Souvenir hunting is a must activity during any trip. We often want to bring gifts for our friends and family, colleagues at work and, of course, ourselves. Moreover, the temptation to buy magnets and postcards is often great. But do not let it take over.
In order to make travel memories last forever, but at the same time get something meaningful and useful, plan your purchases in advance. Research the place you are traveling to, find out about the local culture and visit little flea markets. All of this will help you find unique, authentic and special things, which will warm your heart and remind about happy moments of your journey. Believe me a little handmade necklace will please you more than any colorful magnet on the fridge.
Each country has its own little souvenir spots. But in this article, we will give you several ideas which can guide you during the shopping part of your trip.
Authentic tableware will make any dining table look beautiful and unique. If you don’t have a lot of space in your suitcase, look for small hand-painted plates, cups or saucers on local markets. Spain and Mexico are known for its colorful ceramics. And if you are visiting China, don’t miss an opportunity to purchase its famous porcelain tea utensils. On the other hand, if you have plenty of space in your luggage, you can even buy a whole set of national tableware or some special dishes like pudding form from England or paella pan from Spain.
Clothes and accessories
National clothes can be a very unusual and extravagant souvenir. Besides traditional apparel, you can find more modern options which reflect local fashion trends. It can be anything from dresses and skirts to hats and shoes. For instance, Italy is known for the high-quality leather bags, which can be both memorable and useful souvenir. If you are traveling to southern countries, bring back some colorful fabrics with unusual patterns. Later you can make a piece of clothing out of it.
When traveling with just a backpack it is more reasonable to look for small souvenirs. Music is pretty much a weightless option. Find a music store and purchase a CD with songs from local singers. This is a great way to get acquainted with local music tastes and sounds. You can choose it yourself or asks what is popular at the moment. Listening to this CD at home will remind about the time spend on a journey.
Instead of fun but useless key chains, bring home some beautiful pieces of jewelry: rings, earrings, necklaces etc. It does not have to be anything expensive. Little handmade pieces can be easily found in little tourist shops or outdoor markets. But if you want to invest in something more expensive, it is better to visit a certified store. Buying jewelry on the street may end up being a disappointment. Gold may turn out to be an ordinary iron and diamonds end up a regular glass.
Did you know that you can preserve the memories from the trip and keep them fresh without even buying anything? While on vacation, collect little things like entrance tickets, boarding passes or receipts for the cafés. Later at home, you can put all of these things into a separate album and complement it with photos and descriptions of the places you’ve been to.
In the process, you will be able to remember feelings and emotions experienced during particular moments of the journey. It can even become a fun hobby if you decide to create a separate thematic album dedicated to each of your trips.
Christmas toys and ornaments
If you like to travel during the winter time, there is a big chance that you will be able to visit local Christmas market. It is not only a fun activity and a chance to try local food, but also an opportunity to buy Christmas toys. Imagine collecting ornaments from all over the world. And then during Christmas decorate your tree with different toys which represent memories from your trips. Store them in one box and use particular pieces to tell your friends and family stories about how and where you bought it.
I bet you can identify a home of an avid traveler right away. It is always full of things like furniture, textiles, painting brought from all over the world. In fact, home décor pieces are another great idea of not only a memorable souvenir but a useful purchase. For instance, colorful home textiles like bed linens or pillows with embroidery can bring a fresh feel to any interior. Vases, made out the famous Bohemian crystal, will serve you many years and make your living space more elegant. And traditional Swedish wooden Dala horse statuette can become a piece of Scandinavian style in your home.
Photos and video
This is probably the most obvious way to capture travel memories. But you can always make your pictures unique and unusual. Keep a video diary and film what you do and see each day of the trip. Or film yourself talking about a particular place or architecture like a professional TV host. You can post the video on YouTube, which will not only keep your memories fresh but also help others learn something new. Take photos of local residents (with their permission of course). Over time this kind of photos can make a very interesting collection of yours.
Buying tons of fridge magnets from every city in the world is not the most reasonable activity. On the other hand, if you love collecting things, traveling can be a great way to spot rare items. Whether you collect badges or dolls, there is always a chance to replenish your collection with additions from foreign places. Philatelists will certainly be delighted with stamps from the local post office and numismatists can go hunting for rare coins. If you do not have a collection yet, but want to start, try gathering labels, calendars or figurines. Looking through your collection will bring you joy and make your travel memories last.
Sand and seashells
Sand and seashells are the best souvenir options for those who are traveling on a budget. It is absolutely free. You can store sand in little jars or small vases, while seashells may become a great decor piece for a succulent terrarium. Keep in mind that some countries ban the export of seashells. It is better to check the policy beforehand, in order not to get in trouble.
You can also substitute seashells and sand for little stones, fallen leafs or flowers. Basically, anything that is small, simple and has emotional value.
In conclusion, I want to remind you that memories live in your heart. And anything from a piece of napkin to the sound of a song can keep them preserved. Do not limit yourself to only tourist souvenir shops. Keep exploring surrounding areas and you will definitely find something original.