I have a little cottage business selling note cards and matted prints to local gift shops and galleries.
I live in a high tourist area during the summer and two items that sell well are 5 x 7 note cards and 11 x 14 matted photos. The note cards do particularly well because I print only local area photos landscape, birds, sunsets/sunrises and water scenes with the emphasis on local scenes that someone can recognize the area.
As you said, when people go on vacation, they typically want to bring back home a memory of the trip. Often times, they'll stop in a gift shop and find everything is rather pricey. BUT, they notice note cards because they are affordable.
Not sure if your in the States or not but a good source for materials and supplies is Red River Paper.. They are an online vendor. I use their 7 x 10 River Linen card stock which prints beautifully out on ink jet printers and folds to a 5 x 7. The note cards come out so well that many people just frame them.
Red River sells the envelopes and cards stock, in boxes of 50. So, if you wanted to run a trial your investment would be rather low.
As for an 8.5 x 11 photo in a 11 x 14 matte; matted photos outsell framed prints 10 to one in my area. Reason being, people have to carry this all the way back home-wherever home is.
If they're flying home, matted photos fits inside a piece of luggage a lot easier than a frame.
Good Luck in your new endeavor
Last edited by zig-123; Jun 17, 2010 at 8:56 AM.