About three years ago I decided to start saving all of the key cards that I get when I check into a hotel room. Back in the day, I used to collect matches, but it is hard to find those anymore. I decided that the key cards would be perfect — and probably a bit safer in the long run. There are some really colorful cards out there. They usually have the hotel's name on the card and they tell a story of where I have traveled. I quickly realized that those cards piled up, so I needed something for storage. I found a clear shoebox and put them all inside.

Keepsake box

The keepsake box is a simple plastic shoe box covered with fun stickers. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

A little while later, I was trying to figure out what to do with an assortment of other “things” I had picked up on my travels and realized my box would make a perfect keepsake box. I put all of those stickers I collect and never know what to do with on the outside and then started filling up the inside with more key cards, ticket stubs, lapel pins, little knick knacks I pick up for who knows what reason, airline tickets to unique places, and money I've collected from around the world.


Key cards

Key cards from hotels around the world are reminders of great stays. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

One day, my grand-kids discovered the box. They love going through it and looking at the pictures on the cards, asking about the pins, looking at the money. They are still young, so I hope as they grow up it will inspire them to want to travel as much as I do. Right now, I probably get as much enjoyment out of going through the items every so often as they do. I wish I had kept those types of items earlier, but now I find myself holding onto every ticket stub (there are some really unique ones out there) and getting excited when I check into a hotel and am handed a really cool key card.

ticket stubs

Ticket stubs from around the world are fun and colorful. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Taking something home from a trip doesn't have to be expensive and collecting the items can even become a family project. Each item is just a little reminder that can take you back to that place, to that moment, when you experienced something out of the ordinary — perhaps your own “wow” moment. After all, we travel to experience the unique and to carry the memories with us.

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