The Take Home Souvenir shopping can be the worst part of a trip. Finding a souvenir that encompasses the lifechanging experiences, incredible people, and indescribable sights, that only travel can afford is tough. Thoughts like is there a perfect souvenir? Should I just wait until the airport? And I don’t need another key chain, are not uncommon. A few Google searches before your trip will help you avoid thoughts like maybe I’ll just buy a snow globe, or the “I love Moscow” t-shirt (both of which were made fourteen countries away). While it may be fun to take home for the kitsch amusement, cliché, impractical souvenirs don’t really serve your travel memories justice. When you look at the items you take home you should see something of quality that holds personal meaning and memories—a piece of the place. Here are some tips for eliminating the stress of souvenir shopping and bringing home a meaningful piece of the place you traveled. Do research. The more you know, the more you appreciate. Researching online through destination’s tourism boards, travel blogs, and travel sites like www.tripadvisor.com can give you an idea of what is produced locally that you would be unaware of otherwise. Researching the location, culture, history, and customs will also help you understand what is produced and valued locally. You might find a gorgeous handcrafted leather bag for $40 in Mexico to take home instead of a t-shirt made in China. Buy local. You might be surprised that in a city like Paris, where great artists like Claude Monet called home, you can find beautiful, original oil paintings on canvas, painted by Parisian art students at a street market for less than $20. These paintings can make a fantastic gift, and a small cheap poster tube provides easy transportation. This kind of meaningful souvenir can be found in many cultures and mediums, come in a variety of styles and sizes, and allow you to sustain the culture in a small way. Asking locals what a fair price to pay is also a good idea. That way you won’t get ripped off or insult any vendors. Think practical. Ask yourself: is this going to be useful when I get home? Is this something I could buy at home? Will it be significant to me beyond this moment? Something like a brass saucepan from Italy will be useful when you get home and will often remind you of the place you bought it, the incredible food you ate, and the people you met. A miniature statue of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is probably going to end up in the junk pile. Practical souvenirs are rewarding and will remind you of your travels long after the trip ends. Be observant. Keep an eye out for the perfect memento as you travel; don’t restrict yourself to half a day of shopping before your flight home, or even worse, in the airport’s overpriced, dutyfree shops. Ask locals or hotel staff and consult websites like www.lonelyplanet.com and www.tripadvisor.com for open markets with street vendors, museum shops, and second-hand stores—then make visiting part of your trip—it could end up being your favorite part.
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Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:48 PM Comment : This seems redundant after the end of the former sentence. Could we keep only this last one?
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:48 PM Comment : You have a similar word format in the next sentence with “produced and valued locally.” Is there another word we could use? Like crafted or made?
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:39 PM Deleted: otherwise
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:47 PM Comment : You might cut this sentence if you’re looking to reduce words—it’s pretty similar to the ideas stated before it.
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:46 PM Comment : This sounds similar to “I love Moscow” t-‐shirt you mention earlier. I think we could make the sentence work without the t-‐shirt part. Something like “Armed with this knowledge, you might know where to snag a gorgeous, Mexican leather bag for $40.”
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Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:50 PM Deleted: can
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:52 PM Comment : I think I see where you’re getting with this phrase, but it’s a little vague. Do you think you lose significant meaning cutting the word out? If so, I would try to make it clearer what you mean by it.
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:53 PM Deleted: artistic
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:53 PM Deleted: and no one will be insulted
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:55 PM Deleted: for your kitchen
Alison Moore 10/26/13 5:56 PM Comment : To cut down on words, could e ...w 
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