Some are presents for friends or relatives at home, but there's usually at least one for the travelers themselves to keep, especially if they've gone on a longer trip and brought back international souvenirs.
But why are souvenirs so popular? After all, photography preserves memories as well, and with the advent of digital cameras, you don't even have to pay to get the pictures developed in order to look at them.
Why are people happy to spend extra even on objects as simple as keychains, magnets, or postcards from their destination? Pictures are great, but people really enjoy the feeling of buying something that they could not have bought at home.
This is particularly true of international souvenirs, as different countries have local crafts and brands that can be difficult or impossible to obtain abroad even over the internet.
Having an object that you can only get at your destination serves as a sort of additional proof you've been there and allows people to feel like they've been able to bring part of the place home with them.
Souvenirs are also often easier to display than a collection of photos.
They can serve as a quick way to show all the places you've been, and a great conversation starter about your adventures.
Again, this is especially true of international souvenirs- exotic specialty items- but it also applies to a collection of keychains or magnets from different states or regions within your own country.
Because there are similar types of souvenirs in different places, souvenirs can also serve as a way to link your travels together or prove how extensive they are.
For example, a popular type of souvenir is something in the shape of the state or country being visited.
Collecting these in several places and displaying them in map form to show you've traveled to all 50 states or all the major countries in Europe, for example, links together separate trips into one narrative.
It can also help show the scope of your travels.
A collection of photo albums is great, but many people have those for ordinary family pictures as well- and digital photography makes the storage space for photos even smaller.
A large, visible collection of souvenirs, especially when well displayed, evokes a strong sense of how many places the collector has really been.
Souvenirs also often have the advantage of having information about their place of origin printed either directly on them or on an accompanying card.
While people remember their own experiences of their travels, having general information like important historical dates or city names on a souvenir can help them better remember and recount tales of their destination.
For all these reasons, souvenirs are still an important way of enjoying and remembering your trips, even with the current easy access to photos as a way to record the journey.