Souvenir shopping tips
While souvenir shopping is an individual experience and dependent upon budget and personal preference, there are a few tips that can make it a more fruitful experience. Here are some of the tips I picked up along the way on my travels:
- Window shop and shop around. Don’t buy the first thing you see on the first day. Figure out your itinerary, take note of items of interest and plan to shop towards the end of your trip, especially if you will be starting and ending your trip in the same city.
- Rather than cart everything around, mail stuff home. Decide if you have the money for it and if you trust the postal service enough with your goods.
- For amateur photographers, a unique souvenir can be a photo you take yourself. You can buy a frame locally or buy one when you return home; or have the picture put on a mug (perhaps containing a bag of coffee/tea from the country you just visited.)
- Soap makes an ideal gift. It is small, lightweight, cheap and easy to pack. Usually souvenir soaps are made with natural ingredients so you have a scented reminder of your travels every time you bathe. Plus there is the added benefit that soap will deodorize the inside of your luggage.
- Check with your country’s customs office or the customs office of other countries you will be visiting to see what import/export rules they have. Often natural products, particularly those made from animals, may not be permitted into or out of the country. And if you’re thinking of ‘smuggling‘ questionable items, there are usually beagles at customs with a very keen and sensitive sense of smell that will detect your goods. If in doubt DECLARE!