Souvenirs on the Cheap

 

Traveling is expensive, or at least it can be if you don’t know how to find the best deals and do it inexpensively.  One of the most expensive aspects of traveling can be souvenir shopping. Just about everyone would love to take home a little something to remind them of their trip. It seems that every tourist attraction has a shop to buy souvenirs. Many attractions even funnel traffic to exit through the gift shop to entice you. However, be a smart shopper and you will save money and have a wonderful souvenir to remember your trip by.

My first suggestion is to avoid gift shops at attractions. Museums, history attractions, and other entertainment such as these always have gift shops. Most sell gifts that are unique to that specific attraction and they also sell city souvenirs. For example, The Tower of London, they sell Tower souvenirs and London souvenirs. Don’t buy your city specific gifts here, they are going to be way overpriced, don’t buy them here!

Set a budget BEFORE you go into the gift shop. I usually give myself a budget for the day making sure to include some spending money if I see something I like. Keeping this in mind, I usually allow one large splurge, or expensively priced souvenir. While I do not suggest buy city specific items at gift shops in popular attractions there are some gifts that can only be bought there. For example, an art print at a museum or a replica of the crown jewels at the Tower of London. If the souvenir is relevant to the attraction, chances are you aren’t going to find it anywhere else so buy it here.

My last suggestion is to shop at the airport. Most large airports, especially when flying internationally offer duty free shopping. This is a huge plus, not having to pay hefty VAT tax. I always do my souvenir shopping at the airport. Heathrow especially has awesome shopping. I can get all of my Harrods souvenirs at a fraction of the price and get all my London gear there too.

Keep in mind, be choosey, shop for price and don’t be afraid to splurge at specific attractions. Also keep in mind that you must travel home with whatever you buy. A fragile souvenir may be a great gift but take a second to think how you are going to get it home. Can you carry it on the airplane? Also keep in mind that you want something special to remind you of the unique experiences that you’ve had.

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