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?

 

Things To See and Do in Ottawa

Ottawa panorama

Canada’s capital city is beautiful and dynamic, which makes it very interesting to explore. It’s also one of the most multicultural cities in the country. If you like discovering magnificent architecture, world-class museums, and strolling through quiet parks, you’ll love this place. This charming city is located along the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, right across from Quebec. Its downtown is lively and inviting, and it’s great for walking or riding a bike. Here’s our list of the most interesting things to see and do in Ottawa.

Explore the Rideau Canal

While walking through the center of Ottawa, you can’t miss the Rideau Canal. It’s one of the city’s most popular attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

During the summer, Rideau Canal is filled with boats. The pathways surrounding it are crowded with walkers, cyclists, and runners. You can tour the canal by boat, and cruising is one of the best ways to experience it. There are more than 30 notable sights along the canal. For those who like to stay fit while traveling, there’s the option of canoeing and kayaking as well.

If you happen to visit the canal in the wintertime, your experience will be totally different but not less impressive, as this canal transforms into the world’s largest skating rink. In case you need a break from the cold, visit the nearby heated huts and stands selling hot beverages.

Visit Parliament Hill

The magnificent Parliament building is an architectural masterpiece, built in Gothic style. It’s located right in the heart of the city center, overlooking the Ottawa River. A gorgeous garden surrounds the structure and attracts many tourists.

The complex and its surroundings are the sites of various national celebrations and shows throughout the year. Guided tours are available in English and French, and they last from 30 to 60 minutes. The highlights of this place are:

  • The observation deck of the Peace Tower offering the best view of the city
  • Changing of the Guard ceremony which happens every summer day at 10 AM (June to August)
  • Northern Lights Sound and Light Show (during the summer months)
Canada's Parliament Buildings in Ottawa
Parliament hill is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Head to the ByWard Market

The ByWard Market in Ottawa is one of the oldest and biggest markets in the country. It’s also conveniently located in the city center. There are main buildings surrounded by open-air stalls offering a wide choice of goods. This colorful, charming place is where you’ll find the most beautiful flowers, the best maple syrup, and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other grocery items. There are plenty of restaurants, fast food kiosks, coffee shops, galleries, and boutiques in the ByWard neighborhood. All of this makes it a great place to discover more about the local culture, tradition, and culinary scene.

Learn about Canada by visiting museums and galleries

Ottawa is home to many national museums and galleries worth visiting, where you can experience the true spirit of Canada, such as:

  • Museum of History
  • War Museum
  • Museum of Nature
  • Science and Technology Museum
  • Agriculture Museum
  • Museum of Contemporary Photograph
  • The National Gallery of Canada
  • The Portrait Gallery of Canada

As you can see, there’s something for everyone’s age and interest, from those who like history, science, and technology to those who admire art in all its forms.

Ottawa architecture panorama
Ottawa has plenty of national museums and galleries worth visiting.

Book a biplane flightseeing tour 

Did you know that you could fly in a World War II Biplane? Yes, you can! It’s one of the best things to see and do in Ottawa. You can experience it if you visit the Canada Air and Space Museum in the summer months. During an approximately 25-minute flight, you’ll pass over the Ottawa river, the Gatineau Hills, the downtown, and the Parliament. It’s an incredible experience, and what’s most amazing is that you’ll sit in an outdoor cockpit in front of the pilot because he is in the back.

Relax in Gatineau Park

For a little break from the city and its highlights, head to Gatineau Park – a peaceful oasis and a national treasure. It offers a variety of activities for all seasons. You can enjoy comfortable Ottawa and go hiking, biking, camping, cross-country skiing, or swimming. There are also various heritage sites and beautiful nature everywhere around.

While here, don’t miss scenic Champlain Lookout for the best view from the Gatineau Hills over the Ottawa Valley. One more attraction that shouldn’t be overlooked in Gatineau Park is the Mackenzie King Estate. You can explore the paths surrounding it and peek into its restored cottages which feature various interactive exhibits.

Couple sitting on a bench during Fall in the park in Ottawa, Canada
When in search of relaxing things to see and do in Ottawa, head to one of many peaceful parks.

Watch a sports match

Ice hockey is Canada’s national winter sport, and lacrosse is its lesser known national summer sport. Ottawa has several professional sports teams, and if you’re passionate about sports, you should complete your visit by watching at least one match.

Canadian Tire Centre is a multi-purpose indoor arena that hosts various sports matches and a must-see for sports lovers. One more place worth visiting is the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, located in the Heritage Building of Ottawa City Hall.

TD Place Stadium is the place where you can see Canadian football. Baseball fans can head to the Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park to watch a match.

Moving to Ottawa can be an excellent choice

There are many reasons why one should decide to move to Ottawa, and there are many possibilities once you do it. Apart from unique things to see and do in Ottawa, keep in mind that you’ll be living in a city with great job opportunities, excellent healthcare, great schools, and various cultural activities year-round, as well as great entertainment for all generations.

If you decided to move to Canada’s capital, be sure to leave enough time for a stress-free preparation. To save time and make the process more effective, you should consider hiring a reliable moving company that has all you need for your Ottawa-based relocation. Then you can choose from a wide selection of moving services, such as packing services, storage solutions, and much more. When you finally settle in, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the city and discover many of its gems by yourself.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re planning to visit Ottawa only for a short time as a tourist or you plan to relocate to the city permanently, you’ll be delighted by its charm. The number of things to see and do in Ottawa is almost limitless, so there’s guaranteed fun for every season and each person. Good luck with exploring, and good luck to those who come to stay!

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.