The best collectible travel souvenir: Pin collecting

When we travel, I always feel this nagging urge to purchase a collectible travel souvenir as a memento. I want something tangible to commemorate the trip. I can’t say this urge is rational (I don’t think my husband feels it), but I just can’t help myself. 

For many years I collected useless knickknacks such as picture frames or t-shirts but most of these items eventually ended up being donated to the local thrift store. I don’t even like ‘collections’ really; they can feel dated and cluttered. But I found a collectible travel souvenir that I think is really fun. It isn’t spoons or pressed pennies- the item I have been collecting for the past 10 years or so is pins. Below is my list of reasons why collecting pins makes the best collectible travel souvenir.

Some of my collectible travel souvenir pins
Some of the pins we have collected during our travels

It was while visiting our good friends in Michigan that I was inspired. My friend Sarah had an impressive collection of pins displayed on her walls. It was fun to look at all of the neat places she had been and ask questions about some of the more interesting ones. I told her right then that I was going to copy her idea. (Thanks, Sarah!)

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Displaying your pins

Sometimes called lapel pins, hat pins, or even hat tacks, this is an inexpensive souvenir that I can find just about everywhere I travel. But the primary reason that I think this souvenir is ideal is that I can display them and that they serve as a fun conversation starter. People will point out places they have been or want to go or even remember a trip we took together.

The shadow boxes housing our pin collection to date
The shadow boxes housing our pin collection to date

We recently created new custom pin boards for my pin collection. You can read more about that project here. I previously displayed my collection in shadow boxes with a hinged glass door which made adding new pins really easy. But there are many different options for pin displays. In addition to shadow boxes in numerous colors and sizes (black, white, wood-toned, etc.), there are actually boards marketed as pin boards (examples here and here). You could also purchase a pretty bulletin board to display your pins or put them on a canvas banner

Advantages of pins as a collectible travel souvenir

#1: They are easy to find

You can find hat pins at all major tourist destinations. I have collected them from state parks, foreign countries, and art museums. In fact, they are so easy to find that pin collecting can get a bit out of hand. Because of this, I have decided that on any future trips to Disney parks I am allowed to purchase only one pin for each visit. I also try to limit the pins specifically to places I have been or things I have done. 

Some of my Disney collectible travel souvenir pins
Some of my Disney pin collection

I have been places where I was not able to find pins (although this is not frequent). On a trip to Folly Beach, South Carolina several years ago there was no pin to be found. Most of the time I have a variety of pins to choose from. 

#2: They are easy to pack

Another advantage of this souvenir is that it hardly takes up any space in your luggage. I can purchase a pin and slip it into my bag. No need to awkwardly tote around large shopping bags or purchase additional luggage. That’s not to say that I never purchase other souvenirs when travelling- but pins are my go-to item.

#3: They are inexpensive

Finally, pins are generally inexpensive. I have paid as little as $2 for a pin and as much as $24, but most fall in the $3-$8 range. So it is realistic to pick up several pins on a single trip. I also think this could be a fun tradition to start with children. My niece really likes helping find and select pins when we travel together.

Pin collecting is a big deal in Disney fan circles. I have purchased some of my coolest pins at Disney World and Universal Orlando. If you are planning a trip to Orlando, be sure to review my posts on the top planning tips for visiting Disney World and Universal Orlando.

If you are looking for more travel inspiration, check out my Norwegian cruise line review or post on visiting Savannah, Georgia.

The pins don’t have any real value other than they make me smile and remind me of previous adventures. What do you think of this souvenir idea? Do you know anyone who collects pins?

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4 thoughts on “The best collectible travel souvenir: Pin collecting”

  1. I like how you said that pin collecting can get out of hand because of how easy it is to find new ones. People who want to start a new hobby but don’t want to invest a lot of money or time should consider pin collecting. Thank you for helping people see the benefits of collecting pins.

  2. I have 60 travel pins which are all from duplicate places I have been in the last 65 years.

    I hate to throw them iinto the trash. would you like them for free??

    samples…Quebec Carvnaval./Amberg/Marksburg/Frankfurt/Interlaken/Vancouver/Mijas/Utah…various/Bayeux/Malaysia/flag…….. of USA….British Columbia…Switzerland…Canada …….Australia…

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