When you have to dig through your closet to find buried souvenirs, what’s the point? We are firm believers that the best souvenirs are the ones you see every day. They become a part of your day-to-day life, sparking memories and conversation. Here, we list a few of our favorites.
A hideous coin purse, Buenos Aires
The Argentinean bus system is notorious for its impractical requirement that coins — not bills or any special reload-able transit card — be used as bus fare. As a result, dense areas like Buenos Aires have a serious shortage of monedas. In order to better hoard bus fare, porteños, or residents of Buenos Aires, often carry coin purses. Although today my coin purse is considerably more full of unwanted American change, it’s an everyday reminder of my former lifestyle. –Tara
Canvas painting, Cuba
Cuba has a vibrant art scene, and the main feria in Havana is the selling ground for many aspiring artists in the country. When I visited Cuba last March, I was overwhelmed by the multitude of artwork, but as soon as I passed this canvas painting, I was immediately drawn to its colorful representation of a Havana city block. (In fact, I bought a similar one for my parents, too.) No matter where I live over the years, I’ll have this hanging. –Karina
Beach blanket, Rio de Janeiro
In Brazil, it’s too hot to roast on a cotton Mickey Mouse towel. Instead, beachgoers buy an inexpensive viscose blanket (made in Indonesia) from salespeople roaming the beach. They’re hand-dyed in tons of designs and colors. Of course, I chose the Brazilian flag, but was comforted by my touristy decision when I noticed the design is popular among Brazilians, too. I still have it and prefer this cooler option to a towel at the beach. –Tara
Earrings, Costa Rica
Jewelry is one of my go-to souvenir categories; I love how it allows you to wear and represent your travels subtly. (What I mean is, it’s not as tacky as a t-shirt!) I like to pick hand-crafted goods from a market that locals frequent. One pair of earrings I picked up in Costa Rica is in my regular rotation of favorites. They’re simple, yet have character, and I get compliments on them regularly. When people ask where I purchased them, I love saying they’re from Costa Rica and made of dyed cow bone. That’s not the department store or Forever 21 answer anyone’s expecting to hear. –Karina
Have you found any good souvenirs? Share with us in the comments section!
–Tara and Karina for TKGO