Many travel books will tell you to keep space in your bag for the souvenirs and gifts you collect on the way.
These souvenirs/gifts they talk about are called Tourist junk.
Sure, your furry Russian comrade hat seemed like the best purchase in the world on your trip to Russia, but on the beaches of Thailand it’s more than useless.
You’ve just cleaned up your life and flogged a lot of junk so why replace that with more Tourist junk? Stick with the nomadic mindset and keep the ball rolling!
Avoid buying Tourist Junk
Buying souvenirs for friends and family as well as personal gifts to remember your trip will cost you a lot of money.
Especially if you decided that you want to send a post card or purchase a fridge magnet in each country you visit, what starts off as a fun game, soon turns into your worst nightmare, just avoid buying tourist junk all together and focus on what’s most important, travel.
It seems that every location you go to have their own unique tourist gift that visitors are trapped into buying. When the Brits started travelling to Spain in the 60’s it seemed that everyone was taking home massive straw donkeys. What on earth would you do with a giant straw donkey back at home? Don’t get trapped into buying peer pressure tourist junk like this!
My rule: Take a picture instead
If you find it funny or interesting, take a picture of it. Pictures speak a thousand words and you can go back and look at it at no cost or space. A lot of vendors don’t mind taking photos of you wearing that Mexican sombrero for a dollar and then you have that awesome Facebook profile picture in the bag.
All those flight stubs and entrance tickets also start taking up space, unless you’re creating a scrapbook on the way, avoid carrying all these useless pieces of paper and snap scan them onto your camera phone.
Lots of pieces of useless paper might seem like memories, but soon take up a lot of space. To pack light you have to think with a paperless mindset, take photos of receipts and documents, they work in just the same way digital or in real life (Just be careful in Asia as paper documents are still needed in most cases).
If you do find something you have fallen in love with or if you have been given a very special gift from a very special person, if you can’t live without it – post it home. I was once given a real cowboy hat by a Buckaroo so I decided to post it –as I couldn’t bring myself around to chuck it or donating it to a charity store.
The rule of advice when posting something home is to make sure you do it yourself and not with an expensive carrier, as this can turn out to be rather costly.
It’s almost cost effective to take it directly to the national post office and to wrap it yourself.
My rule of advice is to send it as slow as possible and as cheap as possible.
When you’re backpacking around the world you’re in no rush, so a 3 month, shipping delivery time won’t end up costing a lot and then you end up keeping that cowboy hat.
Just make sure you ask your parents nicely to receive it back home.
Happy travels and good luck avoiding Tourist Junk and saving money towards for your travels, best of luck!