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On Tour

❖ marty sarbey de souto, ctc

Shopping Shouldn’t Be a nuisance on tour All too often we may hear from

that are soft, unbreakable and will

faint-hearted – watch out for the

well-meaning folks that shopping on

pack well. Remind folks that if your

altitude).

tour is a waste of time – that the men

trip is international, each person is

don’t like standing around waiting

allowed to bring back up to $800

U.S. Southwest, consider all things

while the women dilly dally in the

worth of purchases without having to

with Indian heritage, fringed leather

shops, that shopping is superficial,

pay U.S. Customs duty. In addition to

jackets, tooled “cowboy” boots,

that folks can shop at home – no need

that, you can mail gifts up to $100

snap-button shirts, suede squaw

to come on tour to shop, and so forth. I

per recipient per day! Direct them to

boots, and authentic turquoise and

beg to differ. Most folks love to shop

the U.S. Customs website, specifically

silver jewelry (not the tin-and-dyed-

while on tour, within reason, of course.

the “Know Before You Go” section.

stone knock-offs). If you’re headed

Why do they enjoy shopping?

Here are some of the favorite things

Closer to home, for tours of the

to New Orleans, gift boxes of praline

First of all, they enjoy bringing things

I’ve brought back. From Guatemala:

patty candies (made of creamy brown

home for themselves – things that

tablecloths, placemats and napkins. I

sugar and pecans) make wonderful

remind them of the trip or the specific

saw three beautiful “yarn paintings”

gifts. And no one visiting San Francisco

place where they bought it. Second,

hanging on a clothesline in a private

should return home without one sour-

they like to shop for others – for friends and family for future birthdays, holidays, wedding presents, showers and the like. Third, they know that

Advise your tour members to consider handcrafted, one-of-a-kind things

bringing something home to others shows thoughtfulness, friendship and affection. Fourth, the things you

yard, went in and bought them from

dough baguette (must eat within 24

bring home from other places are

the housewife for $5 each (and then

hours; they don’t keep). Visits to

often something you could never get

brought them home and paid $60

Florida offer anything and everything

at home, whether at the mall, your

each to have them framed). My river

made of sea shells – also candies

favorite big box store or your home-

cruise in Russia stopped in a small

of orange peel or coconut. And while

town elegant gift shop.

town and I hurriedly picked up a bril-

you’re in the tropics, you must try

liant multi-colored table centerpiece

some of the exotic fruit ice creams

folks may wish to buy? It all depends

applique from a young woman who

with names you’ve probably never

on where you’re going on tour, of

had made it herself from scraps of

heard of. Unfortunately, ice cream

course. I like to advise my tour mem-

fabric.

does not travel well!

So what are some of the things that

bers before leaving home in one of

In the Italian hill town of Orvieto,

For more ideas on what to buy

my pre-trip information bulletins as to

while everyone else was gorging

where, be sure to contact the visitors

what the “good buys” are in the place

themselves on pasta, I snuck out and

bureau of the city concerned. They’re

where we’re going. I always suggest

found a ceramics shop that hadn’t yet

usually up-to-date on what the local

they bring along a list of sizes, meas-

closed down for the long lunch hour

specialties are. Happy shopping!

urements, favorite colors etc. of family

and was able to buy several salt/pep-

and friends for whom they may be

per sets that made for great gifts. And

buying. Hint: suggest they consider

in Peru I went especially to the Sunday

local arts and crafts, handmade

market in the Andean city of Pisac to

things, one-of-a-kind things – things

buy fluffy alpaca rugs (not for the

6 February 2012

Marty is a Certified Travel Counselor who designs and leads tours. Her travel industry consulting and educational firm is Sarbey Associates (sarbeyassociates.com).

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On Tour