Five Tips to Buying Unique Souvenirs and Gifts

Finding unique souvenirs and gifts can be challenging, especially in more touristy places.  Having a little momento from each of your adventures makes the memories so much stronger.  Here are some tips I use to find great items!

How to Find Unique Souvenirs and Gifts

  1. Find local flea markets and festivals.  Seek out flea markets or festivals where vendors will be more likely to be peddling items to appeal to locals, not tourists.  When browsing a small antiques shop on a side street in Stockholm, I found a jar of buttons and bought a few featuring the royal seal, which I later turned into necklaces for myself and a friend.  Different, a reminder of my trip there, and useful in everyday life!
  2. Consider traditional or well known trademarks of the area.  Sometimes the place you’re visiting is extremely well known for a food item or artistic style, which means everyone buys a sample of that item as a keep sake.  And that’s okay! When I went to Lisbon, I bought a small figurine of the rooster which is a national symbol for Portugal.  Were figurines, tapestries, and shirts featuring this rooster everywhere? Yes! But that didn’t make it any less special of an item for me to remember my trip by.
  3. Think of an item’s value in terms of usefulness.  That bottle of genuine Italian olive oil might seem like a unique and fantastic gift (after all how many people can get olive oil they have seen pressed right in front of them!), but if the person you’re giving it to won’t find it useful then it can be a waste of space and hassle to bring home.  Make sure your souvenirs and gifts match the right recipient for maximum appreciation and use!
  4. Pick things that will remind you of your adventures.  It is okay if the souvenir you buy isn’t something the place is famous for, as long as it invokes memories of your travels when you see and/or use it.  When I went to the Almalfi Coast in Italy I tried limoncello (infamous local liquor) and it wasn’t to my liking.  So instead of buying bottles it for myself, I bought a print of the view from near where my hostel was in Positano.  I can almost feel the Mediterranean breezes every time I look at it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to buy the “touristy” stuff.  Just because every shop you pass by has the same wooden figurines in the window, doesn’t mean those won’t be a great gift!  They’ll be unique when displayed in your friend’s home.  Don’t feel like you have to pass on a perfect gift just because somebody else can buy the exact same item.

Hope these help you to find something special on your adventures! Happy travels!


Hi, I'm Heather! By age 17, I had visited all seven continents and fully developed an obsession with traveling. I feel most alive when I'm learning about other countries and cultures, meeting locals, and discovering beautiful places. My goal of this site is to help you get the most out of your adventures!

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