When you go away on a trip, do you buy things?

If you buy things, do you buy souvenirs, do you buy things that you actually need, or do you buy something special to the area that will serve as a reminder of the trip?

I’m not really a buyer: I really evaluate every purchase that I make. My largest purchase, beyond food for dinner is, by far, books. I like to own the books I read, for the most part. I admit that I’ve picked a couple of stinkers lately, but on the whole, I like having an ereader full of books. I have switched to a capsule wardrobe, where I buy a few carefully curated pieces to replace clothes that I own that are worn or I just don’t think fit my personality or lifestyle anymore (bye bye to dresses that are above my knee and shoes that hurt my feet) I’m not a “house” person, so I rarely buy things to feather my nest. So, long story longer, I don’t really buy things.

How does that play out on vacation?

I admit, we have a “family” souvenir: if at least two of us are away at any location, we will buy a commemorative shot glass. We have at least 30 shot glasses of places that we have been. This is our thing. First off, shot glasses are really cheap to purchase. Secondly, every place, so far, has had one. They can be picked up in airports if we forget. They are small and lightweight and therefore easily transportable. Most of all they are kitschy, and I LOVE KITSCH in small doses.

When we went to Barcelona recently, we bought a shot glass. My husband bought an FC Barca soccer shirt (my husband’s look is all about the jeans and the t shirt, so this is an item that he will wear to the death) I did purchase pink espadrilles, which are handmade in Barcelona, for my daughter and myself. We spent our disposable income on excursions and food. In total, our cash layout on “goods” totaled less than 50$ American.

So…when you go away on a trip…do you buy anything? What do you buy? How do you make the decision of what to buy?

Discuss:

70 thoughts on “Souvenirs

  1. I do! I buy Starbucks mugs. I have one from almost every place I’ve gone. It brings me joy when I drink a cup of coffee in the mug and am reminded of the place.

    On a separate note, I’ve stopped buying gimmicky souvenirs, the ones you see in the souvenir shop. I’ve started buying clothes. For example, when I was in Croatia, I bought a pair of eyeglass frames and then got the lenses changed when I got back. Now, every time I wear my glasses (which is every day) I’m reminded of my time in Croatia.

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    1. The glasses are awesome. If I love a piece of jewelry I buy it. Presently I’m wearing a necklace I picked up in Charleston, and my fave necklace is from Santa Fe and face earrings are from Bora Bora. FYI…when my daughter and I go somewhere, we bring my husband a Starbucks mug as a gift

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      1. I often buy jewelry when I travel too. Usually it is something colorful or unique to the area I am visiting. And it tends to be something I wouldn’t ordinarily buy. These days my choice of necklaces is limited because I have a port (for chemo) but during fall or winter I am hooked on black turtlenecks and a longer colorful artistic necklace always looks brightening to the face when the weather is cold. Plus,Jewelry is lightweight and small enough t to pack in your suitcase easily when you travel home. Sometimes I have brought home rolled up lithographs or art that I can take home in a tube. I usually look for artistic pieces that are unique to the specific area when on vacation.

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      2. I try to find special stuff to the area…my Santa Fe necklace was a local craftsperson, black pearls in Tahiti, my Charleston necklace is modeled after the gate scrolls…really cool

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  2. My blog posts are my souvenirs. My recent trip souvenirs were a bookmark given free as part of a tour, a craft I did with my daughter, and a button I made at a festival we attended. Those are the kind of souvenirs I like. Nice post!

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  3. I’d be the same. I’d only buy something if it was something I needed/really wanted *and* it was something which the area being visited was known for. Otherwise, spending is all on the doing, the seeing, the eating and the drinking. Lots & lots of photos are my souvenirs of choice.

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  4. Years ago when we traveled as a family it was common to get the kids some small item- a t-shirt or stuffy or some “place” reminder. I’ve not carried that tradition on for myself though. I will say if there’s a local bookshop I will sometimes buy a book, not as a reminder of the place but more because I am more willing to *splurge* on myself on vacation. I’ve always wanted to have something artsy from visited places but I quickly realized my artsy taste runs to the very expensive as well and the practical me stops myself!

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  5. My mom used to collect salt and pepper shakers from their trips. We haven’t gone anywhere in so long. Something practical that we would use rather than just something to sit on a shelf is what we would go for. I take lots of pictures and make scrapbook albums. That’s my way of remembering the trips.

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  6. I like to buy Christmas decorations. Whatever the object is, whatever its original purpose, my theory is, if you can tie a ribbon on it, it’s a Christmas decoration. Shells, key rings, “found objects” – most kinds of souvenirs as well – all of them can have a ribbon attached and be hung on a tree. This makes Christmas a great time to remember previous holidays.

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  7. I may buy a gift for a relative or friend, but rarely for myself. On our recent trip to Mexico our friends spent hours looking for gifts in the shopping bazaar for gifts for their grandkids. I annoyed my husband. He said “They are five and seven. They’ll like anything for a day that you bring home.” Then they bought souvenirs for themself. Metal wall art that said “Happy Hour” and had geckos holding tequila bottles. 🙂

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  8. We tend to buy “something special to the area that will serve as a reminder of the trip.” For example in Deruta Italy we bought pottery, in Venice Italy I bought murano glass, and in Santiago de Compostelo we bought a painting of the Cathedral. I love the memory pieces and spend a lot of time deciding where they will live in our home! Hugs, C

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  9. We buy shot glasses as well of all the places we have been. I like them for all the reasons you said, cheap, everywhere, and they usually have cool pics on them with the name of your vacation spot (to help as we grow older and forget where we have been. LOL!)
    Besides that I don’t really buy souvenirs, unless its something that stands out to me as a unique gift. With that being said, I did buy a souvenir when we were in Texas. I had too. It was a plush “Betsy”, looking so lonely on the shelf. LOL! My husband shook his head like really? 🙂

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  10. We used to collect souvenirs, but I haven’t traveled in a long time. My new mindset would be to savor rather than collect. I’d definitely spend my old souvenir money on a really fantastic meal that’s unique to the location I’m visiting. However, I must admit that I am a sucker for a souvenir tee-shirt…. 

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  11. I usually buy books as souvenirs, but they have to relate to where I went. Like, I bought Sherlock Holmes stories in London, and a few sagas in Iceland. I did buy some earrings in Reykjavík, and I wear them all the time. But because I travel super light, I don’t have space for anything bigger, or more stuff. My main souvenirs are the photos I take.

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    1. The books are a cool idea. I patronize book stores but I usually buy one of those items they can mark up the price so just fir solidarity purposes

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  12. Meals seems to be mostly what we buy, my wife will ocasionally buy souveniers for friends and family, if anyrhing we both have bought clothes that reflect the destination or if visiting a specific place like The Edward Gorey House in Massachusetts. We also seek out used bookstores and will patronize those, but honestly money is mostly spent on lunch and dinner because breakfast is included in our stats at B&Bs

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  13. A piece of artwork depicting a local scene by an artist from the area, usually a painting. I am not a shopper but if its a holiday which reeks exotica then artwork for sure. Otherwise, my money goes on experiences and I do try to avoid the tourist traps preferring authentic experiences.

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    1. I am a total tourist trap person.But I do try local food…like unless I’m grabbing a soda while sightseeing, I’m not visiting a chain restaurant

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  14. When I travel, I like to buy something organic and local. It can be a hand-painted or woven cloth/fabric, or a homemade pickle made by ingredients found in that region a local entrepreneur, or a hand crafted pottery. But I only buy these things when I can carry them safely in my bag without any extra expense.

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  15. We usually buy a token souvenir magnet for the fridge. Beyond that, if there’s an interesting food or beverage item we can easily transport home — local beer and wine, especially — then that’s making the trip, too.

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