When you travel overseas, it’s only natural to want to share that experience with other people. Maybe you share photos and videos on social media or send them exclusively to family and friends. Other people may blog about their entire trip. Even this may not seem like enough to commemorate the experience. So, you may feel tempted to bring a piece of this new destination home for family and friends by purchasing souvenirs.
You know exactly the type of gifts that tend to end up in tourist shops: overpriced bottle openers, cheesy low-quality print on scratchy shirts or plastic keychains. These items announce to everyone who sees you with them that you’ve visited a particular area. While this may be true for you, it may not be true for the people you give these gifts to. Fridge magnets, keychains and destination-shirts soon get forgotten or thrown out. Why not give something more meaningful or more useful? Gift skyhours instead.
Street with shops and cafés in El Tunco, El Salvador by @andynlilly
Some Unbelievable Gifts Travelers Bring Home
The best gift-givers in the world are the most creative. However, when bringing gifts home from a foreign country, sometimes the more unique the gift is, the more problems may arise. A common troublemaker is the vuvuzela, a loud plastic trumpet. Made popular by football fans in South Africa, this has become a beloved instrument of merriment at frat parties and sporting events. However, when children are on the receiving end, it may not always go over so well with their parents. If you never hear from those parents again, you already know why.
Traditional clothing is another touchy area. If you spent a long time in a particular country, you may have picked up some of their local dress codes. This is especially the case if you made a big climate jump, such as from Russia to India. Unfortunately, unless your friends and family have visited the country, they may lack the cultural context to truly appreciate this type of clothing.
Man in garment store in Penang, Malaysia by @kal_mare
Fashion accessories can also cause a bit of a stink as gifts — sometimes literally. How so? Travelers who visit certain areas are often impressed by the craftsmanship of locals who make purses, boots and belts. Even so, the leather isn’t always cured. This can create an unpleasant scent that lingers. Some travelers who brought this home claim it stayed in their closet for years, even after they finally threw the item out. This may be an exaggeration, but are you sure you want to test it?
Perhaps the touchiest area of all is religious souvenirs. Not everyone is religious and those who are may interpret the teachings of their religion in different ways. Some people are also stricter than others when it comes to commoditizing their culture and beliefs. Finally, some religious pieces may also be offensive in ways only people who practice a certain religion or subset of that religion may understand.We suggest you steer clear of these as much as possible, unless you’re sure the giftee will take it the right way.
For the most part, how great a gift is, depends on the person receiving it. However, these are some grey areas best avoided unless you know the giftee extremely well.
Why People Give These Gifts
As impractical as these unique gifts are, the people who give them mean no harm. So, why exactly do people lug this stuff halfway around the world with them, taking up valuable space in their luggage? We can think of a few reasons.
Few people purchase souvenirs upon arrival or casually throughout their trip. Souvenirs are most often a last-minute item people grab a day or two before they leave. When under pressure to ensure they don’t return home empty handed, they may not think much about what they grab as long as they have something. Quality control — and sometimes common sense — goes right out the window.
It’s the Norm
One of the main reasons people feel so pressured to bring something back is because it’s expected. Almost everyone brings home souvenirs. It’s just what people do after returning home from vacation, right? It reminds the people who receive them that the travelers were thinking of them while they were away. This can pressure people to pick up souvenirs even when they don’t want to.
Good Local Salesmen
Even people who don't intend to purchase souvenirs often like to visit the tourist shops to see what’s in there. Whether they just want sunscreen or a can of soda, they may end up looking around at all the wares. Some store owners may remain passive during that perusal. Others may take a more active approach and may convince you to walk out of the store with an armful of goods you never budgeted for.
Justify Personal Gifts
If you have visited or lived in a foreign country for some time, you may want to take a few keepsakes with you as a physical manifestation of fond memories overseas. There’s nothing wrong with this. There’s a context you may attach to those unique gifts that no one else will understand until they visit or experience similar events while in the location. Still, bringing home souvenirs for just yourself may feel selfish. So, you may try to even that out by bringing home souvenirs for other people as well.
View of the city Mtskheta, Georgia from Jvari Monastery by @ayubardiyono
Why Giving Skyhours Is Way Better
More people are giving the gift of travel. Here’s why you should consider doing the same.
After returning home from overseas, when you tell family and friends what you experience, the most common reaction you may get is, “I wish I could go there, too.” Your knee-jerk reaction may be to explain that travel is not as expensive as most people think if you know how to travel on a budget, but gifting air travel may better help to bring that across. You also bring them one step closer to experiencing a new destination for themselves.
Make a Greater Positive Impact
Several studies have identified the many benefits of traveling abroad or even across state lines. NBC News points out that travel improves your creativity, makes you healthier, increases happiness, relieves stress and lowers the risk of depression. Wouldn’t you rather give these gifts to someone than a snow globe or dictator doll? What kind of positive impact do those items bring to the table?
Start a New Family Tradition
Families don’t need to travel together all the time to enjoy this. Pooling together to fund Mom’s Mother’s Day getaway trip or your college son’s summer trip overseas can be just as fulfilling. The important thing is seeing more of the world and experiencing different cultures. Getting into the habit of gifting flight time for birthdays, anniversaries and graduation gifts is a great way to keep this up.
Motivation To Go Back
When you gift air travel via Skyhour, anyone can contribute to and grow that person’s balance. This increases the possibility of them racking up enough hours to purchase a trip to the destination you so lovingly described. If you’ve been dreaming of going back but needed some company, this is great motivation to get your affairs in order so you can travel back with them.
Rather than bringing something back with you, how about taking someone with you instead. When you travel with a family member, friend or romantic partner, this affects not just you but your relationship. According to a study published by the Pennsylvania State University, traveling together as a family enhances family relationships. When it comes to romantic relationships, Psychology Today says that travel allows couples to create memories together, learn more about each other in new situations and increase passion.
Give the Gift of Air Travel
Souvenirs add to the growing mountain of stuff that gets piled into garages and attics — or that one drawer everyone has that they’re scared to open. Why not give your loved ones a unique gift that they can use and doesn’t take up any space? Experiences can be better than things and travel is one gift that never goes out of style. Give the gift of air travel with Skyhour today.