The following blog post first appeared over at Clark Howard.com.
Souvenirs are an interesting purchase category. They function to demonstrate that you traveled to a certain area, as well as to prompt your memories. They’re also for gift giving, a memento to show that you thought of loved ones at home while out traveling the world.
Unfortunately, they often veer towards pointless doo-dads stamped with the name of wherever you happened to have visited. Went to Florida? Here’s a thimble stamped with the word “Florida.” And guess what? That dust collector was probably manufactured halfway around the world! The problem is that while it’s fun to browse through souvenir shops, your purchases can quickly become useless clutter once you get back home.
Here are five great souvenir ideas that won’t have you staring at your purchases and wondering whether you underwent a brain transplant while traveling.
Whether you’re buying Alaskan canned salmon, Belgian chocolate or Louisiana hot sauce, it’s a smarter purchase than that enormous clunky wooden shoe from your great aunt Ethel’s trip to Holland. Tasty treats have the culinary power to remind you of your delicious vacation, without becoming a unwelcome knick-knack that’s doomed for the Goodwill donation box. Plus, it’s perfect as gifts as everyone loves food!
Things you actually need
Shopping while on vacation is an opportunity to pick up a thing or two with practical purpose. An example would be a kitchen utensil or high quality pen. Not only would they easily fit into your suitcase, but they can actually become a welcome part of your daily routine once home. Perhaps even trigger that relaxing vacation mindset on an otherwise dull Wednesday afternoon.
You may have bought clothing as a souvenir, but it was most likely an unflattering boxy T-shirt that proclaimed the name of your destination, something you probably never even wore again once your airplane deposited you back home. But clothing can actually be a wonderful souvenir, because it doesn’t need to advertise the name of the resort or beach town to remind you of your trip. Plus, whenever anyone asks “Where did you get that gorgeous top?” You’d have an opportunity to reply “This old thing? I picked it up in Paris.”
A splurge purchase
Vacations are an opportunity to spend in a way that you never would at home, and if you’ve saved your pennies ahead of time, it can be wonderfully guilt free. Your souvenir might be a foreign antique, a luxury scarf or even an indulgent meal in a four-star restaurant. Whatever you choose, you might discover that the temporary loosening of purse strings can be a special memory from your vacation.
Things for resale
I know that I’m wired differently from other spenders, but I like to browse thrift shops with an eye for resale while on vacation. I get the enjoyment of window shopping, but with the possibility of generating income to actually cover my vacation costs. With the eBay app on my phone, I scope out completed listings and use that information to decide whether or not to pull the trigger. (I just got back from a mini-vacation where I scored a $3.99 doll that I’ll soon list on eBay for $200, which should cover the entire cost of our motel!)
Who among us hasn’t come home from traveling and been baffled by the crap that we’ve felt impelled to buy as souvenirs. Whether it’s a big Mexican sombrero or a “I ♥ NY” snow globe, you can instead choose to bring home a souvenir that’s both practical and welcome as a gift. Be smart and deliberate with your money, even if you’re on vacation.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.