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.
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.