Friday, October 21, 2011

My 5 best souvenir ideas for traveling kids

Two ripe, Hawaiian pineapples: a great souvenir!

I am not a fan of any kind of nick-knacks, as in useless items that just sit on shelves and collect dust. Of course, because I have two kids, there are still a lot of nick-knacks in my house, but I try to limit their number as best I can.

When you're traveling, it's easy to pick up souvenir nick-knacks: gift shops are usually full of them. More or less tacky figurines, plastic decorations, polished shells, painted rocks, glittery jewellery you know you'll never use... the list goes on.

I'm all for my kids getting something to remember a trip by, but I do try to steer their souvenir-shopping away from nick-knacks, and towards items that are a) potentially useful, and b) reasonably durable.

1. Hats, t-shirts and sweatshirts
This is one of my favorite picks for souvenirs for my kids, because it's something they can wear and get some use out of. Sure, they do eventually wear out or grow out of these souvenirs, but I still think it's a great buy. Hats can last a long time, so if you're looking for value-over-time, this might be the best bet.

2. Edible stuff
One of the best souvenirs we ever bought on a trip, was a box of ripe, Hawaiian pineapples we picked up at the airport in Maui. They were absolutely delicious to eat, and we planted one of the pineapple tops too. It is now growing in a small pot in our house, and while it isn't exactly thriving as it would in the tropical Maui-climate, it's still alive. Other great choices can be candy, cookies, spice mixes, and whatever else your kids think is fun. If the item comes in a nice tin or box, that's a bonus!

3. Framed photos
A picture of your child taken during your travels can also make a great souvenir. My kids love looking at the pictures from our trips, and love talking about where they were taken and who is in the photos. Some places you go to will take pictures that you can buy and bring home, or you can order prints of your own photos, frame them nicely and put them in your child's room.

4. Useful toys
By useful toys, I mean toys that won't break as soon as your child plays with them, and toys that they will actually play with. For my kids, stuffed animals are often a good choice. Balls to bounce or kick around are good too, and if my son gets to pick, he'll pick some kind of vehicle (car or plane usually). Good quality beach toys like shovels and buckets emblazoned with the name of the place you've visited can be a good choice too, though they might be a challenge to pack if you're traveling by plane!

5. Towels and blankets
Sounds kind of goofy maybe, but I think these items are very child-friendly souvenirs. A big colorful beach towel can come in handy for your kids to use while you're on your beach holiday; then you bring it home and it becomes a souvenir you can still use. Same thing with blankets. Kids can snuggle up in them while you're on holidays, in front of the TV at the hotel, or in the car or on the plane, and once you're home they're a useful, cozy souvenir that won't just collect dust on a shelf.

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