Via's readers bring back cookbooks, ornaments, postcards, and much more.
"I collect water from famous rivers—the Rio Grande, Nile, Mississippi—and keep it in glass vials," says Ana Stenzel of Redwood City, Calif.
"Look for distinctive things for the table: a ceramic jug, a tablecloth, or pictorial place mats," writes Andrew Abel of Cupertino, Calif.
"I like souvenirs that evoke our experiences: music CDs, perfume, wine," says Emily Edmiston of Eagle, Idaho.
"Buy a piece of art from a street artist or poster shop," suggests Pamela Connolly of Billings, Mont.
"We roam farmers' markets for honeys and jams," says Nicholas Taylor of Oakland.
"Laminate a ticket stub or restaurant card," says Victoria Lasin of Sebastopol, Calif. "Now you have a bookmark."
Illustration by Michael Klein 
This article was first published in March 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.