The internet is full of endless packing lists and advice about what to bring with you on your travels. Despite all this information on helping you decide what to take, there is very little recommending what you should bring home with you.
For some travellers, buying souvenirs is regarded with snobbery and viewed as a waste of money. To an extent, I can understand this. Would I rather come back with an ‘I love Rome’ mug or see the Pantheon? In my opinion, souvenirs shouldn’t take precedent over experiences.
However, for those people who love shopping and trinkets, travel souvenirs are an important way of remembering their trip and illustrating their own travel stories. Luckily, there are far more options than tacky fridge magnets and cheesy t-shirts though! Here is my pick of the best things to take home from a trip, whether you’re a cash splasher or not.
I know many people who like to buy artwork depicting their favourite trip destinations. Luckily, art doesn’t have to be an expensive option and many artists work from side streets in popular cities. Make sure that you can put the artwork somewhere it won’t bend and barter for a price until you reach an acceptable compromise for both parties.
I’m not even sure it is physically possible to visit France and not come home with a suitcase of cheese. Everyone knows one of the best things about travel is being able to explore a whole range of cuisine and spices that you never get to try at home. Don’t waste this opportunity, if you find something you really love and you can take it out of the country, then do! This is definitely a good way to tackle the post-holiday blues as well, munching on that Belgian chocolate will help you forget you’re back at home in no time!
When we’re on holiday, so many of us end up buying junk which spends more time on car boot sales than it does on display in our houses. By investing in a reusable bag from a particular place on your travels, you are buying something you will undoubtedly use which will also help the planet. You can also rest easy knowing that it is very unlikely you will be caught with the same accessories as the people you pass in the street, you’re far too worldly for that!
I love traditional masks and they look amazing on my walls at home. Masks are great statement decorations in a room and can be bought in a whole range of sizes and styles. The best place to pick up these kinds of goods tends to be in local markets. When visiting markets, there will be a little bit of haggling involved but even I learnt how to barter like a pro, so you can too! Be aware that transporting large masks can be quite difficult so make sure you leave enough space in your luggage and secure them with clothes and other soft things so that they are protected in transit.
Many countries pride themselves on their traditional handicrafts and purchasing these is a great way to support local families and communities. These trinkets vary from place to place and because they are handcrafted, you’ll always come back with something unique. Buying from the locals whenever you can is hugely important when it comes to travelling responsibly too, for more information on how you can do this, check out this post.
For those not wanting to spend…
A travel journal
Even people who usually never write diaries enjoy keeping travel journals to document their trips. Keeping a written account of your wanderings will help you remember the experience in more detail and requires only your time. Make your journal extra special by sticking in mementoes or even illustrating your notes. That last one will probably only be worthwhile if you have a degree of artistic flair though!
Recipes from a local
We established earlier that food is one of the best things to take home from your travels. You don’t have to miss out on this if you don’t want to spend though! Speak to the locals during your trip and ask them to write down your favourite recipe to take home. You don’t need to say goodbye to traditional Turkish cuisine just because you’re no longer in Turkey!
If you’re someone who likes to get your fix of travel photos, you’re living in the right time. With the prevalence of smartphones, you never have to miss the opportunity to get that perfect picture. Don’t get too wrapped up in the world of Instagram though, it is even more important to live in the moment and enjoy the experience!
If you underspend and are able to bring home unused notes, you can exchange them back into your local currency. This isn’t the only thing you can do with leftover foreign money though. Use low denomination notes or coins to decorate your home. Check out this Pinterest board for more inspiration!
This is one of the best travel keepsakes that I have seen. Collect some sand from your favourite places and then pour it into a jar when you return from your travels. Label up the jar and be sure to keep distinct layers between different types of sand. You’ll be amazed at the difference in texture and colour!
Top tip: Not all airlines/airports will allow you to carry sand onto a plane so make sure you check this before you travel.
Even if you have nothing at all to physically pack, you will still take home memories from the trip. Aside from getting out there and actually doing it, that has got to be the most important thing about travel, right?
What is your favourite item to bring back from your travels? Let me know in the comments below!
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