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Souvenir Shopping Tips and Ideas

BY: Wade Robinson | Category: Travel | Submitted: 2010-10-22 06:38:38
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Article Summary: "Travel is an experience that can broaden your horizons. Many people like to collect objects by which they can remember the various places they've seen..."


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Everyone can expand their own horizons when they travel. Assembling keepsakes from the various places you travel is often a fundamental part of the experience. There are very few people who do not like to shop for souvenirs, so I am going to provide some helpful hints on the do-s and don't-s of souvenir shopping. These are a few tips to make sure you shop wisely during your travels.

Few people realize that the first travel souvenirs were seashells. Often captains of ships would collect shells from various exotic locales. When they got back home, they would proudly show off their shells by giving them a place of great respect, known as a wonder chamber, in their house. Owners of fine souvenirs are allowed to recall the enjoyment they had a specific location because of the objects associated with that area. For this reason, it's wise to select objects that are unique to the area you're traveling in. You don't want to buy an item that has been designed to merely resemble a product of the native people. These copies are not going to be of any worth down the road.

A good example is are the ubiquitous souvenir "snow globes". You can find a snow globe just about anywhere, including airports, outlet malls, and souvenir shops, and any of these places are sure to have snow globes depicting many locations. Snow globes do have a unique past, however, you don't want to get one if you are able to buy an authentic souvenir instead. Why not purchase one of the paper labels from old-fashioned orange crate or traditional cigar box to represent the rich culture of Florida instead of that orange grove snow globe.

Or, you could buy ephemera art that tells a wonderful story about Florida's past and the various cultures that make up the state. Keeping your budget in mind is key; make your best effort to select an object that's high quality, but also affordable. The history and culture of your destination should be easily represented by the souvenirs you choose to collect.

One of my favorite mottos when souvenir shopping is that you should always be prepared to negotiate. Let's look at an example where you took a trip to Russia, and specifically St Petersburg. A good souvenir might be a matroyshka, or a Russian nesting doll. You are then faced with an overwhelming number of choices and have to pick the best out of the bunch. You want to avoid the mass-produced dolls, so find a doll that is painted by hand and has a smooth, varnished finish, with a real signature on the bottom.

To ensure consistency, you'll want to look for dolls that have repeating patterns (such as specific landscape or city scenes, particular color of the hair/cheeks, etc), as well as details such as gold leafing and gilt finishes. These tiny details will determine the value and beauty of the doll.

So on your next trip, even while you are swimming in the ocean or touring ancient ruins or just browsing through a souvenir shop, think about what items would be good reminders of your trip when you are back home. Be sure to choose something that reminds you of all that you learned about where you traveled. Your choice today could be of great value tomorrow if you choose an authentic and unique bauble to bring home. Selecting souvenirs is a way to bring a meaningful piece of another culture in a faraway place back to your home.

When you travel you should be sure to pack only the clothing that you will need so that you aren't having to carry many heavy bags and suitcases. However, make sure you take one article of clothing for any unseasonable weather that occurs. For instance, if you are traveling to Florida from Buffalo, remember to pack a sweater or light jacket for the cool evenings. But if you can, bring clothing you can wash and wear again.

Walking shoes that are supportive and comfortable are also essential. Your clothing speaks volumes about you, so bear in mind that you're projecting an image with the styles you wear. Certain clothing can indicate to pickpockets and thieves that you are a tourist. Seasoned travelers will tell you that lost luggage is standard traveling procedure, and it usually takes an average of three days to recover the luggage - if it is ever found. Make sure you tell friends and family where you are traveling. Leave them a complete and comprehensive itinerary, not only your schedule but the addresses of the hotels at which you'll be staying and the phone numbers as well.

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