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Seven of the most treasured travel souvenirs (as voted by you)

By admin   5 July 2013 8:41pm Europe/London

Tired of snowdomes and T-shirts? Have a few too many fridge magnets? In an entirely non-scientific survey, we asked Lonely Planet fans on Facebook to tell us about their most treasured travel souvenirs. It turns out that the best keepsakes are often the things that pesos and pounds can’t buy…

1. A partner

Hong Kong, couple, kissing, city lights, harbourHong Kong couple‘ by bryangeek. Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Awwwww. A new boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife was the most common travel souvenir among our Facebook followers. We’re feeling warm and fuzzy.

2. Experience

Woman, cigar, smokingSmoking women‘ by twicepix. Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Sure, it’s cheesy, but our Facebook fans agree that the experience gained through travel and exposure to foreign cultures has changed them as people. You don’t know until you go…

3. An injury

Pharmacy, chemist, Egypt, ArabicEgyptian Highlight‘ by sonofgroucho. Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Travel souvenirs aren’t always a reminder of the happy times. On the bright side, once you’re no longer in pain you can laugh about it.

‘Burns to my face after falling asleep on a Chinese junk in the midday, overcast, humid conditions of Phang Nga Bay’ – Louisa

‘A scar, from my appendicitis surgery in Peru!’ – Christian

‘100+ mosquito bites in Cambodia!’ – Danial

4. Tattoos

Africa tattoo shoulder backThis is Africa!‘ by Fotoffigrafie. Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Sometimes a fond memory, sometimes a regret, but always something to talk about – tattoos rank high in the list of treasured travel souvenirs. Just be sure to double-check that really is the Chinese character for peace.

5. A gift from a stranger

Flower gift woman summerDandelion‘ by Bert Heymans. Creative Commons Attribution licence.

It’s often the story behind a souvenir rather than the object itself that makes it special. We love these tales of generosity on the road:

‘Our group was at a train station in Moscow, heading for the airport. A Russian teenage boy approached me and said, “You are American, yes?” “Yes.” “And you are on your way back to America now…” “Yes.” He then said, “I know that I will never get to go to America. I want to know that something of mine is in America. Please take this back with you.” And he took out his keys, took off his keychain and handed it to me. I’ve had that keychain now for 22 years and it never fails to make my eyes teary when I think about it.’ – Felice

‘A St. Patrick medal that was given to me by a stranger when I was waiting with my bags at Victoria Station in London.’ – Aida

‘Shortly after 9/11, I did a tour of Southern & Eastern Turkey. There were about 12 of us, all American. Many, many times we heard something like “all of Turkey mourns with you”. One day, our van stopped for gas. A couple of people got out to stretch their legs and got to talking to the proprietor. As soon as he found out we were American, he sent a boy into the adjacent store. The boy emerged with some glass bowls – probably the only thing that there were 12 of. The proprietor insisted that we each take one as a gift. The bowl is cheap, ugly, and useless. I would not part with it for anything.’ – Kathy

6. Accidental souvenirs

Hotel room keyRoom Key‘ by macaron*macaron(Est Bleu2007). Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Things that weren’t meant to be souvenirs but, well, they wound up heading home with you anyway.

‘My room key from my hostel in London, I couldn’t bear to give it back!’ – Jess

‘A fossilised snail I found while trekking in Bolivia.’ – Matthew

7. Prehistoric shark teeth

Great white shark teeth, museum, megalodonGiant Great White Shark Teeth‘ by Ryan Somma. Creative Commons Attribution licence.

Maybe it’s not the most popular souvenir on the list, but definitely something to show the grandchildren: one LP fan going by the name of ‘Sharky’ (we wonder where he got that nickname) came home with some megalodon teeth after a diving trip in North Carolina. Jawsome.

Can you top these strange souvenirs? Share your story with Lonely Planet on Facebook and Twitter.