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Things I Do Not Buy As A Frequent Traveler

There is nothing I dislike more than buying wasteful things, especially when traveling. I was never much of a souvenir shopper, but occasionally I’d grab something that really caught my eye. Being selective with your spending can cut down on vacation costs and declutter your life.

Listen– souvenirs are the furthest thing from connecting with international culture. From keychains to cheeky mugs, here are the things I never buy when I am traveling.


They’re fragile and they break, they are a rip-off, and frankly they are a little tacky. Souvenirs are the number one tourist trap that are just a big waste of money and usually just end up in the trash. Instead of spending on keepsakes that you won't look twice at when you’re home, put your money to an experience you will never forget.

Gifts For Your Family & Friends

Sorry bestie– I just don’t have the luggage space for that. If you see something that you know your friends or family will love, buy it. If you’re just getting presents for a token, pass on it. Similar to souvenirs, your loved ones might just end up tossing them! Send them a photo and let them know you’re thinking of them– it’ll probably last longer anyway.


Yes, duty-free shopping can definitely be cheaper for some international products & goods, but think about if you have the space or weight-allowance to carry these items. If you have to pay extra for overweight luggage, are you really saving on that bottle of alcohol?

The other tricky part about duty-free is that the items that typically have higher tax rates that you’d now be saving on, are usually the higher priced items. If you have to spend big to get big savings, are you really traveling savvy?

Fine Jewelry

I grew up in a family of jewelers and the one common trend we see with vacation jewelry purchases is that they are overpriced. People often come in to have their new jewelry appraised and are shocked by how much lower the value of their jewelry is compared to what they spent. Purchasing jewelry while traveling also puts a target on your back for criminals. If you really find something you truly love, don’t stop yourself, but think twice before you swipe your credit card.

Clothes & Shoes

Let's be honest, if you’re feeling the good vibes on vacation and you suddenly have the urge to buy a whole new wardrobe, you’re likely impulse buying. Unless it is something you can’t find back home, don’t buy it- it only adds weight to your suitcase. Avoid buying the traditional clothing of the country you’re in and please put down that sombrero, we all know you will never wear it again.

Don't Use The Currency Exchange

Okay, this one isn’t really a purchase, but it’s a great thing to avoid when traveling, especially the airport currency exchanges. If you must have the local currency, plan ahead and find lower exchange rates. If you’re at a currency exchange, look for added commission fees; some places will charge extreme amounts and offer really crappy rates. Using an ATM usually has lower fees and some credit & debit cards don’t even have a foreign transaction fee.

Hotel Food

You will never catch me wasting time with room service when I am traveling abroad… unless there’s complimentary breakfast 🤓. There are so many amazing places to try when you are traveling and the hotel food is likely not the authentic cuisine you could stumble upon on your travels. Branch out and find something local, you won’t regret it.

Laying low on the excessive travel spending helps you spend money on the more meaningful things a foreign location has to offer, like food or experiences. Skipping the souvenirs can even help you save money. So before you buy, ask yourself– do I really need it?

For tips on planning a trip on a budget, read our article that shares the ins and outs of savvy traveling.


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