The 10 tacky souvenirs that you'll want to collect anyway


One of the most baffling things about the world's love for snow globes is that quite often in the real-life destinations represented inside these miniature worlds, it doesn't actually snow. Apparently, it rains glitter. Anyway, tourists don't seem to mind, because these remain one of the most widespread souvenirs around.


Nothing says "couldn't be bothered thinking of a proper present for you" like a souvenir tea towel. Though these do at least have a practical use, they're still not the most imaginative of souvenirs. After all, any destination could produce one. For some travellers, however, that's the attraction – as a collector, you can add to your stash on every holiday. 


These can very quickly get out of hand. You start with one, and then you have 10, and then suddenly your fridge looks like a souvenir store threw up on it. And then you run out of fridge space and need to buy a bigger one. These magnets will always be popular because they're cheap, lightweight, collectable, and a simple reminder of time well spent.


Novices of the souvenir-buying game might think the humble key ring is limited in its ability to amuse and amaze. But they would be wrong. Because the more you travel, the more you realise there are some truly great, bizarre, inspired and weird souvenir key rings for sale. Many of the other items mentioned in this story are also available as key rings, meaning you can kill two tacky birds with one stone.


Blame New York. It started this whole thing, with its incredibly popular "I heart NY" T-shirts. It was only a matter of time before other cities jumped on board, to the point where you can now declare your love for pretty much any destination in the world via a white shirt with a few black letters and a heart. 


It seems like such a good idea at the time, hanging onto that flower necklace you were given at a luau to remind you of your time in island paradise. Only trouble is that if it's made of real flowers, you're probably bringing all sorts of creepy crawlies home from the Pacific. And if it's plastic, it's going to seem pretty tacky back in Australia.


Obviously you're not going to buy an entire national costume from another country, because you'll risk looking like you're attending a fancy dress party, or an APEC summit. A hat, however, is perfect. Not too silly, not too serious. Whether it's a sombrero from Mexico, a cowboy hat from Texas, a beanie from Peru, a conical hat from Vietnam or a gaucho's beret from Argentina, a souvenir hat is a wonderful thing.


These are rife in markets across much of south-east Asia and China. They look like unique items – the Chairman Mao statues, the old watches, the wooden dragons – and you think you're getting an absolute bargain until you get home and realise a friend of yours bought the exact same thing five years ago in a completely different country. 


Mini Eiffel Tower? Tick. Mini Statue of Liberty? Tick. Mini Leaning Tower of Pisa? Tick. Mini Christ the Redeemer? Tick. As a dedicated world traveller, you can pretty quickly amass a whole museum's worth of miniature representations of famous statues and monuments. Sure, they're a little unimaginative, but they're a nice way of keeping tabs on all the bucket-list attractions you've seen. 



As with tea towels, coffee mugs are the perfect vessel upon which to attach any photo or message deemed worthy by a destination. These can range from the arty to the heartfelt, from the kitsch to the ridiculous. You could get a mug with the Mona Lisa on it from Paris, or you could get a mug with Vladimir Putin on it from Moscow. Either would certainly be memorable.