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Shopping on the Road – What and What Not to Buy

Shopping can be a real dilemma for people traveling on long trips. It’s fun to buy stuff, but it’s easy to forget that whatever you pick up, you’ll have to cart around for a while.

To make sure your purchases on the road don’t become a burden, here are four of our best tips for RTW travelers.

1. Purchase things that will contribute to your trip in some way

While that antique Nepalese lock might seem like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it will be extremely difficult to put to good use on the remainder of your trip, unless of course you need a paper-weight. Instead, spring for a handmade hat or scarf that’ll keep you warm on long hikes.

 2. Buy things that don’t weigh much

Pick up clothing, pocket-sized souvenirs or travel gear. Lightweight souvenirs take up less space in your bags.

Food is a delicious reminder of the different places you stop at on your around-the-world trip. Just remember that perishable items (fruit, meat products, etc) aren’t usually allowed through international customs. Stick with packaged and sealed goodies like chocolate and sweets instead.

3. Ship fragile items or paper products

Fragile stuff like ceramics, porcelain, and paper will likely be damaged along the way on a long-haul multi-stop trip, no matter how hard you try to keep them safe and dry. If you simply must have that delicate Chinese tea set, have it shipped back to your home address.

4. Buy local

While the knick knacks sold in tourist shops are inexpensive, many times they aren’t made in the city or even country you’re visiting. Buy small handmade items from locals for the most meaningful souvenirs – you may even be able to get a photo of the person who made it to go along with that hand-woven scarf.

Want to save money at open markets? Perfect your bartering skills.

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