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National research from the Financial Planning Association shows we’re generous with gifts. We spend almost $20bn per year, about $100 a month each! The same research also shows that most of us aren’t planning that spending at all.
It’s important to have a gifting budget when travelling because there’s nothing worse than overspending and returning home to a huge credit card bill. If you overspend it could take you the best part of the next year to pay off your debt and that could definitely spoil your precious memories of your dream holiday.
The other advantage of having a gifting budget is that it will curb your spending and free up precious time to be in the moment, enjoying experiences rather than trolling the shops or markets. Personally, although I love to shop, I would much prefer to ride a camel on Cable Beach at sunset or cycle through the vineyards in Tuscany rather than spend it shopping for gifts.
There is also the tendency by some travellers thinking they need to buy every man and his dog a gift! I remember when I first started travelling overseas I tended to buy heaps of cheap knick knacks to give to family members, friends, neighbours, house sitters and even my dog. Resist the urge to buy everyone a gift. I’m sure that they will still talk to you if you don’t buy them a gift!
The other thing to consider when travelling and purchasing gifts is how much space you have in your suitcase and do you have a weight restriction. Otherwise you may be up for excess luggage fees that can be very costly.
Have you heard the saying “Don’t try selling ice to the Eskimos”? So when considering the best types of gifts to purchase when you’re travelling, particularly in foreign countries, look for what they’re renowned for. Don’t try to buy a designer brand handbag in South East Asia, because it will be a fake. Same thing applies in the reverse if you’re shopping in Paris, you are not going to find cheap knick knacks that you’ll find in South East Asia.
It’s a good idea to do your research prior to travelling to a foreign country to see what they’re renowned for. Here’s some ideas for gift purchasing in some of the countries that I have visited:
Italy – Leather handbags, leather shoes, leather jackets and beautiful linen. Designer brands including Valentino, Versace, Prada, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Missoni.
France – Designer brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermès, Lanvin and Chloé. French perfume or Champagne.
Turkey – Leatherwear including leather jackets, handbags and wallets. Also amazing Turkish rugs, Turkish towels, colourful ceramics and quality linen.
USA – Tiffany & Co jewellery, designer brands including Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Coach, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Emporio Armani, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, DKNY and Kate Spade New York and Tommy Hilfiger. Shoes, clothing, sports clothing (like Nike, Under Armour and Adidas), lingerie (Victoria’s Secret) and makeup are extremely cheap. Electronic goods and technology.
South East Asia – Fake knockoffs of most famous designer brands including handbags, wallets, clothing, watches and sunglasses. Surfwear, unique arts and crafts, silverware, woven grass handbags, tableware and some good quality fashion brands are popping up in some of the popular tourist destinations in South East Asia.
By taking a quick survey you can soon discover your gift giving personality type. My results reflected that I’m a ‘heartfelt giver’ along with 26% of Australians. According to the quiz, I rarely show up to an occasion without a gift, take pride in how gifts look and try and make gifts truly special and memorable. All true! The quiz was also accurate in telling me I don’t go over the top with my gift giving budget, I generally don’t buy on impulse and that I don’t like buying gifts in bulk.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re travelling because you see so many beautiful unique things you’d like to buy as gifts. I have been known to return home from holidays with far too many gifts! However, experience has taught me that adhering to a gift-giving budget makes for a more enjoyable holiday experience.
What is particularly alarming from the Financial Planning Association research into Australian gift-giving is that “there’s literally billions of dollars of household spend that is simply not budgeted for by 3 in 4 Australians across genders, generations, and geographies”.
The same research findings goes on to say that “the discrepancy between a high unplanned household spend and a satisfaction with that spend indicates an opportunity to improve our financial literacy and awareness of the benefits of budgeting, planning, and giving in a way that brings joy without debt or regret”.
Discovering your gift-giving personality type and getting professional advice with budgeting will certainly guide you with your gift-giving habits and help you make some better choices. At the end of the day I would much prefer to use that budget for my next holiday rather than on gift purchases.
For more tips on gift giving there is a great new eBook titled “The Goodness of Giving” – full of tips and tricks to be better at gifting.
Thanks to Money & Life for the inspiration for this post.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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