7 Tips For The Ideal Tourist Souvenir

Whether you're a traveller looking to bring something back from your trip as a keepsake, or a retailer selling gifts that locals and/or tourists will want to buy, there are seven elements to consider for the ideal souvenir.

1. Lightweight
How much does the item weigh? If you're a local, then it won't matter as much as you'll be home shortly and you can stick it in the back of your car. But if your retail store sells souvenirs which aren't lightweight to people flying home intrastate, interstate or overseas, they will have to quickly guesstimate how much weight is left in their 23kg baggage allowance for your item, as well as actual spce.

A beautiful handmade wooden chopping block can weigh 4kg - or 17% of your baggage allowance - making it something you can probably buy only if you're driving home. Items like tea towels weigh only 120g each by comparison.

2. Small and/or flat
As well as being lightweight, it also needs to be small. The average traveller tends to depart with some thank you gifts to give on arrival and typically doesn't allow a lot of space to dedicate to souvenirs.

The average suitcase measures 78cm long x 51cm wide x 27cm deep. So if you saw for example, a rolled up A1-size vintage advertising poster (59.4cm x 84.1cm) at an antiques festival, it wouldn't fit snugly down the side of your suitcase. The ideal souvenir is small or at least flat.

3. Packable
The ideal souvenir also needs to be packable. You don't want to buy a souvenir that customs will need to check on arrival as you really don't want to have to hold your breath as the luggage carousel disgorges all the baggage that's been banged about in the hold. Something that can fit in one of your shoes or lay flat in your suitcase is ideal. Did you know Vegemite is considered a liquid? I didn't either until it was confiscated from my carry-on bag.

4. Unbreakable
Clearly, the ideal souvenir won't smash when the baggage handlers gaily toss your suitcase around or when it falls off the conveyor belt. Who wants smashed gourmet chutney or jam throughout their clothes? If you're buying wine at a cellar door, it's going to be safer to arrange delivery back to your home if you're flying back, otherwise you won't be able to take more than a couple of bottles back as cabin luggage. Textile souvenirs such as tea towels, tablecloths, tote bags, bar aprons and t-shirts aren't breakable. They can also do double duty, helping wrap more fragile items.

5. Non-perishable
Similar to unbreakable, it needs to be non-perishable, so it can't be items which need to be kept at certain temperatures (artisan chocolate, I'm looking at you), or which have short expiry dates such as certain snacks. If you've ever watched Border Security, you'll know Australian quarantine amongst one of the strictest in the world so you can't bring in most foodstuffs into the country.

6. Of the region
Another quality of the perfect souvenir is that it represents the region you have visited. It makes for fun reminiscing and has far more relevance than something you can readily buy back home. If the souvenir design is a map, it makes you explore it all over again, visually. Even more importantly, if you've been somewhere rural, you hope to find something that isn't sold in your capital city. There is a real thrill to discovering something for your friends and family they can't readily find.

7. Affordable
Most travellers are on tight budgets so the higher the cost, the less likely it is you'll have enough money to buy it as your holiday draws to a close. Items costing under $50 such as keyrings, magnets, tea towels and bar aprons, fit nicely into this criteria.

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