Experiencing another culture is indeed one of the greatest ways to live through the eyes of another. Breathing the same air, eating the same food and seeing the same sights is the best way to get to know how the people in another portion of this great planet of ours live each day. This is probably what leads us to travel more than anything else. More than a much-needed vacation and time lounging on the beach, travelers seek out experiences rather than the latter … tangible experiences that they can save in their memories for years to come. And it is there, in the heart of another culture’s sights, smells and sounds that the true traveler thrives and rejoices.
But what happens when it’s all said and done and the trip is over. You wish that you could stay in this foreign and exotic place just one more week, one more day, one more minute, but alas, you cannot.
But there is indeed something you can do to make the whole trip last longer. It’s a small thing, but maybe it’ll help. You can buy yourself a souvenir; a souvenir that you can bring to work with you or leave at home on the mantel. And every time you look at it, it’ll transport you back to that café in Paris or that villa in Tuscany, or how about that hut in the middle of the Amazonian Rainforest?
Read on and find out what kinds of souvenirs some travelers have brought home with them. But beware, some border on zany, some border on creepy and some are just plain weird.
25 CANNED AIR
It's true! They actually sell this stuff. And believe it or not, not just from Iceland! You can get the air of many locations in the world in a can. Places like Paris, France, Barcelona, Spain, you name it.
This probably borders on preposterous, but hey, to each his own, as they say. And maybe they really did need some fresh air, but this is a bit much!
But think for a moment, some traveler is back at home, he/she sits at his table and pops the can open, oh my, they're suddenly transported back to the mountains, maybe it's totally worth it.
24 CANDIED BUGS!
For those of you who are squeamish, we apologize for this one, but we couldn't avoid putting it on the list, as this and a few others we've got for you are very popular items to bring home.
We may not want to eat the bugs, but as a souvenir, these are definitely pretty unique!
The culinary industry all over the world is one of the largest reasons for travelers to flock certain countries, as foodies love to travel and sample authentic international food. But what many people don't think about is that a lot of international food isn't what you'd think it would be. Many cultures need to rely on the resources they have at hand, and well, bugs are pretty plentiful in some warmer climates around the world. Thus, these candies. Want a piece?
23 ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICAL GADGETS
Generally speaking, North America is pretty advanced when it comes to technology. To say that we have some of the world's finest companies that provide us with all the quickly advancing technology we'll need for the foreseeable future, is indeed, an understatement.
That is until you visit a place like Japan, where technology for them flows at a much faster pace, items go out of favor much quicker than they do in other parts of the world. Indeed, they have some pretty incredible gadgets, and tech savvy travelers flock home with all the newest stuff imaginable.
22 STUFFED CANE TOADS
Taxidermy is pretty huge all over the world and stuffed cane toads are actually becoming a quite popular souvenir to pick up should you be traveling "Down Under."
It's true. Australia has actually sold many of these poor little dudes to many tourists who have flocked to the continent.
Souvenir shops are full of the little buggers, stuffed and usually holding a bottle of a particular spirit or something else, and the toads are now sitting atop many mantelpieces all over North America and Europe as a souvenir to make them remember their experiences in Australia.
Interestingly enough, they actually sell for about 20 bucks apiece.
Yet, the exploitation of the animal has gotten many enraged, as is quite understandable and we can't blame the members of the opposed.
21 VOODOO DOLLS
Now here's an item that many would keep away from and at quite a distance. Voodoo dolls are symbols of dark magic and are highly regarded in some cultures, particularly Jamaican cultures, as well as some African clans spread out over the continent. Africa and Jamaica are indeed beautiful destinations to travel to, and are full of great people and great customs. But the voodoo doll has gone down in history as being a symbol of great treachery and well, evil-doing.
It is believed that from afar, someone in possession of such a doll can do a lot of damage to an enemy and all with the prick of a needle.
So if your ex-girlfriend says she's going down to Jamaica and she has a tendency for, black magic, I'd be seriously nice to her if I was you. Maybe take her to breakfast and drive her to the airport.
20 GREEN TEA KIT-KATS
Green tea and green tea extracts have hit the diet industry and they are known for being one of the most intricate tools in any diet plan. In fact, this has been the case for the last few decades or so.
But what if you can eat those foods that everyone says you should avoid while on a diet and still get the benefits of the green tea and all the good it does for your body? Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, not anymore. It has been all the rage in Japan, and many tourists have returned from the beautiful country with packets and packets in their luggage.
19 ELEPHANT EXCREMENT
Well, this is where we border on the weird and probably insane that we warned you about in the introduction, but bear with us, as it's actually true and despite the oddness, it's quite a popular item to return with.
In Africa, the droppings of elephants number at probably 650 000 kgs of droppings left behind each day in a given area. So, locals had to start getting pretty nifty when deciding where to put all that fertilizer (for lack of a better term).
As it turns out, it's used for medicine, especially pain killers, bug repellent, to make beer and even to make eco-friendly paper.
Now we can't imagine why so many tourists that flock to Africa would return with this item, but many of them do.
18 USED HORSESHOES
The horseshoe is a symbol of luck, many believe. It has been said that should you place a horseshoe on a wall, with the ends pointing down, then the luck should spread to all who dwell around it. It's a pretty beautiful thought, and perhaps this is why many have returned home from trips with some of these in their bags.
Especially when returning from trips to Texas, where let's face it, the cowboy reigns supreme, and the horseshoe is essentially the symbol of cowboys everywhere, second only to the ever-popular Stetson hat, which is most definitely another popular souvenir item to bring home.
17 PUPPETS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The use of puppets in theatrical situations comes from Ancient Greece. Puppets generally resemble humans, animals, or in ancient cultures, a mythical figure. The lessons and/or themes of the puppet shows were generally quite serious and dark, offering the viewers a lesson to be learned by the time the curtain dropped, as opposed to puppet shows today, which are usually geared towards children and have happier themes. Yet there are still many who practice the art form in the ancient ways.
Many flock home from many locations in the world with puppets of many kinds.
Some puppets of mythical characters can still be found in Greece and are a great collector's item, no doubt.
16 INTERNATIONAL TOILET PAPER
If you're familiar with the hit sitcom, Friends, then we're sure you're also familiar with the quirky and zany character of Ross Geller.
And one of the most memorable traits that Ross had, as it was showcased in many episodes, was that when he traveled, he believed in taking all the amenities offered to him by hotels, and that would include the toilet paper.
Guess he rubbed of on some people, as toilet paper is quite the ticket item to bring back home as a souvenir!
15 OLD SCHOOL MILITARY EQUIPMENT
Sadly, the world has suffered through many wars. And when we say many, we mean many. Conflicts have arisen between nations the world over and through many ages in history.
But what these wars have left behind in their wake are an incredible amount of war time memorabilia.
These items number in the thousands and have been collected by historians and private collectors alike. Gas masks, weaponry, old military hats and uniforms are artifacts that are quite common to find on a trip say to Germany or anywhere else in Europe, even sometimes in Russia. These items are also very expensive and many of them have gone on to be sold on the black market.
14 BIBLICAL HARPS
As you can see, history plays a big part in what travelers bring home with them when they visit particular locations around the world. The above example is definitely a hot item when people tend to visit Jerusalem, Rome, and anywhere else that has a huge biblical connection.
Rome especially, with the marvels of the Sistine Chapel and all the biblical statues and artwork in the vicinity, King David is not very far from the mind when walking the cobblestone streets, therefore his harp is an item many have wanted to return home with, it's a smaller version of this one. Some are miniatures and some are actual full-size harps that can be played and enjoyed. Imagine the shipping price on one of those babies!
13 PINK USHANKA HATS
The Ushanka hat is the symbol of Russian culture and mode of dress. Russia is typically cold most of the time. Just like Canada, it is in the Northern hemisphere and the place is mostly covered by a cold sheen of white snow for most of the year. So the Ushanka definitely comes in handy.
Interestingly enough, the Ushanka is a cool item to want to bring home after a trip to Lenin's Tomb.
Over the last few years, a large supply of pink Ushankas have been reported to be brought home, and in large numbers, making it a great item to take home.
12 OLD PROPAGANDA POSTERS
Unfortunately when it comes to world travel, the subject of war is rather hard to avoid. Military conflict has and has had a presence in almost any location on the world map, and over the years, history has been made in the name of such conflicts. But like we said before, this has created a rich history, and a huge amount of people that hunger for that history and to learn the details of what transpired many years ago.
Propaganda posters are a huge topic of interest for such travelers and the collection of them is indeed quite popular.
Such posters either depicted some sort of political belief, at times a call to arms, and other modes of propaganda based politics. There are shops around the world that feature all sorts of posters like the ones pictured here.
11 clothing made from possum fur
This Australian model is wearing a Merino Possum sweater that can only be found "Down Under."
The pretty popular clothing is made from Merino wool and authentic New Zealand Possum fur. It is said that this wool and fur makes the sweaters that much warmer than regular sheep's wool. And you wouldn't think that Australia was all that cold, as it is "Down Under" and all, but nights can get quite nippy in all that open space.
Fashion aficionados that make the trip to the land of the adorable Kangaroo, return home with many items made of this authentic wool. Some of whom also return just with the material itself, wanting and planning to make and knit their very own fashionable creations.
10 TROLL DOLLS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The troll has a sacred place in the annals of time. According to Morse mythology and Scandinavian folklore, the troll is the symbol of a creature that was said to dwell hidden among the rocks and hidden places in the surrounding forests. The word "troll" is actually Old Norse for demon or fiend. Therefore, the symbol was always associated with something far more sinister than what they ultimately became in North American cultures during the late 20th century, symbolizing much more of a mystical character who was innately good and caring and well, and had brightly colored hair.
Trolls of all kinds are collected by travelers who visit some European countries and they aren't always as happy looking as the ones North Americans are used to. Many of them are depicted as the sinister characters that the old stories made them out to be.
9 GOLD BARS
Well, who wouldn't bring home gold should they be lucky enough to find it? This isn't quite common to bring home from your vacation. If you visit certain countries in Europe or anywhere in North America, you probably won't find gold, save maybe in the Yukon in Canada, where you can still find some Gold-plated souvenirs in local shops or museums commemorating the Yukon Gold Rush of August of 1896.
This item is quite common for those who travel to the wonderful city of Dubai, where actual gold dispensing ATM machines can be found in many places in the city. Many who have flocked to that incredible city in the Emirates have come home with some actual gold dispensed from those machines.
8 ANIMAL DUNG COFFEE
To extrapolate on the whole animal dung thing, one of the main reasons to collect the droppings of certain animals is to make coffee. In fact the brewing of coffee from this substance is so popular, it's actually considered a craze in some parts of the world.
It's true. It's popular in Africa, from the droppings of elephants, but the craze is primarily centered in Asia, specifically Indonesia, where it is known as: Kopi Luwak. In fact, this is the coffee that is preferred in this part of the world, and it is specifically cultivated from the leavings of the Asian Palm Civet.
This here is one of the hottest items making the trip back from Asia to North American shores!
7 COLLECTED SAMPLES OF DEEP SEA WATER
So if you're deciding to go to some of the top locations for some deep-sea diving, then maybe a small travel-friendly container should be an item to bring along.
Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia, Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia, The Yongala, Australia, Shark and Yolanda Reef, Egyptian Red, Great Blue Hole, Belize and Richelieu Rock, Thailand are all some perfect locations to do your deep-sea diving and the scenes that unfold before your eyes are nothing short of spectacular as you wade through the water in those places.
A pretty popular practice among traveling divers is to bring home a little of the water found in those depths.
6 CHOCOLATE INSECTS
Just like the candy, many cultures believe in using bugs to make their chocolate. In fact, chocolate covered bugs are a delicacy in many cuisines around the world. Some of these locations may surprise even you, our savvy travelers.
China, Thailand, Mexico, Ghana, Brazil, The Netherlands and surprisingly, some places in the United States are also known for the delicacy, but not the way you would think.
Insects are used to make the dye used in red lipstick and red food coloring, so no doubt you've ingested some bugs.
As for some travelers who travel to some parts of Asia, returning home with a box of chocolates to give to their significant other on Valentine's day is quite common. Talk about being bitten by the "love bug."
5 SNAKE WINE
In Vietnam and other parts of Asia, wine is primarily derived from the fermenting of rice or grains, something of which those countries have an abundance of. But in Vietnam, a common practice is to place venomous snakes within the jars where the fermentation process is taking place.
In ancient China, the beverage was believed to be a rejuvenating drink and was consumed by the ailing and the sick.
Talk about energy drinks! This is probably why snake venom is a popular ingredient in sports drinks and energy drinks. Regardless, many bottles of this wine have been collected by tourists, a whole snake visible within the confines of the bottle or jar amidst the amber liquid.
4 ALLIGATOR HEADS
Of all the things to take home from your trip to Florida or even Louisiana. These places are known for the little buggers. Unfortunately, the practice still happens and many have collected these as souvenirs and have them in their homes for decoration. Albeit, many cultures who hunt the animal use the whole of the animal for food and it isn't just sport, so this is why the practice has been allowed to continue, but it still rubs many the wrong way.
If going down to Louisiana for the week, why not come home with some dried andouille sausage instead?
3 OLD AMMUNITION FROM WAR
Again, the whole war theme is unavoidable when traveling abroad. And in Europe, many rounds of unused ammunition were found in the wreckage of the fallen cities all over the continent after the second of the world wars.
This ammunition and artillery was collected and it can still be found in some shops and museums. Much of it has flocked to North America and it can be found there too. Many have purchased these items in hope of having a piece of history in their homes in order to honor, not glorify, what came to pass.
If we could insert an emoji here, we would. And the expression on the face of that little dude would be one of utter fear and wonderment at such an item being in the top items to bring home as a souvenir. But unfortunately, we can't put a stop to it, as it's quite common.
Now with all the other items on this list, there was a logical explanation to why the item in question was a popular souvenir--albeit, those explanations were sometimes a little "out there" as well--but at least there was an explanation.
Here, we can't explain exactly why this is a popular item, but it just is. Sometimes, the unexplained things in life are the most unsettling ones.
1 bottled water while traveling
Bottled water is a multi-million dollar industry. Unbelievably, a lot of this water is actually only filtered tap water, but yet, millions of people are drinking the Kool-Aid, so to speak, and purchasing incredible amounts of bottles per week.
Well, that goes for the world over. And when thirsty travelers go to other parts of the world, they wouldn't dare trust the tap water of those locations, so bottled water becomes a resource they tap into big time. So why not bring it home? An unopened bottle of say ... Belu Water from the UK will look real nice on the shelf in your apartment in Iowa.