Holiday Souvenirs – Should You Really Be Taking That Home?

We have all heard the saying “been there, done that, got the t-shirt”, but it seems many travellers are taking far more than an “I love Spain” t-shirt home from their holidays abroad.

A recent survey by The Travel Foundation and The Association of British Travel Agents, released in time to coincide with ‘Make Holidays Greener Month’, has revealed that British travellers spend up to 10% of their holiday budget on souvenirs, but that many unwittingly take home souvenirs that are either illegal or environmentally damaging.

The holiday shopping report highlights confusion amongst travellers about what is an illegal souvenir and what is  not, and with a shocking eleven per cent believing it was okay to bring Ivory back from holiday (internationally banned in 1990), it seems the government and the responsible tourism sector has a lot of work to do.

While most travellers said they have good intentions and buy their holiday souvenirs from local markets and craft stalls, many of these items are mass-produced on the other side of the world, and do not benefit the local community as one might think.

Fifteen per cent of those questioned in the survey admitted to bringing a shell or piece of coral back from a holiday abroad, yet a third confirmed they no longer displayed the piece, and many said they had already thrown it away.

T-Shirts and fake designer goods remain the most popular holiday souvenirs, but they are also those items most likely to be discarded or binned within weeks of return, so the Travel Foundation urges responsible travellers to “look out for quality crafts and check to see where the item is made and what it’s made from” before making a purchase.

If in doubt, stick to a Sombrero, a pair of maracas, or a nice fridge magnet!

17 Comments Add yours

  1. I have amazing art I have picked up in my travels. Nothing illegal 🙂

    1. That’s a great idea!

  2. mybrightlife says:

    Thank you for an insightful post and reminder! Photo’s make great souvenirs too…

    1. I agree… Photo’s and memories are all the souvenirs I take home! 🙂

  3. Very good reminder that just because it’s on sale, doesn’t make it legal.

  4. What an excellent post, do you mind if I hijack your idea and make a similar one? Because this reflects my thoughts entirely and of course I will give you a credit.

    1. Hi Martyn! Thanks for stopping by – glad you liked it! Please feel free to Hijack away! 🙂

  5. What an excellent post, do you mind if I hijack your idea and make a similar one? Because this reflects my thoughts entirely and of course I will give you a credit. Prob easier to reblog – done 🙂

  6. Reblogged this on Cabo de Gata Photography and commented:
    Well this article is very well thought out and echos my feelings. I’d even go as far to say that you should make the effort to go and find a local artisans network and see the sort of things on offer. That way you are playing a bigger part in sustainable tourism, that is assuming you are not buying I ❤ Spain t-shirts made in Macau 🙂

    1. Great!! Does anyone really want a tea towel with “I love the Costa Del Sol” anyway?! 🙂

  7. Absolutely avoid ivory or any cruelty-related item!

  8. Really good points made. Agree!

  9. Great post! Thanks for an important reminder to stop and think before we pick up something in our travels.

    1. Thank you very much for visiting our blog and liking our post! 🙂

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