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Rather then buy useless trinkets while on vacation, I collect pods, seeds, shells, rocks or plants from tropical vacations and afterward like to display them at home as a natural and one of a kind reminder of my trip!
I use various clear or colored plastic champagne glasses or other pretty bowls I have or purchase. They are attractive as a centerpiece or even on a shelf or coffee table. Great for children's "found" items as well and it will make their vacation collections more meaningful than another plastic toy.
You could even add ticket stubs, postcards or other memorabilia, if you'd like
Editor's Note: Be sure to review any travel restrictions for transporting natural materials (plants and produce) over state or national borders.
Here's a great tip for road trips or any vacations; the kids love it and it is a space saver! Wherever your vacation is, always get a postcard and write your highlights on it and date it. Take a hole puncher, punch a hole and collect them on a sturdy key ring. This is so easy, you can make your own and let the kids do theirs. What a easy way to remember trips, have fun collecting postcards, and save on storage space.
While doing our frugal travel to Arizona this summer, I realized that part of my travel fun is visiting local second hand, thrift stores, and even garage sales. Often I see regional team, theme parks and other tourist stop items are available there used. This time I picked up a heavy duty black hoodie in very good shape with a "Sedona Soccer" on it. It cost me $4.00; not the $40.00 it may have cost originally, and I have a unique souvenir.
When going on a trip without your children, purchase gifts at home where you're familiar with the stores before you go so you can "bring" back "souvenirs" you know they'll enjoy. We have found that not only is it less expensive, but it is also frees you up from spending vacation time trying to find somewhere to find something the children will enjoy.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
The very next time you are fortunate enough to visit a foreign or exotic place, take an hour or so of extra shopping time and make a serious effort to take to your children back home a whole new sort of gifting selections for holiday or birthday by buying many things:
We did this very thing and it was one of the most momentous things our children ever received from us, well worth our time, extra effort and money for added carry-on "baggage". Where there's a will, there's a way. If having to go through customs, buy the unique gift wrapping/trim and wait to wrap until home in your privacy.
Even if any of the items ever show up on your neighborhood shelves, your children will have already enjoyed them.
By Lynda from TX
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My husband and I are going on a well deserved vacation to Mexico (Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun) to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We had a three day driving honeymoon due to finances and always planned to make up for it when we were able. We are staying at an all-inclusive resort and all that part is paid for. We know that we will need money for tipping, for day trips and for souvenir shopping. This brings me to my request.
My husband works with a large group of people and is in the process of transferring from one department to another. He knows all the people in both departments pretty well and has received a number of little gifts when co-workers have come back from vacations from Mexico, Hawaii, etc. Nothing big, just a token. Because he has only been working there for less than a year, he is still trying to make a good impression. Well, we counted it up and there are about 35 people who we need to get a token gift for. That isn't even including gifts for our friends and family.
Does anyone have any advice for small, thoughtful but cheap travel souvenirs? If anyone has been to this area or has any tips to help us, I would appreciate it. We are just trying to figure out how much money to bring. I know that if we bring too much, we will probably spend it all, and if we bring too little, cash advances can be very expensive.
Thanks so much, I wish I could take all of you with us!
Being a "baker", when anyone I know is going to Mexico, I always request a bottle of real vanilla! Maybe they have very small bottles? When all else fails, how about bookmarks, the flat paper kind? I envy you so much on your getting to go on this trip, and I hope you both have a marvelous trip! I wanna go!!!
There are all sorts of inexpensive small handicrafts - little rugs, doll pottery, flutes, all sorts of wooden things, tamborines, maracas, wooden pens - and the like & leather doodads and bits of jewlery - You should be able to find something nic quite easily...
I collect fridge magnets and my favorites are the ones my son brought back from Europe, UK and Australia. Even if a person is not a mad collector such as I am it makes a nice gift. They can be carried home with no trouble. About 30 years ago I sold my bell collection ans started with the magnets. I've never regretted it. If you relocate they can be moved in zipper bags.
I live only 8 miles from Mexico and we also just got back from the Mexican Riviera! Look for the little sombrero(hat) and shawl souveniers that hang around the neck of a bottle. Perfect for Coca cola or beer bottles. I've seen them for 1.00 to 2.00 US each. Sometimes I give leftover coins. They're always interesting.
My sister gave me a silver thimble with mother-of-pearl inlay, she said stuff like that is dirt cheap in Mexico. Be careful with the vanilla. Our newspaper did a story about Mexican vanilla. It said real vanilla is just as expensive there as it is in the US and that the cheap ones are fake or watered down and sometimes it's contaminated. Enjoy your trip!
I found the tree bark decorated book marks for half a peso [50 Mexican cents] (at that time, $1 = 10 pesos).
Found very small pottery dishes (for individual salt or individual herbs) - a group of 6 for 10 pesos.
Magnets can be $1 and up-- key chains-- $1 and up. So I guess figure $35 for those gifts.
You can get the vanilla in the States-go to the international section of your supermarket. It's a pain to carry, and that alone is a reason not to carry it home!
Do not worry about cash, take your debit/credit card and use an ATM. The cost for the transaction varied depending on the bank from 50 cents to $1.25. no sweat, no worries. In fact, the transaction usually posted the same day-- wonders of the internet! There is a limit on the amount you can withdraw in 24 hours. For expensive items just use the credit card.
Got home 17 July and had a wonderful time. I traveled with my Hispanic Pastor and his family, What an opportunity!
You will probably see lots of cute little souvenir type things when you get there. How about everyone gets the same generic item, or each gender gets the same thing. If you try to fit the gift to the recipient, very few people will be happy because they will all want what the other person received. Been there, done that. Learned the hard way.
Gifts for friends & family can be saved for giving at the holidays or other gift giving occasions like birthdays or Mother's / Father's Day. What a unique surprise for them & a nice reminder of your trip for you. My parents have been giving "souvenirs" with their holiday gifts for a few years. (jewelry, textiles, ornaments, glassware, art, etc). This allows them to buy some "souvenirs" for people that they otherwise couldn't afford to buy for them. It works well for the giver & is a unique carefully chosen gift for the recipient instead of a trinket souvenir. If they're 'expecting' something upon your return (shame on them!) tell them you're doing something different & they'll get it when they least expect it.
How about key rings?
I'd suggest a local food gift (salsas, chips, etc) that everyone can enjoy in the break room. Seems excessive to me that everyone in the office needs a "Gift". Better to donate the money to charity.
Ahhh, souvenirs, I have to tell a funny story. A couple of years ago, my family and I went to Florida for our vacation. We went to Disney on a low budget. We even sat through one of the timeshare talks to get a couple of free tickets.
Anyway, being short on money, we tried to think of nice souvenirs to bring back. We bought a few, but ended up giving some to our hosts in Pensacola where we stayed just before going on to Orlando. So that left us short of what we wanted to bring home.
Before we knew it, we had left the state of Florida and no proper beach-side or Florida-like souvenirs. We found ourselves in Harrison, Arkansas, and I thought of gift shops that might have sea-side type gifts. I found a dolphin and a sand-castle Christmas tree ornaments which I bought. Then we decided to visit a "second-hand" shop.
Believe it or not, they had six jar candles (dirt cheap and brand new) that were filled with ocean scent candle wax and inside the wax were shells of all kinds. The lids were also filled with sand and shells. To this day, the recipients have no idea that their seaside souvenirs came from Harrison, Arkansas.
The two Latin American countries I have visited have sold colorful carved balsawood ballpoint pens as souvenirs. I purchased those for my coworkers and they loved them. It's something they can use at work.