Buying a memorable souvenir

by Olena Pakholiuk

Millions of people all over the world are fond of travelling. They want to see other continents, countries, cities and ancient towns. It's always interesting to discover new things, different styles of life, to meet people, to try exotic food, etc.

The idea of having something special to remember the trip always seems so wonderful.

Buying souvenirs and gifts became a part of traditional travel. People really enjoy having the reminders from their trips. Ones who want to avoid purchasing souvenirs and save their money for vacation have to think about free and unique souvenirs. You can take photos as the reminders of your travels. You can create slide-shows or movies on your computer, put your photos in frames when you get home, share them with your family and friends or keep them in albums.

Some people collect photos of their families taken in front of welcome signs of every city they travel, of sunsets and sunrises or dishes they enjoy at national cuisine cafés. The cheapest and the most spreading gift is a magnet on your fridge. People who spend their holidays at the seaside usually bring some shells or stones which they find or buy. Those who are ready to spend money on souvenirs visit a local bazaar. There is a huge variety of hand-made craftworks, such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets and different items with sea emblems.

Gourmets jump at the opportunity to buy an original bottle of wine or set of spices. Similar to spices, smart choices to bring back home with you can be special food or beverages, sweets and chocolates, biscuits or muffins. For tourists who are not obsessed with food and cooking there are a lot of other interesting ideas such as items for house décor like blankets and cushions, picture frames, local arts, hand-made presents or something that can be used in every day life.

It's a good idea to buy a garment such as a belt, a tie, a scarf, T-shirts, bags, shoes or something else.

Here is a list of absolutely popular items associated with a certain country:

The bottle of perfume or Champagne from France.

Venetian Masks from Italy.

Beer from Germany.

Beautiful pendant necklace from Greece.

Turkish sweetsandthe blue evil eye (Turks believe that it wards off evil thoughts and protects the owner).

RISIS Orchid is a unique souvenir from Singapore.

Tea and porcelain from China.

Maple syrup from Canada.

Pottery and wooden hand-made craftwork from Ukraine.

Russian doll – Matryoshka from Russia.

The basic tips for buying souvenirs are:

  • Try to skip cheap items that will be thrown away, broken or stored away right after you arrive home.
  • Be sure it is something that you'll actually use after your trip.
  • Think about transporting it back home. Do you have to pay extra for baggage? If souvenir is glass or delicate, it may not be a good idea to transport it at all. Remember about different rules for transporting food and liquid in places around the world as well.
  • If you're traveling with children, give them an appropriate amount of money in the beginning of the trip for souvenirs they want to buy. They can spend it on whatever they want. This way they are involved into discovering local culture and learn to spend money reasonably.
  • Before buying a souvenir for somebody find out their interests, hobbies and obsessions.

Follow-up questions:

  1. What do you usually bring as a souvenir?
  2. What souvenirs do you like to get?
  3. Do you think that buying souvenirs isworth time and money?
  4. Who do you usually bring the presents from a trip for?
  5. Do you have any special place at home to store your souvenirs?
  6. What souvenirs do you look formost when you are travelling?
  7. Do you collect anything special from different countries?
  8. How do you know what the best local souvenirs are?
  9. Who do you believe more when you need some advice on buying souvenirs? ( a travel agent or natives)
  10. What is your most longed-for souvenir and what country is it from?
  11. Why do people like to recall their trips and buy local items?
  12. Do you usually use the things you have bought in the trip?
  13. How often do you buy souvenirs in a boutique and at the market?
  14. How much money are you ready to spend on souvenirs?
  15. When do you usually buy presents in the beginning of a traveling or at the end?
  16. What is the most valuable souvenir you have got?
  17. What is more important for you to obtain an expensive item or something presented with all one's heart?
  18. Do you show your disappointment when you expect some present and don't get it?
  19. Do you usually show off your souvenirs?
  20. What do you think about people who bring some pieces of ancient monuments or buildings?

Tense focused questions

  1. Are you ever spontaneous/well-though out when you buy a souvenir?
  2. Are you disturbed about someone`s disappointing (disillusioning) reaction to your souvenirs?
  3. Are you good at searching suitable gifts for different people?
  4. How good are you at low budget purchasing or are you a spendthrift?
  5. Do you ever happen to break you souvenir before returning home?
  6. Who do you buy souvenirs while traveling for?
  7. How well do you know the rules of transportationof local souvenirs you`ve bought?
  8. Have you ever recalled that you didn't buy a gift for someone on half-way back home?
  9. Have you ever had any problems with a customs officer at the air-port because of carrying your souvenir through the customs control?
  10. Where do you buy presents when you travel?
  11. Have you ever overpaid for a souvenir to get a longed-for thing for your beloved?
  12. Have you ever lost souvenirs you bought?
  13. What are you going to obtain as a new memorable thing next trip?
  14. Will you buy any special local thing to remember or just something useful?
  15. How much have you spent the most buying the gifts?

Descriptive ideas

  1. What is the best souvenir you have ever had like?
  2. What occasions do the people buy souvenirs from the trips for?
  3. What does the most expensive/the cheapest souvenir you`ve ever bought look like?
  4. What is the most comfortable place for doing shopping while travelling like?

Role plays

Persuasion. Imagine you are one of spouses. A husband wants to buy a rare and expensive thing (a knife or other ethnic weapon) for his collection, but wife wants to take excursion to exotic place with spa, relax and make a lot of memorable photos for their family album. Their budget is limited and they have to choose only one thing.

Dilemma. Imagine you passthrough the customs control at the air-port. You have got a souvenir in your hand bag that you had to declare but you didn't. Customs officer asks to you pay a fine or leave the souvenir. You can`t leave it and you have no money to pay.

Controversial ideas

People should not buy souvenirs while travelling from different places because all of them are overpriced and unusable junk.

Should there be no customs restrictions on transportation of souvenirs.

People should not strive for buying souvenirs as a piece of alien culture until they have known all about their native traditions and crafts.

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