Your Best Souvenirs
Souvenirs, the mementos that bring to mind our favorite travel memories. So why do we buy flag lapel pins that we’ll never wear, garish sunglasses in the shape of monuments, and museum tote bags? I don’t have an answer, but I do have a list of some of the best souvenirs that you can bring home, knowing you’ll put them to good use.
While you should always check your country’s import laws, bringing home some delicious bites can mentally bring you back to that little shop where the light fell just right through the window as you sipped your tea and nibbled shortbread. Even while you’re surrounded by your toddler’s scattered toys. Wine (check quantity allowances), butter, cookies, hot chocolate bars, spices, preserves… Here are the current US import restrictions.
Clothes and Shoes
Yes, those Thai pants are comfy and you look cute in them. Once you’re home, you’ll probably wear them twice before going back to your usual style and then they’ll end up in the donate pile. So, why not start with your usual style? A couple of pieces that coordinate with your wardrobe can bring a little extra joy to your day. Leave the tourist markets and look for independent designers or even known designers.
The same goes for jewelry as it does for clothes. If you wear big statement pieces, then buy a couple. If not, then keep to your understated style. When we travel, we tend to view ourselves in a different light, the traveler version. And we can learn a lot from that perspective; at the same time, we rarely come home an entirely different person.
Especially look for craft cooperatives, where the makers set their prices and really receive the profits. There are too many shops that sell crafter’s work at an incredible mark up, with the maker receiving little of the profit. Think about what you’ll use in your own home. Will having those pillows in your living room give you joy? Do you want to start a collection of Christmas ornaments from around the world? Will you use the tortilla cover to keep the rolls warm on the table?
They can be more difficult to get home, but having drawings, paintings, and sculptures from your travels on your walls can bring an extra bit of the world into your home. Keep an eye towards your style, and an open mind regarding what might truly work.
If you’re in an area known for it’s incense, bath salts, perfumes; taking a few home can be a way to practice some self care on difficult days, or perhaps celebrate the great ones.
Obviously taking home several books would get heavy. But what about finding one book by an author from the town or region you’re vacationing in or perhaps one set there? Local book shops often have a table of signed books from local authors. You can read it on your trip, or maybe on the way home, to extend the experience some. Then, if you reread it later, it will bring back the memories of your travels.Once you're on your trip, don't be afraid to ask someone if they offer lessons Click To Tweet
This one is probably my favorite. Learning to make a dish from the place you’re visiting, picking up a dance step or technique, and practicing the local language are all experiences that you will carry with you and use throughout your life. When you’re planning your trip, take some time to look for classes on the skills and hobbies you’re interested in. And once you’re on your trip, don’t be afraid to ask someone if they offer lessons, they may refuse, but if they don’t you can end up with an experience that no one else had.
What’s the best souvenir you’ve found from your travels? I’d love for you to share it in the comments!