My room mate has many key chains that relatives and friends gave him. Unlike me, who hang all my travel key chain collection neatly like an army barrack in front of my computer desk, he threw them in his drawers. He said he had no use for them. He just need one big key chain for all the keys in his life.
The lesson learned is: Don’t buy key chain because it is a cheap and light weight to carry home to your colleagues, friends and relatives. The chances that they will not appreciate it and not use it are very high. Doing that means wasting good money and valuable time. Buy something else.
My favorite purchases are local snacks. Many years ago, I brought back chocolate marshmallows with coconut flakes all over from Australia. All the guys and gals in the office love them, and one specifically told me which I remembered to heart:”I like it when you bought us things that we can’t find here”. So, when I was in Japan, I spent quite a bit of money to buy those tiny cakes stuffed with red bean paste. Well, the wrappings were nicer than the cakes. But, well, those folks were impressed. When in Hong Kong, I bought local delights with cute names like “Wife Cake” and “Husband Cake”. The girls were so tickled and rushed to grab a pair before the guys were allowed to gobble them. When in Singapore, I bought back easy-to-made chicken rice sachets. Luckily, they didn’t ask me why I didn’t pack back black-peppered crab or chilli crap that the island is well known for. The thought of food makes me hungry now.
If food is not your thing. Well, think of something else. But think before you buy that bookmark or key chain.
Additional Reading: Insider Secrets to Cheap Flight