Travel Collections – What Do You Collect?

Do you have a travel collection?  Do you set up rules on how the items can be collected?  Do you have to actually go to that place, or will you accept other people adding to your collection?  Right now, I have one active collection, but I’ve had a few others.

About 25 years ago, I started a foreign currency collection. I had money from all over; Japan, Philippines, Jamaica, China, Mexico, etc.  Some of the currencies came from my own travels, but lot of it came from other people.  I still have this collection, somewhere, in some box in our storage lockers in the garage.  That was the beginning.

Then I started collecting Starbucks Big City coffee mugs.  It started out innocently enough.  It was 1996 and I was at a neighborhood Starbucks with my boyfriend (who’s now my husband), and I made a comment about the San Diego Big City mug.  It went something like, “that’s a big ass mug,” next thing I know, he has purchased it.  I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but 26 mugs and 23 cities later, I have a Big City mug collection.  At one point, I even called Starbucks to ask them about the mugs and which cities had them.  The deal was this, in order for a city to have a big city mug they had to have at least 20 Starbuck locations.  It was with this collection that I started to make up rules.  The rule was I had to actually have touched ground in that city, and an airport layover was good enough.  I’ve had people offer to pick up a mug here and there, but no-can-do.  I actually had to have gone there.  Due to a variety of reasons, I have duplicates of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London.  I’m no longer actively collecting Big City mugs.  Starbucks discontined  the 20 ounce mugs and there was a redesign.  🙁  But, every once in a while I will find one.  The last one I purchased that was actually one of the 20 ounce mugs was in 2006 while in Bangkok.

Starbucks Big City Mugs

At about the same time I started the Starbucks collection, I inadvertinely started another collection.  Well, technically it’s not my collection.  It’s my mother’s.  I was doing a lot of business travel, so I would get a magnet for my mom.   That was 34 magnets ago.  Since then I’ve added a new rule to the collecting of the magnets.  The rule is: even if we’re traveling together, she is not allowed to purchase her own magnet. I purchase the magnets!  I think rules to collecting makes it fun

My Mama's Magnets

Now, I’m on to the KLM Delft Blue porcelain houses filled with Bois Jenever (dutch gin).  These houses are awesome!  The houses are handed out at the end of the flight to their business class passengers.  It’s like a final farewell drink, but it comes in a cute porcelain house.  Each house is an exact replica of a real dutch house.  There’s even an app that you can download that tells you exactly where the house is located in Holland, and it’s linked to google maps should you want to go and check out the real deal.  I’m still in the beginning phases of this collection, and I haven’t come up with firm rules yet.  The thing with this collection is that in order for me to get the houses I have to fly KLM, and I have to be traveling  in the business class cabin, so this collection is building slowly.  I currently have eight houses with two being duplicates.  I recently found out that you can purchase the houses.   Can I purchase them and still keep my collection “a travel collection?”  I don’t know.  If I just purchased them all, it will take the fun out of finding ways to collect them.  Obviously, I’m still working out the rules for this collection.

KLM Blue Delft Dutch Houses

Do you have a travel collection?  What do you collect?  Do you make up rules as to how and when you can add to the collection?  Let me know.


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About Terri Lundberg

Terri Lundberg is an American expat currently residing with her husband in Saudi Arabia, but she calls Seattle and San Diego home. She’s a travel writer, an avid photographer and is a resource and cross cultural trainer to expats relocating to Saudi Arabia. She's been to 100 destinations, 30 countries, and counting.


  1. Katherine says:

    Love the Delft houses. I have magnets but also salt and pepper shakers. Generally I buy them myself.

  2. Postcards!!

    • I’ve decided to start sending postcards. Who doesn’t like to get a postcard? They’re so yesterday, which makes them fabulous.

  3. Shirley Lewis says:

    I used to love the Hard Rock tee shirts. I have a few magnets that I have purchase. I think that if you travel a lot, it is nice to start a collection of all the interesting places that you have visit. Thing with the tee shirts, they are all worn out now, so I will have to start collecting something that is everlasting.

  4. Newspapers! I don’t know why but every city I go to, I must bring home a newspaper! I collect postcards and save my left over money too!

  5. Started collecting postcards as a child and now have somewhere in the thousands. Definitely includes duplicates and receipts from others. If instituted a rule, would be that I have to go to the location and purchase postcards myself. And they have to be a scenery shot or photo–no drawings.

    • Wow!! That’s cool. I have too many things I wish I had kept from my childhood and younger years (i.e concert ticket stubs, post cards my father sent us from overseas). I’ve moved so much as an adult, and I’ve thrown out more things than I wish I had.

  6. Everywhere I travel I buy a wine stopper. I am a wine drinker and have one for every country I have been. (Though kicking myself for not buying one in the Seattle airport when we went to Maui, wanted to buy one there but no dice. Must go to Maui again 😉

    Another thing I must get while traveling is art work. Be it a small painting, sculpture or jewelry.

    And as a thrift store addict I try to hit a thrift store and am usually rewarded with a vintage area mug. My current favorites are the one from Paris and one from Texel.

    Just found your blog and loving it 🙂

    • Hey Amy!

      I like the idea of collecting art, I’ve picked up a few pieces here and there, but nothing close to a collection.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Christmas ornaments…make a huge deal out of collecting at least one everywhere we go…I almost lost my mind however in Munich at the humongous Christmas store…way too many euros were spent, we have a great collection of all the places me and the boys have been and lived…

    • That’s such a cool collection!! My mother would love that, she loves all things Christmas and she decorates the heck out of her tree. I’m sure there are some items that technically are not Christmas ornaments, but can be turned into tree decorations.

  8. Very much enjoying your site! I am a big fan of both travel and travel collecting, and I am in the planning stages of a museum to inspire travel by highlighting the collections and stories of people just like you and me – The National Museum of Travel and Tourism. Please see my website for details at Perhaps you would like to have your collection displayed and preserved, and have your story told for years to come?

    Like you, I only collect if I have been there myself. I have pretty large collections of shot glasses (2000), matchbooks (4000), hotel branded giveaways (maybe 6000), and crystal figurines (60). My wife has many refrigerator magnets (1000) and postcards (10,000). All from places we have been.

    If you have a collection you might want to loan for museum display, please visit my site and drop me an email. Nice site, BCOT!

    • Hello Ken,

      Thanks for stopping by my site. I just checked out your website. I think it’s cool. And, when I get to the point that I’ve collected too many travel items, I would love to send it to you. Right now I’m working on a way to display my KLM houses. Most of these houses are replicas of houses that still stand today. While I’m in Amsterdam next week, I’m going to photograph the actual house and then work out a way to display it with it’s porcelain counterpart. I don’t know how that is going to work out, but that’s the plan.

  9. Iscubadive says:

    I collect magnets and they must have special about what place is known for and can’t be the rubber ones.

  10. I also collect magnets for my parents! I Send them postcards ss well. For mydrlf, I vollect shot glasses from places I have been. I am thinking of starting my own mahnet collection.


  1. […] of my travel collections consists of KLM Delft Blue miniature houses. They come out with new house every year, and each one […]