Of course I carry home stones or shells if not from a protected area, but my most valuable souvenirs are free ones that can be made useful.
My husband likes beer, but personally, I appreciate an empty bottle with an interesting printed or pasted-on label more than what’s inside. I have encountered no problems carrying empties home in checked luggage or in my carry-on. My most recent addition is a bottle from Croatia.
For a table centerpiece, I add chrysanthemums or Gerbera daisies, which works with my lack of flower-arranging skills.
This tray includes a “Cape Horn Patagonian Beer” bottle from Argentina, a “Miyajima Original Beer” whose label features the Torii gate, and one labeled “Velebitsko svijello pivo” from Croatia. The beers were probably good––I don’t know, I just like the bottles.
Dates of travel: Argentina January 2015; Japan March 2016; Croatia October 2017