The Self-Control Required When Buying Souvenirs

Southeast Asia Souvenirs

You may have realised by now that I like to shop. I mean, I’m the travel blogger that wrote a shopping guide to Luang Prabang rather than a guide to the beautiful temples you can visit.

So after a year of saving money for travelling and cutting back on my spending habits to be able to afford this trip of a lifetime, I lost my shit when I was allowed to finally spend money again. It’s hard not to when you’re in an exotic land surrounded by beautiful one-of-a-kind trinkets and treasures.

But the key is to really think about the souvenirs you’re buying.

On my first big trip, a tour around America one summer, I really went overboard on the souvenirs. I had decided beforehand that I wanted to choose an item I could buy in every location, like a collection. And I settled on snow globes. Don’t ask me why.

So off I went, picking up a snow globe from every location.

America Snowglobes

This is why it was a bad decision.

  1. They’re fragile. I had to take up valuable space in my backpack with not only the snow globes but the endless bubble wrap to protect them.
  2. They’re tacky. I now have these fellas on a shelf on the inside of my wardrobe, out of sight. I can’t throw them away because memories. I can’t put them on display because ugly. Catch 22.

If this was my only USA purchase, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But I also bought the following…

America Souvenirs

  • Tacky photo frames from Hollywood and Vegas
  • Foam finger from a baseball game in San Diego
  • Playing cards from Vegas
  • NYPD tee
  • Teddy bear from Harvard University
  • Teddy bear from Alcatraz
  • Pens and keyrings all round
  • ‘Drive In’ sign from Arizona
  • 2 x artwork from Venice Beach
  • Surfboard clock from Venice Beach
  • A ton of postcards

America Souvenirs

I had a problem.

The only good souvenir choice I think I made in America is the badges I sewed onto my backpack. No space, no waste of money.

America Sew-On Patches

You’d think I would learn my lesson on my trip to Southeast Asia. I didn’t. I still bought a load of crap. Although my choices in souvenirs did improve. I decided to get things I could use in my house when I returned so it wouldn’t be useless snow globes…

Southeast Asia Souvenirs

  • 2 x sequined elephant cushion covers from Luang Prabang
  • 4 x silk cushion covers from Thailand
  • Tablecloth from Cambodia
  • Buddha ornament from Thailand
  • Buddha ornament from Vietnam
  • Elephant ornament from Thailand
  • Paintings from Vietnam
  • Coasters from Thailand
  • Gold trinket from Vietnam
  • Badges for my backpack
  • A ton of postcards

Southeast Asia Souvenirs

Slightly improved right?! But still, I’ll never use those silk cushion covers. And i don’t know why I keep buying postcards? Surely I have my own photos to look at?

So what was the moral of this story?

  1. Don’t buy souvenirs that are just going to fill your house with shit.
  2. Buy souvenirs you are actually going to use.
  3. Don’t buy lots of artwork to frame if you don’t have that much space on your walls.
  4. Try to subdue the crazy woman that comes alive inside of you the moment you step into the gift shop.

America Souvenirs

A good tip that I’m going to try to follow on my travels going forwards is to buy something you will use at home like a kitchen utensil or hand painted casserole dish. You’ll be reminded of your trip everyday.

Another one I’ve attempted is to buy Christmas decorations from everywhere I go. Although I bought a nutcracker decoration from Bruges, Belgium, and then forgot about my plan in subsequent travels. I might take that one up again.

So wish me luck on my quest to stop being a souveniraholic, and good luck with your travel purchases!

What souvenirs do you buy on your travels? Leave a comment below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!

7 thoughts on “The Self-Control Required When Buying Souvenirs

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: