Living full-time in an RV while traveling the country is an epic adventure. And it’s one you won’t want to forget. We don’t have the space to do that in our RV, so for now they sit on my computer’s hard drive waiting for their moment glory.
I take lots of photos while full-time RV’ing with my husband and two kids, and dream of one day framing and hanging them on a glorious display wall in our future dream house.
Many full-time RV’ers use this popular U.S. map with stickers to show where they’ve been. It’s a neat idea and can either be stuck on the outside of your rig or mounted on poster board and placed in a window or hung on a wall (there’s also a window cling version). You will see these all over campgrounds and they are good conversation starters, too! But some of us like to be more creative in how we remember our trip, and want the instant gratification of something we can easily display in our RV. Here are five (mostly) unique, inexpensive and compact souvenirs to celebrate your memories of life on the road:
---- Pressed pennies. Nearly every tourist destination seems to have one of those pressed penny machines, where you (illogically) put in 50 cents or a dollar and receive a penny with souvenir imprint of something that represents the attraction – a whale at Sea World, a tree at a national park, etc. You can keep this in a jar, display them on your refrigerator with some sticky tape, or get really creative and make jewelry out of them as shown here. There’s even a website that tells you where machines are located. Who knew pressed pennies could be so much fun?
---- Postcards. This one seems pretty obvious, but until I read this travel blog post it never occurred to me to mail the postcards to myself. This is a great idea for traveling families. Pick up a postcard at each destination and write the date on the back, along with a little note about what you saw/did there. If you don’t have a mailing address while you are full-time RV’ing send them to a friend or family member to safeguard for you. Collect them at the end of your trip, or once a year or so if you are permanent full-time RV’ers. Imagine reading back over all those memories!
Related Read: RV Full-Timer Tips: Getting your Mail
---- DIY photo map. This is a different take on the sticker map mentioned above. Buy a poster-sized paper map of the U.S. and replace each state you visit with a photo. It can be a picture of you there, a photo of an attraction or a sunset or a unique location. The ideas are limitless. The only downside to this one is that you need a place to hang the map, so make sure you measure accordingly before you purchase.
---- Collectible U.S. quarters. Besides the popular commemorative state quarters that were issued between 1999 and 2008, there are now “America the Beautiful” quarters representing national parks and monuments across the nation. Try to collect the ones that correspond to places you’ve visited, and keep them in a special jar or book. They’re in heavy circulation, and you’ve probably got some in your laundry change already. But if you are missing some or can’t seem to find them, you can purchase collectible quarters from both sets at usmint.gov, ebay or other collector’s websites.
---- Refrigerator magnets. This is the souvenir we decided to collect. Magnets typically cost anywhere from $3 to $8, depending on just how “touristy” the particular location is. They might not be the most unusual souvenir, but refrigerator magnets do make for a fun display that is easy to create in an RV. Since our RV, like most of them, doesn’t have a metal refrigerator door, we bought a piece of sheet metal like this one from Ace Hardware and mounted it on the fridge door with. Our collection has now outgrown the refrigerator door, so we bought another piece of metal and mounted it on a skinny, blank wall space.
Happy memory-making, and happy collecting!