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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.
My friends and I have planned a big vacation together this summer. It will be after we graduate, and it’s really going to be the last time we’re all together for a while. It’s really important to all of us, and I really want to commemorate the occasion with some kind of gift or memento. I don’t want to do something too obvious, but I want to give everyone something really nice that they can look at and remember not just the trip, but our friendship as well. So, experts: any advice?
Your group vacation sounds like a wonderful idea! Vacations bring people together (studies prove it!) and build memories that last a lifetime. Even without a souvenir or memento, you and your friends are sure to look back fondly on your time together.
Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to come up with a great gift that everyone raves about! People love souvenirs–they’re part of a $16 billion industry–and having a special one from this special trip seems like a wonderful idea. Let’s brainstorm!
It sounds like you want your gift to do two things: remind your friends of their vacation, and remind them of each other. The tourism developers at Henry County, Georgia’s tourism bureau told us that the best souvenirs capture the feeling of a place: a mere t-shirt doesn’t always make the cut (though if you’re visiting a place like the New Jersey shore’s Wildwood Boardwalk, which has a thriving t-shirt culture, then a t-shirt is perfect!). You didn’t mention where you were going, but think about the place’s culture, climate, and vibe. Your best bet is something that can be used or displayed back home, but that feels like the place you’re visiting: a beach hat from California that can be used on more local beach trips, for instance, or a piece of camping gear from a long backpacking haul that would also work well for a day hike or a weekend jaunt.
Next up: personalizing the gift! You want your item to remind your friends not only of where they went but who they went their with. That could mean engraving or printing custom text onto clothing, water bottles, flasks, and other gifts–or it could mean putting your friends themselves on the gift! The designers at My Postcard have built their business around creating custom postcards with personal photos on them, and photos can also be framed (perhaps in a frame done up in a style that reminds you of the vacation locale), printed on canvas, combined into collages, and so much more.
Don’t fret too much over the means to your memories: you won’t forget this trip anytime soon, with or without a souvenir! But if you do want to make a splash with a group gift, keep your twin goals in mind. Choose something that captures the essence of the place you visited without clashing with home decor or daily use, and make sure that it includes text, a photo, or some other marker that makes it unique to your group.
“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.” — Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows