Going on vacation is often fun and exciting but also expensive. Paying for flights and staying at a hotel doesn’t come cheap. Plus, people tend to spend more money in general when they’re on vacation.
One hidden expense that can negatively affect your vacation budget is souvenirs. Souvenirs are fun gadgets that people like to buy as a way to take a piece of their trip home. Some people even collect certain types of souvenirs from each place they visit.
I like to collect shot glasses and magnets each time I travel somewhere. However, if you prefer not to blow all your spending money on shopping, here are five ways to save on souvenirs when traveling.
1. Set Expectations
It’s beneficial to set expectations early on and decide whether or not you’ll shop for souvenirs, what your budget is, and what you intend to buy. This helps when shopping alone, with someone else, or especially with kids.
Last year, I took my son to Disney World, and I knew it was going to be an expensive vacation. I still wanted it to be enj0yable so I talked to my son and set a lot of expectations regarding what we were going to do and spend money on.
I told him I’d buy him one souvenir during the trip, so regardless of how many cool things we saw, he’d have to narrow the choice down to one item. This made him wait and think very carefully about the souvenir he wanted instead of asking me for a million and one things during the first day of the trip.
Whenever I travel, I always consider extra miscellaneous costs that could pop up including souvenirs. If possible, I create a small budget to spend money on souvenirs and a list of people I wish to buy something for.
Luckily, my family doesn’t expect me to bring them a souvenir whenever I come back from a trip but if they did, I’d let them know ahead of time whether I was going to buy something or not.
2. Shop Away from the Tourist Areas
Another way to save on souvenirs when traveling is to shop away from the busy tourist areas. Shops that are in heavy tourist areas are always going to have more expensive items.
When I was in Mexico, I went on a tour, and we stopped by some shops and a cart where a man was selling Mexican candy. I asked him how much it would cost for a small bag of some candy, and instead of answering me he started filling up my bag and told me it would be $20.
While candy isn’t even technically a souvenir, I’m sure I could have found cheaper candy away from that tourist area.
If you’re looking for a deal on souvenirs, you can try shops that are more in the local area or search for discount stores.
3. Buy Souvenirs Before You Travel
This is a creative hack that can literally save you tons of money. If you’re afraid you’ll spend a ton of money on souvenirs during vacation, consider buying them online before you leave.
I did this for our Disney trip last year and my son didn’t even notice or care. I researched to see what types of souvenirs would be on sale at the parks.
Then, I went online and ordered similar ones for a more affordable price. I found Disney shirts for my husband, my son, and myself online. I also ordered a Disney autograph book so my son could ask the characters he met in the park to sign it.
After finding out that there is a great fireworks display each night at Magic Kingdom, I bought some glow sticks from the dollar store and packed them in my suitcase to bring to Florida.
I knew my son would ask me to buy a $10 glow necklace during the fireworks show after seeing all the kids with one so I planned ahead.
4. Buy Everyone the Same Thing
Buying everyone the same thing is an easy way to save on souvenirs when traveling. There are often discounts on items you can buy in bulk or buy-one-get-one deals.
My husband has three brothers (who have kids of their own) and I have three sisters and a brother. When you add up all our siblings, parents, nieces and nephews, it can add up to a lot of souvenirs and money.
To make things simpler and avoid spending hours in the store wondering what to get each person, we try to consolidate things.
If t-shirts are 4 for $20, we get them for people who we think would like a t-shirt. If both of our moms like jewelry and there’s a jewelry discount, we’ll buy them the same necklace in different colors.
5. Take Pictures Instead
There is always the option of avoiding the desire to buy souvenirs altogether. While you may feel obligated to bring something home with you after a trip, it’s perfectly fine to go on vacation and not buy a single souvenir if you don’t want to.
Bringing memories home is good enough for some people and even taking photos to help enhance those memories could be a much cheaper option.
On a recent vacation, my husband and I keep our souvenir budget super low and just took a ton of pictures and videos during the trip. We brought our camcorder and got some great footage that I’d like to edit and save so we can look back on the experience.
You can use your pictures from your vacation to create souvenirs for others by sending them postcards and custom photo gifts when you get back. As an added tip, search for coupons and promo codes to use photos services that help you create your gifts online.
Do you tend to buy a lot of souvenirs on traveling? How do you plan to save on souvenirs when traveling?