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The Souvenir Guide: Important Reminders When Buying Souvenirs

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Whenever we’re traveling away from home, across cities, states, or countries, we’d want to have a tangible reminder of our adventures especially if it’s somewhere we probably won’t come back to. Sometimes, it’s not enough to have photos as souvenirs, which is why almost any place has a gift and souvenir shops selling local delicacies, handicrafts, printed shirts, and such. But whether you’re buying a souvenir for yourself or someone else, here are some tips and reminders seasoned travelers share when buying gifts:

Know What To Buy

We often plan to go to a gift or souvenir shop in our travel itineraries, but we rarely plan on what to buy. As such, most of the time, we buy souvenirs and gifts spontaneously as we see them displayed or as we hear them from the locals. This could mean that you’d end up taking a lot of time finding and deciding on what to buy, and would also lead you to buy more than your bags can carry or your baggage allowance permits (if you’re using a plane). So, to save you time and money, it’s best to have some “grocery list” for the souvenirs you’re going to buy. You could do your research online (or talk with people who’ve been there) and make a list of the items you’d want to buy. Having a list would be quite handy, especially if you’re short on time and money.

Addendum: Make a Collection

It’s easier to know what to buy if you already have a collection. Some people travel to different states and countries collecting shot glasses or plates with the place’s name or signature food/animal/attraction in it. So the next time you’re traveling, might be the best time for you to start your souvenir collection.

Be Wary of Space and Weight

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A lot of souvenir buyers often fall victim to buying items that are too heavy or take up too much space (like hand-woven bags or carved wooden masks) in their bags (or even merit buying and using additional bags). If you’re traveling and anticipating that you’d be buying a lot of souvenirs for you and your loved ones, you have to make sure that your bags have enough space to accommodate your souvenirs. And more importantly, if you’re flying, make sure that you won’t go overweight and end up paying exorbitant last-minute baggage fees — buying additional baggage allowance with your plane ticket beforehand for your return trip would save you a lot. The bottom line here is that proper planning and consideration to your carrying capacity should be kept in mind when buying souvenirs.

Contrabands and Legalities

Before you travel, or at least before you buy anything, you’ll need to know what is and isn’t allowed back at home. If you’re from the US, you might end up surrendering some of your souvenirs and gifts if they aren’t legal in the country our state. Don’t end up like the tourists back in 2012 who ended up being detained at the border for bringing Kinder Surprise Eggs. You should also be aware of things that are ILLEGAL to bring to the place you’re traveling to, so make sure you do your research. Additionally, make sure that the souvenirs you buy are sold or produced unethically like knock-off designer bags.


Buying souvenirs is a tradition when traveling, and it’s important that you make the most out of it. So, the next time you’re traveling to Phoenix, AZ or elsewhere, make sure to keep these souvenir buying tips in mind when shopping for personal souvenirs or unique gifts.

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