Going on holiday away from your friends and family sometimes raises expectations when you get back. Apart from having to recall stories and details about your trip that will allow them to live vicariously through you, they may be expecting you to bring back gifts and souvenirs (or even if its not expected, you may want to do it anyway). The following is a list of the kinds of souvenirs and gifts that will be your best options to bring back for your friends and family to help share the experience (edited and adapted from ‘worldwidegifts’).
Unique and Unobtainable Gifts
Giving a souvenir item as a gift means that you’ll be able to give your loved one something that no one else could get them, and that they couldn’t have gotten otherwise. Many items are only available- or at least, only affordably and easily available- within their country or region of origin. By bringing back an object like this, you have a gift that will be a completely new item and experience to your friend or family member. If you have someone close to you who collects something, you can obtain them a special item to add to that collection that they would not otherwise have been able to access, which is always an amazing gift for a collector.
One of the most popular types of souvenir to give as a gift is food. Food is closely tied to culture, so any region or country will have a lot of specialties that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. Snack food and candy tend to be the most popular types of food brought back as souvenirs. They tend to travel well and to be varied enough to demonstrate the differences between cultures. For example, there are many candies and snacks available in the U.K. that are not available in the U.S. and vice versa, even though those two countries speak the same language and have relatively similar cultures. The differences in foods between more disparate countries are even more intriguing.
For a slightly more mature take on local flavor, alcohol is also a popular gift to bring back for adult friends. Many people collect wines from different areas, for example, so if you find a place during your trip with a particularly good or interesting local wine, that can make an excellent gift. Also, alcohol is made with different ingredients and processes in every region, just like food varies from place to place. Every local alcohol will have its own unique flavor. If you’re traveling to a place that is famous for a certain type of alcohol, for example, if you were traveling to Ireland, that could also be an opportunity to get a very authentic bottle Irish Whiskey for a friend who favors it.
Just as every region has its own foods, every region will have its own styles and ways of making art. This will depend on the resources and the culture. Local traditional crafts will be made using materials native to the area – woodcarvings in forested areas, shell ornaments in seaside locations, and so forth. These traditional works of art convey the personality of the area in a way mass produced objects cannot. They are especially good gifts for those friends who are interested in the place you traveled, or for people with whom you really want to share the culture of the region. They are also great gifts for friends or family members who make arts or crafts themselves- they will appreciate seeing the different techniques and materials traditionally used by another culture.
Souvenir shops offer a wide range of collectible items like magnets, keychains, shot glasses, and figurines. If someone close to you collects a certain type of item, getting an iteration of that item from your trip can be an excellent gift. It is something you know they will enjoy as part of their collection, and it’s not something they could have collected on their own without also going to that place, so it contributes to their collection in a unique way.