Updated on August 4, 2015
I believe most minimalist that I am familiar with do not buy souvenirs when on vacation. Someone said your vacation is your souvenir. Maybe they are right. However, I like to buy souvenirs. While I do not like to get little trinket items for myself, I do like to buy things for other people. While not everyone will want something from somewhere that I have been, there are a few special people who will feel cared for and thought about when given something thoughtful from our travels.
Honestly, I despise souvenir shops with the names of whatever location plastered on lots of cheap items that are made in China. Depending on whom I happen to be traveling with, these places can be difficult to avoid completely. If I happen to be in a shop like this and find postcards that are inexpensive, I will buy a few. I have friends who enjoy collecting postcards and this would be a thoughtful gift for them.
My favorite place to look for souvenirs is the grocery store or local market. It may seem an unlikely place, however, there is a wealth of interesting products. (Oh, the grocery store is my favorite place to go anyway). You can always find items that the local people use every day. For instance, on our trip to Costa Rica, I bought season packets for Gallo Pinto, one of the national dishes of the country. Of course the instructions were written in Spanish, but for anyone interested in using the mix there were also pictures.
For New York, I have no idea what I will bring back. In Paris, there are Eiffel Tower key chains I can haggle with the Senegalese for a better price. In New Orleans, there is the beignet mix from Café du Monde. The list goes on.
I am not a shopper. I have never been interested in spending hours in shops looking for stuff I don’t need. I truly don’t know what the attraction of buying souvenirs for people is, but I really enjoy it. It is like a treasure hunt. If you have been to New York and bought simple, interesting souvenirs, what did you buy? What do you recommend?