Our Tacky European Mug Collection

“Hey, let’s start a European mug collection while we’re here,” one of us suggested during the first few weeks of our European adventure (the first time around).

Looking for some souvenirs while living or traveling abroad? We accumulated a European mug collection with fun mugs from places we stopped at along the way.

We both love mugs, and we figured that most (if not all) gift shops would have mugs available.

It was a done deal…but then we took that idea to another level.

Our Tacky European Mug Collection Begins

Sure, we’d collect mugs, but instead of just your run of the mill “regular” mug, we decided to collect the tackiest or most unique mug from wherever we went.

So that’s just what we did!

My husband and I lived in Italy for two years (although, he was deployed for 7 of those months), and every time we went somewhere we made sure to pick up a fun mug during our visit.

The collection we accumulated is fun, and I can distinctly remember picking out every mug.

When we went to Paris we almost forgot to buy a mug, so seconds before we jumped on our plane I ran to the nearest gift shop and grabbed the first one I saw. It’s the least tacky mug in our collection (which annoys us), but I’m just glad we grabbed something while we were there.

No More Tacky Mugs

We continued the mug collecting when we came back to America (I spy our “white lightning” “mug” from Tennessee in our pile), but we started running out of space and didn’t want to keep moving with them in case they’d break.

Our mugs are currently in storage until our Air Force traveling days are over and we can display them in our forever home…wherever that may be.

Hard Rock Cafe Shot Glasses

One more random thing I personally collect are Hard Rock Cafe shot glasses. I started collecting them more than a decade ago (maybe even 20 years ago), and I grab one as often as I can if I visit a new city.

These are all wrapped up and on their way to Germany, so I don’t have a picture of my collection, but here are all the ones I currently have:

Las Vegas 
La jolla, California 
Nassau, Bahamas 
New York 
San antonio
San Francisco
Washington DC

The Next Era of Souvenirs

Since we’re moving to Europe again it’s almost like we have a blank slate for collecting something.

As much as we love our travel mugs, we’d like something a little less bulky and breakable this time around.

Looking for some souvenirs while living or traveling abroad? We accumulated a European mug collection with fun mugs from places we stopped at along the way.

We’re thinking of collecting either magnets or keychains since both would be fun to display in the future.

Collecting magnets would be cool, because then we could make something magnetic to display them all.

And if we collect keychains we could pull them out each Christmas and put them on their own special Christmas tree as ornaments. My mom does this, and she says she loves taking a trip down memory lane every time she pulls them out.

I’d also like to pick up a postcard from each place and have my daughter(s) write a few fun things they did, and then mail it from that location (so it’ll have a stamp from there), and then they could make a cool postcard book when our time in Europe is over.

What do you Collect?

What do you collect from your travels, and which idea should we go with?


  1. I get an ornament but I wish I would have picked a style of painting and got a piece of artwork from everywhere!!

  2. We do the magnets and have them on the refrigerator for now but the space is starting to fill up. I like the idea of a magnet board to put them and could frame it.

    1. Most whiteboards have a magnet-compatible metal backing. Metal cookie sheets (some of which have holes in the handles for easy hanging) are also magnet-compatible.

  3. I collect bells…I have since I was in middle school and have about 70 of them. Tacky ones, funny ones and some from different countries. My aunt, she collects spoons and tea cups.

  4. I don’t think it’s tacky at all! I think it is a great idea and you should keep it up. You’ll love looking at them in the years to come and you’ll always be able to find some place in your home to display them.

  5. We get magnets for the fridge but I LOVE the idea of keychains and then having a separate tree for them!

  6. A very compact souvenir item some people collect is ceramic thimbles… I have a few vintage ones, but I’m guessing you probably can’t find any new in souvenir shops anymore nowadays. I also have a couple dozen souvenir plates, another collectible you won’t see much of brand-new anymore. A relative collects ceramic salt and pepper shakers, which you can still find new (though more in home-dec/kitchenware stores than souvenir shops, we did find a set in a souvenir shop on a trip less than ten years ago). And I also have dozens of mugs, which seem to be still the most available/popular of the ceramic souvenir types.

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