They say that experiences are better than things. But we don’t hear much about the things from our experiences. And that should change! Because souvenirs are a great way to keep the memory of a trip alive. Of course, we’re going to be partial to souvenirs that are food- or kitchen-related. No matter where you’re headed this summer (whether you’re planning a long weekend road trip just a few hours away or you’re going to be galavanting halfway around the globe), here are five suggestions for what to bring back with you.
1. A tote bag from a local grocery store
Headed to a grocery store in, say, Paris, Amsterdam, or Sweden? Get your groceries—and pick up a store-branded tote while you’re at it. You can find these things everywhere and they make the ideal souvenir because you don’t have to worry about broken glass, spills, or checking your bag on the way home. You can use one during your vacation as your purse and, once you’re back, you can add it to the stack of bags that you bring with you to the store on a regular basis. Oh and if you already have a bunch of totes that you don’t feel sentimental about, bring them to your local homeless shelter or outreach program, as their patrons can always use them.
2. A piece of pottery
Local craft fairs are like Etsy in real life. Find one near wherever you’re staying and sniff out the pottery that speaks to you the most. Whether that’s a mug, a serving piece, or something teeny tiny, get something that will make you remember this trip every time you look at it.
3. A bottle of wine
Wine is made in some surprising places! There are wineries in Scotland, Lebanon, Japan … you name it. It’s all different, of course, and that’s what makes it a unique and surprising souvenir to bring back for yourself or your neighbor who graciously watched your pup. At the very least, it’ll inspire some interesting conversation. And the bottle can be used long after the last drop is poured.
4. A local treat
Sometimes, you can just let your destination dictate what you should bring back. If you’re going to Greece, you almost have to pick up some olives. Bound for France? Plan on picking up lots and lots of pastries. Taking a weekend trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee? Leave room for the Moon Pies! Our point is that places are often known for a type of food or a specific ingredient. Whatever it is, we suggest you figure out a way to get it home in your carry on. Or check a bag if you have to.
If you’re traveling within the United States, kombucha is one of our favorite things to look for whenever we get to a new city. While the big brands (GT’s and Health-Ade) are practically everywhere, local kombucha flavors and brands vary greatly city by city. Swing by Louisville and you’ll find Kentucky Kombucha. Sonoma, California has Revive Kombucha, and Baba’s Bucha can be found in the Philly area. Checking out local kombucha’s is great way to get a sense of the area’s collective taste and style. Plus, the fermented tea could help soothe an upset tummy while you’re on the road.