How many times have you been excited about meeting up with a friend that has just returned from some vacation only to end up questioning your friendship after receiving the souvenir that they have put oh-so-much thought into buying for you?
Here are the 12 typical travel souvenirs you need to stop buying for your friends. Because as much as you believe in self-empowerment, you actually need friends in life.
1. FOOD (THAT CAN BE FOUND IN THE SUPERMARKET NEXT DOOR)
Did she forget me in Iceland? Was this from a 7-Eleven before meeting me? Unless you believe your friendship is strong enough to withstand such trials, don’t get there. Admittedly, food is one of the most popular types of souvenir you’ll get – probably because it’s the easiest thing to buy and bring back. And really, who can resist food? Just don’t give your friends something they can find… in the supermarket next door.
That being said, Nestle Japan has the most amazing Sakura Matcha (green tea) Kit Kat.
2. KEY CHAINS / KEY RINGS
In no circumstances should you ever buy one for anyone. Unless you are certain your friend has lost their set of keys and need a replacement. Though we assure you they have a drawer full of backup key chains waiting to see the light.
Every person I know that has been to Paris has given me an Eiffel Tower key chain and chances are, you have a few lying around at home.
3. MINIATURE STATUES
While you may have seen the majestic icon in real life and in the spirit of the moment would like to share your joy with all your friends back home, to my poor, suffering soul, you are rubbing it in my face that I have not seen the Eiffel Tower and therefore need a key chain (made in China)/ mini monument (made in China)/ photo frame shaped like the Eiffel Tower (made in China – and p.s., no photo fits in it) as a daily constant reminder that I need to buy a plane ticket to go see the Eiffel Tower. So no, keep the countries’ iconic monuments to yourself because no one else but you would admire it more.
4. SHOT GLASSES
This is the ultimate test of friendship. Do you know your friends well enough to know their collection? Under all that stress and duress of buying a souvenir, it’s best to remember what your friends collect or your shot glasses are going to be sitting at the back of their shelf collecting dust.
I know of a few people who collect shot glasses… pretty sure the basis of the collection is to remember their own travels.
Same goes for this one.
6. SNOW GLOBES
Do enlighten us ignorant souls – what purpose do snow globes serve? You may live in a Frozen fantasy, but on behalf of your polite friends, here’s a gentle reminder informing you that they do not have space for any more snow globes. Though respect for being willing to drag all that weight across the world.
7. I HEART <INSERT CITY> T-SHIRTS
Who can forget the I HEART T-shirts. The tourists who were so proud that they are willing to declare their love for the country (which they are not citizens of) across their chest.
Hello, I know you love New York. But I don’t. Because I’ve never been there before. So no, I do not want to strut around with a ‘I HEART NEW YORK’ T-shirt. No.
8. THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW THE NAME OF
Traditional, exotic, folklore represent, unique to that country, not a common souvenir, you’re sure you friends don’t have it. Bingo, perfect souvenir! Or so you thought.
9. GOOD LUCK THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW THE NAME OF
You’ve probably received something like this once in your lifetime. You’ve never seen it before, but trust that 80% of the time, that scary looking thing means good luck in whichever country your friend got it from. Or so their tour guide told them.
Here’s what goes through your friend’s mind: Can’t throw it away. Too paranoid. What if the good luck becomes a curse? But I don’t know what to do with it. Help!
10. STRING BRACELETS
These are usually available in artisanal or craft bazaars… everywhere around the world. Appreciate the thought, but those things fall apart in a week. Wow, deep friendship.
Wooden spoons or steel chopsticks are common gifts to get, especially from Asian countries such as Vietnam, China and South Korea. Your friends might appreciate having a set but it gets a little excessive after two because why would anyone need another spoon/fork/knife/chopstick? Unless someone stole all their spoons a week ago and they’re in desperate need of one.
12. PIRATED DVDS
In this world and age of HD TV where you get the pleasure of a close up shot of your idol’s pores, why would you even consider buying a cheap $1 DVD of shaky quality, restricted view and horrible audio. Also, we know you know your friends’ know of many illegal ways to stream their movies.
It’s always ideal to receive souvenirs that are practical yet unique, doesn’t hoard any space, reminds you of your friend and the places they’ve been to and customized to your liking… which can be almost impossible to find so try to be more understanding towards your friend. Remember it’s the thought that counts! At least they were thinking about you weren’t they? So next time you receive a ridiculous souvenir, be grateful for it.
What are the most ridiculous souvenirs you have ever received and what would you recommend people to buy? Comment below to let us know!