Save Your Money (Literally): Why I No Longer Purchase Souvenirs

Yup, you read correctly. I finished acquiring souvenirs long ago. Years have passed since I quit getting souvenirs for myself. I more so recently ended purchasing souvenirs for others. A mug or trivial thing isn’t going to make you relive your travels. Buying it for someone else isn’t going to enable them to experience your travels through you. That’s it, that’s all.

I avoid misusing money and time, and that’s what I believe souvenirs are- a waste. Unless you collect an item, it’s useless. Small knick-knacks have short lifespans, and the amount of time seeking deals or reasonably priced items aren’t worth it. The sum and period exhausted searching for this item could be allocated to creating new memories. Allotting funds supporting memories that last a lifetime surpasses putting money towards a keepsake that serves no purpose.

Locating the ideal souvenir is an added stressor to any vacation. I travel to escape my stress, not add anything further. Time is lost comparing the expense of absurdly overpriced items and worrying about the message it conveys when gifted to a loved one. The hours consumed checking souvenir receivers off of a list is never without stress. It simply isn’t worth it.

A big con! While traveling, I need to be mindful of what I’m carrying. Finding or creating space in my suitcases to accommodate items that aren’t meaningful isn’t sensible. Keepsakes add yet another extra hassle during travel. An avoidable hassle that I refuse to allow myself to go through. 

Friends and family have grown used to me returning empty-handed. (Besides my younger sister, who anticipates and receives a shot glass from every country I visit.) Ever so often, I’ll buy snacks, rums/wines, or foods associated with that particular region. These purchases are made once I’ve gone through customs. This ensures that they’re duty-free and do not require being packed in my luggage ahead of time. In doing this, I can share with multiple people rather than getting one token per individual.

Since toddlerhood, I’ve accumulated foreign monies. My parents traveled regularly. I developed the habit of waiting for them to return, only to empty their pockets from currencies new to me. My collection is nearly as old as I am. I anticipate building my collection with each trip. It is practical, considering I will come across it anyway. Nothing that needs to be packed in my suitcase or requires bubble wrap. Instead, it remains in my wallet without occupying space. It’s straightforward, efficient, and doesn’t waste my valuable time.

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