If you’re an impulse buyer, the idea of buying souvenirs for everyone you know is probably tempting, probable, and going to happen. There’s nothing wrong with bringing something back from your trip, however, souvenirs can be the root of a variety of problems upon your return your home. These problems can include issues with clearance, lack of space, and the protection of fragile items. If you’re in need of some help, look no further. Here’s a list of the 5 essential things to remember and do when packing your souvenirs.
Familiarize yourself with customs.
Some items, such as food, are subject to customs and strict regulations upon entry into the United States (or any other country, for that matter!). Countries like Australia and states like Hawaii are particularly strict when it comes to customs regulations. For example, you may be charged up to $10,000 USD for trying to bring your grandmother a block of French cheese or a bag of organic Russian mushrooms. To avoid having your items seized or having to pay a hefty fine, brush up on the customs of your country and make sure to declare the goods at the airport.
Mail excess souvenirs home.
If you’ve gone a bit wild with souvenirs, it’s not a problem. You could always pay for another bag at the airport, despite the fact that this can be expensive. Or, alternatively, you could pack your extra souvenirs in a secure box and mail them home through the post office. Typically, this will save you money, as you’re charged on the size of the box and the weight of your items, and not for the fact that you’re taking up precious room on the airplane.
Make a point to buy small, lightweight souvenirs.
A souvenir doesn’t have to be a grand gesture- anything from another country is bound to amaze your loved ones! Keep this in mind when you opt to buy small souvenirs that don’t tip the scales when it comes to weight. Souvenirs such as scarves, posters, postcards, jewelry, CD’s of local bands, and Christmas ornaments make great lightweight options.
Avoid bringing back coins and currency.
It’s perfectly acceptable to bring home a souvenir for yourself. However, it may not be the nest idea to bring home foreign currency for yourself. Sure, that shiny coin looks great at the bottom of your carry-on, but realistically, it’s probably going to get lost, forgotten about, and otherwise neglected unless you have a coin collection at home. Even if you know that you will return to a country, there’s really no need to bring money home with you, as you won’t use it and as mentioned above, it will most likely get lost.
Lighten your load before you leave.
To make room for the collection of souvenirs you’ve acquired, consider going through your bags and doing a sort of spring cleaning. This means getting rid of thing you no longer need. That travel toothbrush? Toss it. The rain poncho you wore on a river rafting ride? Donate it to a local charity in the area. Making space in your luggage will ensure that you avoid unnecessary checked baggage fees.