What do you collect on your travels?

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Courtesy Vonelle Viajera/myBudgetTravel
A reader's shell collection

Matchbooks. Maps. Seashells. Sand. Hotel-room key cards. Heck, even hotel shampoo. Some of the most collectible travel souvenirs don't cost a cent, but perfectly capture a memory of a place. When I was planning a recent trip to France to sniff out secret hotels of Paris for our February issue, I unearthed a Paris Métro map from the '90s, which I'd saved in a file folder of miscellaneous keepsakes. It may sound corny, but unfolding that map brought back such fond memories of my earliest trips to the city and that thrill of (self-)discovery that comes with exploring a new place on your own. (Speaking of sniffing, I've also always had a Proustian reaction to the scent of the Paris subway. Bizarre, I know, but at least I'm not alone in my public-transportation obsession.) What are your favorite freebies to pick up on a trip? Or does the thought of keeping stuff like this around send you into a de-cluttering frenzy?

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