A way to save money (and free your arms) is to wait until the end of your trip to purchase souvenirs to take home.
This gives you the chance to scope out prices, which can vary greatly in touristy areas. It can also give you a better sense of what’s available, so you don’t wind up buying all junk.
If you find something unique, you should snag it, but otherwise set an afternoon aside for souvenir shopping.
Maybe you don’t need shot glasses, postcards, or (even more!) t-shirts cluttering your life. Perhaps a once-a-year reminder of your trip is enough. If so, consider buying Christmas ornaments, or other holiday decorations, on vacation.
Most vacation areas sell holiday items. You may find you appreciate your souvenirs more by unpacking them once a year and reliving your vacation memories. Plus, once you pack them away until next year, you don’t have to dust them all year!
Bonus: if you can’t easily locate a store selling holiday items, this means you’ve got to do some research and explore your destination more deeply. The reward will be tremendous.
Traveling with family on a budget often doesn’t leave much money for souvenirs. As an alternative, create an edition of “Family Travel Gazette” — a mock newspaper highlighting all the adventures you had while on vacation.
Using cut-out pictures from brochures and photos taken along the way, assign articles to each family member, including editorials on the trip; weather reports; food reviews; on-the-ground interviews; and headline news. What a great way to encourage kids’ critical thinking and enhance their writing skills!
Once home, assemble all the articles and photos using a scanner and computer. Be sure to date the souvenir edition, and make copies for Grandma!
Pro tip: Alternatively, create a paperback or hardcover book of your trip, using a service like Fastpencil.