We’re constantly being told to be mindful of the impact we have on the environment when traveling. But what about when it comes to buying souvenirs? It can be easy to forget that even something as seemingly harmless as a keychain made of panda fur is contributing to the extinction of an entire species. If you want to buy something special from your trip, make sure it’s authentic and meaningful—or better yet, make it yourself! Here are some tips for finding the perfect souvenir:
Remember that you’re a guest in this country, and be respectful.
- Remember that you’re a guest in this country, and be respectful.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Locals are often happy to answer any questions you may have about their culture and customs.
- Don’t criticize the country or its people. You should also avoid criticizing other travelers who may have different opinions than you do.
- If something feels wrong, it probably is! If something seems like it could offend someone (e.g., taking a picture of an elderly woman without asking permission), it probably will offend someone—so don’t do it!
Before you go to another country, observe your own culture with new eyes. This will help you understand the similarities and differences with other cultures, which is key to understanding their traditions and customs.
Before you go to another country, observe your own culture with new eyes. This will help you understand the similarities and differences with other cultures. This can be more difficult than it sounds. Culture is a funny thing; we tend to think of ourselves as “normal” and everyone else as “different” when they may be doing something quite similar to us, but using a different name or symbol for it.
The best way to see this is by observing your own culture from an outsider’s perspective—observe what people do every day in their daily lives and compare these behaviors or habits with those of people in other countries (we’ll provide plenty of examples below). Understanding what makes our own cultures unique is key to helping us understand why certain traditions are important in other parts of the world—and vice versa!
Prepare for your trip by researching what is typical in the country where you’re going. Who makes it? What does it represent? What’s the history behind it?
If you’re traveling to a country where the culture is very different from yours, it’s a good idea to do some research before you go. Researching the culture of your destination is a great way to make sure that you get authentic and meaningful souvenirs when traveling.
- What is typical in the country?
- Who makes it?
- What does it represent?
- What’s the history behind it?
If there are handicrafts available, consider who made them, and how they were made. Are they produced in family workshops or are they made in factories by people being paid below living wages?
If you’re buying handicrafts, consider who made them. If it’s a small family business, ask the owner where they get their materials. Do they source from local artisans or factories? If so, are these materials bought locally or sourced internationally? Ask if they have a website or social media page that shares information about their products and the people who make them.
Ask if they have fair trade certification—this will tell you whether the workers producing your souvenir are being paid a living wage (and in some cases may include health benefits).
Where possible, buy directly from the makers themselves; don’t buy something if you do not know the origin of the product. Ask questions about its authenticity and who produced it.
When buying souvenirs, it’s best to buy Souvenirs Direct from the makers themselves. It is important to ask questions about its authenticity and who produced it. If you don’t know the origin of the product yourself, ask someone else who knows or look into it on your own.
When traveling abroad or locally, there are many opportunities to purchase authentic items made by people in developing countries. But there are also ethical concerns about how these products are created and distributed; for example if an artisan sells his work at a tourist shop rather than his own family home (which could be more sustainable).
Don’t buy souvenirs made from animals or animal parts such as ivory, turtle shells, or illegal horns unless they were cultivated through a sustainable breeding program (and can prove it). Most animal souvenirs come from poaching, which is devastating to local wildlife populations as well as local economies.
There are several things you can do to ensure that your souvenirs are not made from endangered animals or illegal animal parts.
- Buy only from reputable sources
- Ask questions about the origin of the item, and be sure it is not made from endangered animals or illegal animal parts
- Use your judgment about whether the product is sustainable (e.g., if goodwill benefits an organization that helps protect wildlife in the area). If there’s any doubt about whether it’s authentic, don’t buy it!
Avoid purchasing items that use endangered plants or trees and whose products may be contributing to deforestation.
It is important to purchase souvenirs that are sustainably made. Buying sustainable souvenir products helps protect the environment and ensure that local communities can maintain their livelihoods.
There are a few ways you can ensure your souvenirs are sustainable:
- Avoid purchasing items that use endangered plants or trees and whose products may be contributing to deforestation. For example, wood carving and furniture use mahogany, which is rapidly disappearing in some regions of Central America due to illegal logging; instead of buying these products, consider purchasing metal jewelry or accessories made from recycled materials such as discarded soda bottles instead.
- Buy locally-produced goods rather than mass-produced items sent from overseas factories (e.g., China) by multinational corporations (such as Walmart). This ensures that money stays within local economies rather than being siphoned off by foreign corporations for their profit margins at the expense of local producers/artisans who have far less ability to market themselves globally due in part because they lack access not only capital but also linguistic proficiency when speaking English as well as translation services required when communicating over email!
Be an informed consumer when buying souvenirs so that you can feel good about helping preserve local cultures and support sustainable businesses.
As a responsible traveler, you must be an informed consumer when buying souvenirs. You want to make sure that anything you buy won’t hurt the local communities and environments that you are visiting or will help preserve them in some way. Here are some things to consider:
- Buy local, handmade, and fair trade items whenever possible. This not only supports small business owners but also helps ensure that your money stays in the community where it helped create your precious keepsake.
- If a souvenir has an animal on it (even if it does not exist anymore), be cautious about where it was made as many animals are endangered due to poaching and habitat loss from deforestation. Also, avoid buying fur products or any other products made from endangered animals or animal parts (such as ivory).
- If a souvenir has plants on it, ask about its source before purchasing so you can make sure its origins don’t contribute negatively toward their extinction due to deforestation and climate change impacts such as flooding or drought caused by global warming pollution from fossil fuels used for manufacturing processes like paper production which destroys forests needed by trees for food production through photosynthesis process required for survival purposes since nothing grows without sunlight which means no oxygen either!
The key to finding authentic and meaningful souvenirs is saying no to mass-produced items and yes to products that are handmade by people who are proud of their heritage.