I thought this was enlightening even though I personally don’t even like buying Souvenirs. I remember, on my first trip to Ghana in 2007 I bought loads of souvenirs that I hoped will bring fond memories of Accra. Unfortunately, most where of poor quality that I had to throw them all away after a few months. I know some like to buy but for those who wonder if this is necessary then this might help you make up your mind;
Culled from Wisebread.com
There is little utility value to most souvenir items, and yet we still find ourselves buying impractical, overpriced trinkets out of some sense of obligation to the folks back home. Remember that tourism is a highly profit-driven industry and extreme markups on cheap items (sometimes in excess of 50-60% of the item’s actual value) are commonplace. Travel is expensive enough; why squander Euros, rupees, yuan, etc. on souvenirs that will inevitably find their way to the back of someone’s closet?
In 2010, I was returning to the US from a month in Europe with a group of other exchange students. One girl bought a snow globe for her parents on the way to the airport, as a last-minute, obligatory souvenir. Unfortunately, it was bigger than the allowable “tennis ball size” snow globe and airport security promptly confiscated it. Since 9/11, the number of limits on carry-on items has skyrocketed, particularly where liquid or “sharp” items are concerned. Souvenirs present another hassle to already-hectic air travel plans, and, sometimes, you could be encouraging illegal activities without even realizing it.
“If you come across people selling wildlife or wildlife products, be aware that those ‘souvenirs’ could very well be endangered species that have been poached from the wild and are being sold illegally,” Senior Policy Officer for U.S. Government Relations Will Gartshore said in a World Wildlife Fund article. This is especially true of the fur and ivory industries, which are targeting tourists who may not be aware of these illegal activities. Why risk it? Not buying souvenirs at all is a simple way to avoid this problem.
But if you don’t want to avoid buying souvenirs altogether, there are a few, frugal ways to bring a little something back for your friends and family. Photos and maps are inexpensive and probably last longer than a cheap keychain. You could also bring back coasters and pens from hotels you stayed at, and places like Disney World or Disneyland hand out freebies such as pins (for special occasions), character or princess stickers, and the Autopia “driver’s license.” If you’re vacationing off the beaten path, consider taking home a pressed leaf (they make for great wall art) or a little jar of sand (though mind the rules about removing sea shells from the beach, especially if you’re in an environmentally-sensitive area).
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