Souvenirs... to buy or not to buy; That is the question. (February - B)

When on vacation, we often think about our friends and family and want to bring them back a little something from our trip.  We want them to know we thought of them and love them.  We want them to have a momento of the place we visited.  But who should we buy it for? What should we buy? Where should we buy the souvenirs?

Who should we buy a souvenir for? 
We love all of our friends and family and hopefully they know this and don't necessarily need a souvenir to prove it. Everyone is different and there will be a difference of opinion about this topic.  I personally believe that most souvenirs are overrated but I also want to support he locals.  I think a good rule of thumb is to purchase a souvenir for someone who has never been to the location.  Unless of course, you see something that you know your friend or family member would absolutely love; in this case buy away and pray your have room in your bag.

What should we buy as a souvenir?
T-shirts, shot glasses, thimbles, spoons, nick nacks... oh my!  You can only get so many t-shirts before your bag bursts at the seems or becomes overweight.  If you know someone collects something very specific like shot glasses or thimbles and you want to add to their collection then by all means, have at it.  I prefer to bring someone something they can consume and enjoy.  If someone has never been to this location, buy them something that is made by the local inhabitants.  Things like hot sauce, cheese, coffee, tea, chocolate, etc.  Or if you know someone loves sea shells, bring them one.  Just be careful to not go overboard on the nick nacks; they only sit around gathering dust.

Where should we buy the souvenirs?
I like to buy souvenirs from the locals but at times that can be quite a hassle.  The artisan markets can be noisy, crowded, intimidating and uncomfortable. You want to buy from everyone but that is not possible.  Some merchants are more pushy then others.  You want to make sure you are paying a fair price and not getting ripped off.  If the artisan markets is your only option, go with someone local and have them take you to their recommended artisan.  Otherwise, go to your local food market, preferably a small one owned by a local but if that isn't an option go to the supermarket.  You are supporting the local economy after all.

We personally like to bring back a piece of art and an instrument from everywhere we visit for our souvenirs but are always hesitant to bring something like this for others as people's taste in art is very personal.  I hope this gives you something to think about next time you are traveling and wanting to bring something back.

Happy Shopping!

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