Have you ever regretted buying, or in some instances, not buying a souvenir?
Finding the perfect souvenirs from around the world is not an easy feat. To avoid disappointment, and before you set out, ask yourself these five questions:
- What’s your budget?
- Locally-made or foreign made?
- How will you use it?
- Does the item reflect the country’s culture?
- Can you bring it home?
Here are 15 souvenirs you may never regret buying:
1. New York Coffee Cup, New York City
“We are happy to serve you” Greek-inspired paper coffee cup introduced in 1963 by Leslie Buck is now available in ceramic and is environmentally friendly. Coffee or tea drinkers would find this 10 oz ceramic cup designed by Graham Hill useful and cheerful.
2. Mate cup, Uruguay
Uruguayans are known to bring their thermos and a mate cup whenever and wherever they go. Mate is a type of tea that is popular in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. The vessel used for drinking mate tea is known by the same name – mate.
The traditional mate cup is made of calabash gourd. It comes with a metal straw called a bombilla. There are also leather and wood mate cups found throughout Uruguay and Argentina.
3. Cork products, Portugal
Portugal is the largest producer of cork products in the world. You’ll find a variety of cork products made in Portugal, from handbags, ties, and shoes to trivets and olive oil pourer spouts, there’s bound to be one item that will suit your needs. Beware of fake ones, that are made elsewhere.
4. Rugby Gear, New Zealand
New Zealand All Blacks rugby team, is one of the top rugby teams in the world. Not only are they competent in sports, they are also fantastic in performing the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance called “Ka Mate,” as seen on this video presented by World Rugby:
Get the All Blacks shirt, shorts, beanie, scarf, or anything that has the team’s logo.
5. Paprika, Hungary
Hungary is known for its paprika, a ground spice made from a variety of red peppers. Hungarian paprika can be sweet (edes) or hot (csipős). They are grown in Szeged and Kalocsa, the southern regions of Hungary.
You can recreate delicious Hungarian goulash and stuffed peppers at home with Hungarian high-quality paprika.
6. Jerk spices, Jamaica
Keychains, fridge magnets, and shot glasses are not the only souvenir options in Jamaica. Jamaica reigns supreme when it comes to chicken dishes. If you’ve tried authentic jerk chicken, you’ll never want to try it anywhere else. Fortunately, you can bring home Jamaican jerk spices and make yours in the comfort of your home.
7. Leather pouf, Morocco
Morocco is one of the best countries to shop for locally made souvenirs. The options are endless -rugs, leather bags, leather shoes, leather pouf, and more. If you like leather goods, check out the unstuffed leather pouf. Unstuffed poufs are easily stored in suitcases. Once home, stuff the pouf with old items like clothing, unused pillows, blankets, towels, or any bath items.
8. Lopapeysa, Iceland
Icelandic wool sweater or lopapeysa made from Icelandic sheep wool is durable, cool, and unique. Icelanders wear lopapeysa during the festive season, when they go camping, engage in outdoor activities, and when it’s cold in Iceland. It’s not merchandise made just for tourists.
9. Chullo, Peru
Chullo, the Andean-style hat with ear flaps from Peru and Bolivia, is one of the most colorful and attractive souvenirs in the world. Chullos is useful in cold weather and suitable for hiking trips in the Andean mountains.
10. Emeralds, Colombia
Colombia is one of the finest and largest emerald producers in the world. There’s a wide range of emeralds to buy in Colombia. Most importantly, you must go to a reputable jewelry store to get yours. Reputable stores are in Bogota’s Emerald District on Jimenez Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets. All emeralds come with a certificate of authenticity.
11. Canadian maple syrup, Canada
Canada produces over 70% of the world’s maple syrup. There are four different types of Canadian maple syrup – golden, amber, dark, and very dark. Canadians are proud of their maple syrup, and even the Canadian flag has a maple leaf. Plus there’s even an iced hockey team called the Toronto Maple Leafs.
12. Matcha, Japan
Another edible souvenir item is matcha green tea powder, a powdered version of green tea. Matcha has many nutritional benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, may reduce cholesterol and may boost metabolism.
13. Cigar, The Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is home to renowned cigar brands like Ashton, Davidoff, Arturo Fuente, and Cohiba. The first cigar factory was started on the island in 1903, but the industry flourished after the 1959 Cuban revolution when prominent cigar makers fled Cuba for the DR.
Note: You’re allowed to bring a cigar into the US, however, please check online for TSA’s updated information.
14. Chinese calligraphy, China
Chinese calligraphy can be traced to the Han Dynasty in China. The ink, paper, brush, and inkstone used by calligraphers are still in use today. You can get your name in Chinese calligraphy, a calligraphy fan, or get the calligrapher’s tools (ink, paper, brush, and inkstone).
15. Chocolate, Belgium
If you like chocolate pralines and truffles, you’ll love chocolates from Belgium. Belgian chocolate praline is renowned – soft on the inside and hard on the outside and was invented by Jean Neuhaus Jr, the grandson of Swiss immigrant Jean Neuhaus.
Jean Neuhaus opened his pharmacy store at Royal Saint-Hubert in Central Brussels and started offering chocolate-covered medicine to make the medicine taste better. And in 1912, his grandson, Jean Neuhaus Jr, took his grandfather’s idea and invented the original praline – the first filled chocolate in the world. His wife designed the chocolate gift boxes in 1915 -making Neuhaus chocolates the most delightful gifts to bring back from Belgium.