5 Original Travel Gifts and Souvenirs
Some of the most wonderful, original gifts and souvenirs can be things that don’t cost much or take up little space. When I travel, I often see things that make me think of my loved ones back at home (beautiful scarves for my mother, copious amounts of jewellery for my sister) but in an attempt to keep my luggage at less than 22 pounds, I’ve had to rethink souvenirs and gifts.
Depending on the person and their interests, you can find lovely, inexpensive, original and very special gifts to bring back home – and not have to worry about paying for an overweight bag (or your credit card balance, for that matter) when you return.
Some items I’ve come to find to be the perfect presents are:
You can choose to send them or not. I haven’t actually sent out a postcard yet (because I never bothered to search for the post office). Instead, I write a little love note to the receiver and gift it to them upon my return. Postcards take so long to be delivered, depending on the length of your trip, you might return before the postcard does! But if you like the idea of snail mail or are gone for a long-term trip, send away! I also like visiting stationary shops and finding small prints of city maps or original artwork to gift. These fit well in luggage and weigh virtually nothing.
Subway maps are a great gift for someone interested in city planning or architecture. They are also free and you can pack them flat with your postcards.
Posters of local events, festivals or museums
Art and culture lovers and music connoisseurs appreciate these original souvenirs. Often, these small booklets or posters are beautifully designed and can be framed for an original art piece.
You can also do the same with menus when possible.
When I was in Florence, I picked up some groceries and opted to buy myself a one euro reusable, canvas bag. The bag was good quality and had the name of the grocery store and some writing in Italian. I decided this would be the perfect souvenir for my brother who told me not to get him anything. A reusable bag is practical and eco-friendly, so I thought he’d appreciate the small gesture. He did! The good thing about this gift is that it will be used weekly, if not daily for picking up groceries.
Another way to share your experience (because that’s what giving gifts after a trip is all about, after all) is to share your photos digitally. Create a photo stream (available on Apple iPhone) and share your photos with your friends and family. Sharing these photos is a great way to share the city you visited. You can also post photos of tacky souvenir shops – I prefer this to buying a pound of metal or plastic key chains.
And at your discretion, of course buy whatever it is you want to buy for the people you love. When I went to Florence not only did I collect the items above but I also did buy my mom a beautiful scarf. I know she loves to wear unique scarves that remind her of cities and places around the world. And that’s cool too.
Now it’s your turn! What sort of gifts do you like to give? What original gifts would you like to receive when a loved one comes back from a trip? Comment below!