Have you ever wished for a similar activity?
It’s easy to breeze through the duty-free area on your way home and pick up a few (dozen) chocolate bars — and sometimes that is just the right thing to do. But certainly there are more creative gifts that will be better appreciated.
So if you love to dig around for souvenirs and gifts that have personal meaning and that reflect what was most meaningful to you about your trip, here are some fresh ideas to bring with on your next vacation.
The small things can be meaningful
When my grandchildren were young I used to write them a travel letter when I returned which chronicled the favorite parts of my trip. I would include small things for them to open throughout the letter. It could be local currency, local candy or stamps - things I could share with them that reminded me of my great vacation.You might also save complimentary items on planes and in hotelsmight remind you of great service or the incredible view from your balcony. Ticket stubs, programs, interesting city maps — all these things can remind you of adventures, art, and beautiful days in a favorite city.
Boost your learning. If you’re buying for yourself or for someone else, consider something that will offer an inside view of the culture, language, history, music, or food of that part of the world.I often purchase books of places I visit. Art books of famous artists native to the area is another great item. Check out museum gift shops, not only for books, but other gifts to bring home.
So do a little research before you leave. Russia and Scandinavia are famous for amber. You can buy a piece of jewelry that will always remind you of your visit. Or- purchase just a piece of amber for your rock hound friends. Lavender sachets from the south of France were gifts to my friends after a river cruise from Burgundy to Provence last year. I often give a report to clients before they leave on the areas they are visiting. This includes suggestions for tours, restaurants and shopping. If you let me know what type of shopping you want to do, I am happy to include that in my report.
Something old, something new. One of the best adventures in a different place can be to scour antique shops for quirky treasures. If you have a reader in your life, a gorgeous old book might bring immense joy. Vintage postcards or photos can be a collector’s dream. Jewelry, scarves, cuff links, bags — these all give a glimpse into style and history and make a statement, and they don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Plus, you’ll have a great story to tell with every compliment you receive. And the best part of buying jewelry and scarves is that they take up little room in your suitcase!
If you’re going for something new, consider a practical item — something you can use in your everyday life that will bring happy memories. My sister brought me a salad spinner from France many years ago when she was studying there. It was before they had them in the US (which tells you how long ago it was). If you love to cook or bake, perhaps a cooking tool or recipe book would be just the thing. Even a small musical instrument can be a great gift for kids — a flute or shakers, for example.
Tell your own story. One cool thing about smart phones is that you have instant access to a world of creative sharing. Even if you don’t use your phone while you’re away, it can make a wonderful, portable, decent-quality camera — and when you return, those photos can be easily turned into souvenir books for yourself,family members, or friends.
Whatever your tastes, there are tons of ways to approach the idea of a souvenir that ensure you’ll bring something back that will have personal meaning for you and that will spark many wonderful memories months and years after you’ve come home. And don’t forget the chocolate bars on your way out!