As you may have noticed, employees of the International Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are paid to inspect the contents of your suitcases every time you travel. They see everything one suitcase at a time through the power of x-ray vision on a tiny computer screen. These employees could probably tell us which travelers typically buy which kinds of souvenirs.
Take a look at the following popular souvenir trends. Do they say anything about you, or are you an exception from the stereotype? And if you notice that you follow more than one of these trends, good luck finding enough room in your suitcase to bring everything home!
These fancy pieces from your latest vacation might peg you as being over the age of 50. Of course, there are those people who buy them just for the novelty of having miniature things. These cute little souvenirs are easy to collect, assuming you still have enough space to display them in your china cabinet.
Candy Bars and Unusual Snack Foods
Often a favorite souvenir for the hungry adventurer and food connoisseur, food can be one of the most rewarding (and fattening) souvenirs because you get to eat what you buy. But beware that not everyone will want to share your favorite foreign treat, so you may be eating solo. Oh, and chocolate doesn’t always travel well.
Clothes, Scarves, Knock-offs, and Jewelry
If you find yourself arriving home from foreign places with a few new trendy pieces for your wardrobe, you just might be a fashionista. Fashionistas are usually stylish travelers who pick up the newest (or most popular) trends around the world from expensive Italian boutiques or from the much more affordable Taiwanese street vendors. You can usually pick them out in line at the airport—just look for the Prada knock-off handbags.
Pamphlets, Tickets, and Paper Paraphernalia
You might find yourself collecting every ticket and pamphlet you can get your hands on and pasting them into a journal or notebook for safekeeping. These souvenirs regularly appear next to recently purchased old books or playbills, which likely tag you as a literature fan or a scrapbooker. Even if you aren’t going to paste them in a crafty binder, these pieces of assorted paper are an easy way to remember where you went or what you saw without taking pictures.
Every once in a while (or every time you travel) you find at least one pricey item that absolutely must be added to your bookshelf. It may be a two-foot-tall dragon statue, a miniature replica of the monument you visited, or a vintage bookend. Guaranteed, it comes with a story that will be told over and over again every time someone asks where you found it. These souvenirs are usually purchased by the rich and famous—or the stingy but willing.
If you have a few of those little fabric patches with different flags on them, or a few clever buttons with witty phrases, and all of them are attached to a giant backpack, you might be a hipster. There really isn’t a better way to say you’ve been somewhere—without actually saying it—than sewing or sticking one of these little pre-made decorations where people will see it. Everyone will know you traveled there before it was cool.
T-shirts, Sweatshirts, and Mugs
These somewhat useful souvenirs scream, “I went somewhere cool, and I want everyone to know it!” They are commonly found in suitcases owned by poor university students who can’t think of (or can’t afford) anything more useful to bring home. Not a bad buy, though, especially because you were probably able to easily find these items at many tourist stops for very low prices.