The Souvenir Decor Expert Nate Berkus Loves To Bring Home From His Travels

Picking up souvenirs is a great way to keep little mementos from your travels. Whether you collect magnets, keychains, and T-shirts or love to look for hidden gems at local craft markets, it's always a rush when you find the perfect keepsake to bring home. Interior designer and TV personality Nate Berkus took to social media to share a beautiful souvenir he picked up in Portugal — one that may not seem practical at first. 

Berkus showed off a decorative pottery piece featuring an intricate figural drawing of a woman and a bird on the face of the plate. While art like this can be fragile, he uses a simple packing strategy. "One thing we always look for when we travel is pottery because it's easy to wrap up in your dirty clothes and bring it back from vacation," he said in an Instagram post. If you fall in love with a work of art like this on your trip, you don't necessarily have to spend a fortune to ship your souvenirs home. The little bit of extra effort and care required when packing is worth it to bring home unique keepsakes with sentimental value.

Bring home souvenirs you love

Finding a memento unique to the place you visited will make it even more special. Look for souvenirs with features that will take you back to the destination or remind you of an activity you did there, and consider where you might display it when you're back. "I love filling my home with pieces that have meaning, especially when they remind me of places I've traveled," Berkus wrote in his post. However, you may not have the budget to go shopping at boutique galleries owned by famous French interior designers, like Stork Club in Portugal, where Berkus found the handmade plate. Fortunately, you can find unique gems and handicrafts if you're traveling on a budget, as well. 

Souvenir stores in busy tourist areas typically have higher prices and sell similar mass-produced products, sometimes trying to pass them off as handmade. Even major landmark and museum gift stores can be overpriced. Instead, keep your eyes out for markets and locally-owned shops for budget-friendly souvenirs to consider. This is a great way to be an ethical traveler and give your money straight to the local economy. In some cases, you'll even get to speak to the artist who made the piece, making the purchase even more memorable. If you're traveling light and just want to bring a flavor of the local culture home with you, the grocery store is one of the best places to buy souvenirs. Yes, the grocery store.

Follow these souvenir packing tips

As Berkus said on Instagram, you can wrap fragile souvenirs in your dirty (or clean) clothes to transport them home. It's also wise to take a few extra packing precautions to avoid the disappointment and heartbreak you'd feel if you opened your suitcase to find shards of the pottery you loved. Ask the shopkeeper or artist to wrap it in bubble wrap, cardboard, or newspaper for extra protection. Then, when packing, use your laundry as an outer layer of padding. If you buy a hollow pottery piece like a vase or mug, stuff the inside with socks to maximize space and provide a bit of resistance.

It's also important to strategically place your fragile souvenirs in your backpack or suitcase, so they are well-protected. If you know you love to collect art, bringing a postal tube will let you wrap several pieces up safely together. They come in several different sizes, so you can find one that doesn't take up too much room in your bag. You can then buy unframed prints, drawings, and canvas paintings to transport more easily and frame when you get home. Here are more tips that make packing souvenirs easier so you can fill your house with beautiful memories from around the world, a la Nate Berkus.