Souvenir shopping is one of the true joys of travelling for Muslims, other than the obvious exploration and adventures. It’s part of the fun of discovering a new place and bringing a piece of it home with you.
It’s hard to find the right souvenir that encapsulates all the memories and experiences you’ve had in the country or city, so here are some light virtual nudges to assist you in your dilemma – the Muslim souvenir shopping guide.
Support local crafts
In my personal experience, the best kinds of souvenirs are the ones made by the locals you see on the streets or in local boutiques – they are one-of-a-kind and exclusive to the country you’re visiting.
On top of that, you’re showing support to small local businesses that depend on their sales for a living – instead of giving your money to a big company that’s already making millions.
Be an ethical shopper
No Muslim souvenir shopping guide is complete without a discussion about ethics. Various multi-million fast-fashion companies preach ethical products, but the truth they aren’t entirely true. Souvenirs are made the same way, with tons of wastage.
Ask about the origins of what you are buying, buy locally and directly from the supplier if possible.
Artisans are proud of their wares and often imagine their products finding a good home. Because of the amount of work they put into crafting exclusive, high-quality products, the prices are often more expensive than your typical souvenir shop.
While it often feels like quantity surpasses quality for mostly everything else, that’s truly not the case ever. Hold off on getting mass-produced souvenirs and snag that unique, handmade one.
You can never go wrong with bites
What’s a Muslim souvenir shopping guide without food?! Everyone loves food, there’s no denying that. When you’re not sure what to buy for your loved ones as a souvenir, get them local delicacies instead.
It’s not only the safest option, but it also gives them a taste (no pun intended) of the country you’ve explored.
Souvenirs to avoid
There are some obvious no-no’s when shopping for souvenirs. For example, avoid animal products. More buying encourages poachers and endangers rare species.
Another thing: do not take things off of monuments, ancient ruins or places with deep cultural or religious significance. Avoid sellers who claim their products have historic importance too — they might’ve stolen them or obtained them illegally.
Savvy travellers should also avoid mass-produced and ordinary souvenirs. It might be extremely difficult at first, since it’s the easiest gift to buy without forking out too much money.
It never crossed my mind that I’d be travelling overseas for the first time in my life in 2023. Guess where I flew to? Hong Kong, everyone! To quote Hilary Duff, ‘This is what dreams are made of.’ Well, dreams sure are made of unexpected things and butterflies in the stomach. So, buckle up as […]