One of my favorite things to do while traveling the world is to buy a few treasures that will remind me of the country I’m visiting and that I can pass down to my kids with my accompanying travel tales. I love to wander through the markets and I especially love trying out various negotiation tactics to get the price I want (or, more often than not, NOT get the price I want).
And after figuring out exactly what souvenir I want to buy and haggling on the price, I then have to figure out how to get it home. Shipping is usually really pricey and anything that can get broken inevitably will. And lugging it around in our suitcase isn’t exactly ideal.
And after all of that, I’ve realized that my children probably aren’t going to want my junk, and I could’ve saved myself a lot of time and money and just bought all of my travel treasures on Amazon.
So if you are like me and love to travel and to shop, you’ll love this list of treasures that I’ve collected over the course of my world travels. You can buy them for yourself on Amazon and avoid the hassle of getting them safely back home from some far-flung destination. You should still get out and see the world, you can just lighten your load by waiting to shop until you get home!
- The Best Travel Souvenir Ideas… that You can Buy Online
- Moroccan Leather Pouf Ottoman
- Turkish Mosaic Glass Lamp
- Wooden Buddha Statue from SE Asia
- Wayuu Bag from Colombia
- Suzani Pilow Cases from Uzbekistan
- Moroccan Wedding Blanket Cushion
- Middle Eastern Metal Lamp
- Vietnamese Silk Lantern
- Ceramic Peruvian Bulls
- Elephant Baby Mobile from India
- Moroccan Leather Bag
- Vietnamese Straw Clutch
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The Best Travel Souvenir Ideas… that You can Buy Online
Of all the 60-ish countries I’ve had the pleasure of visiting over the years, Morocco is actually one of my least favorite. It’s not for lack of trying, I’ve traveled to Morocco twice and did my best to explore much of the country. And I still don’t understand what all the hype is about.
Wait, I take that back. I do understand that people absolutely love shopping in Morocco. And for good reason! You’ll find amazingly soft and supple leather goods, colorful textiles, and gorgeous lamps, all for a third of what you’d pay in the US. If you do visit Morocco, you’ll definitely want to pack an extra suitcase.
I did my fair share of shopping in Morocco but my favorite purchase (and what you’ll see in shops all over the country) was my Moroccan leather pouf ottoman. Well, technically my 4 leather pouf ottomans. Plus the 10 that I bought for friends and family back home. So imagine my dismay when I realized that you can find the exact same cushion on Amazon, without even leaving your couch!
Turkey was one of those countries that I would visit again and again. The people are incredibly friendly, the landscape is totally unique, and the shopping is absolutely incredible! If I had a dollar for every time I wandered through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul – well, I’d have more money for Turkish treasures.
When you think about shopping in Turkey, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a Turkish rug. Regrettably, we did not buy a rug. Not because we didn’t want to, but because they don’t easily fit into a suitcase to get home. Plus they were way more expensive than we were expecting (every rug we looked at was over $500 USD).
So instead of rugs, we stocked up on another classic Turkish treasure – Turkish mosaic glass lamps! These beauties are in every single Turkish market around the country. They are made of surprisingly durable vibrantly colored glass and create the prettiest pattern on the wall when you turn them on.
We purchased 2 bedside lamps for ourselves (plus a few others as gifts) and a massive chandelier to hang from the ceiling of our someday house. By the time we purchased the lamps and paid for the extra baggage charge to get them home, we could have just bought these on Amazon for about the same price and way less hassle.
If you have ever traveled to SE Asia, you know that Buddha statues are incredibly common souvenir items. And you can find really beautiful intricately carved wooden statues in markets all over the region but especially in Thailand and Indonesia.
But not only can these be actually quite expensive and difficult to get home. We’ve broken a few both from shipping a box home and attempting to pack the statues in our suitcases. Plus it’s technically illegal to export anything containing the Buddha’s image from Thailand although we’ve never been checked when leaving the country.
I’ve spent a lot of time shopping for various Buddha and Ganesha statues during my time in SE Asia and then trying to get them home in one piece. And honestly, everyone just thinks I got them at TJ Maxx anyway.
We spent 6 months traveling around South America and surprisingly I didn’t buy a lot of treasures. Most of the time when I visit a new country there is one (or more) specific souvenir that stands out. And I know that when I see it in the future, I will think of that country and all the times I saw it in the traditional markets.
But I didn’t find anything that really stood out as being a must-have souvenir from Argentina or Chile or Peru or Bolivia. That is, of course, until I got to Colombia. The Colombian souvenir of choice is the incredibly colorful (and a bit over-the-top) Wayuu bag. These cotton bags are loud and colorful with big poms hanging off of the sides and the front. To say “you can’t miss them” would be an understatement.
I bought myself only 1 Wayuu bag in Colombia but have purchased several more since I found them on Amazon!
When you think of souvenirs from Uzbekistan you probably think of… you have no idea what goods you might buy in Uzbekistan do you? Either did I before I visited but it turns out that the shopping is actually quite spectacular! They have beautiful embroidered blankets called “suzanis” that you’ll find for sale in markets all over the country.
I bought a suzani blanket in Uzbekistan and hauled it around with me before finally shipping it back to the states. As it turns out, blankets are bulky and heavy – not great to be carrying around in your backpack while traveling.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find a quality suzani blanket on Amazon, but they do have some really brightly colored embroidered pillowcases for sale that are exactly like what you’d find if you were traveling around Uzbekistan! And if this pillowcase is too colorful for your taste, you may appreciate these lovely earth-toned options.
One of the travel souvenirs that I considered buying, but never actually did, was a Moroccan wedding blanket. This gorgeous blanket is woven from sheep’s wool, cotton, and linen by Berber women and is given as a gift to Moroccan women on their wedding day.
The blankets vary in design but are generally white or cream-colored and contain a pattern that is created by shag and sequins. I didn’t see Moroccan wedding blankets in the countless markets around the country, they seem to be a bit more special and you must seek them out. And they are quite expensive – $80 USD was the lowest price that we found for a large blanket.
This is one item that I really regret not buying during my 2 trips to Morocco. And sadly the selection of Moroccan wedding blanket-inspired goods on Amazon is quite limited. This cute shag cushion will 100% be one of the first purchases I make when I finally own a house!
We bought our Middle Eastern Metal Lamp in Egypt – but you’ll see similar lamps in the markets around Morocco and Turkey as well. It is nearly impossible to see these beauties all lit up in the markets and not have the urge to pick one up for yourself.
The lamps are either gold or silver and have intricate little designs that cast interesting shadows on the walls at night. And they come in all shapes and sizes – from massive hanging chandeliers to small bedside tables. But no matter how well you pack these treasures, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get them home without a ding or two.
Ours survived the journey but we had to bubble tape the shit out of it and bring it as our carry-on on the plane home. Obviously buying it on Amazon is an easier, more cost-effective choice.
So this one might be a bit of a stretch for this list. Not because my 6 Vietnamese silk lanterns aren’t some of my favorite travel treasures, but because they really should cost about $3 USD each. If you buy them in the cute little town of Hoi An you can get 5 of them for the cost of just 1 if you buy it on Amazon.
If you don’t mind dropping some change, Vietnamese silk lanterns come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and look pretty amazing when hung from a tree in your backyard. Add some string lights and it’ll create the perfect ambiance for a warm evening, sipping wine on your patio.
It’s relatively common to see 2 small bulls made of clay placed side-by-side on the roofs of houses in Peru, especially in the countryside. These are “Pucara bulls” and Andean people believe that they bring happiness, protection, and prosperity to their home.
These Pucara bulls are also a popular souvenir item to bring home to remind you of your time in Peru. You can purchase the simple orange clay versions that are found on the rooftops, or you can buy something more colorful (but less traditional).
When Nick’s sister Courtney came to visit us in Peru she purchased 2 large Pucara bulls to take home with her. But unfortunately, they weren’t wrapped as well as they should have been. In her rush to make her early morning flight home, she dropped one on the floor and broke it before even departing the country.
Avoid doing what Courtney did and just buy some of these cute, colorful Pucara bulls on Amazon!
India is one of the best places to shop for souvenirs in the entire world! Their textiles are so vibrant and beautiful, it’s impossible not to pick up at least a few things to take home both for yourself and as gifts.
During our trip to India, I purchase a few cute elephant baby mobiles for my expecting friends back home. They are a perfect souvenir to buy because they pack up super small and they’ll add a fun, whimsical touch to any baby room.
You can travel across the globe to India to pick up a few elephant baby mobiles, or you can just buy one on Amazon for cheap!
It actually hurts my heart a bit to see this beautiful Moroccan leather bag on Amazon since I searched high and low for almost the exact same thing during my trip to Fes, Morocco.
It’s pretty incredible to actually visit the Chouara Tannery in Fes – it’s the oldest tannery in the world. But it’s also pretty convenient that you can avoid the hassle of Morocco and the stench of the tannery and just buy this cute Moroccan leather bag on Amazon.
And if you’re looking for something larger, this overnight duffel is a great deal on Amazon and looks exactly like something you’d buy in Morocco!
One of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Vietnam at the moment is a straw bag. They range in size from a small clutch to a large beach tote but you’ll see them in markets all over the country. And the trendiest of those is this Vietnamese straw clutch that you’ve probably seen all over Instagram. It’s totally impractical but oh so cute.
If you travel to Vietnam and pick up this clutch as a souvenir, it’ll be a pain in the ass to get home. It’s really fragile and won’t pack down at all to fit in your suitcase. Save yourself the hassle and pick one up on Amazon instead!
We hope you enjoy shopping for travel treasures as much as we do!
Need some travel inspiration? Check out our favorite travel coffee table books!