So your trip has come to an end, but lucky for you, you have memories that will last a lifetime. Some of my most precious memories are from trips that I’ve taken, and although it’s always bittersweet returning home, I love reminiscing on my adventures. I decided to use this post as a way to share some travel craft ideas that will ensure your travel experiences will never be forgotten! I’m also going to share some ideas for gifts for travel lovers. If your loved one is still living abroad, check out this post for a list of 19 gift ideas for expats!
Disclaimer: This post was originally uploaded in January 2018 and has been updated as of spring 2021 for relevancy.
Travel Craft Idea: Postcards
Postcards are the perfect souvenir for a traveling college student because they are cheap and take up minimal space. Every time that I visited a city while studying abroad in Europe, I made sure to buy myself a postcard. That day, I would write the postcard to myself, making sure to write the date and what I did that day. Once I returned home, I proudly put my postcards in a box in my room. The box is a unique time capsule for me to open one day when I’m older and reminisce on all of the incredible places that I saw and experiences I had. I plan on continuing this as I travel more in the future.
Travel Craft Idea: Journaling
Everyday during my semester abroad in Florence I journaled. I wrote down how I felt that day, what I did, what I saw, etc. I made sure to write down the names of people who I met and how they impacted me so that I can always remember those encounters. Journaling is the perfect way to pass time while traveling home after a trip and allows you to reflect on all of the amazing things that you’ve done and seen. I am so happy that I did this so that I can reread what I wrote when I’m older and relive the moments.
I also used my journal to keep a list of all of the places I visited, along with drawings of the flags from countries I was able to see during my semester abroad.
Travel Craft Idea: Photo Album
My sister gave me a photo album as a going away present before I left for my semester abroad in Italy. When I returned home I printed out my favorite photos and put them in the album- writing where and when they were taken. Not only is this a great way to reminisce, I have been showing this album to my family and friends as the perfect way to talk about my experiences! They love flipping through the photos and I enjoy telling the stories behind them.
Travel Craft Idea: Create a Video
I made sure to bring my GoPro with me when I was traveling throughout Europe. In each place I visited, I filmed a few clips so that I would have footage from all of my trips. Since GoPros are extremely versatile, this camera was perfect to have with me while cliff jumping in Portugal or riding a donkey in Greece, for example. I decided to make one, short video of my entire semester! You can check it out here!
Travel Craft Idea: USA Photo Map
This canvas hangs in my room and I am obsessed with it. To put this together, I went to AC Moore and bought a plain canvas and a black marker. I printed an outline of the US and held it up to the canvas, and while shining a light on it, I traced it with pencil. Then, I went over it in marker and found pictures from every state that I have visited so far. I used the shape of the state to cut the printed photos and glued them in place. Hopefully one day I am able to complete this after stepping foot in all 50 states!
Gifts For Travel Lovers: World Map & Canvas Pop
When I was 16, I hung a world map in my room. I ordered my map from Etsy and was able to customize it- mine is grey and white and has the word “Wanderlust” written on it. The map came with colorful pins for me to mark places that I have visited.
Around my map are canvas photos from some of my trips. I used a website called Canvas Pop to order these (link here). You can customize the size and frame of the photo, and they usually ship within one week. The photos look like paintings and I think that they look so cute around my map. I’m excited to order more in the future and display them all over my wall.
Gifts For Travel Lovers: For Mom & Dad
I wouldn’t have had the experiences that I did during my semester abroad if it weren’t for my parents. Although I paid for all of my weekend trips myself, they were the reason that I was able to live and study in Italy for four months. Since I studied abroad during the fall semester, I returned home right in time for Christmas.
Throughout the semester I bought special gifts to give to my family, including perfume from Paris for my sister, Belgian chocolate for my mom, and a stein from Oktoberfest for my dad. Additionally, I wanted to do something special for my parents to show my gratitude towards them for giving me the world, so, before I left for Italy, I printed out ten signs, each one with a bold word on it. Together the papers read: “Thank You Mom And Dad For Giving Me The World”. When I traveled to a new country, I made sure to get a picture with one of the signs, and during my last week in Florence, I held up the sign that read “world” at Piazzale Michelangelo while studying abroad in Florence– a park overlooking the city.
When I got home I printed these ten photos, bought a shadow box and some craft supplies from AC Moore, and put together my gift. Although this isn’t an original idea, my parents were touched- my mom even cried. The photos are now hanging in a hallway in my home, reminding my parents of my thankfulness and the places that they helped me to see. These collages are great gifts for travel lovers.
Gifts For Travel Lovers: For Friends
Three of my closest friends are studying abroad this upcoming semester. Aside from sharing with them some words of wisdom and travel tips, I wanted to give them something special and useful for their trip. I bought each of them a small journal so that they can document their adventures, along with a cute passport case, and a luggage tag. I bought all of these things at T.J. Maxx and tied them together with some ribbon. They loved this, so I know they’re great gifts for travel lovers.
Gifts For Travel Lovers: For My Future Home
Aside from buying postcards from places I visited, I wanted to get some special souvenirs to display in my room, and hopefully one day in my home. I was lucky enough to travel Europe extensively during my semester abroad, and I am unsure if I will get the chance to go back to some of the places that I visited again, so I bought myself a few nicer things to commemorate my travels. These include a nutcracker from one of the best Christmas markets in Europe and a spice jar from a souk in Morocco. I also bought myself pottery in Sicily and ornaments from most of the places that I visited to decorate my Christmas tree with. If you’re able to buy anything unique abroad, it will make wonderful gifts for travel lovers.
I found that putting together some of these gifts and crafts in the first few days that I returned home from Europe was a great way to adjust back to life at home. Reflecting on my semester as a whole made me feel so grateful for my experiences and being able to arrive home to my loved ones safe, happy, and healthy.
You Should Study Abroad!
I will end this post with some words of wisdom that the head of my study abroad office shared with me that I want to share with you all: when you leave for a trip you are wearing a pair of shoes that often will not fit when you return home. Travel changes you. It opens your eyes and puts your life, along with your role in the world, in perspective. When you return home from a life-altering experience, you will often try to make your old shoes fit. But, they are uncomfortable. It is up to you to have the confidence to try a new pair of shoes. And to flaunt them with your head held high.
Ciao for now!
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