I’m going to try to keep this one short and to the point! See, there are so many opinions out there about what a ‘good’ souvenir is – along with other about what a ‘bad’ souvenir is, what to get, what to avoid that I just couldn’t help but weigh in on the important things to remember when you’re buying souvenirs on your travels.

7 Important Things To Remember When You're Buying Souvenirs On Your Travels

1.) There is no such thing as a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ souvenir. As long as it is legal and it doesn’t cause harm to people or the environment, everything is fair game. This could be anything from expensive jewellery to a shell picked up on the beach. The most important factor is for that souvenir to provide with you an opportunity to reconnect with your travels when you look back at it.

2.) Price is unimportant. The biggest thing (again) is that personal connection you feel.

3.) A lot of people telling you what to buy and what to avoid are doing so (a lot of the times) based on THEIR personal preference and not yours. Why shouldn’t you buy a ‘tacky’ t-shirt as a souvenir if you want one? Surely it’s what YOU want that matters the most when it comes to choosing YOUR souvenir, am I right? 🙂

4.) It is important to be practical of course. Even on a train, you’ll struggle to carry back a life-size metal artwork of an elephant back as a souvenir. That being said, I did say you’d struggle but not that it would be impossible. 😉 (I caveat that because I’ve seen people who loved their souvenir so much they’ve made special arrangements to ship it back home).

5.) Don’t be worried about being a stereotype. We are all unique yet very similar and in situations where there’s only a finite amount of choice to be made (there are only so many souvenirs one can possibly get after all), chances are that you’ll end up making the same choice as someone else. 🙂

6.) Always try to get good value when you buy your souvenir. This is both in terms of price and quality. There’s nothing that taints your souvenir more than getting home and realising you paid 4 times more than everyone else… or getting home and finding out that the porcelain turtle you bought has had it’s tail snapped off.

7.) Check that the item you’re buying is actually allowed back in your home country. Don’t end up like one of those people on those airport customs TV shows.

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  • MissLilly

    I used to buy souvenirs, but realised I didn’t care that much about it, so decided to change into postcards instead. Every time I visited a new place, even if in my home country, I would buy a postcard. Would also encourage friends to send me postcards if they were travelling so have a few that I really love. Nowadays it’s something that doesn’t even cross my mind. I don’t buy anything for me, friends and family except the magnets that my sister loves having on the fridge. I replaced all the souvenirs with photos. Would be interesting to know what you guys are buying as souvenirs 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      I collected postcards until I was about 15, then for some reason just stopped – I kinda wish I’d kept it up. Totally know what you mean though, we only tend to buy something if it stands out to us – we wont insist on just getting anything, which means we end up getting some little souvenir every other trip. Totally know what you mean about pictures, especially nowadays when you can take thousands on one trip.

      We’ll have to post some pics of our little trinkets we’ve got and show you. 🙂

      Lloyd 🙂

      • MissLilly

        Yes please 🙂

  • Sometimes the best souvenirs are the cheapest. I collected souvenirs int he past and realised that they were collecting dust and swapped to postcards and smaller trinkets / deco items instead of just hoarding things just because!

    x Carina / Running White Horses

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Exactly! You read my mind – it has to be personal and something that fits with you! Thanks so much for sharing Carina, I bet you’ve managed to collect quite a few postcards 🙂

      Lloyd x

  • Raquel

    I’m too a postcard person, with very counted exceptions (I so wanted to get a daruma doll in Japan and totally forgot in the end). My problem is that I now buy TOO MANY postcards (I definitely got a postcard with daruma dolls on it), because what is moderation. I guess I’m truly a hoarder no matter what xD

    And you know what I think about typical souvenirs (or whatever)? I think they’re typical for a reason. People like them in mass because of something, so what if we’re being stereotypical in choosing a souvenir? So long as one enjoys it, it can be the most or the least original thing, who cares!

    xo!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re so right… I’m slightly worried that our ‘travel wall’ is going to be swamped soon – although their always nice to look at 🙂 … and dust :-(.

      I love what you mentioned Raquel, it has to be totally personal and if that’s typical so be it! Thanks so much for sharing your point of view too.

      Lloyd x

  • Really nice post! I do think however that it would be important however that people consider where their souvenirs come from. Often those ‘been there, done that’ t-shirts are cheaply manufactured in not the country you are actually visiting. Not necessarily something wrong with that but when you give a souvenir you not only want to connect with the person you are giving it too, but also the country it is coming from. With that in mind, I prefer to keep it to seashells, sand & co or find artisan shops that really show a country’s craftsmanship as well as support the local economy.

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thank you so much! You’re totally right, I think a locally produced gift is such a long-term reminder of a great experience. That’s exactly what we did in Cinque Terre, we found a little pottery artist and bought this really cool wall art that looks like an octopus with chicken pox! 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      Lloyd x

  • Completely agree, you can get whatever you want to! Besides, it doesnt matter about about being a stereotypical tourist, you probably look very much like a tourist anyway, might as well embrace it 😉

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Yes! Thanks so much Vanisha – so glad you feel the same as us too! 🙂

      Lloyd 🙂 x

  • I like how you talked about not worrying if you are “stereotypical” or not. It’s so true! Just do you…it’s your vacation, your life, and you can’t care what anyone else thinks…
    This is getting deep hahaha
    xx http://www.nuunablog.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Haha! So glad you got my point Emma. You’re so right, it just has to be for you and if you like it, who cares right?!? 🙂

      Yaya xx