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Collecting Souvenir Patches and Badges around the World

Souvenir Patches: A Colorful Collection

When I saw first saw Daniel Daugherty’s souvenir collection of patches and badges from around the world, I was immediately intrigued by them and asked if I could feature them here.

patch badge dmz singapore penang thailand usa malaysia secret service korea japan wales russia souvenirThen it hit me why I was so drawn to Daniel’s patch-covered bag– it reminded me of my beloved girl scout sash, stitched with badges earned for “essential” scouting skills like baking cookies and pitching a tent. I eventually outgrew the scouts and stashed the sash away, but secretly missed collecting the colorful badges.

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Daniel started his collection ten years ago while living abroad in England, thinking it would be a fun (and cheap) way to remember his visit and to add a splash of color to an otherwise ordinary messenger bag.

Daniel’s messenger bag is like the grown up version of a scout sash– but instead of building a campfire or tying a knot, Daniel has crossed oceans and climbed mountains to earn his badges. Each of Daniel’s patches reflects a country or region he has visited.

souvenir patches Japan thailand koreaCollecting the same souvenir from place to place sounds like it would be easy enough, but as Daniel learned, that wasn’t always the case– at certain destinations, the patches were tricky to find and he would sometimes find himself going out of his way to track down a prized patch.

Each Souvenir Patch represents a Memory

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Daniel’s patches for Donegal and Ulster Counties in Northern Ireland bring back memories of hiking and watching Irish musicians at locked-in pubs.

souvenir patch badge malaysia wales penang

On Penang Island in Malaysia, Daniel rode a motorcycle for a week in search of the best roadside food.

souvenir patch badge vietnam thailand japan secret service russia

The United States Secret Service patch is courtesy of Daniel’s father, who was under their watch and protection while working as a mechanic on the George W. Bush 2000 campaign jet.

souvenir patches badges germany poland switzerland ireland france

badge patch poland souvenir switzerland germany france ireland reddit koreaA Souvenir Patch Collection as a way to Connect with others through a Love of Travel

As Daniel’s souvenir patches quickly accumulated, he discovered an unexpected benefit of his collection– they became a way to connect with others about his travels.

People regularly ask “have you really been to all those places?” I love being able to say “yes” and talk about the places I’ve been and loved. Now I’m an English teacher in Korea and my kids love looking at the flags and asking which is which. Lots of adults do, too.— Daniel Daugherty

Special thanks to Daniel Daugherty for sharing his souvenir patch collection and photos.  Check out Daniel’s travel blog, teflorbust.wordpress.com and his travel photos at google.com/+DanielDaughertyinKorea.

Do you have a favorite souvenir collection? Share in the comments below!

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18 Responses to Collecting Souvenir Patches and Badges around the World

  1. sueslaght 03/18/2014 at 9:31 am #

    Kristin I can imagine the patches must be a conversation starter wherever he goes. What fun to be able to say “Yes” to the question “Have you really been to all those places?”

  2. Mountains and Giraffes 03/23/2014 at 1:20 am #

    I have a brand new Puffin patch from Iceland 😉

    My collections are coffee mugs, elephants for my mom and magnets – i have tons of each.

    • Kristin Francis 04/03/2014 at 8:52 am #

      How cute! It makes me want to collect patches but not sure where I would put them as I don’t have a backpack.

      • stephyjetsetter 07/25/2015 at 7:47 pm #

        I started collecting patches when I moved to the USA from England 4 years ago, I got a patch from every city or state or national park I went to in the USA and ironed them onto a blanket, and I carried on collecting them when I moved to Paris, France and when I went backpacking around Europe and then when I moved to New Zealand. My blanket is getting very full and its the most interesting thing I own. I love collecting them and the triumphant feeling when I manage to find a patch thats hard to find!!

      • Kristin Francis 07/29/2015 at 10:18 pm #

        Stephy that sounds amazing– I would love to see a photo of the blanket if you have one! email me souvenirfinder@gmail.com

  3. Escape Hunter 04/08/2014 at 7:44 am #

    Great idea to collect these… Great souvenirs. I’d take very good care of them, so I guess I’d save them from getting “ruined” on my bag through usage…

  4. Shep Willner 06/12/2014 at 11:06 pm #

    Wherever I travel, especially on cruise shore excursions, I make a point of trying to buy lapel pins or magnets. Why these items? Because they’re small and easy to pack as opposed to big things like mugs or heavy items like azulejos tiles. But I usually make an exception (or two): For example, I wanted to take home a sample of the wonderful blue Izmir ceramic ware from Turkey, which I visited last year on a Eastern Med cruise. I found a nice mug in a touristy shop in Kusadasi. I also bought a evil eye–is that what the symbol called?– from that same shop (I forgot the name). At the Grand Bazar in Istanbul, I wanted to get one of those nice leather bags, but I didn’t want to drag another bag home w/me. Besides, I have a quite of few bags in my closet–weird for a straight guy like me! Anyway, I bought quite a few lapel pins from other places, along w/many magnets, including the 3-D variety in Dubronik and Split in Croatia, which I visited in 2012 on another cruise. So, what do I do w/these pins? I put them on lanyards and in display bags, usually organizing them around themes: shows, Disney, Olympics, etc. Some of the lanyards end up being so heavy that I usually hang them around my door knob instead of wearing them. I hoped to have done just that on my recent trip to WDW and Universal Studios, where I bought a few Disney and Harry Potter-related pins, each of which ended up on their respective lanyards, which I also bought. And yeah, those things are so heavy that I hung them on the aforementioned doorknob! Here’s to more lapel pins in a few months! 🙂

  5. Anonymous 07/13/2014 at 6:58 am #

    i too have a collection on my backpack. It’s becoming harder and harder to find patches though

    • Kristin Francis 07/18/2014 at 11:37 am #

      Interesting– these used to be one of the main souvenirs you could buy, now I think people are moving away from what are considered more traditional souvenirs?

  6. Shep Willner 09/01/2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Question: How did Mr. Daugherty get all those badges affixed to his messenger bag? Did he have them sewn on or ironed on? I ask because if they’re ironed on, I know from experience that ironed on badges do not stay affixed to the material they’re attached to. If they’re sewn on, where are the stitches? Are the badges glued to the bag? Anyhoo, I prefer taking the risk of getting pricked by the pins on the rear of lapel pins. The side-benefit I get from the collection is that I no longer fear needles entering my skin for injections or blood tests; I just don’t like needles, but I no longer fear them either.

  7. Brian A. Reynolds 09/25/2014 at 2:08 am #

    I have collected patches from every country I have been to and sometimes if I find an interesting one in a city I am in I’ll get it. I have them on my guitar case . . . real conversation starter! One of the patches I even had sort of custom made because the shop was an embroidery shop in Mali Losijn, Croatia and they took the town crest and made the name below it . . . it truly is a great experience to hunt down patches . . . great thing to collect!

  8. Brian A. Reynolds 09/25/2014 at 2:15 am #

    I have used fabric glue to attach the patches and it seems to work really well especially after ironing . . . seems that the combined strength of the fabric glue with the adhesive thats already usually on patches makes for a solid hold.

  9. Anonymous 03/16/2015 at 10:18 am #

    I was just shown this article. I have had the same main backpack for 13 years and collect patches on it. ISometimes I feel like my bag is more well traveled than me. I lived for a short time overseas, so I made a separate Asia Pacific bag.

    • Kristin Francis 03/16/2015 at 4:08 pm #

      Amazing! After 13 years I can imagine how full that must be. Would love to see them if you have photos. : )

  10. marycfletcher 06/26/2015 at 4:13 pm #

    My husband celebrated out 30th Wedding Anniversaty with a fly drive holiday through Arizona, California, Utah and Hawaii (Oahu, Hawaii and Maui). We had the time of our lives and love America. We stopped at Visitor Centres, talked to amazing staff and This is where I started our collection of patches. I bought some material from Volcano and have decided to make a memory quilt. I have 27 patches but cannot find anywhere to purchase a Sedona, Bell Rock or Vortex patch. We also had helicopter flights over the Grand Canyon on our Anniversary 20/04/15 and took another over Maui and Molokai. Can I get a helicopter patch that is suitable? The tour flight don’t stock patches and I haven’t received an answer from the EC130 helicopter manufacturer. Can anyone help me with ideas? I’d very much appreciate them at marycfletcher@hotmail.com it’s going to be an awesome quilt. Many thanks Mary. (UK)

    • Kristin Francis 06/26/2015 at 8:01 pm #

      Mary did you try ebay? How frustrating not to be able to complete your collection! I would love to see a photo of the quilt when it’s done, what a fantastic idea!

  11. Manuel Condado 08/23/2016 at 11:10 pm #

    Do you where I can find th reddit (snoo) patch? can’t find it online

  12. Anonymous 11/20/2016 at 3:22 pm #

    Why is the United States flag upsidedown?

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