Because sometimes you want to bring home more than just a t-shirt.

Shopping Boutique Store
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One of the best parts of traveling—beyond the vacation itself, of course—is bringing home a souvenir that will remind you of the trip for years to come. 

There are plenty of cliché options that travelers have favored in the past—think T-shirts, mugs, and keychains—but over the past few years, sourcing items that you actually want to decorate with or display at home has become the norm. 

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to shopping for your home while you’re far away from home, no need to fret. We went straight to the experts to get their top tips. Read on for the shopping tips designers swear by when traveling themselves.

Shopping for Glassware

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Focus on Finding One Meaningful Item

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It may be tempting to treat yourself to a shopping spree while on vacation, but saying no to the countless tempting trinkets and tchotchkes in favor of bringing home something truly special makes all the difference, especially when it comes to home decor. Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors suggests seeking out pieces that you’ll be proud to display and actually use. 

“Invest in one memorable piece that makes your heart pitter-patter in lieu of many items that cost less and bring less joy,” she says. “When we traveled to Italy, the only thing I brought home was an olive wood cutting board from the beaches of Lake Como. Every time I use it, I am instantly whisked away to that trip.”

Shop Intentionally 

Don’t waste time and money shopping for mass-produced items while traveling. Instead, Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin and owner of Woven by Shaolin, a home store in Hawaii, suggests travelers seek out specialty stores with a true point of view. 

“Find stores that specialize in a certain look or feel, quality, and sustainability when you can,” she says. “In this age where you can buy anything from anywhere, I always love a store that focuses on local artists—we have all local female artists on our walls—and a curation that feels intentional and special.”

Look for Pieces That Complement Your Existing Collections

If you don’t have a specific piece in mind but know that you want to incorporate something from your trip into your home design, think about the vignettes and collections you already have. This is an easy way to land on a piece you know will fit right in, but remind you of your travels as well, according to Jaimee Longo of The Layered House.

“I love picking up a coffee table book pertaining to the city or culture I visited to add to my stacks around the house,” she says.

Carry-on Suitcase on Train

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Consider What You Can Actually Pack

Unless you’re open to buying a new suitcase or shipping items back to your home, you may want to stick to shopping for pieces you know you’ll be able to pack, Longo says. 

“I love looking for items that are easy to pack—things like textiles I can use to make pillows or use as throws,” she says. “I also love looking for objects that can be used for styling that will remind me of my travels.”  

Understand the Costs Upfront If You Do Ship Things Home

If you find yourself falling in love with a larger piece, whether it’s furniture, or art, or just bulky decor, you can always explore the option of shipping your finds directly to your home. This can be costly, though, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Samantha Struck of StruckSured Interiors suggests finding out exactly what costs you might incur before making the purchase. 

“Be sure to ask about freight, duties, and import tax,” she says. “Those are going to be a significant cost and something you will want to factor in while shopping so that you aren’t left feeling gouged in the end. If the company you are shopping with does not seem to have clear answers on these things, look for another local source who has more experience in shipping internationally.”