This is a guest post written by Tim at SMK Website
If you're getting ready to take a trip, you will probably want to pick up some souvenirs on your travels. These small gifts for friends or family can be a minefield, however. After all, there are some souvenirs which make a big splash and others that just flop. Think about some of the travel gifts you've gotten and what you liked or had no use for.
When it comes to souvenir ideas, there isn't one particular choice that's always a win. The surefire way to lose though, is to settle for the typical kitsch. This is an easy fall-back and usually something you pick up at the airport as a last-minute gift. Knick-knacks, t-shirts, and other cheap items may seem like easy options, but they're not a great overall choice to take home. Consider leaving the miniature monuments behind in favour of some fresh ideas.
The best souvenirs are ones that are thoughtfully picked and tailored to the person's interests or taste. This is often easier said than done. If you're not sure of what makes an excellent gift, read on for five ideas that are sure to work regardless of where you travel.
1. When in doubt, pick edibles
Gifts you can eat are almost always a hit, especially if you have some foodies in your life. Seek out the local specialties and delicacies. Not only will you be bringing back something that's part of the local culture, but an edible product can also be enjoyed and used up, meaning it won't add to anyone's clutter. Look around for local sweets, drinks, or other food items that are small and make great gifts.
Keep in mind that if you're traveling internationally, you won't be able to bring fresh foods or meats through customs. Review the travel guidelines to avoid having your souvenirs confiscated at the airport!
2. Buy unique fashion and decor
The typical souvenir t-shirt probably isn't your best choice, but that doesn't mean that clothing is an absolute no. If you want to purchase truly special clothing or decor, avoid the large chain stores and instead check out the smaller boutiques and markets. The styles and items sold by local shops and designer-makers are more likely to be appreciated by friends and family back home. Independent designers produce work that is both beautiful and unique. Keep in mind that while these gifts are likely to be a hit, they're probably going to cost more as well. Consider purchasing a few high-end items for the special people in your life.
3. Make it Weird
This tip doesn't work for everyone, but if you have close friends with unconventional tastes, then it may be time to branch into the weird and funny. If you haven't found anything that seems good for these friends, then look out for the more eccentric items. Chances are they won't keep this type of souvenir forever, but it'll make for a fun experience of gifting it. For example, bobbleheads of the royal family after a trip to London isn't a classy gift, but it's a funny one. If you buy something like this, make sure only to gift it to someone who shares that type of humor.
4. Consider collectors
If you know someone who likes to collect, then you will have an easy time finding a gift they will love. For example, shot glasses, spoons, and decorative plates aren't the most exciting to give, but they're easy to find items that will be enjoyed by the people who collect them, and they make a good gift for grandma. Others may like to collect sporting apparel from a local sports team, or art that is unique to the region, so you can consider these as well.
5. Ask for recommendations
If you're staying in an unfamiliar place, go to the local experts. Ask the staff at the hotel where they recommend going to find the best souvenirs, as well as taxi drivers and anyone else who works or lives there. You can get some great ideas from any of the locals that know the area well.
These souvenir ideas are not based on specific items but will guide you in finding great gifts for yourself or others whenever you travel. If you're tired of ending up with cheap, kitschy items, then these ideas will help you find better options. Consider upgrading your souvenir hunting style for the next time you travel. You may be surprised to find things that you treasure.
Writer Bio: Since the age of 16, Tim, a writer at SMK Website, has been traveling the world. As well as exploring new and wonderful things, Tim is also an avid reader.