Souvenir shopping has become a standard part of the travel to-do list.
Little knick-knacks, t-shirts, figurines and pieces of art find their way into suitcases and backpacks, and further on top of shelves and desks when back at home, showcasing past travels to friends and acting as reminders of conquered bucket-list items to us.
Souvenirs have their purpose, but they may not have a space in your luggage.
If you’re a traveler who’s trying to do good by packing light, then perhaps some of the following souvenirs can be ones to focus on in upcoming trips:
Skill Souvenirs: What better way to remember a special time abroad than to bring back a skill to use for life? Instead of displaying your hand-picked tea set from China, why not create an authentic meal for your family and friends with recipes from a cooking class in Beijing. Language lessons provide skills that can benefit students and professionals when returning to their home life. Salsa lessons picked up in South America might see the light of day again at your wedding reception, helping the memories of the trip live on.
Documentary Souvenirs: Souvenirs of the documentary kind help you relive experiences and take up no more space than usually what you bring with you. Photos can be stored on memory cards or uploaded to the Web; videos can be uploaded directly to YouTube; journals will probably be on your list of packed items to begin with. These options are the easiest souvenirs to accommodate light packing and also provide a thorough and clear insight to a time abroad.
Style Souvenirs: When traveling to destinations full of fashion, the easiest way to bring a bit of it back home would be to invest in a new wardrobe. But a new wardrobe isn’t the easiest to fit into a suitcase (trust me, I’ve tried), so perhaps investing in another type of style change would be more pack-friendly.
In this case, I’d recommend heading to the local salon, whether in Paris or Milan, to get a new haircut/style.
The more adventurous might find a piercing or a tattoo while traveling as a suiting way to bring home a souvenir that you don’t have to pack.
Postcard Souvenirs: I must admit that I have a habit of buying postcards whenever I travel, and never sending them. When I am traveling for an extended period, these little cards start to take up precious bag space, so I’ve made it a point to head to the post office the next time this happens, inscribe a little bit about my day on the backs, and send them to family, friends and even myself. It would be a treat to come home to a scrapbook of my travels in postcard form.
Do you have any suggestions for souvenirs you don’t have to pack when traveling?