There’s nothing better than planning a vacation to break out of the day to day minutia of our lives. Whether you’re visiting your favorite destination or traveling to a new area, you’re bound to come across plenty of unique items you’ll want to bring home with you.
However, when buying souvenirs, it’s important to take your time and do your homework to make sure you’re not wasting your money or making your life more difficult.
We’re here to help. Keep reading for our top eight tips to follow when picking out the perfect souvenirs to commemorate your time away from home.
1. Determine Whether or Not You Can Pack the Item in Your Luggage
First and foremost, you need to think about logistics. For example, if you’ve flown to your vacation destination, you need to consider whether or not you can get an item back home on the plane.
How big is it? Will the airline with whom you’re flying allow the item onboard? If not, what are your other options?
If you can’t put the item in your luggage or carry it on board, you’ll likely be able to ship it home. However, this can be quite costly. Research the best way to ship items based on the location.
2. Find Out if You’re Getting a Fair Price
Next, as with any purchase, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a fair price when buying souvenirs. However, a fair price for an authentic souvenir may not be a cheap price.
Most likely, when you find an item of interest, you’ll be able to do some research using your smartphone, possibly on the spot. If you’re overseas and don’t have international coverage, head over to the nearest cafe to get a wifi signal.
Then, do some homework about the item in question to determine if you’re being offered a good deal. In many countries outside of the U.S., it’s normal and even encouraged to haggle with vendors. If this is the case, play hardball to get a better price.
3. Learn How to Identify Authentic Souvenirs vs. Knock-Offs
In many tourist destinations, it’s common to come across street vendors pitching counterfeit products. While it may be tempting to get a knock-off Louis Vuitton purse for next to nothing, the consequences can be dire. In some countries, if you’re caught with counterfeit products, even in airports, you could be fined thousands of dollars.
When shopping while traveling, ask questions to ensure authenticity. For example:
- Is it made locally?
- Does it have a stamp or badge of authentication?
You can also ask locals about the shops or products in question.
4. Determine if It’s Something You’ll Actually Use at Home
When buying souvenirs, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement. You can find beautiful decor items, clothing unique to the local culture, etc. However, though these things are sensible in the area, you need to determine whether or not you’ll actually use it once you get home.
Most people, for example, only use 20% of their wardrobes. Buying clothing exclusive to a specific culture will most likely only add to your unused collection.
5. Make Sure It’s an Appropriate Gift
When buying souvenirs for friends and family members who aren’t on the trip with you, it’s important to take a moment to consider their personalities. Don’t waste your money buying things you think are cool that they won’t appreciate. For example, some souvenirs require perspective or are only meaningful to people who have visited the area.
If you have friends who also like to travel, consider finding gifts for travelers that could make their life easier on the road, flying, vacationing abroad, etc.
6. Research the Area to Avoid Tourist Traps
Doing research about a vacation destination is one of the best things any traveler can do. This is especially important if you’re traveling outside of your own country. You can find out important details about day-to-day interactions.
For example, in some countries:
- It’s considered rude to tip
- The drinking age is 18
- Haggling is expected while buying souvenirs and other products
However, it’s also important to do your homework about tourist traps. In popular tourist destinations, they are abundant. Know how to avoid tourist traps and how to politely, yet forcefully refuse people looking to take advantage of you.
7. Make Sure It’s Legal
Sometimes, buying souvenirs from another country and bringing them home can actually be illegal. You can be stopped at customs, fined, or even arrested. Some of these items include:
- Any kind of drugs
- Natural items (sand, seashells, etc.)
- Certain types of alcohol
- Counterfeit designer items
- And more
Before making any purchases, make sure you check to see if you can legally bring it back home. Being put in jail in a foreign country would be terrifying.
8. Don’t Make Any Impulsive Decisions
If you have a collection of souvenirs, odds are you’re not new to the game. However, this also means you like to shop while traveling. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you should probably create a budget for souvenirs before you leave.
While saving for your trip, make sure you set aside a predetermined amount of money for buying souvenirs, both for yourself and for your friends and family. If you have a set budget, it will help you avoid making impulse decisions.
Vacationing is a time to indulge in good foods and fine drinks, and spoil ourselves a bit. However, you don’t want to put yourself in a bad financial position.
Want More Tips for Buying Souvenirs and Traveling?
Whether you’re traveling somewhere overseas or are visiting another state inside the U.S., it’s only natural to want to bring some trinkets home with you. Just remember to shop smart when buying souvenirs.
And if you’re looking for more advice on traveling, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog is dedicated to providing informative and helpful content for people just like you.