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Tips on Purchasing the Finest Souvenirs

BY: Gregorio Fiorentino | Category: Travel | Submitted: 2010-06-15 00:08:09
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Article Summary: "There is nothing like the cultural and social experience gained while traveling. One thing the majority of travelers do is collect various things from a new place as souvenirs..."

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Travel is an experience that can broaden your horizons. Of course, the best part of traveling are the souvenirs you buy to help you remember your trip. I would like to give you some suggestions on what separates a superior souvenir from a mediocre souvenir to help you when you are shopping on your trip. This article contains a bit of advice about how to shop intelligently on vacation.

Most people don't know that some of the first travel souvenirs were seashells. Sea captains would collect shells from exotic places. When they returned home, the shells had a place of honor in curio cabinets, or entire rooms (called wonder chambers) that were completely devoted to displaying the collections. Souvenirs exist because their owners associate these items with memories of a certain location. As an example, you should strive to purchase items that you cannot get anywhere except the place you are visiting. There are many items which are constructed to look like items from that region, but were actually made someplace else. These generally have no value, and there are probably better options around.

One example that comes immediately to mind is the plastic snow globe. You can find them almost everywhere such as airport gift shops, cheap outlets, and souvenir shops, promoting almost any place. While beautiful on their own, snow globes do not really represent the area or culture like a hand made local souvenir would. Snow globes from a city in Florida could exhibit a scene of orange trees, but wouldn't you rather have an authentic orange crate label from the past or a rare cigar box as a souvenir from this region?

Brightly printed ephemera pieces say so much about the Sunshine State's rich history and the diverse culture and lifestyle of its residents. You want to look for a souvenir that is high in quality but low enough in price that you won't break the bank. Try to get souvenirs that remind you of the culture and history of the area.

Don't be afraid to compromise or negotiate when you're shopping for the perfect souvenir. For example, let's say you had the opportunity to travel to the grand city of St Petersburg, Russia. You decided that the souvenir for you would be a Russian nesting doll matroyshka. But with so many nesting dolls to select from, it then becomes a matter of trying to figure out which ones suit you the best. You need to be careful to search out a doll that has an actual signature on the bottom, a glossy surface, and is hand painted, since these are easily copied items.

Pick out a doll where the painting is consistent, with detailed gold leaf or gilt, overall color palette that is similar, as well as scenes on the belly of each doll that are repeating - all historic city sites, all snow scrapes, or all rosy cheeked blonds, etc. These are the sort of things that add value to your memento.

While traveling, you will come across many areas to purchase or simply pick up a souvenir of your trip, but you want to seriously consider the kind of souvenir you want to take home as a memory of the trip. Think about all you learned about your destination. If you follow my suggestions, you might just find a valuable antique and souvenir. Souvenirs allow us to bring a piece of all of the places that we visit back home with us, as well as how we connect with the other cultures of the world.

Packing advice is to take only clothing you'll really need so you won't have to carry too many heavy suitcases. But do be sure to have clothing suitable for unusually hot or cold weather. Even if you're going to a tropical beach, bring a sweater or shawl for cooler evenings and air conditioned environments. It's also wise to take clothes which you can easily wash and re-wear.

Bring shoes that you can walk in comfortably for long distances. You'll also want to consider what sort of impression your clothing will make on other people. Depending on what you wear, you might attract pickpockets and thieves because your clothes scream tourist. Travelers will inevitably lose their bags at some point, and relocating these takes about three days. As a precaution, be sure that other people always know where you are going. You can leave an itinerary with your travel schedules, such as the addresses and phone numbers of the hotel(s), with a close friend or relative.

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