(Before It's News)
“Bring me back a souvenir!” If you travel a lot, chances are you’ve heard that request before. Or maybe you’re planning a special trip somewhere, and you know that you’ll want to bring back a special memento for yourself or your family. Buying souvenirs while on vacation can be trickier than it sounds. What is a valuable keepsake, and what is tacky junk? Whether you’re buying for yourself or someone else, you’ll want to come home with something that’s valuable – at least to you – and not something that’s going to end up in the junk drawer. Then there are the practical concerns – like how to get everything that you bought on vacation home with you. To make your next vacation and souvenir-shopping experience a little easier, here are a few helpful tips on souvenir buying.
- Pick a meaningful souvenir. What is it that we’re really looking for when we shop for souvenirs? We want something that will remind us of our trip, of the good times we had and the essence of the place we’re visiting. With that in mind, it should be easy to steer clear of t-shirts and sweatshirts and plastic trinkets emblazoned with a location. Those things are sold all over the world, with little change from place to place, other than the location name. They do nothing to capture the essence of the place that you’re visiting, they only remind you of the name. A better choice might be a cookbook filled with regional recipes, or a beautiful shell you find yourself on the beach that you’re visiting (not every souvenir needs to cost money).
- Pictures can be the best mementos. You would never travel without your camera, would you? Of course not. Instead of buying a lot of random souvenirs to fill your suitcases with, choose just one: a themed photo album that reminds you of the place that you’re visiting. When you get home, fill it with all the photos from the trip. This will help keep your photographs organized, and it will give you a nice memento from your trip.
- How to get your souvenirs home. Your best bet would be to simply not buy too many souvenirs, but this can be easier said than done. One way to accomplish this is to try to wait till the end of your stay before buying anything. Spend your time in the shops windows shopping, and go back before you leave for anything that you just have to have. If you know that you are inclined to buy throughout your trip, or you plan to bring back souvenirs for a lot of people, you should consider bringing an empty suitcase or duffel bag with you. That way you have someplace to pack your new possessions.
One last tip to consider: if you end up purchasing items that are large, heavy, fragile, or otherwise awkward to pack and carry, spend the extra money to have it shipped home. Many hotels offer shipping service for guests, and some gift shops will as well. With a little careful planning, you can end up with souvenirs that you really like, and get them home without a hassle.
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