Friday, November 25, 2011

Functional Souveniers

We LOVE functional souvenirs almost as much as we hate chotchkies. Basically all those little figurines become clutter and junk as soon as they enter the home. But we still occasionally like a way to remember a place besides our pictures. So for your next trip, here are some ideas of functional souvenirs:

Clothes- rather than a T-shirt with the place name sprawled all over, go for something you will actually want to wear and then you're good to go. Some of our best purchases: a fleece jacket and wool hats from Nepal. And our custom-made T-shirts commemorating our China trip.

shirts commemorating our Nepal trek (we still wear them, though not at the same time)

Jewelry- this is one of the best! If you buy something you like, you'll actually use it. D has a dozen earring from various trips that get used frequently. Plus they carry that extra little memory of the place they came from. Classic: Indian bangles worn at our wedding!

photo credit: Noah Shahar

- nowadays this may be obsolete with iTunes and all, but we still love getting our hands on a local CD. Recordings from the Indian Bahai, the Sikhs in Amristar, and Tibetans of McLeod Ganj still get played on our iPods. There's nothing like a little Churi Churi to get your mood uplifted after a long day.

Homegoods- things for the home that you actually use are great! They serve a subtle reminder of the trip and make great conversation starters. Likewise they are not just takeing up storage space. Our faves: a tie-die tablecloth from Southern China, and candlestick holders from Rajasthan, and curtains from Mumbai.

Yangshuo tablecloth

The little stuff- it's only functional if you actually use it. But a nice keychain is a fun reminder of vacation days. A shot glass, if you actually drink shots. A pen, if you don't lose it. A notebook if it doesn't go unused.

So next time you're traveling, skip the figurine/ snow globe/ randomly shaped gadget, and go for something you can use! Your memories will stay with you and your souvenirs will have a purpose that doesn't involve paying for overweight luggage.

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