By: Jessica Kamikaze
Now it’s time for the ultimate Jessica Kamikaze WORLD SHOPPING GUIDE!!! Are you a world traveller? Are you ever all like, “I wanna buy stuff to remember this trip, but I just don’t know what to buy”? Do friends and family members ever tell you that you are totally the worst at buying souvenirs cuz all you ever bring them are t-shirts and fridge magnets? Check out this list of awesome stuff I’ve bought on my travels and maybe you could just try a little harder to be like me!
If you want a traditional souvenir that is meaningful, pick up something that is unique to the place you’re visiting, but also useful – like my ulu from Tuktoyakyuk! When I was travelling north of the Arctic Circle, I wanted to bring home a piece of the local life, so I thought this whaling knife would be perfect (people in this community still use them to scrape the blubber from the skin of whales caught during the annual beluga catch). Plus, it would be totally useful to me should I ever be strolling in my suburban hometown and come across a whale that I want to disassemble!
If you’re struggling to find something to bring home for a friend or family member, think about the local commodities that your destination is famous for. When I visited Grenada, lovingly called “the Spice Island”, everyone was like “WE SELL SO MANY SPICES ON THIS ISLAND!” So I got a necklace made of whole spices for my mom, and even though she will never use it for cooking or fashion, she thinks it’s super cool because it’s a necklace made of spices from the Spice Island! (Note: don’t buy things that are illegal in your home country just because they are popular commodities in another country. Drugs are not a legal commodity!)
But maybe you’re a high roller. Or maybe you are some kind of travelling adventurer-slash-pirate, scouring the world for treasure and riches. In that case, you will want to seek out the shiniest local valuables and hope that you’re buying them for cheaper than you could at home. I went treasure hunting when I was in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, which is famous for its duty free shopping and jewelry bargains. So I dragged my gigantic brother along with me and engaged in a swashbuckling battle of wits with a local merchant for a string of pearls. He finally lowered his price from $1400 (that’s the price in America!) to $500, and even though it was a reputable shop, I still suspect I got ripped off because I’m a totally unconvincing pirate.
Ok, and I know I ripped on fridge magnets, but the truth is my family started a fridge magnet collection over fifteen years ago and now we all buy magnets from every destination we travel to. Things are getting a bit out of control, but if you have a weird assortment of items you collect from your travels, just pick up one of those and get back to enjoying your trip.
If you buy me a fridge magnet, friendship over. I realize I’m jumping the gun on saying whatever we have (do we have anything?) can be classified as friendship, but if you get me a fridge magnet it literally has no chance.
Well… perhaps more than a key chain…
I THOUGHT WE HAD SOMETHING!!!
Can I buy you a sassy t-shirt?
I always go with booze!
local booze is the best! Except in certain areas of Southeast Asia..
– Maria Alexandra
You can never go wrong with booze! 🙂
I always go with the most tourist-y stuff. I can’t be bother to look for gifts for family – ha ha
The spice necklace sounds wicked!! It is always so hard to negotiate on jewelry because you never know what magnitude of markup is on it!
Fridge magnets is a fun idea! I always buy jewelry that is reminiscent of the destination.
Now that is my kind of shopping! How cool.
I always go with shells. Although it’s not “native” to a particular place, I am just addicted to them.
Hah! I buy a fridge magnet for my grandma in each place I visit. For me though, I buy and send home local artwork for the eventual day that I own a house and can then paper my walls with one-of-a kind memories and artistic representations of the places I have traveled!
I usually don’t buy many souvenirs when I travel as I have nowhere to send them, but I always promise myself to return to places like Bali and stock up on some of the beautiful handicrafts there when I finally settle down somewhere.
I REALLY love to buy local art but then I discover I’m like $3000 short of buying just the frame. So I buy some jewelry instead. Now, buying baby clothes 🙂
Great post. Thanks for sharing with us.
I’m not really into souvenirs myself, however I did buy some cool colorful wooden tulips in Holland years ago.
Travel is a very good way of life.
Then, Travel all over the World !! Good Luck 🙂
That is so interesting for me to buy things that are really unique and I would like to visit more places.