To buy or not to buy?

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To buy or not to buy?

Postby nikimarcotte » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:23 pm

Seems like the more i travel, the less i am allowed to bring with me and take home again. This seems to be totally backwards in boosting the world economy. If something hasn't been declared UNSAFE to have with you on a plane then there are just no spaces allowed for bringing those souvenirs home. Is anybody else a shopping junkie in foreign countries and need to maximize your luggage space. what do you do? bring minimal essentials so more room for souvenirs? creatively pack anything you buy? leave stuff behind along the way? haul it along at any expense to get home? send home by foreign post in the hopes it arrives safely? ship direct from place of purchase despite knowing will get a bill at the door for a customs broker? i must say i have resorted to all of the above at various points in my travels and have been very lucky that anything i posted or had shipped arrived safely and intact. However, seems like i am the only one doing this on any of my trips...can everybody else so easily resist bringing home a piece of every country they visit??? what makes you decide to buy or not to buy souvenirs?
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby IncaTrail50 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 9:37 pm

A couple of suggestions, one from another thread. Bring old clothes that you were planning to discard anyway. Wear them on your trip and then throw them out. In some countries they will be recycled into another family and you will have room in your suitcase for another souvenir! Possibly a completely empty suitcase by the end of your trip if it weren't for your souvenirs!
My tip for our only souvenirs, we always buy a small item to hang on our Christmas tree. After 30+ years of travel we would have filled our house with an eclectic collection had we continued our crazy buying! Instead we opted to find a small item that typified our trip. It doesn't have to be a Christmas ornament, most in fact are not. We find our treasure, I hot-glue a hanger/string to the top, inscribe the country/date on the bottom, and voila! A memorable souvenir for our tree. Every Christmas we relive our travels as we decorate our tree. Instead of filling our house with memories (other than pictures on the wall) we enjoy a wonderful concentrated blast in conjunction with our favourite holiday!
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby Zuleika » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:07 am

Hey Niki - is your house a shrine to your travels??? I know mine is and I love it - when friends come around they always spend about 1/2 going round looking at everything and the photos on my 'wall of fame' too! lol I just love all the the reminders of great trips all around me.
That said, its not overdone in your face kind of way - the souvenirs I try to pick up are indicative of the country in most cases and are usually small (ish). My flat shows an interesting life - I like to think anyway :D
When I pack I always pack my hiking shoes or boots and then take them out to wear them - the space left behind is to fill with souvenirs.
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby JaliscoJudy » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:41 am

I like the idea of taking clothes that were headed to Goodwill anyway (i.e., clothes you're done with but that still have some good life left in them), and I like the idea of wearing your big boots to make space.

It made me think of a story that my husband tells about his parents. He picked them up at the airport when they returned from Africa and was surprised to see them disembark wearing all of their clothes, including heavy overcoats. Suitcases? Filled with souvenirs! :lol:
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby DanielBMe » Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:29 am

The only things I usually take home with me are photos and memories. I find most souvenirs tend to be junk. The only things I could see myself buying would be something along the lines of a nice good quality persian rug. Not the cheap ones you tend to find in bazaars.
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby edwannatravel » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:14 pm

Pretty much the only souvenirs I buy are quasi-necessitates. I have an umbrella I bought on one trip (it was raining pretty hard at the time of the purchase) a sweatshirt I bought on another (it got cooler that evening than I was expecting) a cork screw from another trip, toenail clippers from yet another.

Otherwise the only souvenirs I bring home is a city map from each city I visit. They cover my walls. But those too are bought more as necessitates than souvenirs. They don't take up much room in the luggage.
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby JaliscoJudy » Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:16 am

edwannatravel wrote:Pretty much the only souvenirs I buy are quasi-necessitates. I have an umbrella I bought on one trip (it was raining pretty hard at the time of the purchase) a sweatshirt I bought on another (it got cooler that evening than I was expecting) a cork screw from another trip, toenail clippers from yet another.

Otherwise the only souvenirs I bring home is a city map from each city I visit. They cover my walls. But those too are bought more as necessitates than souvenirs. They don't take up much room in the luggage.


:lol: You have to be the most frugal traveler ever!
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby Reditor » Mon Jan 31, 2011 11:22 am

I'm not a souvenir person usually, aside from cheesy t-shirts and beer to share with people at home.

I have regretted not buying certain things afterwards though...
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby edwannatravel » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:00 pm

JaliscoJudy wrote:
:lol: You have to be the most frugal traveler ever!


Not at all.

I rarely pass up on an optional exertion because the price is too high. Unless the price difference is insane I will upgrade an overnight international flight so I can get a better night's sleep. At restaurants I look at the menu to see what I want to eat, not what is the least expensive.

However, I have never paid an excessive baggage fee and rarely even check a bag. People will often look at my single carry-on sized backpack and ask me where my luggage is.

My style of packing "when in doubt leave it home" actually results in me doing a fair amount of shopping. I have also purchased a winter coat, swim suit, rain jacket, pants, shirts, new socks, hat, gloves, sunglasses, etc on trips. All items I had a home but either didn't bring, didn't bring enough or the one I brought broke and it would have actually been frugaler to have brought them with me in the first place being I already owned them and the tourist gift shop is rarely the best place for a bargain.

Those four items are the only ones I called "souvenirs" because each has the name of the country, city, or tourist attraction imprinted on them.

I will spend money, just not to collect junk I don't need and will require me to carry half way across the globe.
Last edited by edwannatravel on Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby onyx007 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:03 pm

Zuleika wrote:Hey Niki - is your house a shrine to your travels???


My flat is on of those. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

For making space in the bag; The thing with the hiking boots is also one of my things and leaving t-shirt, pants, socks behind is also something I do (also shampoo, suncream and such things); on my last trip my luggage was at the end of the trip lighter than before and I've done some heavy shopping ! Breakable things I put in my Carry On-Bag and sometimes I carry my big camera outside my carry on bag.

When I spent 7 month in Down under I sent three times some souvenirs and other stuff home and it worked well.

I have from almost every country I've been some memorabila, which I can tell by first sight from which part of the world they are. For example a Gourka Knife from Nepal, a Shisha Pipe from Egypt, a Faberge Egg from Russia, a Samurai Sword from Japan, a Troll from Norway and many more. The only countries I missed to buy something (out of beeing to young then or just didn't find something I liked or with a reasonable price) are Serbia, Slovakia, Estonia and Luxembourg.
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby nikimarcotte » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:02 pm

yes, zuleika,my house is shrine to my travels...and my closet....and my scrapbooks...but i am drawn in by artistry and craftsmanship...i have lots of jewelery, and paintings...but i really can't resist things like a painstakingly inlaid with mother-of-pearl designs on a handcrafted box..brought some nice ones home from egypt but found a much more detailed design on one in vietnam which also found its way home with me. my friends hate me because whenever they ask where i bought some item of clothing or jewelery that they really like, i say some foreign country FOR CHEAP:) then next question i get asked, is HOW DID YOU GET THAT ALL HOME WITH YOU??? very creative packing usually is my response. i also try to buy useful items whenever possible, like a harwood rolling pin from belize, rugs from guatemala, turkey and egypt. duvet and pillow covers with really awesome hand stitching on it from laos, a silk duvet and cover from china. i actually research the best things to buy in various countries before i go.

i quit taking boots after my first trip, and now only wear a pair sport sandals and pack dress sandals to minimize space usage. luckily, i have never had somebody weigh my CARRY-ON and PURSE because at least once, it was possibly heavier than my checked luggage heading home from europe...but when you get 6 kinds of cheese from holland, a bunch of chocolate from belgium, a bottle of red wine from france, a bottle of schnapps from austria and a ton of murano glass jewelery (i also like to share all these countries with my family and friends when i can shop for xmas on my travels, i do so)...but that is not so possible with liquids banned on the plane now, so glad i travelled when i did.


now i am heading to africa and have read on here that there are some good woodworking and other handicrafts in countries along the way..so once again i am preplanning my souvenir buying and already worrying about how i will get it all home after 3 months of travelling and shopping :twisted: wish me luck!
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby TravelFun » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:04 pm

I buy keyrings that represent the places I've been too and none of that plastic tack...I try to find ones which are unique (can be difficult at times) but which bring back memories. Small item and takes up hardly any space. I also like buying jewellery, some with the national stone of the country or ones that represent the local handicraft like filigree designwork from Colombia.

Happy Shopping with your Happy Travels :wink:
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby Zuleika » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:11 pm

TravelFun wrote:I buy keyrings that represent the places :wink:

ooo yes - that reminds me I always get a fridge magnet too - my fridge is covered
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby bexonthebeach » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:05 pm

I, too, do the christmas tree decoration thing - but for my parents instead. I used to buy my family loads of gifts that they would ooh over then put to one side and forget about. So now, I just buy them a single decoration for the tree from each place. They do the same when they travel, as does my sister. Now, on our tree we have decorations from Australia, France, Holland, Prague, Italy, Hong Kong, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Iceland, Florida, New York, India, Canada etc. etc. Its a very cool tree :D

I will always try to get an embroidered patch to sew onto my backpack (tho am fast running out of room now!) and where possible, a silver charm for my charm bracelet if the trip is an important one. One day I'll get round to putting the charms on my actual bracelet, tho I now have so many it will cost a few hundred pounds to do, and then I'll be too scared to wear it in case it falls off and I lose all my charms!
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Re: To buy or not to buy?

Postby bioteach » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:27 pm

On our travels, my souvenir for myself is a pair of earrings. I've always been able to find a pair that are typical of the country we're visiting. They're light, don't take up much space in my luggage, and every time I wear a pair, I remember the trip and country where they were purchased.
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