With many kids on spring break and summer vacation on the
horizon, many families are gearing up for their annual family getaway. This can
be something as simple as a weekend camping by the river or an extravagant trip
to Walt Disney World. Regardless of where you go, you and your kids (if you
have them) will probably want to bring back a memento to remember the wonderful
time you had. Souvenir shops only add to the already-high cost of taking a
vacation, but there are plenty of ways to save without forgoing souvenirs
Short, simple, and cheap, postcards can make for great
souvenirs, especially if you have several people back home to buy for. Most of
them cost less than $1 each. You can even find three to four postcards for a
dollar in some touristy locations and depending on where you mail it from –
domestically or internationally – you’ll usually pay less than $0.50 for
postage. With a personalized message on the back and picture of where you’ve
been, postcards are the ideal souvenir option for the frugal traveler.
It may be tempting to buy that fleece hoodie up in front for
$50, but keeping in mind that summer is coming, you might be able to save more
by going to the back of the store and browsing through their off-season
selections. Off-season clothes are generally marked down due to lower tourist
demand. You might be able to snag a great deal on a shirt or pants if you look
around for hidden discounts, the clearance rack is a great place to start.
Aside from off-season clothing, there are other deals to be
found in souvenir shops, such as “Buy __, get one 50% off” (or free).
Sometimes, souvenir shops advertise in local or tourist-oriented publications,
so be sure to check for coupons in print or online at sites like SumoCoupon before you buy anything.
Beware of Airport-Unfriendly Items
If you don’t have room in your checked baggage, then watch
out for some souvenir items that might cause problems when you’re going through
security. When I was coming home from Germany one time, a girl traveling in my
group had to leave behind an expensive snow globe she had bought for her
parents because the liquid content was above the maximum standards set by the
TSA. Also, items that might be considered weapons, such as pocketknives, ought
to be avoided as the airport will confiscate them and it might be too much of a
hassle trying to get them back.
Unlike some souvenirs – magnets, key chains and the like –
food is useful and oftentimes cheap compared to other souvenirs. Rather than
spending money on things that’ll end up in the back of someone’s closet or
bottom of their drawer, food souvenirs let you share local delicacies with your
friends and family back home. Also, souvenir cups at theme parks may seem
expensive upfront, but they often come with free or $0.99 refills throughout
the day, plus you can take them home with you.
Kelly Kehoe is a staff writer for Money Street Smart and works with SumoCoupon.com, a site full coupons and coupon codes.