The 6 Best Souvenirs to Buy When Travelling

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Souvenir buying can be such a torture.  You want something that is meaningful, preferably lightweight, reasonably priced, and well… not tacky.  I have bought a variety of items for others and myself over the years and here is what I consider a pretty good guide to what can make excellent souvenirs.  Keep in mind that some locations might have some specialities that you may want to take advantage of like a carpet in India. Here we go:

Christmas Ornament: This is my absolute favourite thing to buy on trips. First of all, ornaments are usually small and lightweight.  Secondly, I can usually find one for about 10$ which is pretty decent.  Thirdly, I don’t have to worry about having another knick-knack gathering dust on my dresser because I can store it with my other ornaments and Christmas tree.  Finally, every year as I do my tree I love to unwrap each ornament and remember my trips as I hang them.  It’s also fun for visitors to look at them and ask questions about my experience.

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Food: I returned from my trip to Switzerland with about a 1 kg of chocolate and they were a hit. The advantage of bringing back food is that it’s easy to share with a group and is usually quite inexpensive.  The drawback, once it’s all eaten there is nothing left to remind you of the trip and it can be problematic depending on customs laws.  So make sure you are aware of what can and cannot be brought into your home country.

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Children’s Stories: While buying for kids might be easier since they are pretty excited to receive a gift no matter what it is, I opt for items that can be kept over the long term.  Children’s books that contain local folktales or information about the place I visited are one of my personal favorite things to purchase.  My nephew is a big reader and I still have many children’s books since they are timeless.  Thus, a book is a great souvenir and learning tool.  I found some amazing books in India that were written in English and Hindi.

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Jewellery: In some places you can get some beautiful silver jewellery for very inexpensive. While jewellery preferences can be quite personal, if you have a close friend or sibling you can probably pick out something they will love.  It’s also a great item to pick up for yourself that is super lightweight, long lasting, and easy to make use of.

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Dish towel or oven mitts: Do you know a new home-owner? If yes, they probably could do with a dish towel or oven mitts.  Some of the examples out there are borderline tacky, but others can be a pretty cool addition to someone’s house decoration.  I picked up oven mitts with Gaudi’s signature design in Spain and they make me smile each time I take something out of the oven.

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{……………. BONUS …………..}

Pens: This seems like an item that would never make it onto a recommended list. But I keep a pen in virtually all my purses, and sometimes I have as many as 5 of them at once.  I collect them from hotels, conferences, and the occasional car dealership.  We all need a pen in our lives, so if you want to absolutely buy someone a gift without spending much, a pen is useful, small and practical.  A winner to me!

Are you a seasoned souvenir shopper?  What are you buying for yourself and others?

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