Should souvenirs be authentic and locally sourced?

Courtesy Jeff Belmonte/Flickr

Many travelers prize an authentic, locally sourced souvenir.

I define "souvenir" as something you buy during a trip as a memento. It doesn't have to be sold at a tourist gift shop.

Is it important to you that your souvenir be made locally? If so, why? Is it because you want to support local businesses? Or to accurately capture what the local vibe is like?

Souvenirs have become political in our nation's capital—surprise, surprise. Congressmen have pressured the National Museum of American History to stock only "made in the U.S.A." products. Soon, the shelves of one of the museum's gift shops will only sell American goods, reports the Washington Post.

But there's a wider relevance here to the question of where souvenirs come from.

If you're traveling a great distance on your precious vacation time—here or abroad—would you want to buy a memento that is different from what you can get at your hometown shopping mall?

If you're visiting Moscow, would you want Matryoshkas made locally—and not in China?

When vacationing in Venice, would you want glassware made at the local factories of Murano, instead of in China?

Ditto for rug shopping in Istanbul.

Shopping local is a way to help the businesses that give a place the qualities worth visiting.

Please speak up in the comments. Do you look for authentic, locally sourced goods when shopping on a vacation?


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