MOST PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH FIGURING OUT WHAT TO BRING HOME FROM AN EPIC TRIP TO A NEW LAND AND USUALLY END UP WITH A MAGNET OR RANDOM TOURISTY TRINKET THEY PICKED UP OFF THE STREET. THEN, IN TWO YEARS IT ENDS UP IN A PILE TO THE GOODWILL BECAUSE YOU CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT THE HECK IT IS! STOP THE MADNESS AND FOLLOW A FEW SIMPLE TIPS THAT HAVE SERVED ME WELL OVER THE YEARS.
- Forgo the obvious items that say "FIRENZE" or "I HEART NYC" and stick to pieces that you can use in your everyday life. For example, I have a bathmat from Venice and a tea set from Morocco. Not only is it practical, it's fun to say, "oh I picked it up in Italy" when someone asks where they can get one just like it.
- Focus on one thing you like and buy that for yourself (and others) everywhere you go. My husband and I drink a lot of tea, so we always look for tea that comes from the region and we try to bring some back for friends and family. Not only do they appreciate that it isn't an embarrassing burden they have to display in their house, they now bring tea back for us when they take a trip.
- It doesn't have to be a 'forever' item. Sometimes the best keepsakes can be enjoyed for a period of time to then give you an excuse to go back and get more. I collect salts, yes salts as in a cooking ingredient. I have a huge collection of different varieties that come from all over the world that I can use to prepare meals and reminice about our time spent. The salts run out eventually and then I start making future plans to get more! Don't you love how that works? Think of other food items you could enjoy... jam, pasta, honey, wine, even cheeses.
- If it doesn't fit, ship! On our honeymoon, I somehow convinced Colin to lug around an 18 piece plate set all over Italy for 3 weeks... if you've ever been on a train in Europe you know how difficult that is! After our marriage made it through that, we vowed to ship stuff that we couldn't fit or that was too heavy. It isn't cheap, but isn't as bad as you would think and can save a world of hassle. Don't make the mistake of shipping items that won't make it through customs or you'll never see it again. Tip: if you have any friends that live on a US military base overseas - they get US prices no matter where it's going!