For many, shopping for souvenirs is a vacation highlight. Souvenirs allow you to bring a piece of your trip back home. They bring back fun memories and give you a bit of unique culture.
However, many souvenirs are unused, forgotten, broken, or lost. There is an art to choosing and buying souvenirs. Some things simply shouldn’t be bought. It’s important to be thoughtful about the types of souvenirs you bring home. Doing so can boost your memories of the trip and save you some money.
Of course, the “best” souvenirs will depend on your specific likes, dislikes, and budget, follow these tips for the best ones to purchase and which ones to avoid.
Best Souvenir Ideas
First, this list is popular for bringing back gifts for people, or as collector’s items. These are less personal and more mass-market, but they are easy to purchase and pack in your suitcase.
- Fridge magnets
- Shot glasses
- Christmas ornaments
- T-shirts or local clothing
5 Meaningful Souvenirs You Won’t Regret
What has meaning to each of us is different. However, certain categories of souvenirs are more personal and may have higher sentimental value. Check out these 5 best souvenir ideas for yourself or others!
- Postcards: a great option if you write a meaningful memory on it and mail it to yourself. You can frame it when you get home. Plus, they are super lightweight and easily packed.
- Locally made items: Purchasing local hand-made items is a win. Often they are cheaper when found locally, and are unique. You’re unlikely to find them anywhere else! Another example of this is local artwork. Smaller pieces will be easy to bring back; larger artful items will require shipping home, so make sure they do it right!
- Foreign currency: This is an easy souvenir. Often when traveling you have to exchange U.S. dollars for local currency. Try to save a bill or a few coins by the end of your trip. It’s an excellent souvenir!
- Something practical: This category includes items that you’ll actually use when you come home. For instance, think about handbags, jewelry, clothing, shoes, accessories, and the like.
- Photos: Who doesn’t take hundreds of photos when traveling? Do yourself a favor and have some of your favorites printed and framed. There’s no better memory than looking back at pictures of your experiences.
5 Souvenirs Ideas to Avoid
These souvenirs sound good but actually are a bad idea
- Sea shells, coral: These might seem like an easy (and free) way to get local items during a beach vacation, however, removing these from the local habitat is not eco-friendly. Depending on the location, there may even be laws about removing such natural wonders from the beach.
- Mugs: Mugs can easily break, and most around the world are made in the same factory. So this might seem cool, but really isn’t.
- Food and drinks: Food you try abroad never tastes the same when you bring it home. There is also the risk of it spoiling and being seized by customs.
- Items that can be found at home: If you can find it online at home, especially if it’s cheaper, it’s not worth buying abroad.
- Key chains: Just like coffee mugs, this is kind of generic, they are all made in the same place, and after you have one or two you don’t need anymore.
Make and Keep Memories!
Of course, nothing beats travel memories like the experience itself and the stories you have to tell afterward. Souvenirs offer a piece of your trip to take home and remember the good times. Choosing the right souvenirs can make a difference in how long you keep those memories with you. Find things that have personal value to you, are easy to take home, and are long-lasting. It’ll make you feel like the trip was even more special!