Which Tacky Souvenirs Found Their Way Into Your Bag?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


We’re all guilty, don’t feel too bad. It could have been the gold, waving cat from Hong Kong that you bought for Aunt Mabel, the “I Love Hawaii” picture frame from the resort gift shop, or even a certain wooden toilet seat, complete with Spanish flag and a certain male appendage. We’ve all bought them at one point or another, whether we want to admit it, or not.

I’m typically a backpacker when traveling, so my baggage needs to stay small and light: I go for patches. As anti-trinket as I am, I’ve seen parts of cities I never would have if it weren’t through a search for these little guys — that’s my excuse, anyways. Beijing, I will always remember for this: who knew it would be so tricky to find a Chinese flag patch in China?

Recently, Wanderlust shared a top ten tackiest souvenirs people keep buying on their travels. Number one is a gravy boat with a picture of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux. I enjoy their suggestion based on the number of smoking related items on the list, “Perhaps some enterprising company could sell a smoker’s gift set containing the donkey cigarette dispenser, the Chairman Mao lighter and the Virgin Mary ashtray?”

Here’s the million dollar question… “What awful souvenir has made itself into your baggage?” (and be honest!) Mine, cringe, is a Betty Boop statue for my grandma. For grandma, I swear.

  • Fred

    I am guilty of having bought a mini Swiss Cowbell, Texas Bull Sh.., a flask each of Hawaiian Sand, Mount St. Helens Ash and Rocky Mountain Air (!), etc., etc., etc.__

  • I bought a refrigerator magnet from Estonia. I have no idea what I was thinking. I'm blaming it on the lack of sleep and the 22-hour long days.

    Let's see, I always hang on to brochures, receipts, and loose change from my travels too. Not sure if any of those fall into the category of being tacky, but at least impractical.

    • #1= tacky, but I love it. As for the loose change, I have a ziplock of random coins from different countries on a shelf somewhere. Always a cool walk down memory lane when you pull it out and go through it.

  • hmmm, I think that souvenirs get less tacky with experience…but as a child, I bought not one, but TWO coconuts that had been carved into crouched monkeys, smoking pipes. They doubled as piggy banks. Maybe I had high hopes of filling them with all of my babysitting money…

    It is really hard to find a Chinese flag patch in Beijing. Luxembourg flags are readily available though.

    • Alex, I'm pretty sure I had that same bank from some family vacation to the bahamas during my childhood. crazy. I'll keep Luxembourg in mind, thanks…

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