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How to Buy the Best Souvenirs

School’s ending and summer vacation is about to start – maybe you’re getting ready to go on a trip! If your family is anything like mine was growing up, exiting through the gift shop at every opportunity is an important part of the journey. But how do you pick the souvenirs that won’t be forgotten in a month?

  • Buy what you need. Maybe it’s weird to take stock of what you need as you’re getting ready to go on vacation, but think of it this way: it is likely that you’re going to want to buy something to remember the trip, so why not fill the gaps you already have? Is your favorite spatula about to go into retirement? Have you been thinking, “Now that I’ve joined the gym, I really need more tank tops”? Buy what you need!

  • Go for practical. This may be the only time you’ll ever hear me encouraging practicality over whimsy, but it’s amazing what this tip can do in the long run. Look for things that you will use in your day-to-day life. When I wipe my hands on the Royal Baby announcement dish towel I bought in London, I immediately get a flash of my trip there with my sister, and it makes me smile. This means you’ll be remembering your trip far more often than if you buy a tchotchke and then never look at it again. I loved this blog post about how to turn travel souvenirs into art!

  • Don’t be afraid to purchase later. Ok, controversial opinion here… but if you have a clear vision of something you want, but can’t find it? I think it’s OK to buy it online later. I just did a great hiking trip with my Dad in the Great Smoky Mountains, and I was so excited to get us matching pins for my travel jacket and his hat, but we never found any with the blue mountains and a bear that I wanted. So, when I got home, I looked on Etsy and found a shop local to the area that sold exactly what I wanted. Ideally your money would still go to a creator from your vacation spot, so do a little research – if it’s truly a local souvenir, you probably won’t struggle to find something!

Do you buy souvenirs when you travel? Do you have rules around them for the kids? We’d love to know what you think!

Originally posted on on May 24, 2022

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