Many people buy souvenirs as gifts for friends and family that have not been able to come on the trip with them. Even if you tend to give gifts only on special occasions, souvenir items can be great gifts for upcoming birthdays or holidays in the group of people close to you. They are always an intriguing gift, and there are many items sold as souvenirs which are suitable as gifts for a wide variety of people.

Unique and Unobtainable Gifts

Giving a souvenir item as a gift means that you'll be able to give your loved one something that no one else could get them, and that they couldn't have gotten otherwise. Many items are only available- or at least, only affordably and easily available- within their country or region of origin. By bringing back an object like this, you have a gift that will be a completely new item and experience to your friend or family member. If you have someone close to you who collects something, you can obtain them a special item to add to that collection that they would not otherwise have been able to access, which is always an amazing gift for a collector.

Sharing the Experience

One reason that souvenirs are such great gifts regardless of the occasion is that they allow you to share the experience of your trip with your friends and family. Travel can be an amazing experience that opens your mind and deeply impacts you emotionally. If you experience something so incredible, you will naturally want to share it with those closest to you. Bringing items back from the country or region you visited helps you do just that. While stories and pictures allow you to show your experiences, there are many items that can be brought back as souvenir gifts to better convey the atmosphere of the place.

Variety of Gifts

There are a wide variety of souvenir items that are appropriate to give as gifts. Regardless of what your planned recipient enjoys, you'll be able to find a great souvenir gift for them. If you regularly include travel shopping in your gift planning for the year, you'll open up a much broader range of choices to select gifts from, as you'll add the souvenir items of all your destinations to the range of products available to you at home. This article will be discussing five popular varieties of souvenir gifts, but if you look around with a specific idea in mind, you'll easily be able to find even more.

Food: One of the most popular types of souvenir to give as a gift as food. Food is closely tied to culture, so any region or country will have a lot of specialties that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. The further you get from home, the more extreme these differences tend to get. Of course, not all types of food are suitable to be brought back as souvenirs. Canned or dry goods will last, but are often not very exciting, and native dishes may show off the local flavors but often can't be transported well. Snack food and candy tend to be the most popular types of food brought back as souvenirs. They tend to travel well and to be varied enough to demonstrate the differences between cultures. For example, there are many candies and snacks available in the U.K. that are not available in the U.S. and vice versa, even though those two countries speak the same language and have relatively similar cultures. The differences in foods between more disparate countries are even more intriguing.

Fun Fact: Kinder eggs are one unique candy you should not bring back as a gift if you live in the U.S. These fun, delicious chocolates are actually illegal there!

Alcohol: For a slightly more mature take on local flavor, alcohol is also a popular gift to bring back for adult friends. Many people collect wines from different areas, for example, so if you find a place during your trip with a particularly good or interesting local wine, that can make an excellent gift. Also, alcohol is made with different ingredients and processes in every region, just like food varies from place to place. Every local alcohol will have its own unique flavor. If you're traveling to a place that originated a certain broader type of alcohol- for example, if you were traveling to Ireland, where whiskey originated- that could also be an opportunity to get a very authentic bottle of that alcohol for a friend who favors it.

Fun Fact: Usually, grain alcohol is made from malt grains like barley, but in Japan, their traditional alcohol, sake, is made from rice!

Local Crafts: Just as every region has its own foods, every region will have its own styles and ways of making art. This will depend on the resources and the culture. Local traditional crafts will be made using materials native to the area- wood carvings in forested areas, shell ornaments in seaside locations, and so forth. These traditional works of art convey the personality of the area in a way mass produced objects cannot. They are especially good gifts for those friends who are interested in the place you traveled, or for people with whom you really want to share the culture of the region. They are also great gifts for friends or family members who make arts or crafts themselves- they will appreciate seeing the different techniques and materials traditionally used by another culture.

Fun Fact: You may even be able to see and/or take pictures of the objects being made. For example, Seattle has a tradition of glass-blowing, and many workshops will allow you to come back and watch the glass being shaped.

Friendship or Matching Jewelry: For a friend or family member you are particularly close to, a great souvenir gift is jewelry in a local style that has elements specific to friendship, or that has matching elements with a piece of jewelry you get for yourself. Obviously this kind of gift applies to a specific type of person and situation, but it is still a very popular type of gift, and you can find a variety of friendship bracelets and locally-made jewelry with special slogans or gemstones with specific meanings in most tourist shops. This type of gift shows that you really care about that person and that you were thinking very specifically about them when you were on your trip, probably wishing they were sharing the experience with you.

Fun Fact: Friendship bracelets may be associated with a 70s fad, but they are in fact a Central and South American tradition that is quite old!

Collectables: Souvenir shops offer a wide range of collectible items like magnets, keychains, shot glasses, and figurines. If someone close to you collects a certain type of item, getting an iteration of that item from your trip can be an excellent gift. It is something you know they will enjoy as part of their collection, and it's not something they could have collected on their own without also going to that place, so it contributes to their collection in a unique way.

Fun Fact: Shot glasses are mostly a fun collectible now, but they may have had serious origins in American Prohibition or the Wild West!