Fancy hotels often make you pay for stuff since they think you can afford it. The upshot of that statement is that I’m currently at the Intercontinental Berchtesgaden with a 256 kbps connection; I’d have to pay for more. Since I don’t really have the bandwidth to upload the pictures I’d like to for the trip report, I thought I’d share some thoughts I’m playing around with in my head. I’ve been trying to answer this question for myself: Is it worth it to buy souvenirs?
I started pondering this as we wandered around Salzburg. There are tons of shops that sell souvenirs and take home things – not to mention the museums, street vendors, etc. At the Mozart museum, I was really tempted to buy a 10 Euro music box for M. But that got me to thinking – what is a souvenir worth?
If you think of a souvenir as a simple value proposition, it’s really a terrible one. The markup is crazy, but beyond that, most souvenirs don’t have much use. Take the “Christmas and Easter in Salzburg” store we walked by. Look at all those eggs! They are expensive but also essentially useless except for three weeks a year. Which, having typed that out, actually makes them more useful than most souvenirs.
As I was pondering all this, with M in tow, I started to think of souvenirs a little bit differently. I’ve said it many times on this blog, we take these international trips to experience and enjoy different cultures. Souvenirs, while generally empirically useless, serve as physical reminders of those trips.
Jess and I bought a ceramic spatula holder from Amalfi on our honeymoon – every time I see that thing I remember our trip. We’ve bought little else on our many trips since. My parents still have a music box I bought them from Vienna over 15 years ago. Maybe that has value for them?
So I guess ultimately the tough thing with souvenirs is determining their sentimental value and then correlating that to their actual monetary value, or at least what I’d be willing to pay. I’d like some way or some thing that I can use to show M this trip we took. Or I’d like to have something that reminds me of what SHE was like when we took this trip. As a parent, every moment is precious, and I don’t want to chance forgetting unique ones. Having some token to remember this trip by might be worth more than the money it’d cost to purchase it.
I’m not sure I’m expressing myself well and if I’m being honest I don’t even know if I’ve fully formed my opinions on the matter. Eventually we’ll be in Vienna and I’ll be surrounded by souvenir buying opportunities – so I’m trying to figure it out for myself before then.
I’d love to hear people’s thoughts and ideas. Are souvenirs a complete waste of money, or do you find value in them? Do you buy them, or do you find other ways to remember your trips (we scrapbooked two or three trips back in the day, now: zero time)? Sound off!
Update: bought this bad boy for 7 Euros today. I’ve got a fever…and the only prescription…is more cowbell!
Update 2: Totally forgot about our go to souvenir, wine! Three bottles bought and packed. Huzzah.