Crap you bring home (or a guide to buying souvenirs)

I  simply cannot be the only one with a hole in my wallet. After reading other people’s travel blogs and hearing travel stories from friends, I cannot get over the fact that they apparently know how to behave themselves when it comes to buying souvenirs or other crap that you really don’t need.  So, I thought today should be the day to come clean about my shopping habits when on the road by talking about the crap I bring home. 


Every holiday, every trip I take it’s the same old thing: although I leave with a half empty backpack, on my way home I always feel like I’ve outdone myself again by buying way too many souvenirs! Last week I was cleaning my house when I found a ton of unused and overpriced souvenirs I collected in the past few years.

After looking around on the good old internet, I realized that although I didn’t think to be the only one with his problem, according to Google I am! Therefore I decided to make a checklist that will prevent all of us from buying overpriced crap that we don’t need. These are the basic rules for buying a souvenir:


It reminds you of the place you’ve been, but not too much.

I like to have little memento’s of special places I’ve visited but that doesn’t mean it literally has to look like the sight I was just on. So no, you don’t need that Eiffel Tower keychain. You probably already have a ton of those, so you will find your keys searching for a (cross out the unnecessary items): Brandenburger Tor/ Big Ben/ Segrada Familia/ Tv Tower keychain you bought earlier.


It’s something you haven’t seen before

I know a mug is just a lovely thing to have, especially with the huge amounts of coffee we drink every day. But do we really need 10? You can buy keychains and mousepads everywhere, so you might want to look for something unique.


You need it

Now this is a tricky one! My brain can make me believe I need everything and I find it hard not to give in. For example, on my last trip to Romania we went to see a soccer match between Romania en Hungary, a memorable day  (and not just because of the 80 people that had to go to the hospital due to serious injuries.).  I decided I wanted a huge Romanian flag to wrap myself in for the next match. However, I couldn’t find one and therefore I borrowed one from a friend. At the end of the trip I bought a flag anyway for ‘next time’. Now, although I think it is beautiful,  I am stuck with a huge (and I mean HUGE) flag that I can’t use for anything but picnics.


You’re going to use it.

This is a hard one because there aren’t that many souvenirs that you can actually use and look cool when doing so. Sure, there’s t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, keychains, but how many keys do you have? And will your mum really wear that ‘My daughter went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’-t-shirt? I don’t think so!


You have a perfect spot for it at home

People who have been to my house will laugh hysterically now. No, I don’t have a place for it. I don’t even have space for the things I do need, so I should stop thinking about adding stuff to the pile. What about you? Is your house filled with memento’s from the past?


Is it legal?

Especially flying stuff in from the rest of the world into Europe can be a tricky thing! Make sure your souvenirs are absolutely legal to get them out of the country you’re in, into the country you want to go. And what about the amount of it? I’m sure there’s wine where you’re going… 😉


Is the price okay?

Aside from haggling until you drop, are you prepared to spend any money on this product and if so, how much? How much is it actually worth? When you check the previous steps, you will find out.


Is it the one?

Imagine you can only buy one thing! Out of all things you have seen, would this be the one? Or is there something better on the way? This step is currently helping me out a lot!


So back to my shopping addiction. Aside from the steps you can take to determine if this is the gift for you, it might be wise to check what you bought previously and determine if it was worth the spending and carrying. So what did I buy that I actually use? To be honest there are just a few things that come to mind, such as the cute pillow cases I bought in Sarajevo and the hot pepper powder I found at the Romanian supermarket (which made me look like a smuggler at the airport for taking more than 10 sachets). So, if I ask myself these simple questions, looking back I could’ve saved serious money. Do I mind? No, what’s gone is gone. But I will be using this list from now on.

So what about you? Do you have that perfect impulse control or are you like me, a raging shopaholic? 😉 And what was your best buy? (And  your worst!) Tell me below! 

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  • Reply
    April 20, 2015 at 11:53

    Ohh I miss buying random crap in the places we visit. Since we’ve become nomadic I can’t buy anything anymore. I miss my cheesy little fridge magnets!

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 21, 2015 at 08:22

      I can imagine Megsy! So, if you can’t buy those souvenirs, what do you bring home? Don’t tell me it’s just memories 😉

  • Reply
    April 21, 2015 at 06:46

    Thanks for the post – gave me a bit of a giggle! Especially as I imagined you unwrapping a giant Romanian flag and trying to work out what the hell you were going to do with it. Of course, until next time 😉

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      April 21, 2015 at 08:16

      Hahaha! That is exactly what happened! It’s so beautiful though..

  • Reply
    August 28, 2015 at 17:13

    Funny post! I have struggled for years to tell myself not to spend too much money on souvenirs. It takes up too much space in my luggage/backpack. Now, I only collect mugs and buy 1 thing that is unique to the country/city/region that I can incorporate in my home decor.

    • Reply
      The Brave Dame
      August 28, 2015 at 17:18

      That’s smart! Most of the time those souvenirs really start to weigh on you, don’t they? I love collecting mugs too!

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