Most holidaymakers like to bring back some sort of souvenir of their trip but treating yourself to something will eat into your spending money and tourist traps are not known for their bargain prices. It has to be said that a lot of what is brought back is basically rubbish which people wouldn’t dream of buying any other time of year so why do they buy it when they are on holiday?
I think the holiday spirit is mostly to blame. Somehow splashing the cash seems justifiable when you are away as the human psyche tries to tell us that we deserve a treat on such a special occasion. There is also a disconnect in the mind when it comes to the finances. It doesn’t seem like real money when you are away and I think we all have a tendency to think bugger the consequences when we are having a good time. Alcohol may also play a part on some occasions!
It is natural to want a souvenir of the trip and it is possible to find great treasures that are worthy of the investment but you need to set yourself some ground rules. If you don’t want to come home with atrocities like plastic Eiffel Towers and Roman gladiator dolls then you need to be aware of your vulnerable state of mind from the outset and allow yourself to only buy something which you cannot get at home, which is a speciality of the region and which sits right with your budget. Following the rules should mean that you come home with souvenirs which remind you of your trip but which are also beautiful and useful.
The Places to Avoid
Walk past all gift shops and souvenir stands anywhere near major attractions. These places are always full of over-priced rubbish and things that you will never want to use. Nobody needs a plastic Coliseum ornament, an ashtray with a picture of the Acropolis or a toy gondola and certainly not if they have an inflated price tag. You should avoid street hawkers too as they will almost always be selling cheap imports and fakes.
The Places to Go
Wandering off the beaten path will always give you a better chance of finding a bargain. Back streets and markets are great places to find good deals and local crafts are the perfect way to end up with something which is typical of the region and which you cannot get back home. Beautiful local pottery and glassware is a good bet as are textiles and soft furnishings. Not only will you end up with something you will actually use, you will also be helping the locals to make a living. Buy glass in Venice, pottery anywhere in Italy, gold jewellery in India and knitwear and tartan in Scotland.
Another good tactic is to establish which goods are cheaper in your resort than they are back home and to buy any things that you need whilst you are away. Your souvenirs may have nothing to do with the region but at least you will end up with something you intended to buy anyway but at a cheaper price.
It is possible to bring back some great souvenirs of your travels and to do it without breaking the bank but only if you don’t get sucked in by holiday fever. In any case there should be a law against owning a plastic Eiffel Tower the things are offensive!
Article by Sally Stacey