One of the most fun things to do on vacation is to find unique gifts to bring back home. I have always enjoyed shopping for people I love by locating just the right souvenir to take back to them. Whether they expect it or not, giving someone a souvenir of your trip is a way to say you remembered them even if they didn’t get to come with you. In this longer post, we’ll take a look at some ways you can use to locate the best souvenir for that special person. You’ll enjoy your vacation even more and make someone smile when you get home.
Tips for Finding the Best Souvenirs on Vacation
It’s also fun to see what you can find and it can turn into a type of treasure hunt. Some of the places I’ve been are ripe grounds for finding souvenirs. Most places like Florida and other beach areas have hundreds of souvenir shops that you can check out while there. Other locations will require a little more research on your part to find the best gift. But that’s part of the fun, right?
Consider the Hobbies of the Person You’re Buying For
Most tourist areas are well-known for offering outlet shopping opportunities that you cannot find anywhere else. Some places such as Branson, MO have red roof shops that offer wholesale type prices. These red roof shopping plazas have name-brand goods at reduced prices. Some are surplus inventory or liquidated items while others are discontinued products. They are usually brand new and are exactly what you’d find in the brand-name stores. Many times with a lower price tag. If you know what hobbies your friend or family member likes, you might find souvenirs that are related to something they like to do such as a unique art bag or paintbrushes, journals, or other items.
Shop for Unique Items
There are many different types of souvenirs that you can get for people. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to look for unique items. People will appreciate them more if it’s not something you got at Walmart or another well-known store. Instead, look for specialty shops or small family-own businesses. They usually carry a number of unique items that you can purchase for souvenirs. Arts and crafty type souvenirs are usually remembered more than ordinary items.
Look for Dollar Stores or Wholesale Locations
I once found a store in Panama Beach, Florida that was called, “All a Dollar.” Yes, everything in the store was only one dollar. In fact, a recorded voice on an intercom constantly reminded customers, “Everything a dollar” while shopping. The repetitive voice was a bit annoying but worth the temporary aural inconvenience. I was happy to find a large number of cheap but cute and unique beach-type souvenirs for my friends and family to take home.
Ask Friends What They Like
One thing you can do to make sure you find an item they will appreciate is to ask your friends what they would like beforehand. That way, you can narrow down the take-home gift options while you are on vacation. Some people collect dishes, knives, old records, or other items that are hard to find in other places. If you know what they like already, you can surprise them by buying something that suits their fancy. Either way, they’ll be happy that you thought of them.
Purchase Discount Hotel or Sports Ticket Packages
If you are traveling in an area that is the center of a sports arena or other attraction, you could purchase discount tickets to a sporting event or hotel accommodation as a souvenir. Imagine their delight when you bring home usable souvenir tickets for an athlete or team that your special friends admire. Better yet, set them up in advance with hotel reservations. Then they won’t have to worry about booking themselves when they catch the big game.
Purchase Clothing Items for the Season
If you have friends who love clothes or special seasonal items, you could purchase something like a Christmas sweater or other seasonal items. If pressed for time, you can always go with the “can’t go wrong” t-shirt. Or just get them a great scarf or vest to go with some of their outdoor attire that you know they will appreciate. Buying clothing can be easier when on vacation. There are often competitive discounts that you cannot find at home or in your location.
Purchase Food Gift Cards for Restaurants
If you know of a specific place that your friends like to go to eat, you could get them a gift card to a favorite restaurant. Cracker Barrel, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and many others all have gift cards that you can purchase. Gift cards are easily found at places like Dollar General, Target, and Walmart, to name a few. Of course, this gift is not quite as unique as others you might get on vacation. However, it will be appreciated if you have friends who prefer certain places. This can be a more special gift if you choose a restaurant that you enjoyed while on vacation. Then you can purchase your friend at home a gift card to that same restaurant.
Texting Vacation Photos to Family and Friends
If you have a sibling or a friend that knows you are going to get them a souvenir from your vacation spot, you can text a picture of something you think they will like. That solves a lot of time once you receive a “thumbs up” emoji! My sister once texted me and asked me to get her a dolphin decor piece for her mantelpiece at a store she had been to about three weeks before I had been there. I chased down the dolphin in three different stores and was not able to locate it. Luckily, she was able to contact the store later and order it herself. But if she had taken a picture of the dolphin decorum that she wanted and sent it to me, I may have been able to locate it.
Buy Gag Gifts for Funny Friends
If you have friends who have a great sense of humor, buy them a gag gift. There are lots of stores with jokes and gag gifts that you can bring them and they will get a laugh out of this. Just use common sense though. Don’t buy something that will embarrass them too much if they are going to open the travel souvenir in front of other people.
Don’t Overspend on Souvenirs
Remember that you should use moderation when it comes to buying souvenirs. No one really expects you to “break the bank” to bring them back a souvenir. So just have fun and choose something that you think they will appreciate. More than likely, the person will just be touched by the fact that you thought of them while you were miles away on vacation. It’s probably a good idea to limit your souvenir and miscellaneous spending to around $200 or less. That is, unless there is a special someone on your souvenir list that you want to get an expensive gift for. Souvenirs can just take up space unless the person really could use it over the long term so choose based on these ideas.
Capture the Culture of Your Destination
One of the best ways to choose a souvenir for someone special is to look at the cultural atmosphere of the area you are visiting. Think about the landscape and the culture and the people that surround your area. This approach should even make it easier to choose something that represents your vacation spot. This will help you remember it more, as well as the person you are giving it to. If you are staying at a seaside resort, for example, get a wooden sailboat to remind the person of where you stayed or a seagull or candle with the location printed on it.
Finding the Best Souvenirs Summary
There are many different types of souvenirs you could buy for yourself as well as the people you are shopping for. Just use your imagination and think about what they like based on one of the following things:
-The person’s hobbies and general interests
-Something they need or like but wouldn’t purchase for themselves
-Brand name clothing items or bags, cosmetic items, etc.
-Items that are unique to the climate or culture
-Food coupons, gift cards, or other items
In the end, it’s the thought that counts the most. Friends don’t expect you to buy them too many souvenirs. But something unique and thoughtful that they can keep will remind them that you thought of them while you were on vacation.
Are you planning to go somewhere for Christmas this year? Why not bring back some lovely and different Christmas decorations or ornaments? Places like Branson, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, and even Destin, Florida are alive with the season. You can have a unique vacation experience there while bringing back some great gifts for those who couldn’t go with you. For those of you wondering just how to pay for these souvenir items, please refer to our recent article Five Ways to Save for Your Next Vacation.
The Skycap News™ team wishes everyone has a wonderful Christmas holiday. We would like to thank you for trusting us as we bring you the latest and most relevant travel-related news. Please visit us regularly as we continue to write about great vacation destinations while providing travel tips to save you money while you have a great time on your next getaway.
Remember, it’s your vacation so do what you love! The fun will follow. . .