Things To Not Buy While Traveling

When you’re in a new place, it’s easy to spend money. You’ve saved for & planned a holiday, so it is easy to keep the “Treat yourself” attitude alive when it comes to buying things. Whether you’re on a relaxing holiday or exploring new cities, you will come across items that seem exotic & the novelty of not being able to get them at home will persuade you even more. More often than not, these items are not worth the money & your hard-earned money would be better spent on something else. Here’s a list of things I’d suggest skipping on your next trip. I will say that there are, of course, some people who will genuinely buy these things & get great use out of them, but these people are few & far between.

Traditional clothing

Buying clothes & shoes while on a trip is generally a bad idea because you’ll struggle with packing & baggage weight on your way back home. Traditional clothes of the country or city you are visiting is an even worse purchase because they often have a hefty price tag & you will never use them. Most people don’t even wear their own traditional clothes because they’re impractical so they will be even more so for you. It is very easy to get carried away in the moment but think about this clearly before purchasing.

A tattoo

Just as getting inked after a few drinks is not the best idea, getting a tattoo while on a “holiday high” is probably something you would want to avoid. The design might seem like a wonderful idea at the time, but not be appropriate when you get home. You also don’t know the quality, price & cleanliness of the random parlor you walk into.

Tacky souvenirs

A souvenir is meant to be a memento of a place you visited or a trip you’ve taken. Tacky souvenirs don’t last long &, therefore, waste your money. You’ll also want something nice looking to have on display in your house, right?

Bulky souvenirs

On the topic of souvenirs, buying heavy, fragile or bulky souvenirs is not a good idea. You will struggle packing these items into your luggage & they have a higher chance of breaking on their way home. I have made this mistake a few too many times.

Hotel food

Whether it is from the restaurants in hotels or room service, hotel food is expensive. More often than not, the quality is not good either. Save yourself some money & go looking for local restaurants. Better yet, be a little adventurous & try some street food

Neck pillow

Okay, so this is not an exotic item. If you’ve followed this blog for some time, you’ll know I hate these things. Neck pillows get forgotten, dropped on the floor, collect all kinds of germs & shoved into overhead compartments on aircraft. Very rarely are they actually used. You might truly believe you will use it, but I highly doubt it.

Things for other people

This is last on the list because this is something I struggle with the most. It’s perfectly fine to buy gifts for your loved ones, but when people find out you’re going to a specific place, they ask you to get things for them. Your colleagues hear you’re headed to Switzerland? They ask for chocolate. That lady in your yoga class asks for skincare products when you return from South Korea. This happens often. I don’t think people realize the cost involved as well as the time it takes to find these items & then the hassle of getting them back home. It’s nice to be nice & do things for other people, but remember that this is your trip & your time.

I hope these have helped & will save you some money in the future.

Oh… and you might be wondering about the featured image for this post; horse poo I saw for sale in New Zealand – yea, don’t buy that while traveling.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels


46 thoughts on “Things To Not Buy While Traveling

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  1. I love tattoos but definitely not something I get while traveling. I wait until home and have an artist and he lives in Ecuador now so I have a reason to travel and get more from him:)

    We have a travel wall in our home and print pics from our travels for the wall and I love it. We also do a Christmas tree ornament, magnet or coffee cup wherever we go.

    I love just having one memory to bring home:) Sometimes it’s just pics on my phone I print .

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Christmas ornaments are great souvenir ideas. My rationale is, if I can tie a ribbon on it, I can tie it to a tree. And every year in December it’s a little trip down memory lane as you recite the list of where these little memories came from.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I don’t know if these count as tacky souvenirs, but I always get a postcard and magnet wherever I travel to. Inexpensive, but hold plenty of sentimental value as the years go on. I’ve thought about getting a tattoo on a trip, but after reading your post, I’m glad I’ve chosen not to, as cleanliness can be a hit-or-miss. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 7 people

  3. I love tacky souvenirs, tacky souvenir shopping is like a tradition for me. However, they must also be inexpensive. And….I use my neck pillow…on overseas flights. I also think I got them at Ross years ago and they weren’t expensive 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Excellent points, Dan. Many times I bought things I regretted while traveling. The point of buying what someone requested was a mistake I made, in the past, and would not do it again. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My problem is buying books! Just cannot resist and then I always end up with a heavy bag… When I studied in the Netherlands for 6 months, I ended up with so many books, I had to ship them home! 🙂 All arrived safe and sound…

    Liked by 5 people

  6. All good points, but I have to say that people just ask me for magnets/pens/lighters and my brother for football team T-Shirts, so it is never more than 10 euro and I am happy to make the others happy if I can, as all my friends/family back in Italy do not travel as much as I do, while I never buy expensive stuff for myself while abroad, since I prefer spending money on experiences.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. This reminded me of a trip with girlfriends to South Carolina in August one year. It was over 100 degrees all week so we went shopping. I bought a heavy winter coat. We still laugh about it. But I did wear it in winter for years in New York.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The picture is a great bait! Love it!
    I always buy a magnet, that’s just one little thing that I put on my fridge. I enjoy looking at my collection and think about the places I’ve been to 😊 I agree about the rest especially the tacky souvenirs that do nothing but collect dust!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In Montana one time we saw a shop where somebody had gotten a little more creative with the horse poo. They were selling turd birds. They had made little bird statues with horse poo bodies. The poo was varnished or something so people wouldn’t be touching straight poo, but still not something I’d buy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Probably more than straight bags of poo. Granted people might use it for fertilizer, but at $5 a bag that would be pretty pricey fertilizer. When I had horses I gave it away free to anybody who wanted to come dig it out of the manure pile.


  10. I have a neck pillow that is inflatable, and deflates into a small stuff bag that easily tucks into a corner of my carryon. On a long flight, a neck pillow helps with sleep, and keeps your head away from whatever was last on those airline headrests.

    I used to travel to Japan often, and wanted to bring back gifts from my family. After a trip or two I discovered that the local Asian grocery store offered the same almond cookies, and the local Japantown offered the same origami kits, kimono sashes, and lacquerware trays. I uust told people I had seen them in Japan and thought of them, not mentioning that I had actually purchased them 10 miles from my house. (OK, this won’t work for folks in the middle of the country where Asian groceries are few, and Japantowns even fewer).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. All sensible info, Dan. Happy to say I’ve practiced most long term and particularly since TSA made travel more challenging. Actually, instead of “souvenirs” on the last several trips, the money was used for a memorable “experience” like sailing along the coast of Cinque Terre in Italy. Makes it super easy — no packing or extra baggage necessary. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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