One of the joys of traveling is collecting meaningful souvenirs. Finding that perfect memento to help you remember the perfect vacation. Here at Azamara, we’re all about traveling #AzaLocal. We want to eat where the locals eat, walk where the locals walk, and shop where the locals shop!
How can you avoid tourist traps and seek out authentic goods when you’re abroad? Here are five tips to make your overseas shopping trips a success.
1. Master the art of market shopping.
Whether it’s called a market, bazaar, or souk, one thing is certain: it’s bound to be a great place to hunt for hidden treasures. Mastering the art of markets is key to shopping like a local.
Don’t be timid when you shop. Carry yourself with confidence, and don’t be afraid to haggle. In many countries, it’s expected! When possible, confirm the items you’re purchasing are locally produced. If you’re at a market in Greece, you certainly don’t want to see a “Made in China” sticker on your souvenir.
2. Do some research before you depart.
Before your trip, do a little research about the region. What items or food products are unique to the area? Does the destination specialize in a particular product? Educated shoppers make the best purchases.
Tuscany is known for producing quality leather. Dubai is so famous for selling gold, there’s a whole souk devoted to it. Turkey is renowned for their rugs, and Murano (near Venice) for blown glass.
For the person who has everything, you can’t go wrong with food or drink. In Italy, look for quality wine, olive oil, truffles, or limoncello. In Greece, look for saffron, honey, and ouzo.
3. Get expert recommendations.
What’s the best way to know where to shop? Get expert advice! Our knowledgeably curated Cruise Global, Shop Local recommendations help guests decide where to shop in a number of favorite ports. The suggested shops include apparel, jewelry, leather and handbags, perfumeries, art, décor, and specialty foods.
4. Learn the local language.
Mastering a few simple phrases in the local language will go a long way. It will make interacting with shop owners and artisans easier – at the very least they’ll appreciate the effort. Knowing a few key words will also help you come across less like a tourist and more like a seasoned traveler.
We recommend learning these five phrases:
- How much is this?
- Thank you
Pick up a phrasebook before you go, or even better, download an app like DuoLingo. Hearing the phrases out loud will help you master them, and it’s a great way to pass the time during a long flight.
5. Go off the beaten path.
Souvenir shops along popular streets or near major landmarks can often be overpriced and inauthentic. To find the best possible mementos of your trip, go off the beaten path a little.
Stroll down side streets or explore lesser-known neighborhoods during your time in port. Look for shops and boutiques where locals themselves are shopping. Not only is this a great way to shop #AzaLocal, but it’s a good way to immerse yourself in the destination and see a new, unexpected side to the city.
Do you have any tips on how to score a great souvenir when traveling? What’s the best purchase you’ve ever made when shopping overseas? Let us know in the comments!