We all love buying souvenirs to remember a great holiday but there are some things we bring back that are damaging, illegal and destined for the bin. One of the big things many of us think about while away on our holiday is what to bring home as a souvenir or as gifts for friends and family.

Research reveals that British holidaymakers could be unknowingly spending up to 10% of their holiday budget on souvenirs that are illegal, environmentally damaging or destined for the bin. A report was undertaken to highlights the simple things people can do on holiday, which can make a difference to both local people and their own travelling experience.


So where are holidaymakers going wrong when souvenir shopping?


The t-shirt is probably the most popular holiday souvenir, with over half of those surveyed admitting they have brought one back from a trip. Sadly these tokens of holiday fun often end up in the bin and are rarely ever worn.

The problem with bringing one, or even a few, shirts back home is that they are often imported and will not offer significant benefit to the local economy of your holiday destination. If you do buy a t-shirt keepsake, choose one you or the intended recipient will wear regularly (so steer clear of any that are garish, tacky or too colourful), preferably made from organic cotton and the sale of which will benefit a local cause.

Fake designer goods

If you get caught at UK customs with counterfeit goods you could be subjected having them confiscated - or worse, face prosecution. Many people will return home with fake designer goods, but counterfeit items tops the list of things that are most likely to be thrown out or discarded once holidaymakers return, most likely due to poor quality workmanship.

Buying these goods doesn't necessarily damage the local economy, but they are unlikely to have been made where they were bought so won't have a positive impact either. The real thing is always better and if you choose the right country of origin you may be able to get designer cheaper anyway. American designer brands are cheaper in America and Amazon deliver almost anywhere.

Plastic goods

These can be in the form of key-rings, badges, snow domes etc and are found in souvenir shops all over the world. Most plastic souvenirs aren't even manufactured locally, but imported from factories elsewhere, so aren't real souvenirs anyway.

So what keepsakes should travellers buy instead?

Handcrafted jewellery

The research found that people are more likely to use or keep locally-crafted souvenirs for longer. Handcrafted jewellery is often more eye-catching than a snow globe which can be found in destinations all over the world. Look out for items made from recycled materials and sourced directly from craftspeople in markets, villages and road side stalls. In our markets on Fuerteventura there are several artisan jewellery makers. These are people who, if you have time, can make items to your own specification.

Art & crafts

There are several art showrooms around town in Corralejo, we have several sea paintings from the studio in Campinario. Geckoart, run by Sue Brown, produces paintings on silk or canvas and some unique ceramics. Wood carvings, traditional paintings and handicrafts all make great souvenirs that are more likely to be kept for longer.

A unique picture, a handmade rug, or a locally made bag would be a perfect gift or the perfect way to remember a great holiday.


Locally produced food

Jams, sauces, oils, wines, vinegars, herbs and spices are just some of the fantastic, locally-produced food you can bring back to the UK as a gift or as something for yourself. Not only will you be supporting the local community, but you'll get an authentic taste of the country you have visited that you just won't be able to recreate using your local supermarket.

Friends and family appreciate a gift that is out of the ordinary and one they can use rather than a magnet or badge that gets thrown in the bin when you're not looking!

Savvy souvenir shopping tips

Make sure you keep shopping savvy even while on holiday to avoid buying anything illegal or damaging.

Shop local: Seek out the local producers and artisans at markets, villages or even roadside stalls. A holiday off the beaten track is often the best quality experience of a country.

Haggle: Probably the only time we British will try and negotiate a price is while on holiday. Haggling can be fun and part of the culture but just remember, a few pence to us can mean a lot to someone where you are visiting. Have a price in mind of what you are prepared to pay for it and see where your powers of negotiation get you.

Ask questions: If there is no label don't be afraid to ask questions about where, how and by whom an item was made. It could provide a great story when you hand the gifts over back in the UK!

Buy useful things: Try to buy things that will have a use like a photo frame, photo album, purses, wallets, baskets or scarves. Friends and family will appreciate it far more and your home will be filled with functional items not just tat that gathers dust!

Don't buy at the airport: While most of us have good intentions to buy unique gifts and souvenirs when we go away, many of us simply buyour gift items at the last minute at the airport. You will get cheaper items that are actually made in the country from local shops, markets and villages so make some time on your trip for seeking these out.


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