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Best Souivners on a Budget

Your friends and family live vicariously through your travels. Personally, I love to bring them back souvenirs to share my adventures with them. Finding souvenirs can be challenging due to space constraints, lack of time, and sometimes even budget.

In this guide, I’m here to help with cheap and thoughtful souvenirs.

My absolute favorite type of souvenir to bring back are gifts produced and sold by the locals.

Local pottery being sold
Local crafts make a great souvenir

Most of the time, there are local markets that sell handmade goods. In Nassau, the best market that I have found was Festival Place, a market full of history, authentic goods, and handmade crafts. The market is open on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 am.

Not sure where to start, ask a local, your hotel concierge, or your server at a restaurant. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction so you can check all your family members off your “to-buy” list.

Another one of my favorite souvenirs to remind me of a destination is local art.

In virtually every city, you’ll find artists painting local landscapes and portraits that highlight the local culture. I have found artists along the street, in booths in the tourist shopping areas, and at every flea market, I’ve visited. Buying local art is perfect because it supports both a local artist and you get a unique piece of art that cannot be found anywhere else. Just remember to pack it securely so that it survives the trip home.

Finding a locally sourced alcohol is another thing top on my list.

Tequila Tasting in Cozumel
Take home local alcohol...after you've sampled it of course

When visiting Mexico, a bottle of tequila finds its way into my bag, or when visiting wine country, you won’t see me leaving without at least a couple of bottles to enjoy when I get home. These bottles also make great gifts for friends and family, especially when you’re sharing a brand that they can’t find at home.

Oddly enough, I’ve found tequila in Cozumel that can’t be imported into the United States because the alcohol content is too LOW. The tequila is aged in oak and is so smooth it can be taken straight or on the rocks just like your favorite whiskey. This is one of the most sought-after gifts because my friends simply can’t get it without traveling.

For my friends who aren’t drinkers, local treats are a great way to share the experience. Bringing back local candy and other snacks is a fantastic way to share the memories of your vacation and remind yourself with a quick pick-me-up when you’re having a bad day at the office. Buying candy is an inexpensive way to share your adventures but be careful not to bring anything fresh (fruit, veggies, plants, etc.) when traveling internationally. You won’t make it through customs, and if you have Global Entry and forget to declare it, you’ll be at risk of losing your card.

The final souvenir on a budget I want to share with you is something more Earthly.

Seashells in a jar
Seashells make a great decoration once you're home!

I love collecting sand, seashells, rocks, or even dirt to remind me of an extra memorable vacation. The best part of this kind of souvenir is they lend themselves well to creative displays. I have a friend who has collected over 200 samples of sand and dirt from their travels and displays them proudly on the wall in their office. Others will write the beach’s name on the seashell and keep a collection in a decorative box.

As you’re collecting things to take home, make sure you’re aware of local ordinances and restrictions. Some beaches do not allow their sand to be collected to prevent beach erosion, and in the US National Forests, it’s illegal to remove anything (even a twig) from the grounds. If you’re unsure about the rules, ask a local or someone patrolling the area.

Finding souvenirs doesn’t have to be the most challenging part of your vacation, and I hope this guide gave you inspiration. Remember to keep it fun, and you’ll be able to avoid the mass-produced gifts that you can find anywhere.

Now all you need is to decide on a destination to find your souvenirs. Schedule a consultation with me to talk about it. I’ll pair you with the perfect cruise line or land destination for your travel personality so that you and your traveling companions have a fabulous time.

Rainbow Getaways proudly help travelers of the LGBTQ community (and our allies) research, plan, and book incredible vacations where you feel confident and comfortable to enjoy and explore your destination. We plan each vacation to meet your specific needs, so you’ll have an experience that is just as unique as yours.

If you haven’t already, be sure to request your free copy of The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide to the Caribbean at the bottom of the page.


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