Souvenirs: What Do You Buy?

September 26, 2011

Souvenirs and shopping abroad

Do you love to shop? Because we are always traveling, we get to see a LOT of souvenir shops. Some times I wonder who buys these kinds of things, yet they must sell well because we see similar things every where. After retiring, my Mom use to have a souvenir and shell shop near the beach and I was always amazed at how much stuff they could fit in there and how well it sold.

We are minimalist long term travelers, so we mostly just look at souvenir shops like in Portugal, Carcassonne in France, or a pottery place in Morocco.
We tend to like to buy hand made things like we did in sand art in Jordan, Byzantine art in Crete, Lace in Galica or woven fabric in Bhutan and give the money directly to the artist.

Collections are fun for traveling kids. Mozart has enjoyed collecting little travel buttons. They are perfect for us because they are tiny and the price is right. Sometimes we splurge and buy her a traditional outfit..usually too cute for me to resist and gives her a feel for the place.

Do you buy souvenirs when you travel? What do you like to buy?

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World Snoop

We are "practicing" for our RTW trip starting next summer. The Snoop is a year younger than Mozart. We agreed, as a family, that, rather than trying to stuff in "things" from each place we visit that we would stuff in experiences and FOOD -- we benefit in 3 ways:
1. We do more fun stuff
2. We get to bring home recipes (most folks have been very forthcoming)
3. Our one carry-on bag each remains carryable!
Every so often, we do see one thing that we just HAVE to have (a small stuffed Highland Coo from Scotland was just too adorable).


I found when I was travelling recently that the main souvenirs I bought, besides the masks in Venice that I knew I wanted before hand, were mostly for my family - little stuff that reminded me of them, or pieces of the places I was visiting that I wanted to share with them. Interestingly, this was a reaction to missing them a hell of a lot, and I knew it at the time. It was my first trip out of the country and the longest span I've ever been apart from my family, and I was travelling alone. I'm interested to see what happens when I go away for a few weeks in January with friends!


Love your blog...What to buy while traveling? is a great question. I bought some beautiful lace scarves in Paris for my daughters that they loved on my last trip. I usually warn my kids not to expect anything because I just won't spend the money on something that doesn't have a real usefulness or aesthetic value. Please no t-shirts exclaiming, "I love ____!"

Malika Henderson

I try to avoid clutter, so my favorite souvenirs are comsumables - food! Wild boar sausage from Italy, olive oil and pimiento peppers from Spain, achiote paste from the Yucatán, curry paste from Thailand...

Another good one is music, especially CDs from concerts/shows I've been to or street musicians I've watched. Once you copy the CDs to your computer or iPod or whatever, you don't even need to keep the actual CD (for less clutter), but I do like the liner notes and cover art.


I always buy souvenirs when I travel. I enjoy it cause it will be a memory of my trip. When I travel, one of my favorite things to buy is t shirts and fridge magnets.

Malika Henderson

Remembered another good one-- toiletries/cosmetics, especially scented ones. Our sense of smell is closely tied to memory. If you buy something (cheap or expensive) like perfume, hair products, lip balm, lotion and use it while you're traveling, the smell becomes associated with that place. When you come back and use that same product, all you have to do is close your eyes and sniff to be instantly transported back to where you bought and used it first.

Marina K. Villatoro

I love shopping for unique stuff from each country.

I have found the best to be by the local artists by far.

However, also supermarkets or the markets where locals shop, to get the most authentic gifts.


I have been buying artwork or traditional crafts while traveling and living in Asia

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