Why shop for sustainable souvenirs while traveling?
The sensible response to why one should shop for sustainable souvenirs while on vacation also happens to be a question; why not? Shopping sustainably means shopping locally. When tourists shop locally, the money goes directly into the pockets of those that need it most.
When communities enjoy the presence of tourism, a wonderful harmony begins to play. The melody of this beautiful music is generated by the movement of that cash within the community. The jobs and opportunities it supports. And the song itself reflects the Sympatico of sustainable tourism, supporting local artisans, educators, and cultural traditions.
Shopping for sustainable souvenirs while vacationing also means getting creative, especially when purchasing souvenirs for yourself. I encourage you to lean into that imagination, however. Just remember to be mindful of customs laws, of course.
Tips for selecting sustainable souvenirs as gifts
Where we spend our money as tourists matters. That is to say that how we support tourism around the globe also matters. Dozens upon dozens of regions on this earth depend on tourism; some of them upwards of 80%. That’s a big deal to the communities that either suffer or profit from the presence of tourism.
That truth only serves as further proof of the importance of how and where we spend our money as tourists. Here are some suggestions to consider before beginning to shop for sustainable souvenirs:
- Pay close attention to what is being purchased.
- Is it crafted with locally and/or sustainably sourced materials?
- Avoid purchasing items made from non-recyclable plastics or that include harmful chemicals.
In parts of the world often flooded by single-use plastics, sustainable souvenirs are made from repurposed materials. I’ve seen earrings made from corkscrews, old credit cards, or beer bottle caps in Thailand. Planter vases made from repurposed waste in Laos. And almost ordered a wooden end table incorporating old wine bottles in Costa Rica once.
Humankind can be mega resourceful in this regard and I for one, am here for it. These practical purchases support the artisan, yes, but also support the notion of repurposing. Nothing says sustainable like one of the three “R’s”: recycle, reduce, and repurpose.
Want more sustainable souvenir gift-giving ideas for your next destination? Then let’s continue.