What kind of traveler are you? Are you a fan of souvenirs, or do you collect only memories? Is your entire house a travel museum dedicated to your adventures, or do you once in a blue moon purchase a necklace or ornament here and there? Sometimes, along with the photos and blog posts, we decide we would also like to have tangible mementos of the journey. Souvenirs always seem like a good idea, that is, until you have to get them home. Then what?
Every traveler is different. There are as many shopping, packing and traveling styles as there are travelers and each is in a constant state of flux. The more you travel, the more your needs, wants and packing strategies, change. In my younger years, I think I bought a t-shirt in every city I visited. Not including the t-shirts I bought for friends and family, if I didn’t follow the rule of ‘buy one t-shirt, donate one t-shirt’ my pack would have surely knocked me over by day five.
There have also been times that a trip, a moment or an item touched my soul and there was nothing I could do to convince myself not to buy a souvenir. There was that brilliant candleholder and fragile vase in Israel, a large wooden giraffe in South Africa, artwork in the Dominican Republic and essential oils in glass perfume bottles purchased in Egypt. The last thing you want is for your keepsake or gift to break, be taken at customs or to find yourself with an entire bag filled of peppermint oil. How do you manage to bring home a part of your travels while maintaining their safety and your sanity?
Today, I’m a different kind of traveler. I take pictures, send postcards and buy magnets, but there are still those times that something catches my fancy that makes me willing to jump through whatever hoops necessary to get it to its destination (that’s how I felt about Gregory the giraffe and that silver candleholder). Even though one travel mindset might be, ‘don’t buy any souvenirs’, we know that’s not always realistic. Perhaps more realistic would be to say, travel lightly, leave room for extras, have a plan to get all non-carry on purchases home and remember, there is always the risk that your item might not make it through customs.
Here are some helpful hints for how to pack souvenirs that can’t go in your carryon: Click to continue…