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Bringing home a memento to remember your trip is a very important part of your travel experience. Like photographs, they hold special memories and are little reminders of the places you’ve been. Unlike pulling the trigger on that handmade umbrella in Myanmar, getting your souvenirs home isn’t always the easiest of tasks. Below you’ll find our tips on how to bring home your souvenirs safe!
How to Pack and Safely Transport Souvenirs
Written By: Niki Landry
Table Of Contents
The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to find small and compact souvenirs. Jewelry, clothing and unbreakable items are best. I have a tradition of buying a book from each place I visit. It worked well for me because they are easy to place at the bottom of my bag or along with my laptop in my tote. Although it’s not always easy, I have to try and stay away from super thick or coffee table books.
A crate of wine from your honeymoon is a great way to remember your trip, but not so easy to take home. On larger items like this shipping can be an option. Obviously, the farther you are from home, the more difficult and expensive it will be to ship.
Be aware of any regulations on goods brought into your country, especially on plants or food products. Certain countries are more stringent than others, so if you anticipate bringing home questionable goods, do a little research beforehand. It’s never a fun surprise to learn that you have to leave your items at customs or pay a fine.
The easiest way to keep your new purchases safe and secure is to keep them in your carry-on. Whether you use a large tote or roller bag make sure the items are protected from getting smashed and broken. The bag kept at your feet is probably your safest bet, but it’s not always feasible for larger items.
Also, keep in mind that any liquids over 3 ounces will have to be checked. This means most alcohol, oils, large snow globes, jams, or sauces. Research the checked bag fees of your airline, and weigh if the souvenir is worth the price and hassle of checking your bag.
If you do end up needing to check your bag, make sure your goods are packed well and everything is secure. My home bar is stocked with alcohol from all over the world, and I have yet to have a broken bottle. I’m not sure if its luck or my great packing skills, but I’m feeling pretty confident in my ways.
Ensure that your item is surrounded by clothing or padding, enough so that if you shake your bag it doesn’t move. I start by surrounding it in a plastic bag. Although I’m not sure how helpful it would be in containing red wine, but it makes me feel better. Then I wrap the item in my travel towel, and completely pad it with clothing. Placing the item in the center of your bag is also a good move.
The tighter your suitcase is packed the better. I always leave a little wiggle room when packing for a trip, because I know I will need space for a souvenir or two. I would rather leave behind an extra pair of pants then leave behind that must-have item during my trip.
Where to Pack your Souvenirs
Longchamp Le Pliage Tote
At Travel Fashion Girl, we are big fans of Longchamp bags, from their totes to the Le Pliage backpack — and TFG readers love them, too! One reader said, “I take the Longchamp as my roll-up tote in my suitcase for my purchases when I travel.”
The Longchamp Le Pliage tote is a classic style that is both roomy and water-resistant. It’s offered in a range of colors, each trimmed with embossed leather for classic contrast. But as cute as it is, the Longchamp Le Pliage tote isn’t for every traveler, especially if you’re on a budget, considering its $145 price tag.
While we are definitely not fans of knockoffs, we always are happy to find alternatives to popular styles that won’t break the bank. One reader said, “ I pack a foldable zippered tote in my carry-on bag (similar to a Longchamp tote), stuff it with my dirty clothes and any full-size liquid items on the return and check it; I pack my new purchases in my carry-on bag.”
Find out why Longchamps are the best travel handbags here!
Wandf Travel Duffle Bag
Readers recommend using a packable duffle bag if you want an empty bag for goodies, dirty clothing, and so on because of its compact travel size. One reader shares, “I never expand my expandable carry on. That way I can expand it and check it on the way back. 2nd, I always pack a foldable duffle bag or tote. That can serve as my personal item in the way back.”
Another one adds, “I’ve packed an empty duffle that I’ll fill with souvenirs. That, or pack them in between your clothes in your carryon.”
These are the best duffle bag to bring along on your trip!
Samsonite Wheeled Underseat Carry On
Samsonite is on our list of the top luggage brands and this wheeled underseater makes this list, too. The zippered compartment allows you to separately pack damp or soiled items, while the removable 3-1-1 pouch and removable, hanging organizer pouch make it easy to organize all of your essentials.
One reader shares, “I’m going to Madrid with a Samsonite Underseater that will expand to a carryon for the return flight (which will give me room for my souvenirs!).”
We’ve rounded up a list of the best under seat luggage here!
Osprey Duffle Bag
Here at TFG, we really like Osprey bags and the Trillium Duffel is no exception. It’s a lightweight but heavy-duty and can lock, has multiple straps, and lots of carrying options. There’s also an end pocket where you can stash quick-access items.
One reader shares, “Duffel bag is the way to go! Also great to have an extra bag to throw shoes etc in if moving between hotels rather than perfectly repacking your suitcase!” While another one adds, “Pack a lightweight duffel and stash your clothes in it when returning and check the duffel. Keep the souvenirs in the carryon.”
Gonex Packable Travel Duffel Bag
One reader shares, “I use the Gonex 40L Packable Travel Duffle Bag as my carry on on the way home (and check my suitcase). I’ve even checked this before, but since it doesn’t have structured sides, you wouldn’t want to put just anything in it. It’s good quality material, packs flat, and is super easy to get back into the pocket, unlike other brands I’ve had in the past!
Here are the best duffle bag to bring along on your trip!
Fordicher Foldable Travel Duffel Bag
The Fordicher is a packable duffle bag Amazon carries and it comes in super cute patterns and is made out of durable material.
One TFG readers says, “I bought this bag and it folded pretty small and opens out to a big duffle.” Another reader shares, “I got this bag for souvenirs on the way back” and reports that it works really well.
Our readers love their Baggu reusable bags. One reader said “I always take a folded tote with me and it’s full on the way home with souvenirs.”
The bags take up no room and are multi-functional. Another reader adds,“I pack a small nylon tote folds up and takes up no space. On the way home if you need to you can put clothes in here and any fragile souvenirs in your actual suitcase.”
Save space and pack one of these reusable environmentally friendly packable totes!
A Suitcase inside a suitcase
The Delsey Turenne is an awesome choice when it comes to picking a great carry on. Not only is it cute, but it’s so easy to use. With its gliding wheels and built-in locking system, it’s a breeze to travel with. This lightweight bag has traveled around the world with readers.
One TFG reader said, “My mom usually does that for travel shopping trips. It works well enough, I think? What she does is fill the large suitcase with her clothes+non-breakable souvenirs for check-in, then hand-carries the rest of the souvenirs (esp. the fragile ones) in the smaller bag.”
Another one adds, “I am planning to travel with my carry on suitcase and backpack inside my large check-in case so I can SHOP. On the plane on the way out I will just have my large tote bag. As I shop, out will come the small case and the back pack and I’ll fill that big case with goodies.”
Our Compass Rose small packing cubes are described as being a “game-changer” by TFG readers. Whether they are veteran packing cube users or it’s their first time, readers find these packing cubes to be the right size.
One shares, “I had these cubes stuffed tight and had no problems with the zip. I was actually amazed how jam-packed they were, especially at the end of the holiday when I was tucking little souvenirs in anywhere to get them home. I would have them half full then zip them up half-way and push the clothing tight to add more.”
Other Tips from Our Readers
- “Unfortunately, when traveling so light, there’s not a lot of room for souvenirs so plan to mail those things back or buy itty-bitty souvenirs.”
- “Re-useable shopping bags are one item that I bring home quite often. I like thinking of my past holidays!”
- “Reusable shopping bags with local company logos or slogans- pack flat and are fun to use at home.”
- “During the year before a planned trip- if I get sent awesome bubble wrap/packing materials- I keep it for possible travel purchase needs and add it to suitcase to bring along…”
What are your tips when packing your souvenirs? Please share it below!
For more packing tips, please read:
- 10 Step Guide to Packing in One Bag for Any Trip
- Best Carryon Suitcases for Traveling Europe
- 10 Tips for Bargain Shopping Around the World
- Traveling With Jewelry: 10 DIY Packing Tips & Tricks
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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs. nikilandry.com nikilandrydesigns niki-landry-designs-llc