When you’re travelling on a budget, souvenir buying can really make a dent. Most people like to take home a few small mementoes and gifts from their journey and luckily there are several ways for saving money on souvenirs, leaving you free to do more of the things that you enjoy.
Follow these handy tips for saving money on souvenirs for both a great holiday and precious reminders:
Try Unconventional Outlets
Stalls and stores aimed solely at the tourist market will more often than not have fairly steep inflated prices. Ask around for the cheapest places to shop and keep your eyes open as you wander around. A street vendor along a random stretch of road could be just the ticket! You may also be surprised to find trinkets and keepsakes in rather usual places. For example, it’s not uncommon to spy a few suitable items in home ware shops and supermarkets. As these are places that are typically frequented by the local community the prices are likely to be lower than in the tourist traps. Make sure that you take a peek inside the bargain bucket or discount stores. In the UK, there are shops where everything is one pound, in Thailand there are 20 Baht shops, in Japan there are 100 Yen shops – you get the drift! It is highly likely that you can pick up some great traditional items with national motifs and emblems on that, whilst targeting the local population, can make the perfect gift for someone back at home.
Check Out the Markets
Linked to above, markets that have mainly a tourist focus will be pricier than those where the locals shop. Wander through the markets and as well as having a nice time and seeing a bit of the way of life you may also spot some terrific finds. Don’t neglect the second hand and flea markets too – many have stalls that sell new items, and it is also possible to find some unique and unusual bargains that could really make a friend or family member grin.
Whilst it’s important to keep in mind that people are trying to make a living, and that the actual saving you may make can be very small when converted back into your own currency, it never hurts to ask for a discount in markets and at stalls. Generally bartering is not acceptable in fixed price shops, but in other places you are quite likely to find that vendors are willing to knock a bit off the price – especially if you are buying several items. Be on the lookout for offers too, such as buy one get one free.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better, especially when it comes to something that you need to cart around with you for the rest of your trip. Most people are happy to have been remembered when you go away and don’t expect you to break your budget, and your back, bringing them a gift back home. A major reason for keeping it small though is the weight – you don’t want to end up being hit with excess luggage charges because of the enormous souvenirs that you have been schlepping around for the past few weeks.
Think Outside the Box
Who says that souvenirs must be a fridge magnet, decorative dish, ornament, and all the other common items you often see being hawked all around the world? When you start getting creative with your ideas you often find that you are able to find much cheaper items, and also ones that are unusual that your family and friends will really treasure. There’s no need to cart home a “typical souvenir” only for it to be relegated to a dark cupboard or dusty top shelf.
Hopefully these hints for saving money on souvenirs will help you to please your loved ones whilst also enjoying every last minute of your adventures.