Travel Tips

Picking Out Perfect Souvenirs

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When I was a little kid, gift shops and picking out souvenir knick knacks were one of my favorite parts of a trip. So in college I found myself with quite the collection of stuffed animals, tshirts, and little figurines that I wouldn’t be taking with me. I graduated to more useful(?) items like coffee mugs, playing cards, and shot glasses that all sat unused on my bookshelves.

As an adult, I was at a loss for how best to commemorate my trips, since apparently only leaving with pictures just wasn’t satisfying enough for me. And finally, as my income increased, I hit upon choosing items that I would use frequently or could serve as a key feature in my home/office decor. And trying, when possible, to apply the same rule when selecting things to bring back to my friends.

As a result, I have a growing collection of beautiful, usually inexpensive, things that remind me on a daily basis of the great trips I’ve taken and aren’t just taking up space.

Some of my favorites:

I bought a 100% silk quilt and duvet cover in Beijing. And real Thai silk pillow cases for my couch that remind me of the decor of spas and hotels I’ve loved.

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Hammered stainless steel silverware were a great replacement to my less exciting stuff and the bowls made beautiful, practical gifts for others.

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Friends sent me flowers while I was traveling, and the vase was such beautiful carved wood I had to bring it back. Now I remember them all the time as well as the destination!

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The one spa robe I loved will always remind me of my hot oil on the forehead treatment and spending quality time with my best friend.

Amburaya Spa robe

And I’ve found the actual souvenir doesn’t have to resemble it’s origin — I love the print I picked up in a gallery while wine-tasting in Solvang, and the generic, but lovely, jewelry I found in a Singapore market.

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For friends, I’ve found they appreciate getting things like local snack food (in a language they can’t read), tea, or seasonings, as much as a tshirt with the city name on it. Although I freely admit I wound up getting moaii magnets for everyone on my Easter Island trip and couldn’t resist the Chairman Mao wrist watches from Beijing (which were well received).

What are your souvenir tips or guilty pleasures?


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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.


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  1. Pingback: These Are a Few of My Favorite Souvenirs - Heels First Travel

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