Tourism is a multibillion-dollar market and memento sales comprise a significant portion of that pie. If you have traveled at all, you’ve actually most likely noticed gift stores on nearly every edge in high-traffic, touristy areas and smaller vendors in less-traveled locations that welcome out of town site visitors. There are no restrictions to exactly what you may discover in a souvenir shop: stuffed animals, clothing, shot glasses, or even ‘souvenir water’ from places like Niagara Falls.
Most of these products are pretty pointless, however we feel excellent when we buy souvenirs because we are specific our friends and family back house will like them. But if your buddy is not a devoted keychain collector and your children are too old for stuffed animals, is it truly worth paying all that money for the sake of restoring souvenirs? Or, to take it a step further, should you buy souvenirs at all?
I’d say no.
There’s little energy worth to most souvenir products, and yet we still find ourselves purchasing impractical, pricey trinkets out of some sense of responsibility to the people back house. Bear in mind that tourism is a highly profit-driven sector and severe markups on low-cost items (in some cases in extra of 50-60 % of the product’s actual value) are prevalent. Trip is costly enough, why squander Euros, rupees, yuan, etc. on mementos that’ll unavoidably find their method to the back of someone’s closet?
In 2010, I was returning to the United States from a month in Europe with a group of other exchange pupils. One lady bought a snow globe for her parents heading to the flight terminal, as a last-minute, required memento. Regrettably, it was larger than the allowable ‘tennis ball size’ snow world and airport security promptly confiscated it. Considering that 9/11, the number of restrictions on carry-on items has actually escalated, specifically where fluid or ‘sharp’ products are concerned. Mementos present an additional inconvenience to already-hectic flight plans, and, often, you might be encouraging unlawful tasks without even realizing it.
‘If you stumble upon people offering wildlife or wildlife items, be aware that those ‘souvenirs’ might very well be jeopardized types that have been poached from the wild and are being sold illegally,’ Senior Policy Officer for UNITED STATE Government Relations Will Gartshore stated in a World Wildlife Fund article. This is particularly true of the fur and ivory sectors, which are targeting travelers who may not know these unlawful activities. Why threat it? Not buying mementos at all is a small way to avoid this trouble.
Worker Exploitation and Scams
In addition to animal-related events, there have been reports of employee exploitation on the fringes of the tourism market. Allegations of memento companies overworking their laborers and exposing them to hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing facilities have come to light, and New Zealand’s tourism industry recently experienced scandals including mislabeled and overpriced ‘Made in New Zealand’ rugs (that were truly made by cheap laborers in Peru). These are a few circumstances among many, and as a prudent tourist, bear in mind that getting a bargain on souvenirs may have some unforeseen consequences.
But if you don’t wish to prevent buying souvenirs altogether, there are a few, prudent methods to bring a little something back for your family and friends. Images and maps are cost-effective and most likely last longer than a cheap keychain. You could also rejuvenate coasters and pens from hotels you stayed at, and locations like Disney World or Disneyland hand out freebies such as pins (for unique celebrations), character or princess sticker labels, and the Autopia ‘driver’s license.” If you’re vacationing off the beaten course, consider taking house a pushed leaf (they produce fantastic wall art) or a little jar of sand (though mind the guidelines about getting rid of sea coverings from the beach, particularly if you’re in an environmentally-sensitive area).
Saving the very best for last, postcards are the true champions when it comes to mementos. They are easy, tailored, and affordable (simply pay for the postcard and shipping). That way, your family and friends still get a piece of your holiday without cluttering their houses or overstretching your wallet like standard souvenirs often do.
What about you? Do you like buying souvenirs or do you’ve something else you like to restore house? Tell us in the remarks below!