When you’re on a long-distance motorcycle trip, do you buy travel souvenirs or simply take photos instead?
Traveling on a bike means you’ve got limited space for extra stuff, and that’s a good thing. However, if you’ve promised your friends or loved ones some exotic gifts, you’ll need to either make space or ship the items home ahead of your return. But what to buy in the first place?
Local and Indigenous Art
Buying from locals is the best way to ensure you’re purchasing authentic, locally crafted souvenirs; in bigger cities where tourism flourishes, that may not always be the case, but in smaller towns and villages, your chances are much better. World traveler Lea Rieck likes to buy one item of traditional clothing in each country and ship it home during her travels; colorful Guatemalan textiles, exquisite leather boots from Argentina, Cuban paintings – these are all one-off items that you won’t find at home easily and that can make for a perfect gift.
The one thing about having a home I genuinely miss is the ability to collect books. While Kindle is king, I still prefer browsing local bookstores because buying Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work in Bogota or reading The Fiesta in Spain just feels that much more exciting. Old maps, local authors’ work, photobooks – all of these can make great travel souvenirs.
They cost pennies to buy and send, but for the recipient, a postcard can be an awesome gift; in a world where we communicate via instant messages and emails, getting a real postcard in the mail can feel like Christmas. And if you do it on a regular basis, it’ll make up for all the travel souvenirs in the world!
Do you buy souvenirs when you travel, and if so, what do you usually shop for?