Five Inexpensive Souvenirs That Don’t Suck

Rack of postcards

[Lucy Claxton] / Thinkstock

 

It’s the last day of your trip and as you’re admiring the photos you’ve taken and the few items you’ve managed to snag for yourself, you suddenly remember that you haven’t picked up any souvenirs for anyone else. Oops. That’s when it happens. You rush around the stores near your hotel or, worse, wait till you arrive at the airport. You pick out magnets, shot glasses, keychains, and tiny bottles filled with sand. When you return, you show the scarves, the leather sandals, and the stunning prints you picked up while touring Morocco and then you turn to your friend and hand them a magnet with a dancing camel on it. If you’re lucky, it will end up on the fridge. Most of these knick knacks end up collecting dust on the shelves of thrift stores across the country. Ok, so you can’t afford to get leather sandals or Persian rugs for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you have to get them a plastic figurine of a camel.

Postcards
You know what? We are bringing postcards back. At Pacsafe, we are pro-postcard. It’s such an amazing feeling to open your mailbox and find, stuck between the bills and the ads, a postcard. A beautiful photograph of a stunning place, a few words scrawled on the back from a friend or family member. Sure, an e-mail is great. It really is and it’s amazing that we can communicate so easily with our friends and family no matter where we are, but it can’t replace the postcard. A piece of art in its own right and a wonderful souvenir that always earns a place of prominence on a fridge or in an office space, offering a glimpse of a past adventure and inspiration for the many more to come.

Food
This is one of my favorite souvenirs and it often ends up being the most inexpensive one. Head to a local grocery store and pick up some Swiss chocolate, Turkish coffee, Italian truffle spread, French wine, Indian spices, Greek ouzo. You can’t bring back the fresh fruit and vegetable delicacies of the world, but there are plenty of packaged items that pack easily, are not terribly expensive, and will offer an authentic and delicious taste of the places you’ve traveled. They won’t last forever like, say, a shot glass, but the memory of a delectable taste of somewhere else will be much more appreciated.

Currency
This is always appreciated by the younger audiences. Save a peso, a dirham, or a shekel to give to a friend. The coins can make really awesome jewelry and for the bills, you can laminate the more beautiful currency and use it as a bookmark. Or, you know, they could save it and use it for their next trip.

Household Goods
Have you ever walked around in a German department store? You should. They have everything. Head to the kitchen section. You’ll find utensils you never even imagined existed and, really, who doesn’t love a set of egg spoons? Or step outside the Egyptian Spice Bazaar in Istanbul and pick up a set of simple Turkish tea glasses in the local souk. For a few dollars, you can pick up a beautiful and authentic reminder of Turkey that anyone will appreciate. Especially if it’s given in combination with that delicious Apple tea.

Humor
You know what’s fun? Questionable English phrases on t-shirts. Though some of the best ones have been spotted in Japan, we’ve seen a number of eyebrow-raising t-shirts around the world. Unintentionally hilarious English translations exist on signs, t-shirts, mugs, and other various items. Don’t believe it? Check out this site for inspiration. The point is that sometimes a random bit of humor can be an awesome souvenir.

By Nikki Hodgson

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