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Avoid These Souvenir Buying Pitfalls on Vacation

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Souvenir buying pitfalls

Why Do People Buy Souvenirs?

Most of us like to take a little something home as a reminder of our travels. Something to show for where we have been. Something we can use to look back and reminisce about a great trip. Many of us also buy things to share with family or friends.

Many of us end up wasting lots of money on items we will never look at again.

Avoid These Pitfalls When Buying Your Souvenirs

Most people love to get a souvenir of their trip and also usually bring back a gift or two for family and friends. However, this can really bite into your budget if you are not careful.

The best thing to do is to avoid these traps when buying your souvenirs.

1. Don’t Buy at the Airport

This is where many people, trying to get last-minute gifts for people they have forgotten about, will try to find something. You will be paying top dollar here for bargain-basement quality goods like t-shirts and keyrings.

Souvenir buying pitfalls

2. Steer Clear of Touristy Gift Shops

Gift shops are crowded, overpriced and full of junk. Get away from the main strip and see what you can find at the local stores, or even supermarkets.

3. Don’t Buy Any Unwrapped Edible

In many cases, it will be confiscated by airport authorities concerned with agricultural hazards. Either eat that salami from Italy before you land, or buy it vacuum-packed.

Better yet – skip trying to bring home food!

4. Beware of Other Food Gifts

Watch out for jams, jellies, olives and so on, as the liquid may cause security personnel concern.

5. Watch Out for Breakables

Anything you buy should be transported easily without concern over it breaking. There is always a good chance that your souvenir china coffee cup may be in several pieces by the time you arrive home.

6. Try Thrift Stores

If you see a local thrift store, head in to see what they might have with a local theme. Some great treasures have turned up in thrift stores!

7. Shop in Dollar and Discount Stores

They often have locally-themed trinkets that will keep the kids happy. The same key chain offered in the airport for $10 may very well be hanging on a rack in the local Dollar Store for $1.

8. Avoid Dust Collectors

Don’t buy things just to buy things. Unless you are really going to use those shot glasses, spoon and fridge magnet, don’t buy it! Seriously consider where in your home you would display something you are considering purchasing.

If serious consideration has you realize the item will most likely end up in a closet or cabinet – PASS.

9. Buy Ahead of Time On-line

This may sound weird, but if your kids won’t be able to live without a t-shirt of the place they are going to, like Walt Disney World, buy the shirt on-line for a fraction of the price you will have to pay in the theme park. 

Example: This Disney Minnie Mouse Baseball Cap, Black Bow available on Amazon for $12 costs $25 at Walt Disney World.

Souvenir buying pitfalls

10. Beware of Gift Shops at Each Attraction

The more places you visit, the more temptations. Almost every museum, theme park, zoo and so on has their own gift shop. You usually have to walk through these gift shops to leave.

It can be tough to say no to your children when they are dazzled by all the items on display. Prepare them before hand by letting them know they can’t purchase something at each stop.

Remind them that you have to carry everything that you buy home with you. Also check the list price by doing a quick search online.

If they really feel they can’t live without it, buy it less expensively when you get home, as long as you don’t have to pay shipping and handling.

Souvenir buying pitfalls

12. Only Buy Things of Real Value

A hand-knit Aran sweater will cost around $25 USD in New Zealand or Ireland, but up to $500 in the USA depending on how complicated the pattern is and where the store is. They will also last a lifetime if you protect them and care for them properly. This will be a far better value than $25 on t-shirts.

13. Only Buy Things You Will Actually Use

Be practical. If you not only love what you see, but are sure that you (or the person you are giving it to) will actually use it, then it will be good value.

If it is just going to get shoved to the back of the closet when you get home, it isn’t worth the money or hassle to carry it.

14. Buy Local Items You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

If you go to Peru, you can get fantastic clothes made from Alpaca. If you go to the south-western United States, you can buy the most gorgeous turquoise and silver jewelry.

Buy local items sourced from local, indigenous resources. Look for bargains at local markets.

Souvenir buying pitfalls