seem to be one of those souvenirs that exists solely to gather dust and for adults to yell “Put that down before you break it!” to kids, who are the only people in the world who want to shake up a snow globe and see what happens.

8: Sombreros

There was definitely one of these in our attic when I was a kid. It was left behind by the old lady who lived there before us.

Sombreros - Frayed Passport

Via Flickr.

9: Maori Fishing Hooks

Often accompanied by puka shells.

What are your favorite guilty pleasure or tacky travel souvenirs? Share them with the Frayed Passport community!

About the Author

Sarah Vandenberg

As the managing editor of Frayed Passport, my goal is to help you build your bucket list, plan your travels, and tell your story. I've been to 20 countries and five continents so far, lived for two years as a full-time digital nomad, and while I'm based in Miami now, I spend one-third of the year traveling to amazing destinations around the world. If you would like to contribute an article to Frayed Passport, feel free to get in touch with me at sarah@frayedpassport.com!