Friday, September 12, 2008

Saving on souvenirs

Another way Matt and I save on vacations is by limiting the number of souvenirs we purchase. Sounds like an easy task but can be much harder than expected. Matt and I used to take vacations and I’d spend the whole trip worried about what I was going to buy for everyone back home. I’d load up on lots of cheap unnecessary plastic crap to bring back for cousins and such. Yes, I had a problem. Our home was is filled with all kinds of stuff from all over the world. Most of it we never look at anymore. Black cat carvings from Mexico, blankets from Tijuana, sand globes from the Bahamas. It took a while but I finally realized these plastic items don’t make us happy; memories of being on vacation with loved ones are the best souvenirs of all. To curve this habit now when we vacation somewhere we have a plan.

Matt collects and only purchases patches from an attraction and I stick to pins (picture). These items cost anywhere between $2 to $7 but they are small, easy to pack and sold at most places. Most importantly it’s something we enjoy and can display. Matt plans to display his patches in a binder with protective sheets and since my pin collection has grown so much I plan to make a display board for them soon. I’ve gotten pins at almost every play and attraction we’ve been to in the last five years. They take up so little space I barely know they are there.

We also now only buy gifts for our parents and the lucky person who is watching B.P. When we do buy gifts for others we make sure they are small and usable. No more coffee mugs or painted shells, we stick to bookmarks in the shape of rocket ships (Kennedy Space Center), tree ornaments made from fallen redwoods (Muir Woods) or something similarly meaningfully. These items are easier to pack, cost less, and are unique keepsakes.