Going on vacations is extremely exciting and most people find pleasure in purchasing souvenirs for family and friends.
However, this can really bite into your budget if you are not careful.
The best safeguard against overspending is to establish some guidelines for yourself.
You can think of these guidelines as filters that could help prevent you from blowing your travel budget.
Today, I will share thirteen tips to help stop your souvenir shopping from turning into a bottomless money pit.
Let’s cover them now…
TIP 1: Don’t Buy at The Airport
This is where many travelers trying to get last-minute gifts for people they have forgotten about will try to find something. You will be paying top dollar here for bargain-basement quality goods like t-shirts and keyrings. These shop owners price gouge because they understand the desperation of last-minute shoppers and are able to get away with it.
TIP 2: Steer Clear of Touristy Gift Shops
Gift shops are crowded, overpriced, and full of junk. Get away from the main strip and see what you can find at the local stores or even supermarkets.
TIP 3: Don’t Buy Anything Unwrapped If It Is Edible
In many cases, it will be confiscated by airport authorities concerned with terrorism and/or agricultural hazards. Either eat that salami from Italy before you land or buy it vacuum-packed.
TIP 4: Beware of Other Food Gifts
Watch out for jams, jellies, olives, and so on, as the liquid may cause security personnel concern.
TIP 5: Watch Out for Breakables
Anything you buy should be transported easily without concern over it breaking. You do not want to spend your hard-earned money on a gift only for it to end up broken.
TIP 6: Try Thrift Stores
If you see a local thrift store, head in to see what they might have with a local theme.
TIP 7: Shop in Dollar Stores
They often have locally themed trinkets to keep the kids happy. Unless you happen to luck upon high-quality gifts suited for the adults you plan to get souvenirs for, leave them in the store. While most of your family and friends aren’t expecting you to spend a fortune, you also shouldn’t blatantly buy them junk.
TIP 8: Avoid Dust Collectors
Don’t buy things just to be buying. Unless you are really going to use those shot glasses, spoons, and fridge magnets, pass on those items.
TIP 9: Buy Ahead of Time Online
This may sound weird, but if your kids won’t be able to live without a t-shirt of the place they are going to, like Disneyworld, buy the shirt online for a fraction of the price you will have to pay in the theme park.
Between you and I, they don’t have to know you pre-ordered it. Of course, this will only work on younger kids.
By the way, the adults that you’ll be purchasing souvenirs for will not know that you ordered their gifts online either. Chances are, they probably wouldn’t care because it’s the thought that counts.
TIP 10: Beware of Gift Shops at Each Attraction
The more places you visit, the more temptations. Almost every museum, theme park, zoo, and so on have their own gift shop, which you usually have to walk through in order to leave.
It can be tough to say no to your children when they are dazzled by all the items on display.
Remind them that you must carry everything that you buy back home with you. Also, check the list price by doing a quick search online. If they really feel they can’t live without it, buy it less expensively when you get home if you don’t have to pay shipping and handling.
TIP 11: Only Buy Things That Are Real Value
For example, a hand-knit Aran sweater will cost around $25 USD in New Zealand or Ireland, but up to $1,000 in the USA depending on how complicated the pattern is and where the store is located.
They will also last a lifetime if you protect them from moths. This will be a far better value than $25 on t-shirts.
TIP 12: Only Buy Things You Will Actually Use
Be practical. If you not only love what you see but are sure that you (or the person you are giving it to) will actually use it, then it will be of good value.
If it is just going to get shoved to the back of the closet when you get home, it’s not worth the money or hassle to carry it.
TIP 13: Buy Local Items You Can’t Get Anywhere Else
For instance, if you go to Peru, you can get fantastic clothes made from Alpaca. If you go to the south-western United States, you can buy the most gorgeous turquoise and silver jewelry.
Buy local items sourced from local, indigenous resources. Look for bargains at local markets.
Wow, you just discovered 13 Tips For Buying Souvenirs that you may not have thought of!
Who knew there is an art and science to purchasing souvenirs for your family and friends?
Vacations should be used to create unforgettable memories and not going broke.
While buying gifts is a natural part of going on trips, you must be proactive in taking precautions to not blow your travel budget.
If you apply the simple tips that I’ve shared in this article, you could save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time.
So, on your next vacation use, these thirteen tips are filters before buying any souvenirs.