How to travel without shopping urges

How to resist shopping urges when you're traveling | Hanna's Places. Picture by Helena La Petite.

One of the things I love(d) while traveling and on the road: Getting souvenirs in the form of clothes, shoes and accessories. Shopping in foreign countries has lost a little bit of its appeal now that we can get most labels online anyway and the High Streets all over the world pretty much look the same. Still, I think that it’s really nice to have a blouse or clutch to remember a great holiday.

Now, some of you might remember that I pledged to only buy fairly produced/secondhand clothes from now on. And commercially produced clothes don’t suddenly get fair just because they are sold in Spain instead of Germany. To be honest, seeing all those stylish French women on my last travel really woke some shopping urges in me. I managed to return back home without buying high street items, but it was harder than I thought. If you’re trying to go on holiday without nasty shopping urges, here’s some tips.

Get some small local souvenir

On my recent roadtrip I brought home a beautiful stoneware bowl from Barcelona and a wooden spoon from Grasses. They were maybe over-prized but they are handmade and I will own them for the rest of my life. That’s something I probably couldn’t say about a summer dress. I also took millions of pictures, so I will definitely remember this trip. I actually wrote a whole post on meaningful souvenirs, if you’re interested!

Hit up thrift stores and flea markets

I must admit I’m not the best at finding gems at those places, but at least I found a few nice books and accessories on my travels.

Do your research before traveling

Write a list of local ethical boutiques or traditional workshops before going on holiday. This is actually a lot of fun to really get into the holiday spirit. Once you’re abroad, you can hit the different shops and take something home without the guilt.

Use people on the streets as inspiration

Note what styles people are wearing and which outfits you really like. Remember these when you get home, maybe even pin similar styles on Pinterest. Next time you want to buy something new, you know what you want.

A good trip is NOT about the souvenirs you buy

It’s about the people you’re with, the things you get to learn about yourself and the history of another country, the beautiful sights, architecture and nature you get to see, the foreign food you get to try and the people you meet. The success of a holiday doesn’t depend on the question whether you bought that dress or not! See it this way, if you are not shopping, you’ve got so much more time to experience and see the things around you! Make the most of it.

What about you? Do you have any tips how to resist shopping urges, especially on holiday?

Picture by Helena La Petite.



  • Catherine Sprunt
    June 22, 2015


    I agree! I’m really not a souvenir shopper and certainly not to buy them for the sake of having gifts to bring home…but I love choosing something special from each trip I make and it’s usually something for the home, like these beautiful Cambodian blankets

    • Hanna
      June 22, 2015


      These scarves are beautiful!

  • Beanie
    June 23, 2015


    it’s like you knew I was in America and considering buying a big suitcase to fill with outlet buys. I try and buy only practical souvenirs.

    I also make a scrapbook at I travel so I have all the memories with next to no cost, adding receipts, room keys, maps and tickets!


    • Hanna
      June 29, 2015


      Haha, good luck!

  • Nina
    June 29, 2015


    It’s not very hard for me to resist shopping when being abroad, because I rarely shop for clothes when traveling! I think that there are many other things to do that are way more interesting than shopping! With that said, I still go into shops from time to time, but usually in local makers’ shops, or I go thrift shopping (because it can be very exciting in cities like London, Brussels or Berlin! But I usually but house decor or props!). I also make a few exceptions with shops that I can’t find in my hometown, for example I went to Urban outfitters in Frankfurt (but I only bought a lampshade because everything was too expensive for my stydent’s budget then, plus I know I couldn’t buy too many stuff during my Erasmus months because I already had a full suitcase to take back with me!), or to Liberty in London (but again it was too expensive so I just book a notebook in which I put all my travel pictures).

    As for souvenirs, I usually don’t like all the cheap stuff sold in souvenirs shop so I never buy some. I’d rather buy postcards in museum, or food! I always bring back edible souvenirs, I think they’re the best!

    • Hanna
      June 29, 2015


      I so agree with all of your points there! And for me, the shops that aren’t in my hometown are my biggest weakness because sure, they are special to me since I don’t see them on a regular basis, but they are just the same as every shop in Germany (and Spain and France have a lot of nice stores we don’t have in Germany). Sticking to thrifting and edible souvenirs is definitely a good idea!!

Meet Hanna
Hanna's Places - a green lifestyle blog

Hanna’s Places is a green lifestyle magazine written by Hanna Ulatowski. It’s all about slowing down in a fast-paced society and finding ways to live a more sustainable, simple lifestyle.

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