Here are some genuine things to consider, and put into practice on your next trip when looking for souvenirs!
“Could you please bring me something from France?” asks my bestie. Now, begins a frantic search: What, where, and how much? It’s possible you will spend more time trying to find any souvenir for a friend… than yourself, unless, it is a refrigerator magnet of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which you can get online nowadays.
You’ve saved all year for this fabulous trip; get selfish with your money, and your time. Traveling can be hectic, even for the experienced person, why add more stress. You have better things to do and see. Save your time for museums, walks in the park, and cafes. How much time do you want to spend on buying souvenirs? Sometimes, it’s not the money, but precious vacation time.
The best price:
If you see the metal Eiffel Tower and it’s €5 –€8 …buy it. If you think you can probably get that for less somewhere else, and wait for another store, you will be disappointed if you don’t see that price again, and you won’t remember where that first store was.
It’s astonishing when you go on a trip to Paris and your companion’s want to “shop” for the best price. This happened twice in my travels on touring with girlfriends: it took up a good portion of the day, for several days. A common tendency is to look for something too unique.
On our first trip to Paris all we could afford, (I’m not embarrassed to say) was a nail clipper with the Eiffel Tower on it. (Airline employee’s travel perks outweigh the salary.) We still have it, and whenever I see it in the drawer it brings a smile to my face. It will always remind me of our very first trip to Paris.
Get it later:
Another thing that happens if people tell you to “get it later.” What’s LATER mean? I adopted a motto many years ago while traveling with my husband, so this is very personal. “I’m buying it now; we are not coming back this way again!” It was borne out of frustration when my husband would say, “Let’s get it later, or on our way back,” which always means NO (his favorite word). “Why wait? Why can’t I get it now?” was my grumble. Lesson learned.
Weight and size:
If the souvenir is breakable the wrapping will take up extra room. I weigh all my luggage so I’m not in shock before I leave for the flight. Buy one of those gadgets, it’s well worth it, or use a home scale.
Legal or prohibited:
Don’t even think about sneaking it through customs. If you get caught, your name will be in a security database. Even fake designer clothing; watches, purses can get you fined.
This past fall, (returning from Barcelona) after completing all my customs clearance and ready to walk out the door to get my checked luggage, I was greeted by the airport security dog… sniffing my carry-on. I was hauled-over because of a banana that was given to me by a flight attendant. It was not pleasant to have my bags scanned all over again. Forgetfulness can cost you!
MY TIP: Here’s my advice:
Go to a decent sized souvenir shop where you will be able to get all the “memories” you want. Don’t waste your valuable time trying to find a deal. You might never come to Paris again. When visiting Paris, I found most souvenir stores on the rue de Rivoli (near the Louvre) that have everything you need. Stick with getting some postcards; you can’t go wrong. Make this your one-stop shopping spree. In Nice, there are great souvenir shops in Old Town.
Don’t feel bad when you tell your friends that you are traveling with a carry-on. It’s your trip. You are not under any obligation, and when they say they will “pay you” when you come back—it might not happen. They think that you are now the most generous person on the earth, and say,” Oh, thank you so much, how sweet of you to think of me.” Not a good time to ask for the money, right?
You can collect free items like shells from the beach, fallen leaves, and coasters from bars. We have done this from various countries, even opera and ballet tickets can make a decent book marker as your own personal item. Several times I have collected sand from different beaches.
Souvenir in French means, “remembrance.” These little freebies validate the experience just the same as a purchase. Oh, and don’t forget, even a photo is a souvenir!
What will you collect as a souvenir on your next trip?