Looking for unique souvenirs while you travel? Especially ones that don’t cost a fortune. There are amazing items everywhere to be found from new to antique. The tea set pictured was purchased at a dollar store in Hong Kong. The cost was equivalent to one US dollar, how can one resist.
Places to Explore
There are street fairs, street markets, flea markets, farmers’ markets, dollar stores, used stores, antique stores, and other amazing shops in every country.
In Paris, we came across a store called Kilo Shop. They have clothes that you pay for by the kilo (approximately half a kilo is one pound in the US). How fun is that and they had a great selection.
In Krakow, Poland we came across a flea market being held in the Jewish district. The Saturday flea market is held in Plac Nowy and the Sunday flea market takes place in the Hala Targowa (Market Hall) on ul Grzegórzecka. Krakow is known for having the best antiques and second-hand “jumble” and one of a kind souvenirs. The market was a zoo full of people looking for bargains. Something that stood out to us was all the mink coats. Not that we would buy one, but it was interesting.
New York City
New York City is famous for its street markets. They are held in every borough of New York City – Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx, and Staton Island. To learn more about street fairs in New York take a look at this website that lists many events. (Although, this year, 2020, there may be no markets, so check first.) One we have been to, in the past, is held every Friday in the Hell’s Kitchen area, at West 39th and 9th Avenue in Manhattan. It is full of antiques and hand-crafted pieces.
At Christmas, there is a fabulous set-up at Bryant Park that is worth a stroll. Bryant Park is an easy walk from Times Square and would be a shame to miss any time of the year. Be sure to look for Christmas markets around the world. Excellent places to find unique items and create memories.
You may also want to Google what a country is famous for. Italy is known for its Olive Wood Cutting Boards. We found them in many tourist areas and had to buy one. They come in many shapes and sizes. In Prague, the Czech Republic, we bought a marionette. A fun reminder of when we were there.
Local Food and Drinks
Street fairs are also a great place to find local foods and specialty drinks, like hot cider in the winter.
In some foreign counties, especially ones that English is not widely spoken, you may want to hire a local to help interpret to get the best prices (if you plan on buying a lot). If you don’t have an interpreter keep a pen and paper handy. Almost everyone understands numbers, just remember you are writing a price down in “their” currency. (Important to keep in mind.)
You may also want to check with stores to see if they offer to ship. This is a great way to go if you are buying something large like hand made rugs. When we were at the Silk Market in Beijing, China many in our group went crazy buying rugs – big and bulky. I have no idea how they got them home!
Another idea we have seen people do, is they buy a used or a new piece of luggage to take their treasures home with them. Tip: be sure to check with your airline to know how much that will cost.
Next time you travel keep in mind to check on local events like street fairs and weekly markets. Finding inexpensive souvenirs is a good thing for any budget. Many of these markets also have local craftsmen making everything from hand-blown glass to unique jewelry.
The lighter you learn to pack the more you can bring home with you at no additional cost – smile. Have a great time treasure hunting.