10 Most Original Souvenirs To Take Home From a Journey

Souvenir shops

One thing all travelers are currently asking is – is it the right time to travel again? The answer to this question depends on your location and desired destination. Some parts of the world have been affected by the pandemic more severely than others. So, it would be best to wait a bit longer to be safe. After all, we waited this long. What are a couple of months more? However, just because we cannot travel right now, that does not mean that you cannot start planning for your upcoming trip. You can use this time to dig deep and research all the mesmerizing places virtually before visiting. And, while you are researching, it won’t hurt to get some ideas regarding souvenirs. This article is here to help you with that. Here are 10 original souvenirs to take home from a journey. 

1. Argentina – Leather Items 

Argentina is famous for many things, and leather is one of them. So, next time you find yourself in this amazing country, be sure to pick up some leather items. Those can be shoes, belts, bags, wallets, or even watch straps. And, do not worry, you will not get scammed – the leather pieces from Argentina are of excellent quality, so do not hesitate to pay a bit extra.

2. China – Teapots

If you decide to travel to China, one of the most original souvenirs you can come home with is a Chinese teapot. These can be found pretty much anywhere in China. Their prices vary depending on their quality, of course. If you have some extra spending money in your budget, we recommend getting teapots made from Chinese porcelain. And, if you want a complete collection to give you the ultimate tea-drinking experience, you can also get teacups in matching painted sets. And don’t forget to buy some Chinese green or black tea. All of these make for excellent birthday gifts for travelers, too, so keep that in mind if you want to buy a gift for someone special. 

A teapot and cup.
There is nothing more original than a Chinese tea set.

3. England – Cadbury’s Chocolate

Even though Belgium is the world’s chocolate capital, many people argue that England can participate in the competition. But it is not just any chocolate – it is the famous Cadbury’s chocolate. This will also be a perfect gift to an American as this chocolate can no longer be found in the USA. 

4. Belgium – Lace

Speaking of Belgium, this country has a lot more to offer than just chocolate. For instance, Belgium is known for its authentic, hand-made lace and tapestry. Some of the most intricate laceworks can be found in the cities of Brussels and Bruges. You can take this lace home and make curtains, table spreads, or some of the most beautiful pieces of clothing out of it. But, let us warn you – Belgium’s lace comes with a hefty price tag! 

5. France – Macaroons 

It is no secret that France is famous for its pastries and desserts. Some of those famous pastries include Croissants, Éclairs, Crepes, Crème Brûlée, etc. However, one dessert found its way to all of our hearts. The one and only – Macaroons. These delectable pieces of heaven come in many colors and flavors. You can buy them almost anywhere throughout France. And even though they look delicate, they will survive the ride home.

A selection of macaroons.
Your friends will love you if you bring them macaroons from your trip to France.

6. Ireland -Whisky

Besides food, alcohol and other popular drinks are some of the original souvenirs to take home from a journey. So, in Ireland, do not even think about going home without trying their signature whiskies. Every bar offers a variety of them. Try a couple and then buy a bottle of your favorite as your souvenir from Ireland.

7. Germany – Beer Stein

Most tourists travel to Germany during Oktoberfest. This festival is an excellent opportunity to dance, eat, drink, and simply have fun. Unfortunately, Oktoberfest was not held last year due to the pandemic. Nobody knows what will happen this year, but do not let that stop you from visiting Germany. It is a common travel myth that all the attractions are closed now. They are not! You can still try Germany’s famous beers and buy a beer stein as your souvenir.  

8. Italy – Venetian Masks

If you are looking for souvenirs you can buy that will not only stay on your fridge or your key chains, consider looking for pieces that serve a purpose. So, for example, when in Italy, consider investing in a Venetian Mask. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And, they can be used as art pieces for your home, not only as souvenirs. You can use them to add a personal touch to your office or your living room. 

A Venetian mask.
A Venetian mask can also be a great gift for somebody special

9. Morocco – Ceramic Items 

Morocco is a country famous for being one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. It is also famous for hand-painted ceramic items. Most often, you will see colorful bowls being sold on the streets. But, you can find pretty much anything made of ceramics – mugs, glasses, pots, figurines, and even tiles. What makes them so unique is the color choice and various intricate floral and geometric designs. 

10. Russia – Lacquer Box

One of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Russia is the Matryoshka doll. But, this doll has become a cliché over the years as everybody buys it. So, when in Russia, instead of buying a doll set, consider purchasing the Lacquer box. This is a fantastic souvenir to take home. It too comes in many colors and sizes, but what makes it unique are the pictures from Russian fairy tales drawn on it

And there you have it – 10 most original souvenirs to take home from a journey. What souvenir would you buy?

 

6 Reasons why Road Trips are Better than Flying

People on a road trip relaxing in nature

According to statistics, flying might be the safest mode of travel, and there are some destinations that a car can’t reach. However, traveling by car is usually more affordable and allows you to create your itinerary – that’s just the beginning of its benefits. In this article, we’ll uncover the reasons why road trips are better than flying.

#1 You are in control

When it comes to traveling by plane, there are many procedures that you must follow. First, you need to get to the airport 2-3 hours before the departure time. Then, you get processed through security, board a crowded plane, and sit for few hours in a cramped space. Depending on the airline and destination, food choices may be poor. As a result, people often arrive at the final destination feeling groggy. Some experience headaches or nausea due to turbulence and changes in air pressure. Not to mention the stress caused by delayed flights, long layovers, and missed connections.

If you’re lucky enough, you might fall asleep during your flight (in case there is no crying baby near you). If you happen to have a window seat and if you’re flying during the day, you can watch the clouds. And, that’s probably the only thing you’ll see, except the landscape before landing. All in all, traveling by plane is not very eventful.

On the other hand, when you travel by car, you can always have an enriching experience and be flexible with your schedule. When driving, you have many options available. You make the rules of your trip. You can stop and take a break whenever you want, whether to marvel at a lookout point, take photos, or eat something.

#2 It’s safer than you think

Many people are simply afraid of flying. On the other hand, do you know anyone afraid of traveling by car? Plane crashes are statistically more deadly than car crashes, even though they happen much less frequently. However, you’re much more likely to survive and avoid severe injuries if you happen to have a car accident.

Keep in mind that cars are safer now than ever before. You can rely on a car with GPS, automatic braking, anti-lock brakes, lane assist, parking sensors, camera, etc., and have a safe road trip.

However, if you still feel a little worried, you can always look for less busy routes for your road trip. Additionally, you can decide to pull over during bad weather conditions and keep your phone in silent mode for better focus.

Woman driving a car
Whenever you’re driving, safety should be your top priority.

#3 Driving is less expensive than flying

Even though gas can be expensive, plane tickets are much more so. There are many extra fees you’ll need to pay as well. Low-cost airlines charge a fee for checked bags, preferred seats, airport check-in, in-flight entertainment, etc. Prices of food and drinks at the airport are usually outrageous as well.

Traveling by car is an adventure that is even more affordable when traveling with others. Road trips are better than flying because you can split gas money with your travel companions. In case you’re traveling with family, it’s easy to calculate the difference between multiple airplane tickets and the cost of gas.

#4 You can bring more stuff

Another reason why road trips are great is that you have more flexibility when packing your bags, and you don’t have to pay expensive fees for them. You don’t have to follow strict airline rules, and there is no specific weight limit. If you have a spacious car, you can bring almost anything you want. Some of those things can be:

  • Various games
  • Sports equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Camping gear

You can also take your dog with you without worrying about the airline’s pet policy or the pet fee.

A man and a child near white SUV during sunset
Road trips are better than flying because they allow you flexibility in so many ways.

#5 Endless discoveries

You should go on an adventurous road trip at least once in your life. The fun is almost guaranteed, along with the opportunity to experience many different things. There’s so much to see and do on the road that you’d miss if you traveled by plane. There are numerous roadside attractions which you can plan to visit. Whenever you drive through a quaint little town, you can make a stop and wander through its streets. Moreover, you can stop to explore anything that seems interesting and worth your time, such as small museums, historical sites, famous statues, geological wonders, etc.

#6 Planning a nationwide road trip is so much fun

Everything mentioned above contributes to the idea that your vacation is not only your final destination – planning a nationwide road trip is much more than that. To plan this adventure, get creative and make a list of all the places you want to visit and see how you can connect them on a map. Then, create your itinerary, set a road trip budget, and decide where you’ll spend your nights. Be sure to download offline maps (just in case) and leave at least a little bit of flexibility for unplanned adventures.

Aside from being fun, road trips can also strengthen your relationships – whether that’s with your partner, family members, or friends. When traveling by road, you get to know your companions more intimately by having deep, meaningful talks with them.

Couple sitting in the back of a car
Going on a road trip with a companion will strengthen your relationship.

Final thoughts

Even though road trips are better than flying in many ways, every form of travel has its pros and cons. If you’re going on a business trip, it’s probably best to go by plane. When you need to travel to a remote location, the same logic applies. But, when you do have the option to drive, go for it. You’ll have more quality time, more flexibility, you’ll see things you would have never seen by plane, you’ll learn some history, and you’ll even save money. However, remember it’s essential to be cautious and drive safely. Being on the road promises thrilling experiences which you can remember for the rest of your life.

Exploring London’s Underground Secrets

London1


Over the past century and a half, London’s Underground has seen two world wars, millions of passengers, and more secrets than we could begin to count. The “Tube” is used by Londoners and visitors to the beautiful city every hour of every day, but most are unaware of the history they’re traveling through.

Once you learn of the 150-years’ worth of secrets and history housed below England’s capital, you’ll earn a completely new appreciation for this feat of engineering and human-kind.

Underground History

In the early 1800s, London was booming. The influx of people bustling about quickly made it apparent that a better method of mass transportation was needed, and fast. The Metropolitan Railway took on the immense challenge of constructing the first underground line below the city. After months of construction, the 3 and three quarter mile railway carried 38,000 passengers safely to their destination on the inaugural ride on January 10, 1863.

soldiers parading on the streets of London

For the following five decades, London’s Underground saw changing ownership, builders, and thousands of passengers. However, once World War I began London saw its first air raid, and the tube was transformed into much more than a transportation system. The safe-haven continued on into the World War II.
Image Source: BiblioArchives

abandoned bomb shelter

Initially, British government officials tried to prevent the tube stations and lines use as bomb shelters. But, after their attempts to keep people from taking shelter there were decisively ignored, they decided to regulate the shelters instead. Trains continued to run on certain lines, bringing supplies, food, and other Londoner’s seeking shelter. A number of unused stations were converted into factories for wartime productions.
Image Source: secretlondon123

While the Tube was considered by many to be the safest haven, no place in London was completely protected from German Blitzes. Hundreds of Londoner’s lost their lives when the tube was hit by German bombs in 1940 through 1943.
Even in the times of crisis and tragedy, the Underground has remained as a point of togetherness for the people of London. It’s an unmistakable symbol of the ingenuity and strength of Britain as a whole.

Traveling the Underground Today

The Underground lines cover nine zones and stop at more than 200 stations. Even though there are nine zones, tourists typically stay in Zones 1 and 2 because they cover Central London where many of the major tourist attractions and hotels are located.

These days, 11 Tube lines transport locals and tourists throughout Britain’s capital:

  • Bakerloo Line
  • Central Line
  • Circle Line
  • District Line
  • Hammersmith & City Line
  • Jubilee Line
  • Metropolitan Line
  • Northern Line
  • Piccadilly Line
  • Victoria Line
  • Waterloo & City Line

Generally, the Underground runs are between 5:00 a.m. — 12:00 A.M., Monday through Saturday. Sunday times are reduced by a few hours with later starting times and earlier stopping times.

Secrets Along The Stops

We alluded to the importance of the Underground during the World Wars, and proof of that is beneath 8 of the 11 Tube lines. For under these lines sit deep-level air-raid shelters. The construction of the shelters took place between 1940 and 1942. Originally reserved for government officials, 5 of the 8 shelters opened up to civilians as bombing intensified.

abandoned tube station in London

Image Source: secretlondon123

The shelters that were constructed include:

  • Chancery Lane
  • Belsize Park
  • Camden Town
  • Goodge Street
  • Stockwell
  • Clapham North
  • Clapham Common
  • Clapham South

After the war ended, several of the shelters were still used by London’s military. The Goodge Street shelter was used by the army until the 1950s. The Chancery Lane shelter was used for the Kingsway Telephone Exchange during the Cold War years.

Recreated World War 2 communications room

Image Source: Shiny Things

In addition to the secrets you’ll uncover while traveling the Underground, you’ll also see all of the most iconic sights of the region.

Circle Line – Tower Hill Station

Tower Bridge – Built 120 years ago, the Tower Bridge is an engineering marvel and arguably one of the most recognizable attractions in the world. If you’re feeling brave, trek out onto the high bridges suspended between the bridges towers.

Tower Bridge in London

Image Source: spacedust2019

District Line – St James’s Station

St. James’s Park – Millions of visitors flock to the beautiful St. James’s Park every year. It’s the oldest of London’s eight Royal Parks, and it includes The Mall and the Horse Guards Parade.

View of St. James Park, London

Image Source: foshie

Jubilee Line – Westminster Station

Big Ben – Is there a more iconic London sight than Big Ben? Lucky for visitors, this sight is right along the Jubilee Line outside of Westminster Station. Whether you’re a history buff or just want to check it off of your bucket list, you need to stop by Big Ben.

Night view of Big Ben and Parliament Buildings

Image Source: Nan Palmero

Northern Line – Waterloo Station

London Eye – The London Eye is a larger-than-life Ferris wheel on the River Thames in London. From here, you will be treated to the most spectacular views of the city and a ride you won’t forget.

The London Eye at night

Image Source: Altug Karakoc

Piccadilly Line – Covent Garden or Leicester Square Station

Covent Garden – The district of Covent Garden in London is a hub for local shops, delicious food, and incredible street performers. Once you hop out of the Covent Garden station, you’ll have a tough time fitting everything you want to explore into just one day.

Covent Garden

Image Source: Aurelien Guichard

Parts of the Tube’s storied history are somber, but the incredible spirit of London persists and prevails. For once you wander the stations and secret passageways hidden beneath the surface, you’ll never think of London the same way again.