5 Fun and Functional Souvenir Ideas
With the amount of money you'll be spending to get where you're going, it only makes sense to shop for inexpensive souvenirs where you can. But who wants to bring home a pile of crap that neither you, nor your gift recipients will ever enjoy? These ideas for souvenirs are not only affordable, but fun and functional as well. (See also: The Best Inexpensive Souvenirs)
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of sarongs. They can be used as fun shower curtains, sassy tablecloths, and make fabulous impromptu picnic blankets that even city-bound executives can tuck into their briefcases. Also, sarongs are great for traveling. They make great skirts, beach cover-ups, and in-a-pinch shower towels. This also makes them one of several perfect gifts for adventure travelers.
Whether you purchase them loose or strung, beads can be turned into travel souvenirs that suit a variety of gift-giving purposes. From fun zipper pulls and friendship pins your kids can make for their school chums, to funky hand-crafted napkin rings and custom-designed jewelry, you can get a ton of memory mileage from beads purchased at market stalls around the road. They're also great on their own if you want to bring a gift back to a creative friend. The other thing that's great about incorporating beads into your souvenir repertoire is that they are well suited for traveling light.
Home Décor Items
If you are into eclectic, tribal, museum-quality decorating, then designing your travel-themed home based on decorative items you purchase abroad is an affordable way to go. Pottery, crystal, table linens and hand-woven baskets are all items I've picked up for a song while traveling. They're also items that don't necessarily experience much wear and tear, making them the ultimate design on a dime choice.
Usable for anything from zero waste lunch kits to children's bedroom décor, bandanas are one of the ultimate souvenirs when it comes for function and affordability. They're light, wash and dry easily and can be purchased at the souvenir stands of many destinations. Bandanas are useful for travel as well. If you need place to organize your food for a park picnic, are in need of a travel washcloth, or just need to tie your hair back for that windy ferry ride, it's worth having a few bandanas on hand. When they wear out, you can be confident you'll find more at your next destination.
Those wishing to dote on their grandchildren by purchasing unique travel gifts for kids will find it easy enough to do so from the road. Rustic and formal dolls, fun school sweaters, puppets, and all sorts of affordable goodies can be picked up as children's gifts when you're traveling. There are deals to be had for stateside getaways as well. For example, one way to save money at the Kennedy Space Center is to take advantage of the discount prices you can get on the kiddy clothing and T-shirt combo packs at the gift store.
As you can see, it's possible to purchase affordable souvenirs that are also fun and functional. Do you have any ideas for favorite frugal gifts to purchase on the road?
Author's Note: The travel image used in this article is part of a creative commons travel photography project I recently launched (Pictures of Travel Places) with a colleague. All images on the site (and there are many more to come soon) are free for online use, provided a return link is included somewhere in the scrollable area of the article where the image is used. Basically, it's a stock photo free-for-all that you get to use with our compliments.