How to save MONEY on souvenirs.
Paint a quick picture in your head for me. Grandma goes to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a week to play a bit of bocce with her girlfriends, maybe enjoy a glass or two of White Zinfandel on the patio of her hotel. For her this is bliss, and probably well-deserved after dealing with the hell of raising three or four children in the sixties and the early seventies, let’s be real.
However, one small thing we forgot about her excursion is her unrelenting aversion to souvenirs! Small, plasticky toys and trinkets that sway or move or otherwise glisten or are stuffed with PVC pellets, the only real thing they have in common is their absolute uselessness. You smile, accept them with gratitude, of course, and quickly retire them to a shelf to collect dust.
The souvenirs you do keep are the ones that inarguably cost the person a pretty penny. Unlike the Beanie Baby, these things rest in curios – and to a budget traveller, that sort of thing is not only a monetary nightmare in and of itself, but transporting (or shipping) these sorts of nostalgia home is nail-biting, and spendthrift.
So how do you collect (or send home) souvenirs to capture and share your adventures with friends and family while keeping it classy?
Call me a Luddite, but there is something old-fashioned and downright cool about having a postcard from Borneo on your refrigerator. As long as you avoid the ridiculous examples and write a heartfelt little anecdote on the back, a postcard is the ultimate souvenir. The time it takes to pick one out, write your message, and stand in line at a foreign post office only costs you the value of your time (which, because you’re travelling, is cheap – lets be honest), and can really brighten the day of the recipient. And because it’s paper, there is no obligation, it doesn’t collect dust, and if they want to get rid of it after a month or so, there’s the trash; it’s not a beach towel you’re embarrassed to use, or a stupid hat you’re ashamed to throw away, and it costs pennies.
Case and point:
So if you are interested in saving money, but still want to satisfy the people at home and want a small piece of your travels, send more postcards! They cost next to nothing, no lugging them around, and they are incredibly personalized: and NOT tacky like those stupid license plate keychains…